Savage Love

A fetish for superhero costumes

The Dark Knight ... NOT!

Savage Love

I'm a 42-year-old gay man with a superhero fetish. Like a lot of fetishists my age, I assumed I was alone until the Internet came along. I've since met several times with like-minded guys for costumed roughhousing and bondage. The first time I did it, it was incredibly hot, but since then, it's felt like something's missing. Even when they're sexy and friendly, it just feels lacking somehow. At times, I even feel a bit ridiculous. (Given that I'm a white-collar professional pretending to be a Lycra-suited crime fighter, I'm sure it's not much of a stretch to see why I feel silly.) So my question is this: Am I just being too uptight, or are there some fantasies that are better left to the imagination?

Part-Time Batman

Some fantasies are better left to the imagination, PTB, but yours hardly strikes me as one of them. A superhero/bondage fetish — always a combo platter, thanks to the frequency with which Lycra-clad superheroes are bound and gagged — is charming and harmless compared to some other fetishes. But if acting on your fantasies isn't working for you, PTB, if indulging makes you feel bad, well, then don't indulge.

I have to say, though, that my superpowers detect a conflict between the person you are in your everyday life (white-collar professional) and the person you are in your erotic imagination (Lycra-clad superhuman), with the former viewing the latter as slightly ridiculous. Perhaps you'll feel better about acting on your fetish if you accept that it is a bit ridiculous and reassure yourself that there's nothing necessarily wrong with making yourself a bit ridiculous in pursuit of sexual pleasure. Everybody feels a bit ridiculous after sex, PTB, even if they're not washing spunk out of their Batman costume. Lighten up and enjoy.

I'm a 22-year-old female, and the older I get, the more often I am ridiculed by straight men for being ugly. Just last night, a man asked me if I was jealous of my pretty friends and if I wished I could look like them. I know I'm unattractive, but I've met wonderful girls who I think are at least as physically unattractive as me who have managed to find someone to love them. I need to know if I should even bother anymore — it's hard to find a job, make friends, and basically just find people who will treat me like a human being. I shower every day, try to dress well, and wear makeup, but none of it seems to help. It appears that my only options are plastic surgery or suicide, and the older I get, the more appealing the latter becomes. And no, I don't have body dysmorphic disorder, I am absolutely sure.

Anonymous

P.S. I can't trust my friends to tell me the truth, because they love me, which either (a) clouds their judgment, or (b) makes them reluctant to hurt my feelings. The only commentary I have to go on comes from people I don't know who feel a need to inform me that I'm ugly. But I'm not sure. Should I send you a picture?

You can send me a picture if you like, Anonymous, preferably one taken by the brand-new therapist that you're going to get. Because you may or may not have body dysmorphic disorder, and you may or may not be ugly, and your friends may or may not be shining you on, but you clearly need more help than I can give you in this space. But I'll accept your self-diagnosis and say this much ...

Things will get better as you get older. Not your looks, Anonymous, if your looks are truly the problem, but your peers. People are assholes in their 20s, and pouring alcohol into assholes doesn't make 'em stink less. Straight boys raised to believe that women exist for their pleasure will sometimes feel personally affronted by unattractive women, and alcohol makes them feel entitled to comment. But the passage of time makes monsters of us all, Anonymous, and the young, relatively hot straight guys tormenting you today are the bald, paunchy, and if there is a God, burn victims of tomorrow.

So the numbers of guys who can appreciate what you bring to the table — your humanity, your compassion, your ability to love — will grow over time, kiddo, and you may find in middle age what your girlfriends found as young adults. Unless you off yourself in the meantime, Anonymous, in which case you won't be around to watch those cruel, drunken boys deteriorate, wither, and die. And why would you want to cheat yourself out of that?

To see additional Savage Love content, go to www.charlotte.creativeloafing.com. Download the Savage Lovecast (Dan's weekly podcast) every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage. To ask Dan Savage a question, write to [email protected].

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