Thursday, June 19, 2008

Letter From a Reader

(Begins with very nice greetings and compliments)
I am writing to ask if you can shed any light upon a most confusing email I recently received.

You see, I work as a costumed entertainer, primarily for children's parties, doing balloon animals, face painting, party games, and such. And I, like many people, have large magnetic signs on my vehicle advertising such, and listing my website.

My website lists my business email, which is unrelated to my personal account or my blog. Yesterday I received an email to this work account which was entitled: "Just a question" I open it, assuming it is a possible gig, and find this text enclosed within:

"I saw your ad on your vehicle and I was just wondering, do you have a foot fetish or are you involved in the BDSM scene? sites to check out: (he gave her the link of a foot fetish porn site)"

On second glance I find the email address to be (I kid you not) "".

Is this a new form of spam that I am unaware of? Is there something in my advertising or website (if you are curious, I will be more than happy to send you the link), that would convince someone that I was involved with the BDSM scene? (I'm not, locally, because I work with children. Only online and under a web handle.) Or is this just a very confused person who has picked me out at random?

Any light you could shed on this would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, he's not confused. And he's not being what I'd call random, either. He's being hugely inappropriate, but that's different.

Part of this is that clown performance - like damn near every other type of performance that changes/disguises someone's appearance - can be sexualized by fetishists.

Shocked? Think about it. Clown performance lends itself easily to a fetish. Clowns, in their makeup and costumes, don't look like real people. They engage in highly stylized behavior, much of which would be either impossible or impermissible in anyone else. They are close to being cartoon creatures, which is why kids are believed to like them. (Although I know just as many people who say they feared and hated clowns as children. Or even as adults.)

So: crazy costumes and wild yet often ritualistic behavior? The parallels to more traditional kink are very clear. Thus, by some people, it's sexualized.

If you've been doing clown performance for long, I'm surprised you haven't run into this before. Jae used to be a clown, and she has many stories about the father's of birthday children getting turned on by her clown persona and hitting on her.

There's nothing wrong with getting hot for clowns. (Okay, yeah, it's not a fetish that gets you the same awed respect as doing, say, flesh-hook suspension. But there's nothing wrong with it.)

But writing lewd emails to strange women, who have invited no such thing, is wrong. I have written before about the archaic phrase "a public woman". You are in the same category as my female pal of that blog post: you're a woman who is putting certain information about herself out the public. Many people understand that you're seeking professional attention, not sexual attention. But there's a breed of man for whom no such distinction exists. A woman who advertises herself in any way is a woman advertising her sexuality. Or at least, his fantasy about her sexuality, and how he might avail himself of it. Your admirer may think he wants a dominant woman, but in fact, he is being the opposite of submissive. He's reminding you that to him, you are nothing but a viewing screen on which to project his fantasy. Being dirt beneath mistress's feet has apparently given this guy an extremely one-dimensional view of other people's sexuality.

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