I have a thing about stockings. They have to be sheer black stockings, preferably with seams up the back. When I was thirteen years old I actually shoplifted some black pantyhose from a grocery store just so that I could play with them. Walking out of that store with those L'eggs in my backpack, my heart was pounding, but the excitement of the crime was nothing compared to opening up the package and pulling them out, rubbing them against my fuzzy, adolescent cheeks. I even tried pulling them on, but this just looked grotesque--what with my hairy legs--and did absolutely nothing for me. I didn't want to wear them. I wanted someone else to. I masturbated four times that day.
It disturbed the shit out of me when I thought about it. I was a smart boy. Smart boys are supposed to be rational. So, when I was in college I figured out a rationalization for this. There wasn't that many women who wore sheer black stockings in college, but sometimes I would go into the city and see the well-dressed office workers walking down the street on their lunch breaks and make scientific observations of their legs. I noticed that where the stocking stretched itself thin to go over a wide part of the leg, such as the muscle of the calf, it became paler. just as a colored balloon becomes paler when it is inflated. Conversely, it was darker in narrow regions such as the ankle. This made the calf look more shapely and the ankle look more slender. The legs, as a whole, looked healthier, implying that just above the place where they joined together, a higher class of DNA was to be found.
Q.E.D. My thing about black stockings was a highly rational adaptation. It merely proved how smart I was, how rational even the most irrational parts of my brain were. Sex held no power over me. It was nothing to fear.
This was quintessentially sophomoric thinking, but nowadays most educated people hold quintessentially sophomoric opinions well into their thirties and so this stuck with me for a long time. My wife Virginia probably had some equally self-serving rationalization for her own sexual needs--of which I was not to become aware for many years. So it's no surprise that our premarital sex life was mediocre. Neither one of us admitted it was mediocre, of course. If I had admitted it, I would have had to admit that it was mediocre because Virginia didn't like to wear stockings, and at the time I was too concerned with being a Sensitive New Age Guy to admit such heresy, I loved Virginia for her mind. How could I be so shallow, so insensitive, so perverse as to spurn her because she didn't like to pull filmy tubes of nylon over her legs? As a pudgy nerd, I was lucky to have her.
Five years into our marriage, I attended the Comdex convention as president of a small new high-tech company. I was a little less pudgy and a little less nerdy. I met a marketing girl for a big software distribution chain. She was wearing sheer black stockings. We ended up fucking in my hotel room. It was the best sex I'd ever had. I went home baffled and ashamed. After that, my sex life with Virginia was pretty miserable. We had sex maybe a dozen times over the next couple of years.
Virginia's grandmother died and we went back to upstate New York for the funeral. Virginia had to wear a dress, which meant she had to shave her legs and wear stockings--something she'd done on only a handful of occasions since our marriage. I practically fell over when I saw her, and suffered through the funeral with a big, scratchy erection, trying to figure out how I could get her alone.
Now, Granny had lived by herself in a big old house on a hill until a couple of months earlier when she had fallen down and broken her hip, and been moved into a nursing home. All of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren came together for the funeral, and that house became the central gathering-place. It was a nice place full of good old furniture, but in her declining years Granny had become something of a compulsive pack rat and so there were heaps of newspapers and accumulated mail squirreled away everywhere. In the end we had to haul away several truckloads of junk.
In some other ways, Granny had been pretty well-organized and had left behind a very specific last will and testament. Each one of her descendants knew exactly which pieces of furniture, dishes, rugs, and curios they were going to take home. She had a lot of possessions, but she also had a lot of descendants, and so the loot had to be sliced pretty thin. Virginia ended up with a black walnut dresser which was stored in an unused bedroom. We went up there to have a look at it, and I ended up fucking her there. I stood up with the flimsy trousers of my dark suit collapsed around my ankles while she sat on top of that dresser with her legs wrapped around me and her stocking-clad heels digging into my butt-cheeks. It was the best fuck we'd ever had, bar none. Fortunately there were a lot of people eating, drinking, and talking downstairs or they would have heard her moaning and hollering.
I finally came clean to her about the stockings. It felt good. I'd been reading a lot about how the brain develops and had finally come to accept my stocking kink. It seems that when you are a certain age, somewhere between about two and five years, your mind just gels. The part of it that's responsible for sex becomes set into a pattern that you'll carry with you for the rest of your life. All of the gay people I've ever discussed it with have told me that they knew they were gay, or at least different, years before they even began thinking about sex, and all of them agree that gayness cannot be converted into straightness, or vice versa, no matter how hard you might try.
The part of your brain that handles sex frequently gets cross-wired into other, seemingly irrelevant areas at this age. This is when people pick up an orientation towards sexual dominance or submission, or when a lot of guys pick up highly specific kinks--say, rubber, feathers, or shoes. Some of them are unfortunate enough to get turned on by little kids, and those guys are essentially doomed from that point onwards--there is nothing to do except castrate them or lock them up. No therapy will unkink the brain once it has kinked.
So, all things considered, being turned on by black stockings wasn't such a bad sexual card to have been dealt. I laid this all out to Virginia during the trip home. I was surprised by how calmly she accepted it. I was too big of a jerk to realize that she was thinking about how it all applied to her.
After we got back home, she gamely went out and bought some stockings and tried to wear them on occasion. This was not easy. Stockings imply a whole lifestyle. They look stupid with jeans and sneakers. A woman in stockings has to wear a dress or a skirt, and not just a blue denim skirt but something nicer, more formal. She also has to wear the type of shoes that Virginia didn't own and didn't like to wear. Stockings are not really compatible with riding a bicycle to work. They were not even really compatible with our house. During our frugal grad-student days we had accumulated a lot of furniture from Goodwill, or I had hammered it together myself out of two-by-fours. This furniture turned out to be riddled with hidden snags that a person in blue jeans would never notice but that would destroy a pair of stockings in a moment. Likewise, our half-finished house and our old junker cars had many small sharp edges that were death to stockings. On the other hand, when we went away for an anniversary trip to London, getting around in black taxis, staying in a nice hotel, and eating in good restaurants, we spent a whole week moving in a world that was perfectly adapted to stockings. It just went to show us how radically we would have to change our circumstances in order for her to dress that way routinely.
So, much money was spent on stockings in a fit of good intentions. Some good sex was had, though I seemed to enjoy it much more than Virginia did. She never achieved the shocking, animal intensity she had shown at Granny's house after the funeral . Attrition reduced her supply of stockings very quickly, sheer inconvenience prevented her from renewing it, and within a year after the funeral we were back to square one.
Other things were changing, though. I made a lot of money by cashing in some stock options, and we bought a new house up in the hills. We hired some movers to come pick up all of our junky furniture and move it into that house, where it looked much shabbier. Virginia's new job forced her to commute in a car. I didn't think our old junker was safe, and so I bought her a nice little Lexus with leather seats and wool carpet, all of it nicely snag-free. Soon, kids came along and I traded in my old beater pickup truck for a minivan.
Still, I couldn't bring myself to begin spending money on furniture until my back started going bad on me, and I realized it was because of the slack, twenty-year-old Goodwill mattress that Virginia and I were sleeping on. We had to buy a new bed. Since it was my back at stake, I went out and did the shopping.
I 'd rather stub out cigarettes on my tongue than go shopping. The idea of hitting every big furniture store in the area, comparing beds, made me want to die. All I wanted was to go to one place and buy a bed and have done with it. But I didn't want a shitty bed that I'd be sick of in a year, or a cheap mattress that would mess up my back again in five years.
So I went straight down to my local Gomer Bolstrood Home Gallery. I had heard people talk about Gomer Bolstrood furniture. Women, in particular, seemed to speak of it in hushed, religious tones. Their factory was said to be up in some New England town where they had been based for the last three hundred years. It was said that loose curls of walnut and oak from Gomer Bolstroods block plane had been used as tinder beneath the pyres of convicted witches. Gomer Bolstrood was the answer to a question I'd been ruminating over ever since Granny's funeral, namely: where does all of this high-quality grandma furniture come from? In every family, young people go to grandma's house for Thanksgiving, or other obligatory visits, and lust over the nice antique furniture, wondering which pieces they will take home when the old lady kicks the bucket. Some people lose patience and go to estate sales or antique stores and buy the stuff.
But if the supply of old, high-grade, heirloom-quality furniture is fixed, then where will the grannys of the future come from? I could see a situation, half a century in the future, when Virginia's and my descendants would all be squabbling over that one black walnut dresser, while bringing in Ryder trucks to haul the rest of our stuff straight to the dump. As the population grows, and the supply of old furniture remains constant, this kind of thing is inevitable. There must be a source for new granny-grade furniture, or else the Americans of tomorrow will all end up sitting in vinyl beanbag chairs, leaking little foam beads all over the floor.
The answer is Gomer Bolstrood, and the price is high. Each Gomer Bolstrood chair and table really ought to come in a little felt-lined box, like a piece of jewelry. But at the time, I was rich and impatient. So I drove to Gomer Bolstrood and stormed through the door, only to be brought up short by a receptionist. I felt tacky in my white tennis shoes and jeans. She had probably seen a lot of high-tech millionaires come through those doors, and took it pretty calmly. Before I knew it a middle-aged woman had emerged from the back of the store and appointed herself my personal design consultant. Her name was Margaret. "Where are the beds?" I asked. She stiffened and informed me that this not the kind of place where you could walk into a Bed Room and see a row of beds lined up like pig's feet at a butcher shop. A Gomer Bolstrood Home Design Gallery consists of a series of exquisitely decorated rooms, some of which happen to be bedrooms and to contain beds. Once we had that all straightened out. Margaret showed me the bedrooms. As she led me from one room to the next. I couldn't help noticing that she was wearing black stockings with seams up the back--perfectly straight seams.
My erotic feelings for Margaret made me uncomfortable. For a while, I had to restrain the impulse to say "just sell me the biggest, most expensive bed you have." Margaret showed me beds in different styles. The names of the styles meant nothing to me. Some looked modern and some looked old-fashioned. I pointed to a very large, high four-poster that looked like granny furniture and said. "I'll take one of those."
There was a three-month delay while the bed was hand-carved by New England craftsmen working at the same wage as plumbers or psychotherapists. Then it showed up at our house and was assembled by technicians in white coveralls, like the guys who work in semiconductor chip fabrication plants. Virginia came home from work. She was wearing a denim skirt, heavy wool socks, and Birkenstocks. The kids were still at school. We had sex on the bed. I performed dutifully enough, I suppose. I could not really sustain an erection and ended up with my head stuck between her bristly thighs. Even with my ears blocked by her quadriceps. I could hear her moaning and screaming. She went into erotic convulsions near the end, and almost snapped my neck. Her climax must have lasted for two or three full minutes. This was the moment when I first came to terms with the fact that Virginia could not achieve orgasm unless she was in close proximity to--preferably on top of--a piece of heirloom-grade furniture that she owned.