I knew that it was bad news when I entered the house and saw my wife, Danielle, sitting alone in our small living room, clearly waiting for me. She was never the smiley kind, but her expression was one of extreme disappointment or even anger. Obviously, I had done something very wrong. My initial reaction was that it was something minor - Danielle was always a bit of a drama queen, who loved to make me feel guilty even when I absolutely did nothing to deserve it. In our four years of marriage, I'd got used to it and learned to deal with her touchiness and manipulations.
Then I saw my mobile phone on the desk in front of her. I left it in the kitchen this morning as I was getting ready for work. As it turned out, this simple act of forgetfulness changed my life forever.
“Hello, you are early today,’’ I said, still hoping against hope that it was something minor like me not taking the garbage out or not paying utility bills on time.
Danielle didn’t answer and just pointed her long finger at my phone: “Can you explain this, David?”
“Explain what, dear?” I responded quietly. No, this can’t be. She didn’t check my phone. She couldn’t. She wasn’t like that. Damn.
“Explain what?!” she said bitterly and stood up, beautiful and furious. She was almost as tall as me and I immediately felt intimidated by her aggression. “You know WHAT, you pervert!! How could you do this to me?!”
“I… didn’t do anything..” I said, feeling extremely stupid, like a little child caught red-handed, but still trying to somehow avoid paying the price.
“Oh yeah?? Care to explain these photos? Or your browser history? All these forums and blogs you’d been frequenting. Your messages. How stupid can you be?” she was talking so loudly now I feared our neighbours could hear us.
“Why did you check my phone?” I tried to use the last line of defence, however pointless it was at this stage.
“It was ringing and buzzing nonstop. Now tell me what YOU were thinking when you were taking those photographs. Is that someone from work? No, I don’t want to know. I don’t care. It’s over!” she hissed at me.
“Wait, what do you mean... I am sorry, I didn’t harm anyone. It’s just that..” I mumbled.
“I don’t want to hear that. Goodbye, David. I’ll be in touch soon about the divorce.”
She grabbed her purse and stormed out without looking at me, clearly completely uninterested in any explanations I could come up with. But what could I tell her? She knew I was a fetishist. I wasn’t hurting anyone. Instead, I was the one getting constantly hurt by her unwillingness to play along and take my desires seriously. And when I tried to get satisfaction the only way I knew how she got all uppity as if I had somehow betrayed her.
I grabbed my phone from the table and swiped to unlock it. In retrospect, I should have been more careful. But I always assumed she respected my privacy, just as I respected hers. The photos in question were a BAD idea, I’d give her that. But who did I hurt? No one! Just candid photos I took of Nicole, our office cleaner, when she wasn’t looking. There was no nudity, just her crawling on all fours on the floor, her shapely ass in the air (I was lucky with that shot) and some pictures taken of her cleaning in various poses.
Yes, it wasn’t the nicest thing and I wasn’t proud of it, but if Danielle was more forthcoming I would not have this constant urge to channel my obsession. I put the damned phone in the pocket of my jacket and walked around the house, trying to calm down. I should have been desperate and devastated, but I felt nothing of the kind. Instead, I almost felt relieved.
Truth be told, my relationship with Danielle had been on the rocks for some time now. Our marriage of four years was just waiting for an excuse to fall apart. We were constantly quarrelling over minor stuff. We married early, fresh out of college, and that probably played a role as we both lacked the maturity and patience required to make any marriage work. We were doing OK financially, she was rising through the ranks at work, I was a mid-level manager at a property management company. We bought a home - with a mortgage, of course, as Luхembourg is crazy expensive. It was a rather bland, smallish row house - and we led a somewhat dull, suburban life.
Needless to say, our sex life was not satisfying to either of us. I tried to convince her to play some of my fetish games, but she always thought it was ridiculous and refused to play along. Damn, she wouldn’t even dress femininely for me. She wore pant suits to work and jeans at home or when we went out. I bought her high heels and nice designer dresses, but they just stayed in the closet gathering dust. When I pointed out that most female lawyers - she worked for one of the biggest firms in town and was a bit of a rising star - always “power dressed” in tight skirt suits or clinging sheath dresses and heels, she replied angrily that she wouldn’t let me dictate what to wear. If you like high heels and skirts so much, why don’t you wear them yourself, I remember her telling me. That was just one of many of our disagreements and sources of constant tension.
And most importantly I was stupid enough once to confide in her my obsession. That was a few years back and I’d been regretting it ever since. And now I was sure she put the two and two together when she saw those candid pictures I took. Maids. Or cleaners to be precise. I’ve been obsessed with them for a long time. When I still thought I could convince Danielle to play my games, I even bought her a maid’s uniform, but ultimately failed to have her put it on even once. That was deeply, humiliatingly hurtful, even as she probably thought that it didn’t mean much to me.
But it did. Oh, how much it did. While I did tell Danielle of my interest, my fetish as she called it, I didn’t tell her the whole truth. My obsession was a lot deeper than just having erotic attraction to women in maid uniforms. Or, rather, it didn’t end there. What I did not tell, I simply could not find the courage to, was that I’d much rather be in that uniform myself instead of seeing her in one.
Furthermore, it wasn’t even about the uniform. It was just a symbol of complete and utter loss of status, that I found incredibly erotic. Giving up one’s secure middle-class life for one of menial work. Becoming an outcast in good society. Being looked upon as nothing more than a function, only good enough to follow basic instructions from those better than you. Wasn’t a cleaner just a perfect metaphor for all this? A female cleaner to be precise.
Of course, this was nothing but a dream, a vivid and disturbing one, but just a dream. Still, I found it hard to kick it from my head. I was a regular married guy, I kept telling myself. Some men obsess over big boobs, others love latex or have a thing for spanking or schoolgirls. I had the cleaners obsession. However, with time, this obsession was only growing stronger. Like a virus it was capturing more and more of once healthy cells until it became this all-engrossing, overwhelming fixation that I couldn’t get out of my head.
These thoughts were coursing through my brain as I paced around our house like a zombie. I entered our bedroom and saw that Danielle had already packed her things while she was waiting for me to get home. Our common wardrobe now had gaping holes where her clothing used to be. At least she had the common decency not to throw my stuff on the floor. I also noticed that she carefully left all the gifts I'd bought her over the years - several mostly unworn dresses, including a 1500-Euro Burberry one I bought her as a birthday gift (she only wore it once after I begged her for an hour), were still hanging in the corner. Needless to say, she also left the high heels as well as a gold chain and matching earrings I'd bought her. It was as if she didn’t want anything to remind her of me.
I looked around the room and discovered something else she left behind. On my side of the bed she had left a plastic bag that I instantly recognised. It was the maid’s uniform I once bought that she never wore for me. I'd specifically selected a non-fetish one, it looked like the real thing, not the cheap French maid-style creations sold in sex shops worldwide. It looked like a uniform a maid at a posh hotel might wear - simple, but stylish.
Why did she leave it like this for me? Was she suggesting something? I opened the bag and took the uniform dress out. It still had the price tag on. Did I really pay 100 Euros for this? And it’s never been worn. I hesitated for a few seconds and held it against my body facing the wardrobe mirror.