Nylon Nights

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont’s research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station. It’s a thermoplastic silky material, first used commercially in a nylon-bristled toothbrush in 1938, followed more famously by women’s stockings – “nylons” – in 1940. Nylon was intended to be a synthetic replacement for silk and substituted for it in many different products after silk became scarce during World War II.
Historically, even though the word sock is at least as ancient in origin, what men normally wore were often referred to as stockings, probably especially when referring to longer hose at times when they were the fashion for men.The word stock used to refer to the bottom “stump” part of the body, and by analogy the word was used to refer to the one-piece covering of the lower trunk and limbs of the 15th century—essentially tights consisting of the upper-stocks, later to be worn separately as knee breeches and nether-stocks, later to be worn separately as stockings.

Before the 1590s, stockings were made of woven cloth. The first knitting machines were for making stockings. The stockings themselves were made of cotton, linen, wool or silk. A polished cotton called lisle was common, as were those made in the town of Balbriggan. In the 1920s, legs covered by stockings were revealed as the hemlines rose. These stockings were sheer, first made of silk or rayon, also known as “artificial silk”, and after 1940 with nylon. The first pantyhose made an appearance in the 1940s and 1950s, when film and theater productions had stockings sewn to the briefs of actresses and dancers, according to actress-dancer Ann Miller and seen in popular films such as Daddy Long Legs. Today, stockings are commonly made using knitted wool, silk, cotton or nylon. The introduction of pantyhose in 1959 provided a convenient alternative to stockings, and the use of stockings declined dramatically. In 1970, U.S. sales of pantyhose exceeded stockings for the first time, and has remained this way ever since.

Clothing fetish or garment fetish is a sexual fetish that revolves around a fixation upon a particular article or type of clothing, a collection of garments that appear as part of a fashion or uniform, or a person dressed in such a garment. Though almost any type of garment in theory can be the subject of a fetish, common clothing fetishes include footwear, stocking, female underwear and uniforms.
Stocking fetishists usually find sexual partners clothed in sheer nylon or silk stockings to be sexually stimulating, or find the act of a person donning or removing a pair of stockings arousing. Some men find it arousing to collect and wear stockings, sometimes hidden under a pair of trousers.
Like feet and shoes, sock fetishists often require some specific attraction in the object which may include special colors, shapes, or smells. People with a fetish for socks may have no special attraction to feet or shoes. A common sock fetishism is for slouch socks worn by Hooters waitresses. Some speculate that the strong attraction some men exhibit to the smell of socks worn by women may be an example of the existence of human pheromones – the hypothesis being that the sweat from women’s feet may contain chemical attractants that arouse a male subject and that when a male subject is exposed to the smell of womens’feet or footwear at a young age that young man may carry a strong psycho-chemical imprint which motivates his enthusiasm for worn socks or shoes.
Many male sock fetishists are also highly specific regarding the nature of the socks that stimulate them, and this may be coincidental with the type of socks worn by the originator of the female foot odors which first stimulated the psycho-chemical imprint. For example, if a young male subject grows up in a northern climate, and in his period of early pubescent development has a baby sitter who wore the kinds of heavy wool socks that people wear during a northern winter-if that young lady happened to have strong smelling feet and frequently shared close physical proximity to the male subject where he was able to notice the scent of her feet, that young man may develop the aforementioned psycho-chemical imprint and exhibit a fetish for seeing young women wearing heavy wool socks. This belief is supported by observations that the nature of sock fetishism appears to differentiate according to age brackets and periods of clothing trends. Among men who exhibit an interest in women’s socks who are currently in their 30s and 40s, and who were therefore in their early pubescent period during the late 80s/early 90s when slouch socks were a popular clothing trend there is a tendency to exhibit a strong interest in very heavy slouchy socks, whereas younger men with a sock fetish tend to show greater interest in the short little ankle-style socks that became popular in later years.
Though almost any type of garment in theory can be the subject of a fetish, common clothing fetishes include footwear, female underwear and uniforms. A wide range of other garments have been the subject of less common fetishes.
Separate from fetishes as a paraphilia, are garments worn to enhance appearance (tight jeans, other eyecatching clothing). In this case the differentiator is whether for the person concerned, the clothing is the focus of a sexual fetish, or is merely appreciated and found pleasing and enhancing. Sexual fetishism, or erotic fetishism, is the sexual arousal a person receives from a physical object, or from a specific situation. The object or situation of interest is called the fetish, the person a fetishist who has a fetish for that object or situation.
The word fetish derives from the French fetiche, which comes from the Portuguese feitiso, which in turn derives from the Latin facticius and facere. A fetish is an object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular, a man-made object that has power over others. Essentially, fetishism is the attribution of inherent value or powers to an object. The terms “erotic fetish” and “sexual fetish” were first introduced by Alfred Binet.
Although, Sigmund Freud believed that sexual fetishism in men derived from the unconscious fear of the mother’s genitals, from men’s universal fear of castration, and from a man’s fantasy that his mother had had a penis but that it had been cut off. He did not discuss sexual fetishism in women.

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