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Volume 10 Issue 5 January 2011

The Fetish Issue





The Misfit’s Guide to Having Sex on the Internet CARLY LEWIS

8 10



Underneath the Shrink Wrapped Casing




Crack That Whip




It’s Not A Position With Research in Motion


God of Bondage


Dear Sally



Fatal Fetish











Friends and More


Joyce And Other Soft Spots


Making the Cut



Birds of a Feather KATEY WALKER



Fashion as Fetish DEVON BUTLER


Front Cover


Back Cover


Inside Front


Beholder XI


Inside Back


EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Morgan Alan


Production Manager Lakyn Barton

Photography & Art Manager Emily Kennedy

Editor at Large Devon Butler

Promotional Director Sarah Georges

Community Outreach Director Erin Oldynski

Advertising Director Jonathan Antflek

Brantford Outreach Director Vacant Application at

Interns Brieanne Berry, Jim Cavill, Lydia Ogwang

CONTRIBUTORS Emily Bednarz, Sebastien Bell, Alexis Castrogiovanni, Dre, Leah Edisbury, Claire Faver, Luigi Di Gennaro, Emily Holmes, Emmanuel Xerx Javier, Yusuf Kidwai, Carly Lewis, Meaghan Olinski, L.M. Olsen, Chris Marc Read, Jack Rousseau, Nuno Teixeira, Katey Walker, Alanna Wallace

ADMINISTRATION President Bryn Ossington General Manager Angela Foster Production/Advertising Angela Taylor Chair of the Board Jordan Hyde Vice Chair Erin Epp Treasurer Tarun Gambhir Director David Goldberg Corporate Secretary Morgan Alan Distribution Manager Kari Singer

In compiling submissions for an issue on the the of “Fetish”, it is difficult to anticipate exactly what type of submissions an open callout will yield. Will we get a chaste response of muted reflection pieces, or a no-holds-barred explication of one’s raunchiest, outthere kinks? It was four years ago that Blueprint sought submissions for an issue on the theme of “Sex,” an issue that received complaints for its representation of female bodies; specifically, that female bodies comprised an overwhelming majority of the issue’s visual content. Though the “Fetish” issue images have tried to narrow this gap, the balance of explicitly male and explicitly female experiences is far from balanced. Is there a cultural disconnect in this campus and community, or is something else at play? As a magazine conceived as a reflection of Laurier student culture, Blueprint seeks to reflect that culture, rather than project any agenda or biases onto it though the content we publish. Though individuals both on our editorial staff and within our readership may perceive certain pieces in this issue to be problematic, our specific editorial choices are reflective of an overarching culture. Whether a fetish is an object of sexual lust, an idol to be revered, or a deeply personal secret, the influence of fetishization is inherent. It is a context to be simultaneously celebrated and problematized. Morgan Alan Editor-in-Chief

CONTACT Blueprint Magazine 75 University Ave W Waterloo ON N2L 3C5 p 519.884.0710 x3564 f 519.883.0873 Advertise Contribute




Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community. Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors. Content appearing in Blueprint bears the copyright expressly of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent. Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, WLU or CanWeb Printing Inc. The circulation for a normal issue of Blueprint is 3000. Subscription rates are $20.00 per year for addresses in Canada. Distribution of Blueprint is provided in part by Dino Deliveries.

NEXT ISSUE On the theme of “Masculinity & Femininity” On stands February 16th Submissions due February 4th


Through my work I explore the glamour, sexuality, allure and artificiality of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. My work, at times, reference women’s lingerie; these items, which are commonly unseen, are being made public. My portraits allude to film stills, headshots, as well as photography of the era, although contemporary images influence my work also.

Friends and More JACK ROUSSEAU

Friends and More – 21 (Waterloo) m4m

21 y.o., 5 ft 9, 130 pounds, Asian. I am looking to meet some new friends (any race/age) and more. Not into games, onenight stands, or jerks. Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 02:43:56 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 17:19:36 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 15:03:28 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Hey Ray, I was an Art student, attending U of Toronto, but I dropped out. I’m presently attend Laurier, but I haven’t chosen a major. Jack

Hey Ray, I’m not interested in Andy Warhol; too “pop”. Jack

Hey, I’m 22 yo, 6 ft, 140 pounds, white. I’m not interested in bars or clubs; too many jerks. I’m not interested in one-night stands either; too impersonal. I’m not interested in video games, though somehow I doubt that’s what you meant by “not into games”. I’m not interested in a lot of things. But I’m open minded to anything that isn’t “mainstream” or “pop” or “top of the charts” - whatever the chart may be. I’m interested in a physical relationship. Jack

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 18:40:29 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 15:37:09 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Hey Ray, I’m not interested in the new Harry Potter; too mainstream. Jack

Hey Jack, Looks like we’re on the same page. You seem pretty artsy, are you perhaps an Art student? Ray

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 14:38:09 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Hey Jack, Interesting. When do you finish your exams? Have you seen the new Harry Potter yet? I really want to see that movie. Ray Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 09:14:38 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Hey Jack, Have you been to the Andy Warhol exhibit yet? I really want to see that exhibit. Ray

Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 15:42:18 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Hey Jack, Have you heard the new Daft Punk? I really want to hear that album. Ray Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 15:03:28 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Hey Ray, I’m not interested in Daft Punk; too high on the charts. Jack Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 15:38:12 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Hey Jack, What are you interested in? Ray Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2010 16:24:18 -0500 Subject: Friends and More - 21 (Waterloo) From: To:

Fucking. I’m interested in fucking.


The Misfit’s Guide to Having Sex on the Internet CARLY LEWIS

One of the great paradoxes of our generation is the way that communication is getting better and worse at the same time. We’ve integrated so much technology into our everyday lives that we can engage in dialogue with others without ever really needing to see who’s on the other end of the line. Often the topic of an unrelenting debate between myself and one of my particularly technology worshipping friends is the sad truth that sending a text message has all but replaced a quick phone call to let someone know you’re going to be late. Likewise, the popularity of online dating has mitigated the need for potential mates to search for one another in real life. With these technological advances that offer us convenience and ease, we also end up with dulled vocabularies and poor social skills. As a fervent supporter of the feather and ink, I found myself in yet another lunch-date-turned-dispute with said pal over what’s more valuable, the ability to have meaningful human conversations or being able to type a mistake-free text message in the dark. My friend, who wears a suit to his job in a skyscraper on Bay St. and is devout to his Blackberry, raves about the greatness of the information era, and the beauty of being able to converse with his associates via Skype. “It’s so convenient, Carly”, he says. “If it’s raining outside, I send an email telling my office we’ll meet on Skype. No one gets wet.” I ponder this. He goes on. “Just think, without technological advance, there would be no Chatroulette.” He is laughing, but I am confused. I ask him to explain what he means by this term I have never heard before. Is it a chat room? Does it pertain to online gambling? Chuckling still, he tells me to find out for myself, so that is exactly what I do upon returning home later that night. Expecting to see a roulette wheel and the invitation to enter my credit card number, I sign on to find a white screen with two faces on top of one another, each in a box. One of the faces is mine, the other, who knows. He said his name was Randall. I clicked “Next.” Not a full minute went by before I realized that Chatroulette had nothing to do with gambling. More accurately, it is a website that pairs random strangers from around the world together for web cam-based conversations. I was intrigued. With the Internet as invasive as it is, and becoming more tightly controlled by business and governments, here I had found a website that prides itself on anonymity. And also mutual masturbation. This was discovered just a handful of moments after my naive intrigue melted into the realization that of course there’s a catch to this. If perverted males find a way to infiltrate every good bar in every good neighbourhood of every good city, why wouldn’t they find a way to infiltrate


Chatroulette? I’m not being patriarchal here - statistics show that 89% of Chatroulette users are male. Only mildly disgruntled at the amount of genitalia I had just unsuspectingly encountered, my curiosity got the best of me and I kept clicking. Screen after screen, penis after penis. I wanted an epiphany to latch on to that would explain why people log onto Chatroulette and have pseudo-sex with pseudo-humans. Epiphany rarely comes in the form of watching someone masturbate on a computer screen, so I decided I’d have to start some dialogue. I type “Hello.” He types something in German. Next. I type “Hey there.” He types something unfit for print. Next. This goes on for sometime. Finally, I type “Hello” and someone responds back to me. A woman. I ask her what she’s doing on Chatroulette, and she says she’s there because she’s bored. Her girlfriend is out of town. So here we have reason number one for why people use Chatroulette: boredom. Thinking that there has to be more to it than just boredom (hasn’t she heard of Netflix?) I bid her farewell and continue. More penises. More languages I only vaguely understand. A group of college boys (I can tell by the Scarface poster in the background and the fact that they’re all wearing baseball hats and Lacoste Polos in varying pastel colours) comes on my screen. They call me “baby,” I call them “pathetic.” They don’t hit the Next button on me though, and I manage to ask them why they’re here. “Because it’s funny,” one of them types. “There are so many freaks.” And so we arrive at reason number two for why people use Chatroulette: to laugh at other people. Between boredom (reason number one) and being an asshole (reason number two), most of humanity has been covered. But why are people bored, and what are they laughing at? Midway through my fieldwork, my best friend (this one a law school student, not the one who sent me to Chatroulette in the first place) swings by to pick up the sweater she left at my apartment, observes my scandalous online activity and questions why I’m on a website known for pairing strangers together so that they don’t have to masturbate alone. I tell her about my curiosity. Her response is harsh and all too simple: “Tell them to get off their computers and find some human interaction.” My reply to her doubles as the crux of it: Chatroulette, a way to kill time for some, a joke for others, truly exists for people who cannot, for whatever reason, harbour human connections in their lives. I’m not talking about the bro with the Yankees cap pulled over his face or the crews of university girls curling their hair in groups and wanting to find a reason

to laugh on the Internet. The people to whom I’m referring are those who legitimately take to Chatroulette to seek out a temporary, virtual, pseudo-sexual partner because such a being is not present in their reality. And who’s to blame them for desiring as such? Our hypersexualized (North American) society encourages people to be as sexual as possible and then punishes them when they can’t be as sexual as they’d like. If the thousands of users online at any given time are any indication, Chatroulette may be the saving grace of the sexually frustrated individual. It is a no strings attached parade of misfits, exhibitionists and shy folk alike; an extension of real life, really, but without the consequences of hooking up with your co-worker and then having to share a cubicle with them on Monday morning. The creator of Chatroulette, Andrey Ternovskiy, had the following to say about his controversial website: “Everyone finds his own way of using the site. Some think it is a game. Others think it is a whole unknown world. Others think it is a dating service.” Within these three options lies the rub - no pun intended. To those who think of Chatroulette as a game, it hardly matters at all. It’s a way to pass the time whilst procrastinating from studying. To those who think of it as a dating service: I suggest an actual online dating site, or maybe the grocery store (or the park, the library, a bar, a bookstore). It is the option in the middle, hidden between two relatively unimportant byproducts that really explains the whole Chatroulette phenomenon: the possibility that it is an unknown world to be explored, where social norms and expectations matter less than they would in real life; where the grotesque and the rejected can hide themselves from judgment by clicking the Next button and have Chatroulette find another random partner for them instead of having to sleuth the mean streets of wherever to find one for themselves. Perversion in the age of the Internet - it can be a scary thing when taken too far. But if Chatroulette serves a purpose as being a safe haven for people who desire such a locale, then so be it. The day after I spent a few hours cruising the site (strictly for research purposes, of course), I caught myself wondering who else had logged on with shades drawn and lights off. I walked past my neighbour on the way to school. Had he been on it last night, too? The barista who made my coffee? The bank teller? The old lady beside me on the subway? Perhaps none of them use Chatroulette. Or maybe all of them do. Who cares? There is safety behind the computer screen, and that’s the whole point. So much for the feather and ink.

I wanted an epiphany to latch on to that would explain why people log onto Chatroulette and have pseudo-sex with pseudo humans. Epiphany rarely comes in the form of watching someone masturbate on a computer screen, so I decided I’d have to start some dialogue.




Joyce And Other Soft Spots L.M. OLSEN

It’s 2:47 a.m. when I push through the doors, trying not to squint from the fluorescent rays trickling above. Dry air smashes into my eyes and they fill with fluid. I rub my hands together and exhale on them for warmth. Tonight, the woman at the desk smiles, teases and laughs with me. She’s not funny, but I play along. She’s not attractive, but as I pull closer to the counter my eyes brush the curves of her hips, her round neck and the stretch marks above her elbows. She talks and my tongue longs to part her thin lips, taste her stained teeth and dance across the murky gum lining. Resting my left elbow on the counter, my chin rests on my shoulder while my eyes drop to her nametag: “Joyce.” Dull. And she talks. The splits at the tips of her blonde hair bounce and stand up. She laughs at something I’ve said. Her smile is a shred too liberal, her jowls a slice too loose and her cleavage a smidgen too creased.


We exchange goodnights; I tap the counter twice with my hand and stagger away along the pastel yellow hallway, the sound of each footstep bouncing off the walls. I find 107, lean against the white trim and glide my card above the knob. The door beeps and swings open. I enter, step with my left, step with my right and back with my left. The door crashes and echoes down the hallway as I fall against it. I hear a faint cough and sigh. My eyes focus on the desk with its piles of notebooks and paper strewn, scattered and sprinkled around the laptop. On the far blue wall hangs a framed photo of a park bench, captured on a foggy morning, nestled along the edge of a walking trail or forest. Directly below is an oak nightstand holding up a clunky black television with a bubbled screen. On the floor rests balls of dirty sheets, decorative pillows and two empty bottles. I could write. I could call Jennifer and apologize or I could tidy up. Lately, it’s been difficult to look the housekeeper in the eyes. But I know that I’ll just lie on the bed, pull at my belt, watch a stretch of television and wait for Joyce.


I believe there is a reason why Sex and the City’s Charlotte York likened an uncut penis to a Shar Pei. They are dogs not exactly known for their looks. As I travel, I realize just how uncommon circumcision is around the world. After countless conversations with people of all cultures and sexes, with arguments ranging from hygiene to religion to culture to family, everyone seems to have an opinion. Now, the circumcision debate revolves around the procedure’s medical benefits and repercussions than anything else. From what I’ve gathered, being uncircumcised is apparently better for male sexual pleasure. I’d imagine, however, that if you’ve never experienced life both with and without foreskin, it would be difficult to objectively make that argument. Having been circumcised at the age of 30, one individual interviewed in Danae Elon’s documentary It’s a Boy stated that sex was more pleasurable following his circumcision than it was before he underwent the procedure. For men, it seems to be a case of preferring whatever you’ve got. For women, it’s another story. Since we’re talking fetishes, I’m sure you’ve already deciphered where I stand on the topic. But my preference for circumcision is not just an aesthetic opinion, nor is it a cleanliness opinion. Being involved with the medical care of HIV-positive patients, it came to my attention that circumcision has the capacity to curb the spread of sexually transmitted infections. After treating an uncircumcised patient with syphilis, well, anyone would be turned off. From a purely medical standpoint, earlier this year, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article that suggested circumcision could lower the risk of sexually transmitted infections. This assertion was also reported by the BBC, which stated that trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have shown that the operation reduces the risk of a man contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by as

much as 60 per cent. At the same time, researchers from Johns Hopkins University studied 3,500 Ugandan men and discovered that circumcision lowered the risk of contracting herpes by 25 per cent and the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) by one-third. Although it is impossible to tell whether these results would transfer to regions with significantly lower HIV infection rates, the numbers are hardly a drop in the bucket. Curbing the transmission of HIV by 60 per cent without the use of contraceptives is no easy feat. Though the cutting of skin from a penis may seem unnecessarily dangerous, studies show that only two or three of every 1,000 boys who are circumcised will need treatment for serious complications such as heavy bleeding or excess skin removal. If proper standards are met, the risk of injury during a routine circumcision is as minimal as medical procedures get. Although contraception and education regarding STIs are paramount, there is an increasing amount of research that portrays circumcision in a positive light, despite its decreasing popularity in Canada. I’m not saying all uncut men should race out and get the procedure done. Rather, we must take a more critical look at circumcision from a medical standpoint, particularly concerning the developing world, and react accordingly. The small risk taken during the procedure is worth the increased protection that circumcision is increasingly being proven to provide. Aside from its cultural and religious connections, it seems more and more to be a practical, precautionary measure to be taken more heavily into consideration. So to all you lads with turtlenecks, whether or not you think circumcision is going out of style, it’s still a hot-button issue with worldwide ramifications – and one that doesn’t seem to be going away. twitter @Bluprint_Mag facebook.comBlueprintMagazine




Here on my arm Wrapped comfortably Constricting my wrist So my veins bulge violently Here on my arm She is my beautiful My only love My python wears animal skins And asks that she be held And I hand-feed my baby Her white skin pure from birth She eats albino rats still warm And leaves creamy eggs in the dirt Those round and perfect planets Those promising little moons My python knows it’s all about her And there is little room The lines have begun to blur The sun lamp’s power is fading She’s basking in the warmth But it’s always more she’s craving And when my arm has lost its charm She’ll shed off all her skin My pure pretty python will go searching For somewhere it’s not raining And I hand-raised my baby Her black soul And mine are merged I may no longer know her face But I know all her body curves Now I navigate the in-between Searching for a hand Someone who can constrict my heart So it may return to sand In my mind’s eye Her back a perfect arch My pretty python under me Humming a funeral march Oh and I handled my baby With tenderness and care But snakes are starving souls That eat men whole With smooth and gruesome flare




Underneath the Shrink Wrapped Casing EMILY HOLMES

You’ve marveled at Marvel since you can remember DC Comics were popular too the heroes, the villains adventures by the millions You own all the merchandise, it covers your wall. Action figures, posters, video games; you’ve collected them all. People have mocked you, but you don’t understand. Who could be cooler than Superman? Batman, Iron Man, Captain America too, there’s nothing that these guys can’t do. Little do you remember Where the obsession stemmed from; that one September When he walked out, left, said his last goodbyes With no explanation except the note beside your bed, on your nightstand which said, “Sorry, hope you understand. There’s nothing left for me here, I’m moving away. I’m sure you’ll get over it soon.” You then began to cry in your room.


For your hero had left you, although not completely alone. For with the note sat a book A book that depicted big, strong, costumed men; you opened the book and began to skim Eventually, they all took on the shape of him. He never wrote, you didn’t notice. Realistically he was all around you. The Green Lantern, The Flash, Spiderman in red and blue, all their adventures essentially became his. You’re alone now, like always you never could let anyone in if only you could remember the effects of that September and realize that no one will ever be him.


I remember sitting in a bar overhearing three guys lackadaisically categorize the gays they knew. Some they worked with, who liked hockey but happened to prefer guys, were the cool ones. Those who “start dressing like Elton John, or something” were they type they weren’t down with. I heard another threesome going at the topic a week later, when my boyfriend and I overheard a group talking about gay guys who had been obsessed with them. The first had a guy who would call him all the time, wanting to chill. He “had” to tell him that nothing was going to happen. The second described the annoyance of having a guy hit on him when they were drinking. I can’t say what the details of the last guy’s homo were, as my boyfriend shot me a puzzled ‘why-are-youstarring-at-guys-when-you’re-sitting-with-me’ look, but I’m pretty sure the third guy just made up a story to fit the general message of what they were saying. A year after I left high school, a guy who dated a girl at

my school ditched homecoming to hang out with me. We got food, hung out at my place, and talked music. I really enjoyed it, the way I enjoy hanging with a really cool friend. I found it a little odd when one time we were outside smoking and he asked me to come in a port-a-potty, so he could teach me to “blow smoke rings”. Nothing happened, but when we heard another guy walking through the park, he grabbed my head, told me to get down, and started giggling. “Quiet, they’re going to think we’re in here bare-backing”. After that night, I never hung out with smoke rings again. A rumor had started that I hit on him, and another started about me claiming to kiss a boy from my graduating class. Someone wrote me a furious inbox about “taking grenades” from his buddies. After that mess, whenever I encounter the strangers who talk in ignorance to my overhearing gay ears, I’m always caught off guard and don’t know how to react. I find it best to blankly stare.



Unmentionables MEAGHAN OLINSKI

Fashion as Fetish DEVON BUTLER


My parents have desperatley tried to instill in me the value of a dollar. I wouldn’t necessarily say they failed; I just have a very different idea of value and worth. Spending hundreds of dollars on a pair of Burberry flats to me seems reasonable and worth every hard-earned penny, when objectively, the shoes are probably only worth twenty dollars and have a redeemable value of even less.



I’m not going to write an article about fetishizing boys, or clothing, or sex. I instead want to purge a secret life that I hold near and dear to my heart – my fetish for leather. It is perfectly normal to like leather, but I’m not quite sure I like leather in the way that most people do. A nice leather murse named Jimmy, or a pair of soft leather gloves from Danier that match your new suede boots are cute accessories; but the leather accessories I prefer don’t usually show up on the streets. Whips, chaps, crops, hats, half harnesses and gauntlets are the type of leather that I fetishize. Being twenty-one and into the leather scene is something that may seem strange. A big guy decked out head-to-toe in leather and ass-less chaps is the image that comes to mind when most people think of leather fetishes. This is a popular misconception of the leather community; I neither look like that image, nor seem like the type to end up in a leather bar, but nevertheless, I take pride in my niche. I started to dabble in the leather scene three years ago, when on a whim I ended up at Zippers, a leather bar in Toronto. Before entering, images of burly men flashed before my eyes but once inside, I realized that this was not the case. Many of the men within the bar were not much older than I


was, and were enjoying the leather scene by their own accord. This blew my mind, shattering my preconceptions and opening up a whole new world for me to explore. Shortly after, my good friends pitched in and decided to buy me a crop to start my leather collection; I have since acquired quite a few pieces that keep the collection growing. Some items make an appearance in my everyday wardrobe, like my studded leather cuffs or a leather bound ring. When I’m feeling more adventurous, I bring out my leather boots, booty shorts, vest and matching gauntlets – but only for special occasions. Being part of this new leather movement within the queer culture is helping me reclaim the old image of a leather daddy, and shed new light on a taboo aspect of the queer lifestyle. My first step into that leather bar that night was a nervous one, but looking back, I would definitely not turn around. Exploring my sexuality and trying new things helped me figure out what I like and what I don’t, and in doing so, who I am as a sexual being. I’ve found that though I enjoy a nice leather messenger bag or new pair of leather shoes, I would prefer to show off my pride with a nice, leather cuff.

It Isn’t A Position With Research in Motion



It begins with the idea of love, which equals marriage between mom and dad. This somehow results in a baby sister, who you suspect had something to do with a stork. You then learn that there’s a penis and a vagina involved, but you have to wear a condom. To your horror, you hear from Sally, who heard from Betty that Julie’s older sister gives blow jobs to her boyfriend. This leads to the undeniable conclusion that the vagina is not the only place a penis can be inserted, and that the penis is most definitely not the only thing that can be inserted into a vagina – which, you later discover, is more accurately a vulva. In fact, it’s not strictly reserved to be enjoyed between a man and a woman, but by man to man, woman to woman, and human to toy. Hell, you’re not even limited to any number of participants: from solo to freak show, and everything in between! Still, some people never discover that sex is more than just monogamous, heterosexual, penis-to-vagina intercourse with the sole purpose of procreation. Have you heard of a rim job?

Weezer wrote that they were Tired of Sex I’m tired of sex as a fetish Standing in for something else A sick metaphor for your discontent and anxieties I’m tired of my body standing in for your loss, Arbitrary Paint stretched across canvas Pencil drawn across paper An unintended form embodies your sorrow


17 18


I want to tell you about how we got together and why you probably think I’m a dickhead. First of all, let me apologize. An apology probably seems… vain. I don’t think I’ve redefined your life and I don’t suppose it took you long to get over me, but I think I hurt you, so, sorry. Second, there was more to it than just your handwriting. When we met, just before exams, I thought you were cute. I had been going through a bit of a drought; I’d been in this new town for about a year and a half and there’d been nothing for me – nothing healthy, anyway. I’d been only mildly interested in maybe two people, and when I finally found a crush (before you, of course) I was so elated I screwed it up. I’d been a little more than two years without sex. I hate it when people define men with sex, but two years is a long time. While my friends were drunkenly losing their virginities I found mine. It was frustrating, to say the least. So when a cute girl came to my house and got stoned with me and we spoke until five in the morning, and we laughed a lot and smiled a lot, and that girl was pretty okay looking I thought to myself “Yeah, this could work.” Then it was Christmas, and we all went home. On New Year’s Eve there was a party, and all my old high school friends were there. I’m never sure how to act around them and I was especially nervous this time. The summer before I had had a fight with one of my female friends and her boyfriend. She and I had spent a night in each other’s arms, and everyone involved was upset. Turns out she and her boyfriend broke up in November. Turns out she was lonely. We found solace in each other’s arms. I didn’t really want it to mean anything. It was just a nostalgia fuck. I came back ready to pursue you, but I found myself having a hard time. It was just like when I was with my first, and only real girlfriend. I was more than happy to be with her, when she was around. As soon as she left, it was like I couldn’t remember why I wanted to be with her. That relationship was defined by bipolar disorder; she was clinically, and I was emotionally. I decided that since my emotions seemed to be arbitrary, choosing something arbitrary to find love with, was just as good. I decided I would invest my love based on handwriting. I’ve always liked looking at people’s handwriting. I spent a lot of time in my youth trying to change and perfect my own. It’s always been intriguing and, to a certain extent, attractive to me, so I decided to make it more meaningful. So, yes, I decided to date you because of your handwriting. I saw it and it looked lovely. The way your E’s were so round and feminine, your perfect T’s, your classic Time’s New Roman A’s. The way it all melted into semi-cursive writing. As it turns out, penmanship isn’t a sturdy enough foundation to build a relationship on. But I wasn’t about to

give up. I started reading into it, reading about how your L’s meant you were caring and giving, how your Y’s were a sign of a troubled past, how your M’s meant you were playful. This gave me more confidence. As the relationship progressed I got a little more invested in the whole penmanship thing. Then there came a fight. Then there was another one. The façade was being torn down and my reason for liking you seemed to become sillier and sillier. Our relationship started crumbling from the inside out (even your N’s seemed too big). By reading week I didn’t care about you anymore. Once again, I fell into her arms.

We found solace in each other’s arms. I didn’t really want it to mean anything. It was just a nostalgia fuck. So I cheated, so what? You felt much the same way as I did. You would have cheated under similar circumstances. We would have broken up soon thereafter regardless, this just made you feel better about dumping me. It gave you something to talk about with your girlfriends, someone to get angry at, a villain. I allowed you to be self righteous and vindictive. It’s not that I’m not sorry I cheated, and not that I’m not sorry our relationship was fucked from the start, I am. I just don’t think that what I did was as bad, in hindsight, as you said it was. You’re probably wondering why I’m writing this six months after we broke up. The thing is, I’m starting to think penmanship might not have been so absurd. I know it’s not something to base a relationship on, but for the last six months, I’ve been looking for someone else but I can’t find them. It’s not because there was no one pretty or funny or talkative enough, it’s that they all have really hideously ugly handwriting. No one can come close to you when it comes to handwriting. Maybe I sound crazy, but please take me back. I haven’t been the same without your clean V’s or your voluptuous B’s. When I see the notes you wrote me in class, I can’t help but get turned on. I haven’t been turned on since we split up, I fear I might never be again. Please consider it. I know it will work this time.



I was an ugly duckling. I was the nerdy girl with a bad haircut in a teen movie. I was, in Don McLean’s words, “a lonely teenage broncin’ buck, with a pink carnation and a pickup truck.” I was all of those things until the day Gavin told me that he thought I was “cute and quiet and that was my appeal.” He told me what no guy had ever told me before. His words struck the centre of my ugly duckling heart and it was as though it split my life; before Gavin said those words and after Gavin said those words. Gavin hit me like an enigma. I met him in my final year of high school when I transferred to a new school. He was in my philosophy class, his locker was a few up from mine. It all started with a simple “hello.” Gavin made going to philosophy class and getting my textbooks from my locker all that mattered. By the end of the semester, after a whole year of smiles and sighs in the hallways, I did the 2007 thing to do, which was to add him on Facebook. After graduation, I courageously (and yes, also cowardly) Facebook-messaged him and spilled my guts about what I felt about him. He then replied with the aforesaid magic words, adding that he felt the same way about me. To say I was ecstatic is an understatement. For whatever reason, nothing ever materialized between us. Gavin and I went our separate ways to different universities, but I still thought about him. A lot. The years rolled by and every once in a while Gavin would comment on one of my Facebook statuses or photos and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. One day we started talking online, where we exchanged numbers, and eventually we did end up going for coffee. Gavin invited me over to his house for a party. After the party, we made out for the first time on his porch and, me being me, found it to be all things magical and spectacular. Gavin wanted me to spend the night, but I told him I needed to go home. He told me he would text me the following day. I waited by my phone for a day, a week, months. It is now over half a year down the line and I haven’t heard a thing from him. The enigma that was Gavin left me as quick as it had crashed into by black and white world. Once again, I was the ugly duckling. One day, about half way through the summer, I logged into trusty old Facebook to find that my beloved Gavin was now officially “in a relationship.” I was devastated. Shattered, really. Crazy as it sounds - for obsessions are crazy things - I had countless sleepless nights wondering what went wrong; what I did or did not do. Even to this day, I catch myself still expecting to find my cellphone vibrating Gavin’s name onto its screen.


Fetishes are dangerous sometimes. I know this for a fact. It was that summer when, after “losing” Gavin, my favourite fetish, I needed to replace it instantly and painfully. I began to cut myself, thinking about Gavin until I felt sad, and then make small cuts on my arms and thighs. There was something about the sight of my own blood, the smell of it, the sound of its drip, that gave me some kind of a sick thrill. I deeply regret that now, and I no longer engage in this kind of selfdestructive behaviour. I still find Gavin seeping into everything. I find him in

After a whole year of smiles and sighs in the hallways, I did the 2007 thing to do, which was to add him on Facebook.

the songs I listen to, the movies I watch, the hooded figures of my dreams. He was the Mr. Willoughby who made Sense and Sensibility’s heroine, Marianne Dashwood, fall hopelessly in love with him and then one day just abandons her without explanation, leaving her on a path of self-destruction and futile wonderings. I believe we love what we love because we sometimes feel like it’s all we’ve got. I wonder if we ever truly get over the Willoughbys and Gavins that come ramming into our lives. Sometimes our obsessions leave us gasping for breath late at night. The scars on my arms remind me that our fetishes can be the end of us, but only if we let them.

God of Bondage LUIGI DI GENNARO God of Bondage, Slave of sacrifice, My lust for a love that is my vice. They stole you victim of your home. You kidnapped victim, all alone. My little man made of porcelain clay, Both hands are tied, But not your legs. To lure them here stay by my bed, My little god of bondage bred.



Birds of a Feather KATEY WALKER

Jason was not a simple man. Nor was he complicated in any way. Jason was a man who woke up at precisely 6:45 am every day. He swung his legs and landed his feet in the slippers that were placed a foot away from the bed every night at exactly 10:30 pm. At 6:50 am Jason enters his kitchen of white linoleum that shines under the single fluorescent light. Having prepared the coffee the previous night, his only act is that of pressing the on button. At 6:52 am Jason enters his bedroom, and dresses himself in one of his four perfectly pressed suits. His breakfast consists of two fried eggs, one piece of toast, one cup of orange juice and one mug of black coffee. 7:45 am arrives and Jason is in his blue tiled washroom, standing in front of the mirror. His patent leather shoes are illuminated by the vanity lights. As he combs his hair, parting it to the left, and stares into the hazel eyes gazing at him, Jason thinks about the day’s routine. He feels the dull beige carpet swishing under his feet as he enters the office. Jason can hear the desk clock ticking away the day’s seconds. He already senses the humming computers emitting charged, dead air. What Jason does for a living is of no importance to you. It is enough to say that Jason’s job consists of grey cubicles, stale coffee, and a predictable pattern that never falters. Exactly eight and one half hours after arriving at work, Jason begins his trip home. Upon entering his spotless black four-door, Jason sits for 30 seconds. In this time, he slicks back his hair, uses one generous palm full of hand sanitizer and adjusts his rear view mirror. Everything about Jason is exact. Finite. Not a hair out of place or a stray thread. Dirt of any kind is simply unacceptable. Every evening at 5:00 pm Jason turns on the ignition and begins the 32 minute journey back to the sterile, unchanging rooms of his apartment. On this particular November day however, something went askew. Jason’s car was still spotless. The radio was still tuned into the CBC. The windows were still free of any finger prints. Surrounded by black, grey, and cold Canadian winter darkness, Jason sat staring at the most perverse object he had


experienced in his adult life. There, upon his windshield, half glued by the freezing rain, half floating freely in the bitter air was a neon pink feather. About the length of a man’s thumb and curved slightly, it lay waiting for Jason’s reaction. He was stunned into silence for only a moment before turning on the wipers to rid his car and sight of the glowing nuisance. Only one word entered Jason’s mind: disgusting. Thinking nothing more of this bizarre encounter Jason continued his nightly routine. Without a glitch, he cooked dinner for one, completed exactly four chapters of his book, and fell asleep at 10:30 pm. Waking up the next morning to darkness and the spatter of rain against his bedroom window, Jason felt how he had felt every day for the past 15 years. He swung his legs over the bed and dropped his feet into the awaiting slippers. Rubbing his stubbled cheek, Jason turned on his bedside lamp. Instantly the eco-friendly bulb cast an oppressive light onto the floor, crawling up the bedroom walls. Jason caught a glimpse of something in his dresser mirror that made him pause. Reflected was the window and in his window he saw a neon pink feather. For an instant Jason’s heart beat faster. His pounding blood shook him slightly. What a strange coincidence, he thought, how odd. With a sigh and a shrug Jason attempted to shed the uncomfortable feeling creeping up his legs. A second look and the feather was gone. Was this a simple coincidence? Unfortunately, for Jason, it was not. This was, in fact, a pivotal moment in his life. For the next week, Jason saw one neon pink feather every day. Each time the feather was placed in a new spot. One came fluttering down from the sky and was stuck to an office window in front of Jason as he was refilling his brown mug. One appeared on the front of a car that was idling behind Jason as it waited for the light to turn green. He saw this particular feather one morning by a chance encounter with the rear view mirror. Every day for ten days Jason saw a feather and every day for ten days he wondered where these feathers were coming from. So gaudy. So bright and flamboyant. He

Every day for ten days Jason saw a feather and every day for ten days he wondered where these feathers were coming from. So gaudy. So bright and flamboyant.

decided they were the forgotten remains of a parade, a party. On the eleventh day Jason’s decision was shattered. It was a Tuesday morning. The skies were overcast with a washed out burgundy hue. The rain, no longer active, was still present in the puddles, the mud and the slush it left behind. Not seeing one offending pest on his way to work, Jason decided a feather would most likely appear that evening, but desperately hoping these interruptions to otherwise typical days would end. What Jason hadn’t counted on, however, is the feather being anywhere else but on the other side of a pane of glass. Jason sat down that Tuesday morning in his grey swivel chair, waking the sleeping monitor and sipping the rather bitter brew he retrieved at 8:56am. As his computer came back to life, Jason set down the mug, pulled out the keyboard, and opened the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet that stood obediently beside his fake wooden desk. A small puff of air escaped his lips. Laying on top of the manila coloured files was a neon pink feather. Jason clutched the drawer, the skin on the back of his hand turning a translucent white. His breath was shallow. He stared at this feather. What was this thing doing in Jason’s filing cabinet? How did it get there? Blinking himself back to reality, Jason scanned the office looking for something, anything, that would yield the answer. He met the eyes of not one person. No one had witnessed this event, no one could tell Jason why. Alone, he sat in his grey cubical with his coffee mug steaming on the plastic desk. The computer and lights hummed. The air stood still. The droning chatter of phone calls, the ringing, the snippets of conversation, the clicking of keyboards all seemed so distant. Jason slammed the drawer back into his cabinet. He did not look in that direction for the next eight hours. At 10:30 that night Jason settled into his bed. The suits were pressed, coffee ready to be made, a banana sat on the counter, ripe. Jason refused to think about the feather. As he lay in the darkness, listening to the sound of wheels on wet

roads, something kept nagging him. Something was irritating his brain, intruding upon his sleep. As Jason rolled over he felt something offend the tip of his nose. Sleepily, he opened his eyes, only to stare at a perfectly formed, incredibly vibrant pink feather. Tumbling out of his bed, Jason nearly lost his balance. He stood and clutching to the doorframe pulled himself out of the bedroom. Catching his breath, his eyes darting from familiar table to familiar sink to familiar garbage can, he felt a strange idea seep in. Ripping open the top of the coffee maker, he saw a feather half buried in grinds. Looking around frantically, he became aware of them all. The feather on top of the fridge. The one snuggling in beside the banana, and looking up, he saw a bright pink feather resting in the kitchen light fixture. His immediate assumption was hallucination. What had Jason eaten that day? What had he touched, inhaled? He entered the bathroom, his toes barely over the threshold. Feathers. The bristles of his toothbrush, inside the medicine cabinet, even floating lazily in the toilet bowl. Everywhere he looked beautifully formed, plush, pink feathers. With a heaving chest and beads of sweat behind his ears, Jason slid down the wall, settling onto his beige carpet. The white walls, the blue tiles, the chrome accents all became a colourless backdrop to the feathers. He sat and waited.

Jason woke up the next morning, and rolled onto his right side. Weak morning sun made it through his bedroom window, falling upon his dresser mirror and bathing the room in a soft rose light. He stared through the window thinking about nothing in particular. Jason grinned to himself. The time was 9:05am.



Despite their best efforts to teach me how to balance a budget, I’ve always looked at money as something imaginary. At such a young age, I was unaware that I shared ideologies similar to Marxist theory; a physical twenty-dollar bill isn’t really worth twenty dollars, it’s merely a representation. Watching my parents hand over plastic credit cards only contributed to my delusions that money wasn’t real; therefore, what was the harm in constantly spending it? Money is of no value until it takes the material form of a designer handbag. The power these opulent objects have over my finances, and my rationality, is worrisome. My fetish for high fashion extends beyond a love for reading Vogue, becoming what Marx coined as commodity fetishism; when social relationships become transformed into relationships between things. These objects gain their power because slaves of fashion, like myself, give designers this control. If enough people acknowledge couture fashion houses as on the cutting edge, then it becomes an unspoken reality that they are superior to the mainstream and are worth paying more for. Fashion as a fetish was first conceptualized by Sigmund Freud, who sexualized objects in attributing human qualities to inanimate things. This notion is visible not only in advertisements of fashion houses (none of the models are ever fully clothed), but also the ways in which designers market and brand themselves. A piece of clothing is no longer recognized for the value of its practicality or material, but for the ways it constructs a person’s identity. In my case, the identity I fetishized was the porcelainskinned, thin model with voluminous blonde hair. It didn’t matter how much money I poured into designer products, I could never make the identity of these beautiful women a reality. Though I am a white, blonde woman, the standards set by the runways were not within my reach. How, then, could they be relatable to women of different ethnicities, shapes and skin colours? While the fashion industry claims its indifference to skin colour, New York Fashion Week saw the spring 2011 runways filled with 78 per cent Caucasian women. The most prominent and well recognized designer lines, such as Prada, Balenciaga and Chanel showed in Paris and Milan, had no coloured models walk their shows. Ironically, fashion shows have a tendency towards cultural appropriation to create setting and tone for their runway. Most often, Asian and Spanish landscapes are the backdrop to a hot couture show, yet Asians make up less than 8 per cent and Latinos less than 2 per cent of the models. When women of other ethnicities are cast in runway shows, it is usually specific to the type of show produced. For example, Louis Vuitton’s spring 2011 line was made of ‘Asian inspired wear’ encompassing silk kimonos and bold floral prints. Thus, a higher number of Asian models were hired to keep the tone continuous and believable. Cultural theorist bell hooks identified this phenomenon as not simply fetishization of women’s bodies, but a fetishization of coloured women’s bodies, to where they become a product themselves. She suggests that “within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull

dish that is mainstream white culture.” This begs the question, is Louis Vuitton celebrating a different culture, or exploiting it? While for some this may be reminiscent of French colonialism, the fashion industry stands strong in saying it is merely using the inspiration of a culture and its landscape. When an entire culture is used to represent a product or designer, the culture becomes a product in and of itself. Vuitton’s well tailored kimono-inspired dresses suggest Asian culture will be passé next season. The Asian woman becomes a symbol, to be devoured as she walks the runway; there is no differentiation between her and her clothes. There has been comparable cause for concern within the

Though I am a white, blonde woman, the standards set by the runways were not within my reach. How, then, could they be relatable to women of different ethnicities, shapes and skin colours? past few years regarding a lack of African-American women being cast in major shows. Similarly, black women are mostly hired when a designer is using a more rugged theme that embodies their idea of a specific culture or ethnic group. Though the lack of diversity amid the fashion industry is problematic, the commodification of these ‘diverse’ bodies is ultimately more concerning. An Asian woman becomes another decoration to enhance the eastern theme of a fashion show, as her race becomes her only point of importance to be exploited and consumed. Stemming from an industry that concerns itself with the appearance of people, such a type of blatant commodification can go largely unnoticed. By looking beyond the cache of a designer name, I’ve discovered the complexity of the industry in its relation to women of all types. The concept of power Marx was so concerned with becomes shifted depending upon who is an active audience to an industry that’s virtually everywhere. Whether it’s a Caucasian or Asian woman strutting the catwalk, the ultimate objective is to become a symbolic body, representing a theme or an ideal separate from their personal identity. Like twenty-dollar bills, models become priced not based upon their worth, but on their value. When I consume products that instil these constructs, am I consuming this ideology as well? I may not give up my love for the artistry of the industry, but I must question the intentions behind an industry that builds itself upon manufacturing the female body as a product. I may occasionally buy into the power of a product, but I’m not buying into the power they have over my identity.


The Fetish Issue