Sunday's front page article in the SunHerald about a local gay high school boy who enjoyed dressing up in women's clothes reminded me of a former classmate in medical school who had a fetish for women's feet. He confessed that some women's feet were more alluring to him than those parts more commonly alluring to a twenty-something male. We laughed, one in the group saying "Hey, different strokes for different folks."
There are interesting things to know about foot fetishism but one of the more interesting ones I think is that it is known to increase in the population in response to epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases. And this happened during the HIV epidemic in the 80s.
I suppose the news cycle or events this past Sunday were rather sparse, necessitating the SunHerald's need to have the public consume the front page news of a gay boy dressing as a girl -- going drag, as it were -- an uncommon phenomenon among gay men in the world of drag queens and transvestites, with cross-dressing being predominated by men who are not gay.
The article was no surprise since the SunHerald is known to avidly support the blurring of the sexes and elimination of the binary elements of biologically determined sex, while avidly supporting the LGBTQ ideology.
Anyway, it's reported that the new graduate entertains at the purported gay bar, Club Veaux in Biloxi (not identified as such in the article). The gentleman spends hours dressing in drag and applying makeup before he entertains for the evening, falling into the statistic of 3 in 10 gay men who cross-dress. Mrs. Doubtfire, of course, would be excluded from this stat. And so would Grayson Perry, a celebrity and successful potter in the UK who, as a normal guy, has been unabashedly dressing in drag since he was 10, destroying the common transgender activists' narrative that men who do so, as does the subject of this SunHerald article, are directing their lives towards a personal emancipation.
Mr. Perry says he is simply a "bloke in a dress" and tries to present a Margaret Thatcher persona. How refreshing to come across such authenticity in the world of drag queens (not to mention news editors). Mr. Perry says he has no pretensions about deceiving anyone, which upsets to no end the transgender/LGBT activists who wish to preserve the purity of this emancipation narrative. Mr. Perry says he simply enjoys dressing up as a woman. Period. Nothing about making him more confident as an achiever or making him more anything else.
Both the reporter and the boy refer to his cross-dressing as art. I don't understand a lot of art but I thought it odd that cross-dressing be defined as art. My wife and I recently viewed the art at Shearwater Pottery and the Walter Anderson Museum and it put me in awe. But I suppose we must accept that a boy dressed as a woman is art since the definition of art these days runs far and wide. In 1987 a plastic crucifix in a glass of urine once won the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art's "Awards in the Visual Arts" competition. It was called "Piss Christ". You can look it up.
Anyway, this cross-dressing being referenced to art also reminded me of the Southern writer Flannery O'Connor's quip castigating sentimental Christians, saying sentimentality was to Christianity as pornography was to art. Pornography as art?
But I got to thinking about how I might counsel someone should they present with this behavior of drag-dressing, assuming they would volunteer this behavior at the office visit as relevant to their mental status, which no one to date ever has. But not knowing anything else, I would have great difficulty affirming such behavior, whether or not it caused the patient distress, as it is indeed a departure from reality. Deception has no place in the healing arts. At least I think that is still the prevailing opinion of most in the healing arts.
But deception, the identifying of it, can be helpful in assessing insanity. A measure of your insanity is the size of the gap between what you think you are and what you really are. If I think I am the greatest doctor in America, I am only an arrogant fool; if I think I am Napoleon, I am probably over the edge; if I think I am a butterfly, I am really touched goofy. but if I think I am God, as Jesus Christ claimed, I am indeed insane because the gap between the finite and the infinite God is even greater than the gap between any two finite things -- a man and a butterfly, or even a man and a woman. (By the way, an honest reading of the Gospel and understanding of human nature prevents one from believing Christ was anything but who he said he was.)
We know from experience that "affirming" another's delusion can push them into further pathological distress. (Yes, Sam, I understand you hear voices telling you to kill your neighbor. So have you purchased a gun yet?) So it's not difficult to understand why some of us are perplexed as to why some -- nay, many people facilitate and affirm the deception and delusion that prevails in many areas of society these days.
And it's especially interesting how we are asked to affirm, as normal, a self-contained delusion with sexual content, but not to affirm the delusions of those that lack it.
I sometimes wonder when reading stories like this if the article is intended to indoctrinate readers into believing this behavior is normal and healthy, and that others should model it (and it sounds as if the reporter and editor is doing so here). Or, if they might be using this gentle person simply to peak the prurient interest of the reader in hopes of selling even more papers. Neither, one would think, is a noble pursuit; at best unprofessional, at worse unethical.
My former classmate with the feet-fetish turned out to be a fine ER doctor. But I doubt any editorial board of a reputable newspaper would've thought twice about reporting his feet-fetish as newsworthy. Besides he was not gay, though like this cross-dresser, quite intelligent. But apparently a gay man cross-dressing is newsworthy enough for the editors of the SunHerald to make sure we in South Mississippi, podunks we are, don't miss it on the front page -- an item you might expect on the front page of a tabloid, accompanied by salacious photos.
So yes -- we get it. We see through it, through you, and we understand it for what it is. Hopefully, not many have been hoodwinked.
By the way, according to Dr. Google, notable foot fetishists include Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, and Quentin Tarantino. How true this is? Who knows -- these days, deception is the order of the day.