Have We Reached the Edge of Edgy?
It gets harder and harder to shock me anymore, especially with things involving extreme sexuality, fetish wear, cross dressing, and artistic expression of an alternative nature. I've been to every Folsom Street Fair since it started, and I have been documenting it with photographs for the past several years. This year's Folsom Street Fair was pleasantly warm and sunny, with just a hint of crisp sunlight that you only get in the fall—perfect for photos. The fact that the temperatures dropped so suddenly the very next day once again proves that god loves the Folsom Street Fair!
When I go out to shoot photos at events like the Folsom Street Fair, my intention is to search out the most beautiful men wearing the least amount of clothes. In most cases, the people who are the most naked are usually the ones who should put on more clothes. My customers are more likely to pay to see hot guys with their pants on over senior citizens with nothing on. I don't purposely seek out the freaks, but I try not to miss a Diane Arbus moment, either.
Men in drag? Been there, done that. Public flogging? Ho hum. Self-abuse with tattoos and multiple piercings? So 90s. Spent a whole paycheck on leather "gear" at Mr. S you'll only wear once? Wasteful consumerism. Putting together an anti-fashion statement? Fun, but it probably won't get you laid.
That pretty much sums up the extent of the edgy, alternative lifestyles represented at leather fairs like Folsom. If you put a pasty, middle-aged accountant in a harness and chaps, he's still a pasty, middle-aged accountant. I search out the men who are so perfectly handsome, virile, muscular, and well endowed that such good looks could only be due to genetic mutation. Freakishly beautiful rather than merely freakish. That's why porn stars are born, not made.
Despite my jadedness, I did visit a booth at Folsom Street Fair displaying products that would surely put the Christians into a talking-in-tongues tizzy. I gotta say, I've never seen this before and I don't quite know what to think about it. The booth was for a company called "Fetish Tots," which makes custom leather fetish gear for kids. Their slogan is "Kinky couture for little people." They had some little-kid-sized mannequins in baby blue and girly pink leather hoods, gas masks, and, of course, pacifier ball gags. (Well, if you think about it, a ball gag and a pacifier are basically the same thing, right? Whatever it takes to shut 'em up!)
I asked one of the guys in the booth, "So, who buys this stuff?"
"Nobody yet. It's just prototypes, and we haven't put them up for sale yet."
"What market are you aiming at?"
"Oh, we just make it and sell it. We don't really care what people do with it after they buy it."
I was afraid of that. I told some friends about Fetish Tots, and they seem to think it's some sort of artistic statement, not a real business. Even if this particular group is just making a statement, some slimeballs will take the idea and actually sell it to people.
Parents of small children are the most gullible of all consumers. There are so many yuppies in this town carrying designer babies as accessories just so they have an excuse to consume more overpriced stuff. Just a few short years ago, all my Burning Man friends were wearing fetish gear and having lots of kinky sex, and guess what? They all have kids now, and they're dying to dress up the little Baby Burners just like Mommy and Daddy!
I am going to pose this question to test your true lefty liberal backbone: If a parent dresses a toddler in fetish wear, is it consensual? Discuss.