Fixations, Fascinations & Fetishes

I have a friend, a truly gentle soul, who tells me:

So this makes me angry. A woman may say, "Tell me what’s on your mind. Tell me your deepest darkest fantasies."

So finally one day you tell her. You say my kicks come from two things, feeling powerful and delivering a small amount of pain. Not lots of pain. No blood. No injury. But a lick of love. Something that says I am a big powerful man and I can hurt you. You make me feel like a big powerful man. Doing this particular scenario makes me feel like a big powerful man. I want to fantasize that I am a big powerful man who can hurt a woman.

Why would I be so hung up on feeling like a big powerful man? Because most of my life, I’ve felt like a dweeb. So is it so terrible I occasionally want to feel black? Call me Long Dong Levi. I don’t think it’s so terrible. And then she freaks out and she’s convinced you want to hurt her and that she’ll never be enough and that I’m just going to use her and abuse her.

This frustrates me because I’m the sweetest gentlest guy in the world. But I have a shadow and I occasionally want to shed some light on it with someone I love, such as my therapist, and I want to be loved even though I have a shadow.

I don’t believe in acting out my shadow and hurting innocent people. I just like to play. But my therapist Dr. Spielvogel doesn’t want to hear about any of the details. So why are emotions about my family swell to discuss but acting out my emotions doing physical things with someone I love, why is that so low and unacceptable to talk about specifically? Because Dr. Spielvogel feels that way. That’s it. The good doctor has feelings about what are acceptable expressions of emotion and I need to keep what I talk about within that acceptable range.

So I did this interview and I ask this woman what percentage of men she thought feared and hated women. She said 20%. Then she asked me for my opinion. And it just came to me that virtually 100% of men fear and hate women.

That doesn’t mean it is the only emotion they feel towards women or that hate is the dominant emotion. But men have to pursue and women get to choose and men inevitably get rejected by women they love and this breeds resentment and fear. And when you find a woman that love you back, you get to work out this fear in healthy sexual ways.

It’s one of those cliche questions that has lost meaning because it has been used so much. "Do you hate women?" Yes, I hate women. I also love women. I fear women. I respect some women. I adore some women. I’m amused by some women. I’m a complex guy and I have lots of different emotions and don’t go telling me I shouldn’t have certain emotions. That I need to conquer certain emotions.

So I’m watching this documentary on cartoonist R. Crumb. Fifty six minutes in, he’s talking with a cute ex-girlfriend.

I’ve never given a damn about cartoons but this documentary intrigues me. I feel a certain kinship with R. Crumb (except I don’t like big butts).

Ex: "So you’re going to sell these books and I don’t get a percentage? I have a lot of drawings here. What do I get out of this sale?"

Well, it turns out she has no drawings.

So she digs in the knife as women do. "You really hated women then. Do you think it’s improved since then?"

So what can a bloke say to that? Bitch.

R. Crumb: "Yeah, I hate them a little bit less now."

The scene switches to a dinner party where the wise and wonderful Dian Hanson, a fetishistic pornographer, holds forth.
R. Crumb: "I like certain women’s legs. I’m not masochistic. I’m not fixated on feet. I can get into it. I can have an orgasm playing with a woman’s foot but it’s not a narrow fixation."

Dian: "The mind of a person interested in legs and feet is very different from the mind of a person who’s interested in breasts. Breast men tend to be aggressive, outgoing, athletic whereas people who like the lower body tend to be frightened introverted… It all has to do with being down on the floor when you are a scared little child and looking up at that big tower of mommy. What’s down there? The feet and the legs. That’s where the security is. Women go around feeling victimized by men all the time. They feel like the men have the power. And the area where women can take the power from men is through sex. Men, because they have that fetishtic twist to their minds, because they have the ability to concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of all else, can really be manipulated sexually, while women are not susceptible."

Let’s just say that my fixation corresponds with that of the aggressive, outgoing and athletic blokes.

R. Crumb: "Women are susceptible to power. That’s what I find. Any display of power and, oh, he’s so interesting. Gee. Who’s that man over there who’s being so obnoxious and arrogant? Hmm. He’s so interesting."

Dian: "Robert’s not oriented towards normal sex. There was not much in the way of normal sex in our relationship. Robert wanted piggyback rides and wrestling around. I like to sit around on my heels a lot."

Wife: "He doesn’t like to take his shirt off. He likes to sit around and not exist."

Dian: "Robert is a compulsive masturbator. He masturbates four or five times a day. He masturbates to his own comics."
Art critic Robert Hughes: "I’m sure Picasso did. I’m sure many artists do though I’m not sure many artists give you such a wide range of masturbatory possibilities as Crumb."

Dian: "People often wonder if Robert exaggerates the size of his penis in his comics. Robert does not exaggerate anything. He is endowed with one of the biggest penises in the world."

Ex-GF: "The thing about Robert, I always thought he was kidding about them [sexual proclivities]. That he was trying to be funny."

Here this guy is opening up about such vulnerable matters and his girl thought he was just kidding. That was the only way she could relate to what he wanted. Oh, the humanity!

Ex-GF: "It was confusing because he was irresponsible. He would call me up and say, I love you. I miss you. I can’t wait to see you. And then I’d go out to buy some groceries two hours later and I’d see him with another woman. And then he’d wonder why I kicked him."

Crumb grabs her and twists her head a little. "Am I sadistic?"

Ex-GF says "Oww!" and he lets go.

Ex-GF: "He would always act like this passive victim of other people’s desires when really he was just trying to get away with whatever he could get away with and walking all over people."

A female cartoonist: "It is very dangerous to put dangerous sexual fantasies on paper and available to the public."

This former editor of Ms. Magazine says: "It is important for women to not just run in horror from pornographic images and immediately think that they represent oppression and the power of men to degrade women and to think sometimes that they often are fantasies of having power, they are fantasies of being able to dominate, that come out of a fear of precisely the opposite — of not being attractive to women, impotence fears, and fears of powerlessness in general."

R. Crumb: "I have these hostilities towards women. I admit it. Sometimes I think it is a mistake. I should not have let it out there. I’d be more well-loved. The whole thing would be simpler and cleaner and easier if I didn’t. But it is in there and it is very strong and it ruthlessly forces itself out of me on to the paper."

R. Crumb talks about his younger brother Max. "Mary got up to take a bath. We told her not to. Max went into a trance, walked to the bathroom and pushed open the door. Mary was naked. She screamed and slammed the door shut. Max pushed the door open again and then went into an eight-minute epileptic seizure."

Max: "I started molesting when I was 18. I started with Chinese women for some crazy reason. Then I went through various phases. Now I’m out of it. It’s too much passion. It’s too much animal."

R. Crumb: "You were in a psycho ward for two weeks."

Max: "I see this Jewish broad wearing these flimsy shorts. I feel like I have to do something. She goes into a drugstore and buys shampoo and she’s standing in line. I have to risk my whole life for this. I break out into a cold sweat. I walk up behind her and I grab the bottom of her shorts and I pull them down to her ankles and her ass pops out like a ripe peach. And she says, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ.’"

R. Crumb: "Charles when a teenager used to lie in bed at night and fight the urge to go to the kitchen to get a butcher knife and drive it through my heart."

Charles: "I know where the homicidal tendencies stem from — from an excessive degree of narcissism… When narcissism is wounded, it wants to strike back at the person who wounded it."

Max likes to meditate for a couple of hours every day while sitting on a bed of nails.

He goes out every day with his beggar bowl. It’s a spiritual practice I’d like to emulate at the corner of Pico and Robertson.

The documentary also describes R. Crumb’s racism. It made think that while I have the occasional racist feeling, I have never treated anyone badly on account of their race, while I have often been treated badly by blacks solely because I was white.

Interviewer: "Robert, how do you feel about leaving your family behind [as Crumb moves to France]?"

R. Crumb: "I don’t have any feelings about it."

Wife: "He only talks to his mother or brother Charles once a year."

A year after the filming ended for this documentary, Charles committed suicide.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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