Sexy Feast: Sex Fetishes Find Normalcy at Oddfellows

oddball_600I admit it: I’m a bit of an odd fellow. How many people do you know who are both food writers and sex educators?

On the food writing side, it’s admittedly odd that I’d never been to Oddfellows. Not until last weekend, that is, when I made it in for brunch.

I was disappointed, though, that there wasn’t anything particularly odd on the menu. (That’s actually my ongoing brunch gripe, making me wonder why so many people line up weekly for eggs and French toast.) The Specials board lists eggs Benedict as the special. That’s kind of odd, as it’s not so special. It’s common. Common enough that a few people told me that eggs Benedict always seems to be Oddfellows’ brunch special.

At the front of the line, I quizzed the cashier. She liked the baked eggs best, recommending those. Or French toast if I was looking for something sweeter. I hesitated. “Oh, savory?” she asked, adding “Try the French dip.” I paused, then asked about the oddball sandwich. “It’s indulgent,” she said.

Enough said. I ordered the one item that’s labeled “odd.”

So what does Oddfellows’ oddball sandwich teach us about sex?

It’s all about what’s normal.

Two decades ago, when I worked for Planned Parenthood, I showed the films “Am I Normal?” and “Dear Diary” to prepubescent kids. Corny as the films were, they busted apart myths about changing bodies, and were better than the sex education I got at that age: nothing.

That “Am I Normal?” question is still the most typical one I get today in my work with college students. And the question persists throughout adulthood.

Take, for example, fetishes. Since we don’t tend to talk openly about sex (at least constructively), we don’t know if what turns us on is normal or not.

In last week’s Sexy Feast, I wrote about formicophilia. Did you look it up, as I suggested? If not, it’s a fetish about having insects crawl over your body.

Maybe that’s crazy. It’s just one of an endless number of fetishes. Some people have a foot fetish. Or, perhaps, the opposite (a form of acrotomophilia–an attraction to amputees).

How about fetishes involving sex and food? Some people are into sploshing (covering themselves and their partners with wet and messy things like honey, spaghetti, cranberry sauce, and baked beans), while others are into vorarephilia–aroused by the idea of being eaten, eating their partners, or watching others get eaten. Makes you think about the “Vora” part of “Voracious” in a whole new way, doesn’t it?

I’m fine with fetishes, as long as moving from fantasy to reality is consentual and non-violent. It’s good to have an indulgent fantasy life.

As for the oddball sandwich, it featured a nice loaf of bread that did well, actually, in holding together the meatballs, marinara, and melty mess of provolone. Far from odd, it was completely normal. Though as I think back, the cut in the bread and the way it was filled made it look like a vagina, and the balls were tasty. But we’ll indulge more in balls next time.

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on April 7, 2011.

Oddfellows Cafe & Bar on Urbanspoon

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