Wednesday, April 30, 2003


I have this theory -- and I'm sure I can't be the first person to propose it -- that more future perverts were created on January 12, 1966 than any other day in human history. That's the night, as all true Batfans know, that a certain TV series made its worldwide debut.

Like countless other pre-teens that evening, I fastened a terrycloth towel around my neck with a safetypin and prepared to battle the bad guys. (I don't remember the rest of my outfit -- pajamas, I'm guessing -- but I know that for many years to follow I literally dreamed about finding or receiving a yellow utility belt just like Batman's. I still don't have one; my current costume employs a police-issue Sam Browne duty belt which is just as appealing to me, and probably more functional.) And of course I was glued to the set week after week, absorbing in the process all kinds of notions about the superhero lifestyle -- the concealed identity (Bruce Wayne as ultimate closet case), the sleepless nights of crimefighting, and above all, the lure of the deathtrap.

The 1960s were a golden age of televised S/M: in addition to Batman's weekly brushes with bondage and mayhem, there was "The Wild, Wild West," "Get Smart," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "The Avengers," and an endless parade of Saturday morning superhero cartoons, all of which prominently featured masculine heroes being tied up, tortured, and narrowly escaping. The fact that many of these returned in syndication during my adolescence in the 70s, at the very moment that I was growing more conscious (if terrified) of my unique sexual interests, only heightened their erotic power. (The James Bond movies and various ripoffs and parodies like James Coburn's "Flint" series, added further fuel to the fire in my loins.)

Part of the appeal of "Batman," at least in its first two seasons, was the ritual nature of its structure. Week after week, the show was exactly the same. Part One of a two parter always, without variation, contained this sequence of events: opening appearance of guest villain, Gordon's call to Batman, animated title sequence, Batman's visit to police headquarters, first skirmish with villain, brainstorming session in Batcave, second skirmish with villain leading to deathtrap. Part Two: recap, title sequence, escape from deathtrap, more Batcave brainstorming, third skirmish, defeat of villain, epilogue.

This was all so predictable that, when the shows were rebroadcast once more in the 80s and 90s, I knew exactly when to set the VCR to pick up the juicy parts. (For a while, I was only interested in taping what in conventional porn would be the money shots: the capture of Batman and the explanation of what horrible thing was about to happen to him. I had no desire to record his escape or the rest of the episode. Only in very recent years did I bother to tape complete programs.) "Wild, Wild West" follows a similarly rigid outline, and after a while I got pretty good at guessing when ANY of the aforementioned shows was heading toward a bondage scene. There are entire schools of literary theory built on investigating narrative structure, but I picked it all up intuitively as a horny, repressed 14-year-old.

I've long connected the rituals of the "Batman" series with what goes on in a church service. Once you've been to mass/synagogue/whatever a couple of times, you've got the basic idea: opening greeting, song, reading, song, reading, song, sermon, communion, song, closing remarks, yadda yadda yadda. There's something comfortable about an unchanging framework. Of course, as a young churchgoer, that very predictability encouraged me to zone out almost the minute I hit the pew. Everything was so rote that I only reflected on the meaning and purpose of it all after I quit attending religious services for decades and then dropped in on one every once in awhile with fresh ears and eyes.

But back to bat-play. There is more to be said about those early towel-cape "sessions" (to use a word that never would have occurred to me at the time), and maybe I'll write about them in a later entry, but I really don't remember that much about them. What's much clearer in my mind (if still a bit fuzzy after 30 years) is the second phase of my evolving secret life, when I must have been in junior high, having a horrible time from 8AM-3PM and a much more delightful existence after school, when I reached into my closet (that most symbolic of rooms) and produced a mask, some dark-colored pantyhose, gloves, and other costume elements and entered a fantasy world in the hours before my parents came home or after they left for an evening outing. There are only a few images I can conjure up from this era: another, deeper hall closet which served as the set for many an adventure; tying myself to the stairs which led to our attic; exploring that attic and the garage beneath it; and being deeply ashamed of myself for doing any of this at an age when I was supposed to have abandoned dress-up and make-believe, let alone popping a boner or discovering precum in my pseudo-tights when I did it.

There were two scary moments of near-detection which live on in my memory: one night I tucked my costume between my mattress and the box spring (instead of returning them to their hiding place) and left them there when I headed to school the next day, only to discover when I got home that my bedroom had been thoroughly cleaned, which could only mean someone must have found me out, even though no one ever mentioned it. Another time I had been experimenting with a jar of my mom's cold cream to try and duplicate the way the Green Lantern's mask seemed to stick to his face without the benefit of an elastic band or strings. Once again, I was careless in cleaning up after myself and this time my mother asked me what was going on. (God knows what I told her; I do know my alter ego remained a closely guarded secret.)

I don't remember when or why I stopped suiting up. I'm guessing it was early in my high school years, which, though frought with the usual adolescent angst, were still incomparably better than junior high: I finally had some solid friends, and with them other ways to fill my afternoons and evenings. And I'm pretty sure I just resolved to "grow out" of my batlust, to shed it along with the other debris of childhood -- exactly the way a lot of deluded gay people vow to "outgrow" their homosexuality by getting married or otherwise denying their true selves. I continued to linger at the comic book racks whenever I had a chance, worried somebody who knew me would catch me, and I was still glued to the TV in search of images that would excite me in a way the senior prom simply never could.

Meanwhile, my Bruce Wayne self was growing (ever so slightly) in confidence and popularity. I was evolving from orphaned victim to playboy socialite (at least as much as that's possible for a middle class kid in a small town high school). My bat-self lay dormant, waiting for the right moment to emerge in its fullest glory.

Friday, April 25, 2003


Just sent out announcements about this blog to some of my favorite superhero and cop-related Yahoo groups and to men who have written me about my fan fiction or my (still pretty skimpy) website. I don't currently plan to publicize this journal much beyond my fellow fetishists, because I'm really interested in a conversation among people who are already on the same wavelength. And as you can already tell, the kind of discussion I want to generate is a lot more, uh, intellectual than the usual jerk-off prose (much as I love that, too). I don't know if anybody else is into philosophizing about their fantasies or not, but I really think I'm doing this more for myself than other people. (I would love to write about this stuff under my real name in actual print publications, but I don't feel comfortable being that public at the moment, and I'm not sure that such publications exist.) If you like what you see here, stick around and keep coming back for more. (If you're NOT into listening to some guy ramble on about the "political and spiritual dimensions" of his sex life, you're probably already gone.)

I just hope I haven't jumped the gun by spreading the word before I really know what I'm doing, techwise. It's sort of like inviting people over for a housewarming party before I've even finished putting up the living room walls. Every fucking post so far has been way trickier to post than I would like. (On the other hand, teaching myself the basics of blogging has become a GREAT excuse to avoid doing a much more boring paying job which was due two days ago--like every other webmaster and blogger since 1994, right?) I'll figure it out sooner or later. Let me know what you think in the meantime.

PS. Maybe I should start spicing these entries up with random lines like "He clutched the stiff upper edge of his utility belt with his gloved hand" so the blog will begin turning up in search engines and attract even more perverts to my little den of evil...
I'm clearly still learning my way around this Blogging business. (I'm not normally an early adopter of anything technological--I've still got a Betamax VCR I won't get rid of.) For one thing, I just spent half an hour composing an entry for this journal, only to have it disappear into the ether at the very minute I wanted it to materialize here. This is the second (nope, make that third/damn, FOURTH) time this has happened to me, and I'm trying hard to resist the temptation to dismantle my computer and hurl its innards against the wall.

I also just discovered from a Blogger how-to that apparently I can't currently invite other people to add comments directly to this blog. Grrrrrr. So as a back-up, I encourage you to e-mail me any remarks you'd like to post here, and I'll paste them in myself. (Even if you don’t want your feedback made public, I'd still love to hear from you.)

What kinds of things do I have in mind to discuss in this venue? Here are two biggies:

1. In my daylight/Bruce Wayne existence, I am a longtime lefty pacifist who abhors violence, including police brutality.Yet when I see images of a line of cops in full riot gear facing down a crowd of anti-war demonstrators (as happened on a daily basis around the world recently), I get weak in the knees. The protestors are my friends, metaphorically and sometimes literally, and I have stood with them every chance I've had to do so -- but the sight of baton-wielding officers decked out in shin guards, face masks, sap gloves and Dehner boots is enough to make me cream. Does anybody else reading this feel a similar conflict between personal politics and sexual desire? How do you reconcile yourself to the disconnect between your head and your cock (or other genital of choice)?

2. When I first started donning a batsuit of my own in the wee hours of the night, I thought of it mainly as a sexual act. And it still is, although for the last year or so it has come to feel more like a form of spiritual practice. When I pull off my sweat-soaked mask at the end a long session of what I call "batsex" or "batplay" (though sometimes it's a cop uniform), I feel a peace of mind more powerful than anything I've ever experienced. I've heard S/M-ers speak of achieving a kind of transcendence at the peak of a scene, and I completely understand what they're talking about. Anybody else out there have any similar stories to share? (Given my circle of daylight friends, it's pretty much as hard to come out as a spiritual person as it is to come out as a fetishist -- the taboo against bringing up god in my part of America often seems as strong as the one against dressing up like a superhero or privately impersonating an officer.)

More to be said on both these topics, but I'd better get this much posted before the blogmonster eats it all again...

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Welcome to my lair! A brief introduction: I'm (among other things) an out gay man in my 40s, and I'm happy with both my work and my love life. When I say I'm "out," I mean (among other things) that after the usual long and painful struggle, I'm reasonably comfortable with my sexual identity and that my family and friends and a fair number of strangers know I'm attracted to other men.

What many of those folks, even the ones who are also gay, DON'T know is that the men I'm most attracted to tend to be either fictional characters (masked and spandex-clad superheroes) or their real-life equivalents (cops, who are the closest thing reality has to offer in terms of both occupation and outfits), and that my fantasies revolve around bondage, entrapment, humiliation, punishment, and the like. Comic book stores are for me what porn shops are for people with more mainstream tastes; I pore through the racks in seach of some previously unseen panel depicting Batman bound to a torture device, his costume shredded and his mask about to be removed by a nefarious lycra-clad bad guy.

For many years, from adolescence through my 30s, I was ashamed of this particular fetish (the superhero one, that is; everybody knows gay guys are hot for men in uniform, so the cop business is much easier to talk about). I went through at least three years of therapy, dredging up every other conceivable nook and cranny of my psyche with my only trusted confidant, before I felt comfortable enough to broach the subject.

And once I did bring it up, my life began to change: I sought out leather bars (particularly those with uniform nights), I checked out S/M videos (many of which still didn't float my boat), and above all I turned to the internet (where I soon discovered that every conceivable kink has long ago spawned two dozen websites and Yahoo groups). At the same time, I started creating and spending my nights in outfits of my own: a basic batsuit and variations, cop uniforms of various kinds, etc. I also found a life partner (a cop, by amazing coincidence) who doesn't share my fantasies with quite the same intensity but who is more than happy to explore them with me from time to time.

In short, I know now that I'm not alone in my minority tastes. But I've also seen that, amidst the scores of sites and groups devoted to exchanging JPEGs and erotic fiction about cops and caped crusaders, there aren't many places where like-minded fetishists can really talk about how their desire has affected other aspects of their lives. I'm interested in talking about this stuff semi-publicly now, partly because it makes me hot, and partly because I want to compare notes with other folks on their own life journeys. (You'll note that I'm using a pseudonym, which suggests that I don't particularly want to reveal EVERYTHING about myself here -- and besides, every superhero worth his salt has an alter ego, and one thing I've learned from my own explorations is that secrecy is a big part of the turn-on.)

I'll have more to say about what I have in mind here in a future entry. Once I learn my way around this "blog" business, I'll make sure it's possible for readers to post here themselves (or at least e-mail me)--but hey, if it's really just me talking to myself, that's okay, too. Cynics claim most online journals are masturbatory, and believe me, I've got nothing against solo sex -- in the proper disguise, of course.

See you here again soon--same bat-time, same bat-blog.

--batfan 60 (aka Bruce Wayne) (aka ****** ******* *****)