Women are romantic and men are fetishists. Women are verbal, men are visual. Such are the rather rigid categories that the Venus and Mars promoters delineate as inescapable divisions between the sexes.

But there are numerous local differences and variations within these broad generalizations, and when I am on the verge of agreeing with them, I always remember that, while a fetishist, while visual, I am also verbal, and usually turn myself on with a combination of words and images.

Nevertheless, I am turned on by the visual. Besides boots, the things I like on a woman are stockings, high heels, short skirts, and tight cut-off jeans. This is pretty “normal” stuff. Every man likes this shit, because these are sartorial signals that communicate quickly.

But I like other things, sometimes even in a non-fetishy way : fedora-style hats and librarian eyeglasses, for example. Then there are hot, sexy uniforms that I rarely see in person; only in magazines, such as the accouterments of a dominatrix and equestrienne garb.

But there is another fetish cluster that afflicts me. It's a weird one. Yes, weirder than boots, because I know of no one else who has it. Based on the female wrist (I love the ulna, the round bone that pokes out), this fetish cluster includes handcuffs (a woman looks beautiful with a set of manacles on her wrists) and culminates most importantly of all in a woman wearing a man’s big sports watch.

What I love is the huge complicated face with the attached thick black band going around the thin delicate wrist. A rubber Speidel is good; a sewn black leather band is even better. My optimum watch on a woman would be a big, complex Swiss Breitling Navitimer. This is a rare find, however, as they go for around $2,000 dollars or more.

So where the hell did this fetish come from? I have no idea. My earliest memory of a woman with a big watch is Vanessa Redgrave in Blowup (there was a vogue for sports watches in Britain in the '60s) which I saw in childhood as my sexuality was blooming (or bending, depending on how you look at it), and which I didn’t remember as a watch movie until a few years ago when I caught up with it again. Another great watch movie is the more recent Dead Calm, starring Nicole Kidman in a perfect black-banded watch. When she strips to have sex, she takes off everything but the watch. Perfect.

Fortunately, sports watches are especially popular with women these days. They are all over the media, in movies, sit-coms, magazines. I read the weekly French Elle, in which the models are usually bewatched, and after years of collecting I now have many scrapbooks of watched women.

I also see watch women on the street. On Tuesday, June 17, at 4 pm, at the corner of SW Fifth and Taylor I spied a brunette, wearing black pants and shirt, with a red sweater wrapped around her waist, pass by on her way to Pioneer Place, looking great with a big watch on her wrist. And then, a few seconds later, I saw a curly haired girl walking north down Sixth, smoking and listening to a Walkman, wearing green slacks and carrying a sack, her watch face worn inside the wrist like a guy.

Sometimes I ask girls about their watches (it’s easier than asking them about their boots) and they always say, “Oh, it’s my boyfriend’s.” End of conversation.

But at root I am still a boot fetishist, so let me honor the anonymous short haired brunette I saw on Wednesday, June 18, walking around in a silk dress and wearing huge zip-up boots, with stretch vents at the top,and a tell-tale Doc Martens tab poking out the back, high chunk-heeled platform boots that made her look like a character out of a sexy R Crumb comic.

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