The very word ‘rubber’ excites me and the thought of its smooth, cool touch against my skin can immediately inspire pleasure. I have been a lover of rubber for at least fifteen years and nothing yet has come along to change my feelings. I never find the subject boring; on the contrary when I am bored I turn to rubber to refresh my thoughts and my mental balance.
I like reading about rubber. I like talking about rubber. Most of all I enjoy wearing rubber. I am, indeed, writing this letter wearing one of my rubber outfits, one I have worn hundreds of times and my pleasure is no less now than when I first put on this dark, silky, soft smooth covering.
I admire people who like leather. If they feel about leather the way I feel about rubber, then I can only consider them as fortunate as I in having an interest that is just as absorbing as any passion or hobby. My father collected postage stamps and I think got the same absorbed pleasure from those tiny squares of paper as I do with my collection of rubber clothing and footwear. My brother describes me as a rubber fetishist. I correct him and say I am a Rubberist, just as my father was a philatelist. In his view there is no connection for where do you see rubber garments being advertised in the same way as you do postage stamps? I showed him the pages of Atomage where a list of garments is shown for sale.
I am not married except to my job and my hobbies of which rubber is, I suppose, the most important to myself. So the sad thing is that I am thought to be mentally disturbed in some way: because I did not marry, because I like to work very hard and because when I relax it is in a rubber suit or rubber clothing of some kind. I even have rubber sheets for my bed and a rubber rug. I have been described as pathologically unbalanced. I have even been visited by well-meaning priests who know less of the human psyche than the horse I ride (one of my other hobbies). It has even been suggested, to my intense indignation, that I should see a doctor.
The point, however, I want to make is that in corresponding with and talking to other rubberists like myself there is a strong sense of guilt, consciously or unconsciously expressed, developed from pressures such as I have suffered. I deplore this. Even the writer of your excellent article ‘The Way to the Womb’ feels he has to respond to external criticism of our behaviour and seek prime causes for his affection for a material. In my view this is not necessary. Why explain any personal interest that is purely personal? You do not normally see obsession for a Penny Blue.
I wonder did the author of ‘This Way to the Womb’ adjust his title from Ronald Duncan’s verse play ‘This Way to the Tomb’? If so, I would commend him these lines from the anti-masque:
Was this a religious experience?
We do not know. Our terms of reference
Are inadequate for a conclusion
To be drawn: no doubt auto suggestion
Will explain the case, or self-deception
Put it in its place of known phenomena
And alleviate our new dilemma
Or whether to believe in what we know
Or believe in what we do not know’