June 3, 2007

Sunday 03 June 2007My friend Audrey has the ideal situation now. She is going out with a man who is besotted with her feet and wants nothing more than to give her a foot rub every time they meet. They haven't had sex yet, and the other night when we were at dinner, he kept sending her texts about what he wanted to do to her. But it wasn't pervy. It was about massaging her arches. What could be better? The only man who could top that is one who, while he was kneading a girl's instep, said: "Tell me all about your day. And take as long as you like. I can listen to you talk for hours."

After dinner, Audrey said she was going over to his house - for a foot rub. Like a footy call, only she was worried it would inevitably turn into a booty call, which would be a shame. All that time wasted on boring old sex when she could be having her toes caressed. I told her not to worry. Chances are he wasn't interested in sleeping with her: her feet might be all he desired.

But that just worried her even more. "What's wrong with the rest of me?" was her immediate response. And there was something else to consider. What if she was leading him on? Was she a toe-tease? Flashing her feet? Spicing things up with sexy nail varnish in spiky heels? The situation was becoming complex.

It had started innocently enough. One night they were walking and talking and he invited her over for a glass of wine. They sat on his sofa and he said she should put her feet up. So she did. She happened to be wearing stockings, so she wasn't particularly concerned about the condition her feet were in. It began with him gently touching her feet and led to a full-on foot job. "It was very erotic and unexpected," she told me, "but it didn't lead anywhere and I went home."

A few days later, she was on her way back from the chiropodist. She'd just had a cortisone injection in her heel. She was in his neighbourhood, stopped by and, when she got upstairs, slipped off her shoes and pointed to the plaster. It was the first time he'd seen her bare feet and he was enthralled. "Oh, your feet are so cute!" he said. An ex-boyfriend had once said her feet were "exquisite", so "cute" was a little bit jarring.

After that, she played it cool. She put her shoes back on and they went to dinner, but back at his house he was much more appreciative. "Give me your gorgeous feet," he said. Not only that, he said she has "young-looking" feet. That did it. She surrendered.

She says she knows it will end, but for now she can't give him up. He's better than the people at Happy Feet - a place in Manhattan that specialises in foot rubs. I'm jealous. I walk more than she does. And my arches are higher. I go to the chiropodist too, and not once have my feet ever got a sympathetic cuddle afterwards. Now they've become callused and cracked, nobody pays attention to them - unless it's during a pedicure. And that doesn't count, because it's like having a foot-hooker. They're not really into you, you don't know who they were with an hour earlier and you have to pay them.

I pointed out that if I were her, I'd be concerned. What happens when her feet get old? Will he still love them unconditionally? Then I didn't feel jealous any more.