NME’s Columnist Katherine Ryan On Stockings, Feet And Fetishes

Not bragging, but I travelled to Peckham on Monday to see my friend’s stunning new romantic comedy, SuperBob, starring the incomparable Catherine Tate. We took pictures outside the cinema, where SuperBob’s poster hung next to a similar mock-up for Vin Diesel’s new movie. Of course, indie films don’t have the marketing budgets that big American studios do, and it occurred to me that the British public were in grave danger of missing out on the genius of their very own homegrown superhero. I can’t fly, so I tweeted the photo in the name of truth and justice.

I am a woman, so in addition to voicing their support for the film, people immediately wanted to know about my shoes and jacket. Then he arrived: another idiot man hoping to trick me into participating in his sexual fetish. “What kind of lovely stockings are you wearing under that outfit, Katherine?” Oh, I know all too well about the stockings people; they’re closely related to the foot people. The worst is the trickery of it. I once had a guy posing as a charity on Twitter, who relentlessly claimed that I could “help orphans who don’t have shoes by tweeting a picture of my bare feet”. How? By the magic of you wanking, footwear is going to materialise on to the soles of kids with dead parents? I actually LOL’d, wondering what kind of functioning imbecile would fall for such nonsense. Then I saw that a number of celebrity women had tweeted him foot pictures. Oh.

I used to be that imbecile. When I was 18, I was targeted by an inflatophiliac. (I’d never heard of it either.) A man rang the restaurant I was working at, pretending to be from a local radio station. He offered $300 to whomever could figure out a way to inflate her own stockings. A true idiot savant, I explained to my co-workers that if we fed clear bin bags down to the feet of our stockings, then forced air in at the waist with my bicycle pump (this is pornographic literature btw), our legs would seemingly inflate. We tried it on me and it looked hilarious. We took photos and emailed them to his Hotmail account, along with my home address where he could send payment and my mobile number should he need anything else. He rang me incessantly, asking me to narrate a scene where I’d inflated my stockings with helium and was floating around in my flat. He had me at a petrol station, taking pictures in stockings next to the tyre pump. I hadn’t noticed any red flags. When the money never came, I went to the radio station to collect it. “We’ve got another one!” the receptionist called, and a lovely woman from human resources gently explained that ‘Big Blimpin’’ was not an actual programme on CBC Radio.

I’ve had my share of scrapes, but like SuperBob, I’m just a regular guy trying to save the world. In tights.