I was approached recently by a man who had a favor to ask: He wanted me to "get him in" to one of the nightclubs in town that draws a fetish crowd. He'd tried to go, he explained, but they would not admit him.

"Were you dressed like that?" I asked.

"Um... yeah."

"Well, no wonder they wouldn't let you into a fetish club, you look like an ad for L.L. Bean."

"I just want to be comfortable, and wear clothes I like," he whined. "Just because I'm not wearing black leather doesn't mean I'm not interested in, you know, domination."

"Let me guess," I said. "You went to this club alone, because you wanted to meet a kinky woman?"

He nodded.

"And what is the first thing you notice about someone when you meet them in a club?"

Silence.

"What they look like?" he said.

"Correct. And you don't look like a sincere and honest pervert. You look like a clueless wanker who's wandered in to leer at the freak show. I would throw lit matches at you if you came near me in a club. If you're trying to meet women at fetish bars, for Christ's sake, get some black clothes."

This seemed to be a lot of new information for the gentleman to digest all at once, and he went away. But I have had this conversation with straight guys more than once. Boys, face facts: There are a lot of men actively seeking kinky female partners. The odds of an unknown single guy connecting with a woman in a fetish club are astronomical, but if you insist on trying, then play the game, and look the part. A kinky woman in a Catherine Coatney dress is not going to be impressed by a guy wearing a pastel button-down and khakis. At the very least, buy some 501s and a plain black T-shirt and some black boots and do the James Dean thing. Demonstrating to a woman that you went to an effort to look good--by her definition of "good"--will improve your odds considerably.

matisse@thestranger.com