I had always been attracted to S&M, even at an early age, when I didn't know what it was. My mother wore leather gloves in springtime. My first teacher in kindergarten, who probably thought I was mentally challenged because I never spoke, also wore leather gloves, and every day as she left I would watch as she slowly put them on with the stretch and pull of the fingers. My eighth-grade math teacher wore stiletto black leather boots and black hair like Elvira and spoke in dismissive clips, and I adored her, even when she dropped test results into my lap with B- circled in red at the top. I did engage in a relationship with a dominatrix after the failure of my second marriage. I left the scene after two years. But I clearly missed it, the trappings of leather increasingly irresistible. I liked extreme feelings of restraint and taking pain. But I was also interested in everything. My sexual appetites began to spin in all sorts of different directions. My wife and I talked about it at length. She was far more experienced than I was, and she did in high school what I longed to but could not because of the need to please others—get laid, smoke dope, go to Woodstock. Before she left for Abu Dhabi, she urged me to explore, not on the basis that we wanted some open marriage but because of her feeling that I owed it to myself, to both of us, because my unfulfilled desires, or at least what I thought might be my desires, were leading to the nastiness and the contempt toward a spouse that comes from frustration. That is when the purchase of clothing intensified beyond all measure. The clothes became icons of aphrodisiac, a way of substituting for the continued fear of being someone and something different from whom I was supposed to be. The eternally preppy boy in the button-down shirt. I never fit the traditional definition of a sexy male straight or gay—tall, ripped, six- packs within six-packs. I wanted the power that sex provides, all eyes wanting to fuck you and you knowing it, and both men's and women's clothing became my venue. I began to wonder about sex and sexuality and where exactly I fit in in the complex spectrum. I did go into the sexual unknown, and the clothing I began to wear routinely gave me the confidence to do it, to transcend the rigid definitions of sexuality and gender, just as I also know there were the requisite stereotypical snickers. Was I homosexual because so much of what I wore is associated with gays? I did experiment. And while I don't think it is my sexual being, I can tell you that gay men as a group are nicer, smarter, have a shitload more fun than straight whites. Was I veering toward becoming a dominant leather master in the S&M scene, the leather fetish an obvious influence in most of the clothing I purchased and in much of high fashion itself? I did experiment. Was I a closeted or maybe not so closeted transvestite? Tom Ford makeup is divine; the right foundation and cheek blush and eyeliner and lipstick can do wonders for the pallid complexion. Thigh-high boots add to any wardrobe, although walking on six-inch stilettos for hours is just a bitch and therefore confined to the privacy of my house, seen only by the UPS man, who at this point could not possibly be surprised by anything. But a dress or skirt just doesn't look good on me, and I can't ever do a thing with my hair. The look I was going for was more David Bowie androgynous. It wasn't successful.
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