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The Fetishist

There’s a store in LA called The Pleasure Chest that sells all kinds of vibrators and sex toys. I was there one night and saw something that looked like counterweights in a glass display case. Being a curious sort, I asked what they were used for. When the salesman explained their purpose, I said it sounded like that activity would be rather painful. He relocked the case and said: “Preference.”

The Fetishist is the guy who, through a distinct palate or distinct financial conditions (either way), has established a preference for one or two things, to the exclusion of everything else. The rich Fetishist can afford to stay exclusively in older first growth Bordeaux and top white Burgundy wines. I have one client who has done exactly that, and not a single drop of wine from Italy, California or Australia sullies his racks. He just doesn’t like any of it, because he feels it lacks history. While I was in his cellar I noticed one sad little bottle of red Burgundy sitting in a bin all by itself. When I pointed it out, he gave it to me with a “get-it-out-of-here, kid” disdain—a 1989 Leroy Latricieres Chambertin with a price tag of around seven hundred dollars. Preference.

We have another friend who only drinks Burgundy, and even his fellow Burgundy-lovers question his single-minded devotion to the grape, asking, “Don’t you get tired of it?” Honestly, it seems like if you ate lobster every night, you’d be begging for a hamburger. And so it goes.

The poor Fetishist is the one who can’t afford to move up in class. He has an admirable collection of Zins and Syrahs, where the best values are to be had. The problem with the Poor Fetishist (again, the Rich one is better by far) is that he’ll trot his fetish out wherever he goes. He brings a bottle of his best stuff to dinner, and it can be a bit embarrassing when the wine steward unscrews the cap. Do your own thing, man, let your freak flag fly, but do it behind closed doors. Get a room.