When this topic was added to the Word Whore Programming Calendar, I’d put it February during the week of Valentine’s Day. Clearly, we didn’t discuss our fetishes over Valentine’s Day. Why?
Fetishes aren’t romantic.
I could counter that assumption with a pithy scenario of a Shoe Fetishist meets Aspiring Imelda. In truth, regardless of how one defines “fetish,” alone, it’s not particularly romantic. However, two major components of romance are trust and sharing. Imagine trusting someone enough to admit you have a fetish? Imagine sharing that deeply emotional fixation with someone special?
As Jeffe & Laura have so beautifully pointed out in Sunday and Monday’s posts, there are multiple definitions of the image-laden word “Fetish.” Here are two more takes on the word to consider.
Fetishes are spiritual.
The mystical definition of a fetish is "an inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit." Western culture is very quick to mock anything “magical” … while at the same time glomming on to it and exploiting it. Toast with the face of Jesus in it, anyone? Anyone? How about the medallions of saints worn by firefighters, police, and military? They wear them for protection, for a “supernatural” intervention in time of conflict.
Realistically, by sharing a spiritual object with someone, you are trusting them enough to cherish the item and its significance as much as you do. This is the root of the common exchange of gifts between lovers, newlyweds, and married couples on anniversaries, etc. Amid all the commercialism around romantic gestures it’s easy forget they have deeply intimate origins.
Fetishes are vulnerabilities exposed.
Let’s not pussyfoot around the psychological definition of fetish, the one that leaps to most minds at the mention of the word -- sexual gratification dependent upon an object. Outside of the stereotypes, revealing a fetish to a partner is a moment of utter vulnerability. You are asking for acceptance of need, of flaws, of self. You brace for rejection, for scorn, for having your deviance from the norm exposed to all and sundry. Your world narrows to the heartbeats in which your partner passes judgment on you. Should your partner accept you and agree to participate in fulfilling your needs, your relationship is augmented by a unique trust.
Fetishes are romantic.
Go ahead, admit your fetish. You can trust a Word Whore.
picture from: http://www.demotivationalposters.org