It all started with an Instagram post.
Holed up in my downtown New York apartment in the midst of lockdown in May, and personally appalled by the ways in which my style was regressing, I decided to make a spoof account chronicling my new obsession with ugly shoes, a shift from Maryam Nassir Zadeh slides to (previously sworn-off) Crocs.
After one particularly humorous post on a faux Louis Vuitton babouche with a caption that read “giving up but still maintaining,” I received a DM from a pre-pandemic love interest. Though the one date we’d been on in a dimly lit East Village bar hadn’t been terrible, my first instinct then was that it would go nowhere. He was a skater—who, in my experience, aren’t usually skilled conversationalists. He was nice, but not particularly witty. I am also pretty sure he thought I talked too much and made too many wacky hand gestures.
The DM read, “This is so hot. Can I come over right now?”
Confusion first, then intrigue. I hadn’t really heard from him since our date. I had gone on to a club in the city to meet friends that night and he had gone home. We had traded (sometimes) flirty messages since then. I did so mostly with the intention of keeping him in my back pocket, a sexual savings account of sorts for that proverbial rainy day.
But perhaps now that rainy day had come. With everyone confined to their homes for the past two months, the chances of meeting someone new seemed increasingly remote. While I hadn’t felt a spark between us, the thought of enduring this moment without getting any was too much to bear.
I messaged him back: “Long time, no see. Let’s hang. Text me!”
Admittedly, this was probably a little reckless given that cases in New York were skyrocketing. Feeling anxious, I insisted we both get tested before our tryst and he obliged. A couple of days later, we had the all clear, and he rode his bike from uptown to my apartment in the city. I asked him to pick up snacks and come over around 5 p.m.—that way we could get down to business without teetering into sleepover territory.
Even still, I couldn’t help but feel nervous. Was this safe? Could I kiss him without fear? What exactly about my foot post had gotten him so hot under the collar? I didn’t have too much time to fret that morning. Before long, 5 p.m. had rolled around and I was putting new sheets on the bed.
When he showed up at my door, somehow he looked different than I remembered. A little more tired, perhaps? (Then again, the pandemic can do that to a person.) Then there was the lingering smell of cigarettes on his T-shirt. (Maybe he was nervous too?) To take the edge off, I poured us both a glass of red wine and scrolled through Netflix. With a hip-hop documentary playing on the screen, we made lukewarm attempts at small talk. Then he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: “Can I give you a foot rub?” Nestled into one corner of the sofa, I accepted without much hesitation. After all, the closest I’d gotten to a massage in the last few months was a friendly elbow bump. Feeling his hands on my feet was nice and I noticed he was attentive. Very attentive.
“You have such nice feet; they are so beautiful.”
We kissed and I noticed how turned on he really was. We quickly moved to more compromising positions on the couch.
“Do you…do you have some sort of foot fetish?” I blurted out between kisses, my legs wrapped around his. “Yeah, you could say that. I mean, I just like them. Everyone has their thing, I guess,” he said as we walked toward the bedroom.
He switched the lights off and we proceeded to have sex. His approach can only be described as mechanical, so eager was he to make my feet the main event. Lying back on the couch in the living room, we took a break when he conveniently positioned his penis in the pathway of my feet. Reluctantly, I give him a hand job…with my feet. To be honest though, I was paying more attention to the episode of The Defiant Ones that was playing on the screen than I was him.
Later on, as we were finishing up the snacks and the last of the red wine, he confessed that my foot Instagram posts had been fueling his fantasies for the past couple of weeks. The thought that my spoof shoe-stagram could be part of someone’s sexual fantasy was, in a word, surprising.
It was nearing 9 p.m., and I mumbled something about getting tired. He got the hint. Once he left, I was able to digest what had just happened. Normally, I’m not one for one-night stands—much less foot fetishists!—but then, nothing about these last few months had been “normal.” Without the pressure that usually comes with dating, I had been able to enjoy this single, albeit strange, experience without any expectations.
A few weeks later, after posting an image of my new Uggs, a pandemic purchase, with my ankle ever so slightly exposed, a text from him popped up on my phone.
“Hot. LMK when I should come around again!”
Needless to say, I left his message on read—perhaps for another rainy day.