August 30, 2004

my left foot

A rather unfortunate incident befell me on the downtown R train on Saturday. I realize that by telling this story, I'm going to get crazy traffic as the result of some fucked-up search terms but I'll deal. I relayed this story to Jess and she did a quick mental inventory of all the weird New York stories she's heard and said, "You win." Are you ready?

I boarded the Brooklyn-bound train at Cortlandt Street for a rather short hop to Court Street. A very clean-cut young man got on at Rector Street and sat diagonally from me. Beyond the usual brief once-over, we paid each other no mind.

The train pulled into Whitehall Street and the doors opened and closed. The young man arose from his seat and headed toward the doors to exit even though they had already shut. I assumed he spaced out and missed his stop and was just standing there calculating how to minimize embarrassment and return to his seat without much fanfare. It's happened to me, I admit, and I know it's a bit humiliating. I thought he'd follow standard procedure and sheepishly return to his seat until the next stop.

I thought wrong.

I can't quite say he did the polar opposite of the expected behavior because, well... he just didn't, okay? Instead, he knelt down on the subway floor and struck a pose somewhat reminiscent of downward-facing dog. Normally I pay this sort of thing no mind but then he got on all fours and started sniffing the floor and under the seats like a bloodhound.

So I ruled out yoga.

Given the current climate in the city, I thought maybe he was looking for the best place to plant his explosives. The thought left my mind as quickly as it entered and I turned my head and gazed out the window at the black nothingness of the subway tunnel. My stop was next and I was not about to make eye contact with the crazy insane sniffing man if I could help it.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that he was now flat on the ground and slithering dangerously close to me. He looked up at me with a really creepy smile on his face. I considered getting up and moving but instead, I stayed put and mentally plotted just how I was going to haul ass off that train and out of the station the minute the doors opened. In my pretend scenario, I think I may have even executed a few potent karate punches and kicks to the face, ribs and groin respectively. I'm quite the bad ass in my imagination, you see.

And then he touched one of the toes on my left foot. My head snapped in his direction and I said firmly, "Don't touch me, please." And again, he flashed his creepy smile. I'm not easily frightened but this sent a chill down my spine. I looked the other way and counted down the seconds until this hellish ride was over.

And then, all of a sudden, he lunged at my feet burying his head into my left foot while sniffing and kissing my toes!!!!!!!!!

Yes, you read that right.

I screamed and kicked and grabbed his head by the ears to pry him off. He held his ground while I tried to shake free from his suction-like grip. I looked to my left and saw two men and yelled for help. They came running to my defense and yanked the toe sniffer off me just as the doors opened. I quickly thanked them and jumped off the train.

I looked back and he was still lying on the floor of the subway car looking up with that creepy smile on his face. I yelled, "YOU FUCKING FREAK!" before the doors closed and ran upstairs. I saw a cop and proceeded to tell him what happened. Naturally, I prefaced the story with, "You are NOT going to believe this!" The train was long gone so there was no way to catch him. Besides, I'm sure if I took this to court, a defense lawyer would argue that my feet were asking for it since they were "parading around half-naked in a [really cute] pair of black leather flip-flops [from Banana Republic] complete with a shade of pink nail polish reserved for floozies and trollops [Revlon: Blushed, in case you're interested.]"

For the time being, my feet will remain incognito. Yesterday, I wore my "Polish Man Sandals" to the protest. They're thick-soled with a brown oiled-leather upper. I call them that because if worn with black socks, pleated shorts and a wife beater, I could easily resemble the Polish men in my old neighborhood. With that said, the sandals are cute but just not in the way to set off perverts or heterosexual men. They also offer comprehensive coverage similar to the toe-engulfing mules I'm sporting today.

I've never quite understood foot fetishes. Feet really hold no appeal for me. Even when pedicured and well-groomed, they are a rather unsightly appendage, in my humble opinion. Although, I'm rethinking mine now. Are mine unusually attractive as far as feet go? Did my ten little piggies cause this seemingly normal young man to do the unthinkable? Or would he have buried his face in any old pair of feet, regardless if they were clean or really gnarly? Good questions all.

While I'm not into it, I don't judge those who like to nibble, suck, sniff or partake in any other activity involving feet. Whatever creams your Twinkie, dudes. But with that said, I firmly believe that there is a time and a place for said foot play. You know, maybe NOT on the R train or any other form of mass transit, for example. I also think it's important that the owner of the toes be a willing participant in the event. Call me overly sensitive but I'm not fond of the idea of a stranger's lips cupped around my unsuspecting toes. Haven't you heard of asking first? What would Miss Manners think? Unless, you know, Emily Post is into that sort of thing...

>> Update! The dude was caught!

>> Click here for yet another tale of an underground fixation with my feet