They say all fetishes begin when we’re small children. I am no expert in the topic, but I firmly remember my fascination with the noble metal began when I was but a toddler. I used to chase with my eyes those shiney yellow jewels sparkling on my parents: my mother’s bracelet, my father’s cufflinks… It wasn’t until I was eight that I could feel it for the first time in my hand.
It was my first communion, and as many other children of privilege, I was given a signet ring bearing my name. You can’t imagine, with your prosaic, uninitiated mind, the excitement I felt when the piece was gently dropped on my hand.
“Feel the weight”, father said. “It is hallmark gold. 22 carats. Do you know what that means?”
“No,” I replied. “I want to know everything about it.” I felt the weight and coldness of the metal, rapidly warming up, reaching deep inside me, giving birth to feelings and desires I could not express or understand.
My father smiled.
“The hallmark is a responsibility mark indicating that an independent third party assay has been taken. This is to prove the purity of the metal. Look at it”, he said, pointing at the Dutch mark compliant with the Vienna Convention on the Control of the Fineness and the Hallmarking of Precious Metal Objects (1973).
“So someone checked that it’s pure gold?” I asked.
“As pure as indicated in the mark”, he said. “This gold is 22 carats, which means that it contains at least 916 parts of gold per 1000. This is historically called bullion quality, because it was the typical purity for gold coins.”
“Then it’s not really pure”, I said, pouting.
Father ran his hand over my hair and smiled.
“You cannot get absolutely pure metals. There are chemical difficulties, and extremely pure gold has unusual properties. This is as pure as any of your friends is likely to wear. In fact, they will mostly get 18 carats gold for their signet rings. You know how much gold there’s in that?”
I tried to guess, but I wasn’t really up to the maths. I was too excited by the shiney, heavy, warming, dense object resting on the palm of my hand.
“750 parts in a thousand. Only 3 out of 4, that is. And some will wear 14 carat.”
“And that has how much gold?”
“585 per thousand parts”, he smiled. “Barely more than half. While your ring… your ring is better than 9 in 10 gold.”
“One day I’ll get pure gold!” I said. “As close to it as possible.”
“I’ve no doubt you will”, said my father. “Now it’s time to go.”
This was nothing more than an idiosyncracy during my childhood and adolescence. I simply thought that I was more attuned and sensitive about fine things, such as gold purity, than other children my age, and didn’t pay it much more thought.
Matters began to prove difficult when I started flirting and having experiences with, in my case, the opposite sex. I simply couldn’t get excited about someone who wore no jewelry, and even if they did, I had to know. I asked, I scrutinised, I touched. Anything under 18 carats put me off, and I often ended up noticing the pieces lacked a hallmark and were in fact not made of precious metals at all. Whenever this happened, I felt profoundly deceived, as if my partner had played a trick on me. Can you imagine… of course you can. Imagine you love running your fingers sinuously through your partner’s hair, and that this becomes a core part of your physical relationship. One day, as you’re going to bed, you find out the hair is not real, but a whig. How would it make you feel?
Perhaps you’re a more sensitive, or emotionally mature person than I am. If so, my congratulations. For me, though, finding out I was touching something other than the true metal completely took the romance away. I remember showing one of my partners my assay kit. There wasn’t much left for us after I discovered fake hallmarks. That’s simply beyond all decency.
I won’t deny that, even at best, sex was underwhelming for me. I needed something different. When my partner was wearing gold, it was fun and pleasureable enough, but I was never as focused on them—let us admit they were replaceable—as I was on their jewels.
Eventually, I began to experiment using gold by myself, and the results were all that I could hope for. I ran the metal all over my body, feeling its cold embrace raising me to a higher realm, aligning my soul with the noble sphere of the enduring sun, eternal like gold itself. I felt its high conductivity responding to the warmth of my blood. Did you know that gold cannot be generated through ordinary stellar nucleosynthesis? As I held gold against my body, I was holding the echo of a supernova. Only in the most glorious, tumultuous astronomical phenomenon can gold be synthesized. Bits of exploded raging infernos slid on my skin, making a call my lust could not avoid hearing.
After many experiments I quickly noticed that the purer the metal the better the effect. It wasn’t simply a matter of knowledge. Something inside me responded to the purity of gold at a primal level that is hard to understand. The subliminal stimuli my body perceived beyond my conscious awareness were often a stronger guide to the content of gold than I could have imagined. I needed only to strip off and begin to rub the gold against me to know, at a level far below thought, how pure it was.
Inevitably that made it my personal mission to seek the purest gold in the world. I started working for jewelers, where I could quickly and reliably detect fraud, although my jobs were often cut short when I was discovered carrying out my unorthodox procedures. Since they were, however, effective, my dismissals took place on friendly terms. Still, word spread, and it became impossible for me to find further work in the area.
I decided to go one step back in the production process, and found myself working on the refinement end. My suggestions to only produce the purest gold our processes permited were not well received, and I was constitutionally incapable to allow the least discrepancy between our claims and reality. How can anyone lie about gold?
I would have been hard pressed to continue working close to my beloved metal had it not been for some eccentric wealthy people with an interest in refinement processes. I became their private r&d branch when it came to gold, and they didn’t care a fig about my methods so long as I could reliably detect discrepancies and reliably produce purer material.
That’s how I came to possess my favourite object: the Golden Rod.
I write the name in capitals, like a submissive does for their owner, showing respect, adoration, devotion and deference. After a few years of outstanding work, my bosses decided I deserved a bonus. A special one that I could really appreciate (money was, for me, no object). After all, what can one do with it? Sure, there are a lot of things to guild in a home, but that only gives me a low-level tinge of pleasure, akin to, I imagine, the caress of a lover. Purity is what does it for me. I’m mostly indifferent to food, travel, and so on. Eating gold is extremely overrated: the amount of gold in contact with your body is minuscule.
My bosses were aware of my special relationship to gold, and how I had crafted certain objects to facilitate it. I used to use ingots, chains, and all sorts of shapes to run over me and put inside me. There was always this sense that it could be better, though. This sense was right.
“We have something special for you this year”, said one of them. “You’ll love it.”
That day a courier came to my home and gave me a locked suitcase. I opened it with the key I had been provided, and the combination I had been given, and found inside it a rod, made of the purest metal I had ever touched. A short note explained it:
For our favourite gold fetishist.
This is a rod of seven nines gold. That’s right, 999.9999 parts in a thousand pure. The processes involved are extremely expensive, and not suitable for mass production. However, we thought you would appreciate this object in the spirit in which it is given.
I had never, until then, thought of myself as a fetishist of any kind. Gold was simply my lover, just as you may have one, or several. I told gold my desires, my difficulties, and it never failed to hold me in its peculiar metallic embrace. It always was there for me. However, I grant there is perhaps truth to the notion that my attraction for gold is not usual. So be it.
I took the rod in my hands and felt its shape. I closed my eyes, and let the sense inside me speak, and I knew I had never, nor would ever, touch something as pure, as perfect, as delightfully gold as my Rod. It became my Rod then, or perhaps I became its person.
I let it roll over my skin, marking me, letting me feel its heft and enduring malleability. I thought of how many stars may have died for that Rod to be formed in nuclear fire, and what processes may have been used to purify it to that unexpected level. It sang to me, like no lover has ever sung to anyone, in the language of heat conductivity, resistivity, inertness, mass, molar purity, commerce, value… It spoke of mining and assaying, refining and purifying. Astronomy, geology, economics and chemistry were written in its very essence, and it sent me messages I could no longer ignore.
I placed it inside me, lubricated with my own secretions, and… Well, would you kiss and tell?
You don’t know what you’re missing.