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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SL Letter of the Day: Have You Ever Heard of...?

Posted by on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Originally published July 26, 2007:

I'm a 31-year-old attractive single woman, and I recently went on and found a guy. Our e-mails and one phone conversation went well and he seemed kind and was okay-looking in his picture, so I met him for drinks. It was disappointing, to say the least. He looked 15 years older than his picture and was socially awkward to the point of sheer misery. He told me he didn't want to eat cheese because he "had the craps," announced to the waitress that this was our first date, yawned when I talked about my job, and said, "I could tell you were really into me the minute you walked in the room."

Standard bad date so far, right?

Here's the bizarre part: On the phone he'd said, "The most beautiful sound in the world is applause. I hope I can hear you clap for me sometime." He is a music teacher, so I thought he was referring to applause after a performance. But when we met in person, he asked me to clap for him, for no reason, in the restaurant! I asked him why, and he said he just really loved the sound of clapping. I ignored his request, finished my drink, and said it was nice to meet him but I didn't think this was going to work. I shook his hand good-bye in the parking lot and at this point he asked again for me to clap—but now in a whiny voice, literally begging me to do it. The worst part? I did it, just to shut him up, before speeding away in my car. I'm simultaneously creeped out and intrigued.

Have you ever heard of a clapping fetish?

Clap Off The Clapper

My response after the jump...

I get letters every day from people asking if I've "ever heard of" a particular sex act, fetish, kink, or hang-up before. The assumption, I guess, is that the thoroughly skanky author of this thoroughly skanky column has heard of everything. And that's fine; I've heard of and, er, done quite a lot. But the folks who send these EHO letters aren't seeking confirmation that they're not crazy—or in COTC's case, that this really happened—but some form of absolution, as if my having heard of whatever it is they're doing, were asked to do, or refused to do, makes it—whatever it is—a little less bizarre.

But almost invariably I haven't heard of the sex act, fetish, kink, or hang-up the authors of EHO letters ask about. Like this clapping fetishist COTC encountered—I've never heard of that one before. I don't doubt COTC's story for a moment because, hey, if it can be named, performed, swallowed, or worn, someone out there has a fetish for it. So while I can't offer COTC absolution for the sex act she performed—yes, it was a sex act—in that parking lot, I can offer her the next best thing: bragging rights. Not only did you stump me, COTC, but this is a bad-first-date story you'll be dining out on for the rest of your life. Congrats!


Comments (46) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Phoebe in Wallingford 1
Online dating is so risky and dangerous. Better to have friends you trust introduce you to suitors.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on May 21, 2013 at 5:25 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 2
This reminds me of that NPR thing a couple months back of that woman who loved hearing people whisper while clinking things like pearls.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 21, 2013 at 5:41 PM · Report this
@1 I sometimes wonder if you are a real person or someone playing an elaborate game of "pretend to be the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey". If it is the latter, I am totally on to you :-P
Posted by wxPDX on May 21, 2013 at 5:43 PM · Report this
Fnarf 4
Oh, come on, I didn't just ask her to clap, I asked for some hearty cheers of "bravissimo!" too. Does that make me a bad person?
Posted by Fnarf on May 21, 2013 at 5:47 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 5
@1 Or better yet, have your passive but sardonic father make bon mots at the churlish suitor! Good lord, is there some corner of Wallingford that exists in a Jane Austin novel? Like, an old armoire in the Alliance Francaise?

Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on May 21, 2013 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Absurdist1968 6
Maybe someone out there will develop some gear for people with clapping fetishes, Some extra-resonant gloves, perhaps?
Posted by Absurdist1968 on May 21, 2013 at 5:49 PM · Report this
I'm a bit surprised Dan hasn't heard of a clapping fetish.

Not that I have heard of it, but as sound-based kinkiness goes, getting of on applause seems almost logical. Especially for a socially awkward, insecure dude like COTC described--he's desperate for positive attention, and if he's also got an exhibitionist streak, applause sounds like a relatively non-insane sort of kink to latch upon.
Posted by Functional Atheist on May 21, 2013 at 5:50 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 8
@3: Oh I'm real, alright - complete with the embellishment of varicose veins and arthritis. But thanks for the laugh!
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on May 21, 2013 at 5:54 PM · Report this
leek 9
It sucks to have the craps when what you want is the claps.
Posted by leek on May 21, 2013 at 6:00 PM · Report this
seandr 10
I'm the opposite of this guy - I wish women would stop clapping and shouting "encore!" after they've had sex with me, it's embarrassing.
Posted by seandr on May 21, 2013 at 6:01 PM · Report this
I guess he knows all to well the sound of one hand clapping.
Posted by spexydevonz on May 21, 2013 at 6:20 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 12
Go ahead and keep your draw's,
givin' up the claps and who needs applause
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on May 21, 2013 at 6:22 PM · Report this
As a music teacher, I swear we aren't all that weird!
Posted by MusictoMyEars on May 21, 2013 at 6:23 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 14
Let's give that couple a round of applause, everybody! Standing ovation time!
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on May 21, 2013 at 6:42 PM · Report this
Seems like a corollary of Ugol's Law applies.
Posted by EricaP on May 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM · Report this
Never encountered the clapping thing, but I was briefly involved with a guy who had a glove fetish. He particularly liked me to slap him in the face (BDSM context) while wearing gloves. I have a whole drawer full of gloves, so this was odd but workable for me.
Posted by Susan on May 21, 2013 at 6:48 PM · Report this
venomlash 17
What if what he really wanted was...the booty clap?
Posted by venomlash on May 21, 2013 at 6:51 PM · Report this
I would understand someone getting off on genuine applause from an adoring audience. But this? A (likely-visibly) creeped-out woman reluctantly slapping her hands together in a parking lot with no one else around?

That being said, there's plenty of My Little Pony porn out there, so I guess that's not that weird.
Posted by Marooner on May 21, 2013 at 6:53 PM · Report this
"Has the craps"??!!!! Oh Jesus. Ain't nobody got time for that (seriously on a first date?!?!?!?!)
Posted by Racing Turtles on May 21, 2013 at 6:54 PM · Report this
sirkowski 20
He was probably an American.
Posted by sirkowski on May 21, 2013 at 7:37 PM · Report this
Alanmt 21
How can you be both a music teacher and such a boorish clod?
Posted by Alanmt on May 21, 2013 at 7:42 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 22
Eh, maybe it wasn't so much a "fetish" as he was playing some stupid PUA mindfuck game he didn't have time to complete. It didn't sound sexual, at least.
Posted by undead ayn rand on May 21, 2013 at 7:53 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 23
@21: Perhaps a private school, the sort that relies on vouchers.
Posted by undead ayn rand on May 21, 2013 at 8:03 PM · Report this
@3, it's Phoebe Wallingford from All My Children!! I"m ashamed to know that...

@2, same answer, different question. Phoebe loves gossip, you know...
Posted by portland scribe on May 21, 2013 at 8:06 PM · Report this
treefort 25
This guy sounded more completely unbearable than socially awkward to me. At any rate total creep. Also, @11 FTW
Posted by treefort on May 21, 2013 at 8:16 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 26
@8: Indeed. I used to be 'Phoebe on NE 79th' on The Stranger. When I moved to Wallingford to be closer to my daughter, I couldn't resist the moniker. God bless Ruth Warrick!
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on May 21, 2013 at 8:35 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 27
In @26, I meant to refer to @24.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on May 21, 2013 at 8:40 PM · Report this
Indy 28
I wonder what a slow, sarcastic clap would do for this guy.
Posted by Indy on May 21, 2013 at 8:58 PM · Report this
Oh, whatever, that old german Beethoven role playing shtick again. Next thing you know you are clapping into an earhorn rammed up his ass while he shouts "Ach unsterbliche Geliebte, jetzt kann ich dich horen." Then comes the Furtrwangler Hitler thing, and you are pissing on him pretending it's gasoline and that the allies are coming. It gets old.
Posted by kinaidos on May 21, 2013 at 9:34 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 30
I wonder how he feels about gonorrhea.....
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on May 21, 2013 at 9:48 PM · Report this
lolorhone 31
I would have played "Chariots of Fire" on my Ipod and applauded until my hands bled but only if he ran away from me as fast as possible.
Posted by lolorhone on May 21, 2013 at 10:40 PM · Report this
nocutename 32
@29: Thank you for that!.
@Phoebe om Wallingford: Keep 'em coming. I appreciate them and you.
Posted by nocutename on May 21, 2013 at 10:44 PM · Report this
nocutename 33
@32: well, clearly that was supposed to be "in" not "om." This carpal tunnel is killing me.
Posted by nocutename on May 21, 2013 at 10:45 PM · Report this
All I can think of is the guy in the virtual reality tank from "Minority Report"....

"Oh thank you. Thank you..."

Posted by Married in MA on May 22, 2013 at 3:55 AM · Report this
--MC 35
34 responses and nobody's twigged that what he really wants is to say to his friends, I went out with this girl and she gave me the clap. Puns and their enthusiasts.
Posted by --MC on May 22, 2013 at 7:05 AM · Report this
This is what happens when you have to listen to 4th graders sing American the Beautiful out of key for 20 years.
Posted by DJSauvage on May 22, 2013 at 8:20 AM · Report this
Corylea 37
People don't ask if you've ever heard of something because they think you're skanky, Dan; they ask because they know that huge numbers of people write to you with their sexual problems. If you've never gotten a letter about something before, then it's REALLY unusual.

Posted by Corylea on May 22, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
debug 38
Typical male demonstrating his privilege in our applause culture.
Posted by debug on May 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
I don't get it why people don't use a webcam for introductions:

1.they are super cheap and most laptops have them integrated anyway can immediately verify age, behavior, personality traits and a host of other things you can only do in real-time visual interaction save a lot of money and time are completely safe, even if the other person records it it's just a first conversation

Like that story with Manti Te'o, it wouldn't have happened if they used webcams.

Are people seriously not aware that webcams exist?? What's going on here??
Posted by Falcor on May 22, 2013 at 12:02 PM · Report this
very bad homo 40
Oh Phoebe, I love that you use the term "suitors". Please never change, you are precious.
Posted by very bad homo on May 22, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
@38: Go fuck yourself.

@39: Even six years ago, I didn't have a webcam and most of my friends didn't have them either. Maybe it was our age, but I'm pretty sure webcams have gotten a LOT more pervasive in the last few years.
Posted by Minerva on May 22, 2013 at 8:34 PM · Report this
shurenka 42
@9 and @41 FTW!
Posted by shurenka on May 22, 2013 at 11:16 PM · Report this
I hate seeing myself on video, and I don't like talking on the phone with strangers.
Webcams combine the two. Not gonna use them if I can possibly avoid it.
Posted by migrationist on May 22, 2013 at 11:24 PM · Report this
smajor82 44
@1 - Suitors???

@38 - Is that tongue and cheek, or is your view of the world actually that one dimensional?
Posted by smajor82 on May 23, 2013 at 5:40 AM · Report this
John Horstman 45
@41, 44: Aww, I'm interpreting #38 as funny because it's absurd (applause culture! hehe) but true ("Clap for me, woman!" is definitely privileged behavior). Granted, I can easily see how one could interpret it as a satirical denial of male privilege or rape culture, but given the option thanks to lack of context, I'm going to go with the funny (and implicitly generous - has debug demonstrated hirself deserving of bad-faith interpretations due to past behavior? If so, your interpretations could well be more valid than mine) interpretation, as that makes me much happier.
Posted by John Horstman on May 23, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
@39: My guess is because video calls are weird even with people you know and love. You can't see people's body language, they're liable to be distracted by random other things that you can't see or hear, the angles of webcams can make one's face look awful, and so on and so forth. Not to mention, I don't think I've ever had a video call that didn't have connection issues at some point. So I think they're a good solution for keeping in touch with people you already know and whose faces you want to see and whose facial expressions/tones of voice you can interpret correctly, even with random connection issues. But if you're meeting someone for the first time and you want to get a sense of what they're like and what your chemistry with them might be like, and reasonably sure they're not going to harm you in any way, it makes much more sense to meet them in person.
Posted by pzzz on May 24, 2013 at 8:07 PM · Report this

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