Fetish Files: Mr. Louis Vuitton
If someone peeked behind the curtain, saw you in your most vulnerable and embarrassing state, and still found you completely irresistible, how would that make you feel? In my first "Fetish Files", we'll travel back in time, several moons ago, to a scintillating September evening at a swank venue that I was thrilled to be at, with a stranger that I probably should not have been there with - a gentleman who I later nicknamed Mr. Louis Vuitton. While no acts of lust took place, this is the night that the concept of The Blackbook was conceived and the night that I learned one of my most invaluable lessons in life and love - the incomparable power of acceptance.
The bar was dripping in red lighting and the heady scent of fresh, floral arrangements as I sunk into a deep, leather armchair in the quietest corner of the room. I was intuitively relaxed, but mentally skeptical, while I scanned the shelves of old books behind me, trying to distract myself as I waited for my guest. I only knew two things about him: 1. He was an incredibly successful doctor. 2. All he wanted was to meet with me for a couple hours to discuss his shoe fetish. I was only on my sixth life at the time and with three more to spare, I had hastily agreed, even though a part of me wondered... "What kind of strange person would drive over an hour for this sort of thing?".
I suppressed a laugh as he walked towards me. He could have introduced himself as Matthew McConaughey and I wouldn't have doubted it for a second - the resemblance was striking. Wouldn't someone like this have a line of women begging to get closer to him and listen to him spill all of his most emotionally vulnerable secrets? It turns out that genuine, judgment-free acceptance is harder to come by than one might imagine.
I could feel the threatening sting of tears behind my eyes when, deep into our conversation, Mr. Vuitton said, "If I could just find someone who accepted this about me - without judging me or trying to change me - I would be theirs for forever. I would give them the entire world." He was referring to his closet full of women's high-heeled shoes and his extremely, extravagantly, xxx-style fondness for them. This shoe closet was his place of sensual refuge. He had an extra special penchant for thigh-high, leather boots. While a bit off the beaten, vanilla path, his fetish is fairly common and completely innocent, causing zero harm to anyone else. But his ex-fiancée had abandoned him for it. She had begun to view his fetish as a kind of betrayal, and after catching him "in the closet" one too many times, she packed up her bags and left.
It's important to note that his fetish did not replace his intimate activities with her. She turned him on and satisfied him, regardless of what she wore on her feet. Bringing heels into the bedroom was just an added bonus and something that he occasionally indulged in alone. The second that porn or a personal fetish starts to significantly interfere with the intimate life that you have with your partner(s), an intervention is called for. But with Mr. Vuitton, this wasn't the case.
Do you know what one of the hallmarks of genuine love is? Acceptance. Acceptance of the imperfect human being that is in front of you. It's not loving the way that they make you feel. It's not loving the things that they do for you. And it's definitely not loving the person that you know they could be, with the right amount of time and work. Genuine, "don't-settle-for-less-than-this" love can be found in the gaze of someone who sees another as they are in the present moment, in all of their flawed glory, and still decides to absolutely accept and adore that person. It's finding someone's quirks, fetishes, and odd hobbies more endearing than someone else's more seemingly impressive traits. It's having the ability to be supportive and encouraging, while also being satisfied by the present moment and interactions. In between the combined energies of total support and total acceptance is where magic is made.
There is a huge disclaimer that needs to be made clear before we move forward: Acceptance does not equal tolerance of abuse or harmful behaviours. Genuine love does not promote physical, verbal, or psychological abuse. Love is not an enabler to harmful habits. Neither is it giving up your opinions for those of another. Boundaries must be established in order to make it easier to walk away when something becomes unhealthy for you. Setting boundaries ensures that you don't end up settling for someone just because of their potential, which may or may never be fulfilled, and that you choose partners based on compatibility, mutual attraction, and respect. While I hope that you find the courage to set firm boundaries when it comes to your bigger deal-breakers, it is also crucial to pay attention to the more subtle attitudes that can often arise in human connections.
One of my friends (I'll call her Aerith.) was dating a guy who was a fairly hardcore gamer. She respected him in many ways and their chemistry was off the charts, but whenever he was playing video games, which was often, she would start seething in frustration and annoyance. In her mind, he was wasting his life away. Aerith couldn't understand how he could choose the world of virtual reality over beautiful hikes in nearby canyons and late evenings spent on deserted beaches. She tried to adopt the gamer lifestyle a few times, but she couldn't get into it. He would accompany her on a hike every once in a while, but his connection with nature wasn't very strong and he only did it to spend time with her. Most importantly, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't come to terms with the amount of time that he spent playing video games and the amount of frustration that his hobby evoked in her.
This inability to fully accept him was a clue that this connection may not have been healthy for either of them. He was the recipient of unfair amounts of resentment for his digital endeavours, while she was missing out on connecting with someone who could accompany her on her natural adventures. Sometimes, a connection is so strong that differences like these can be overlooked and compromises can be made. But in this case, Aerith seemed to be more into the potential of the connection, rather than the reality of it, and most of her time was spent fantasising about the future, instead of be satisfied with the present.
I cannot stress enough how many times I see clients falling in love with ideals or potential, instead of the human being standing right in front of them! True acceptance can't be forced or faked, either. It's a core component of true love! And as such, it is ironically one of the most healing and supportive gifts that you can give to another person on their path of betterment and evolution. By truly accepting and loving someone as they are right now, you provide them with the subconscious messages and signals that help them feel inspired to feel better and do better. Conversely, when you find yourself consistently resentful and annoyed with another person, even if these feelings aren't verbalised, the subconscious messages that they end up receiving are, "I'm bad." and "I'm not enough.", which often leads to more behaviours that reinstate these internal beliefs.
At the end of my evening at the bar with Mr. Vuitton, he looked at me intensely and said, "I can't remember the last time that I felt so accepted and so free to speak openly with another person. I can't thank you enough." He pushed $100 dollars into my hands, as I tried to decline while he simply apologised that it wasn't more and insisted that I accept it as a token of gratitude. And that was it. I never heard from him again. That night forever shaped the way that I saw love and human connection. Whether it's a fetish for latex and leather heels, video games, or simply the emotional/professional/physical/spiritual point that someone is currently at, mindful acceptance is both a key to genuine, fulfilling love and a tool to determine whether or not a connection is right for you. By abiding by your boundaries, being willing to walk away when something isn't healthy or satisfying, and giving the gift of presence and loving acceptance in your relationships, you inch that much closer towards a life of magic and joy.
As Cleopatra is rumoured to have written at the end of her documents...
Ginestho. Let it be so,