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I’ve always been aware of the thriving foot fetish scene on the internet. I first became aware of it when someone sent me to wikifeet.com, telling me someone had created a page for me.
In case you hadn’t guessed, wikifeet is the wikipedia of feet. I looked on my page, and realised that they were just screenshots of anytime I’ve appeared on camera in bare feet, or have uploaded photos to social media with my feet in shot.
At the time I hadn’t really imagined that people would be deriving sexual pleasure from them, but of course they were. People are horny, they’ll masturbate over anything.
I looked at my score: 4.59 out of 5. “Not bad”, I thought to myself smugly. I was brought back down to earth when I checked out Chris Hemsworth’s wikifeet page: 5/5. Of course he was 5/5 — the man with such a chiselled body was always going to have chiselled tootsies.
Over the years, I’ve run into the foot community online — mostly on Twitter. I think they found me after making Tickled, a film that looked at tickling fetishism. I quickly discovered there is some overlap between the two interests. For one thing, a lot of tickling videos feature people’s feet being tickled. Tootsies are ticklish. Makes sense.
But I also found that both communities liked talking about their interest almost as much as seeing it. So I’d get quite a few DMs asking me things like “Oh hi, so are you ticklish?” followed up with “when was the last time you were tickled?” Messages saying “Hi, so what size feet are you?”
All perfectly casual ways of engaging in conversation about a fetish. Then last week, I got a DM from someone asking to buy photos of my feet:
And, well, I decided to answer. On today’s Webworm: how it all played out, a conversation with an admin from wikifeet.com, and some thoughts and advice from an online sex worker about where I went wrong.
Note: I’ve used “..…” to show a decent chunk of time in-between certain messages!
My conversation with a foot fetishist.
@intimate stuff: Hi David. How you you?
Would you be interested in selling me pictures of your feet?
me: how much are we talking?
My offer is 1000 BHD for 6 pictures and 2 videos.
That’s 2.7 USD.
Are you interested?
[Editor’s note: at this point I made a decision: if I got the cash, it would go to a charity, The Kindness Collective]
What do you think, David?"
that’s not a bad deal. let me think on it. how do you have so much money for this? i think you could offer less.
I only offer what I can pay. I know my own balance!
yeah fair enough
When can you give me answer? I really would like to make this deal with you.
Are you there…?
ha! i just need to think about it! i don’t like pressure!
Ok. I’ll be waiting then.
to check you are not doing a trick i’ll send u a sample foot if you paypal $150
That’s how payment works: you send half of the content, I pay, then you send the other half. I got robbed too many times so that’s how I do this now.
ok what constitutes half for you?
3 pics and one 30 sec video
[Editor’s note: they followed that up with this image:]
[Note: I have censored the cousin’s face. In the original DM he was identifiable]
These are the angles for pictures and videos.
look if i’m honest i feel about weird about having my face in it. and there’s some nipples involved too. i thought it was just the feet.
You don’t need to do it shirtless. Face is needed because I keep all the content to myself so you can’t be exposed anywhere.
Let’s do it?
but what about this other man you’ve just sent me? you didn’t keep him to yourself, i’m staring at him
It’s literally my cousin. I use him as a model to show examples.
your cousin is modelling his feet for you?
Yes. He’s 23 though, and not blood related lol. So. Let’s do it?
just thinking about this cousin situation. it’s a lot but i guess if he’s into it, cool. is he into feet too?
Yes he is, a lot.
do you send him photos of your feet, too?
I don’t. I buy his pics.
i thought he’d give them to you for free! or you can just see them up close at family gatherings and stuff?
No personal touches etc, my choice of not doing it. He’s in college. I buy to help him. You’re too interested in me and my cousin lol. This is about you here
i guess i just worry you’re sending me photos of your cousin. that means you’ll probably send my photos to someone else too. how about just the feet. like your original pitch?
I won’t send your pictures to anyone else. I send his because he agreed to be a model of my examples that I show to people to follow the angles that he did. I never exposed anyone and you would not be the first. C’mon, let’s do it David.
i’ll just send my feet and and calf
solo soles? i can do just the soles
Yes, I only like the soles
You took them?
i’m just having breakfast first it’s not even 9am yet!
the day has gotten away on me, i am working atm. but i’m keen to send you some sole pics. how does that sound? and how do we handle the money side? also what do the video entail?
I already explained how the payment works. Videos of soles only too, surprise me. Ok?
ok, so 3 pics, 1 video - then you pay, and i send the rest? i just haven’t done this before so want to make sure i’m doing it right. look if i am totally honest i’m not convinced that you will pay. i just think you will end up with 3 pics and one video for free
I never failed with anyone and you will not be the first, trust me. So, you will take the pictures and videos in those angles that I sent, right? No need to do it shirtless.
no just the feet - no bod. the bod is worth more. but will happily part with my feet for you.
Ok, soles only, don’t forget
i’ll get my tootsies out when i am home from work
ok here we go, buckle in. my paypal is @davidfarriersfeet. i hope this works for you.
[Editor’s note: for full transparency, I sent three stills and one video of me wiggling the moneymakers. That should get me 1/2 of the $2700 which is $1350 US]
what do you think of these bad boys?
It felt weird, knowing that my feet were now out in the wild with a total stranger. I look down at them now, and there they are: my two feet. Now they’re off over the other side of the world, being assessed. My disgusting feet are potentially giving someone else pleasure.
I check my DMs. My photos and video haven’t been seen yet. The user, @intimatestuff, has been offline for two hours now. I look at his profile. It doesn’t give much away:
I go to bed.
I wake up. It’s my big payday. My charity will get its donation. I slide into my own DMs: there’s nothing there.
I look back over my messages with @intimatestuff. The photos of my tootsies still sit on unseen. Then I click through to @intimatestuff’s profile. Something’s gone awry:
I think for a moment that my foot enthusiast has vanished off the internet. He’s shut down his account. But I swap to my other Instagram account and search his name. He’s still active. Alive and well. It’s worse than I ever imagined: I’ve been blocked.
I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face by a million toes.
Depressed, I wander over to my wikifeet page. I gasp.
Staring back at me are the photos and video of my glorious tootsies.
I recalled something @intimatestuff had said from our earlier conversation: “I got robbed too many times”. Turns out this whole time he was the robber!
What a twist.
And I also realise something truly horrible: chances are, I’ll take the place of the “cousin”.
I’ve become the bait.
To be honest — I did think there was a chance this was legit. I’d met people from the foot fetish community while making Tickled and they were all lovely. As one person from the foot fetish world just told me, “no, this isn’t common at all. We are usually a very trustworthy community.” And I believe him.
But another thing to note. For me, this was just an experiment. Sure, if I’d gotten the cash, great. But the thing about this experiment is that if it all went wrong (as it did) there was no big loss for me. For one thing — they were just my feet. I couldn’t care less. And I had this other advantage, too: I can write about it. I have a voice that can make it very clear what happened. I have that privilege to make a “story” out of it. Therefore there’s no embarrassment or shame.
But as the day rolled by, I was surprised by something. You know how I said earlier I “couldn’t care less?” I sort of did. It was weird to me that these photos I’d sent privately had been treated this way. This commodity taken without payment, and uploaded for all to see. It was — in a weird way, violating. I thought back to some of the lines in in @intimatestuff’s messages to me:
“I never failed with anyone and you will not be the first, trust me.”
“I won’t send your pictures to anyone else.”
“I never exposed anyone and you would not be the first.”
“C’mon, let’s do it David.”
I mean, it’s hilarious — which is why I started to write this newsletter about it. But then I started to think: plenty of people are out there doing this for real, and behaviour like this must suck.
I have no doubt that as work dried up over a pandemic, plenty of people turned to the likes of OnlyFans to make money. And for them, my experience isn’t a joke. I bet they are battling shitheads like @intimatestuff all the time!
And so decided I wanted to talk to Ellie about their experiences.
A conversation with Ellie
How would you describe the work you do and how does it fit into your day to day life? Like, is this a side hustle, or a full time gig, or what?
I am a part time online sex worker and I cam in a live setting. I have conversations on cam, so there’s a social aspect to it and I also perform — this can be teasing, or on the more explicit side. I also sell my content on onlyfans, which means I make video content, take photos of myself and update people about my life.
Yes, it’s a side hustle! I grew this little project from when I was taking a break from vanilla work around two years ago and just never stopped. I do this a few times a week and it works around another part time job.
I’ve sent you the chat logs of my experience. Where did I go wrong?!
As soon as I saw your tweet with the word ‘paypal’ big red flags came up for me! You talked to this guy a lot, David. Honestly I started skimming and then had to go back to read it because your John’s tone was really off and made me feel slimy.
Firstly, he set the tone in a big way, likely thinking that you’ve never hustled like this before. He also sent you some photos, incorporating you into his fantasy. In this kind of marketplace, you have the goods, so telling you what to do and for him to set the scene is just manipulative on his part entirely.
Things definitely went wrong in that he really baited you all the way with this and was able to have your attention for a fair amount of time without any money changing hands. The ‘what do you think of these badboys’ message should not have been sent until the money hit your account and was transferred into a safe place.
The Paypal thing is a sore spot for me to mention because I got my account completely banned for this exact kind of thing, sadly.
I am curious about payment — this person didn't really ever suggest how they would pay, only a currency. Do you have any advice here? Like, how do you get payment for your work?
I get payment from clients during my cam show and this is instantaneous, called ‘tipping’ like you would tip someone for service. I then have the option of converting my collected tips to a bank transfer, cheque or to crypto.
For my onlyfans income, this is linked to a bank account. People can pay for a monthly subscription and they can also tip me to pay for content or just whenever they want. Sadly, the bigger payment providers out there really don’t like sex work. It’s against their terms of service almost all the time — if they catch you doing this, or your client turns sour on you, your account will be reported and your funds will be frozen.
If you plan on camming or content creating, my advice here is to research ‘payouts’ with each provider and to know your comfort level around this. Are you happy being paid X for Y? You see about 60% of the money you are paid on camsites and you get around 80% of the money from content hosting sites like onlyfans. This doesn’t include bank fees. This site is very helpful.
Where did you go wrong in the early days?
How long is a piece of string David?! I think naiveté is a big part of it. People always try it on — I’ve seen this in every industry I’ve worked in, be it vanilla work environments or in this one. To answer this question, I think I went wrong thinking I had my boundaries in check. Over time I needed to modify my comfort level and allow myself permission to take longer breaks as well as adjust my ways of working to feel safe within the digital and offline space I created.
In the beginning, I gave a lot of attention to people that didn’t deserve it. I lost my patience quickly, perhaps unintentionally catering to the kinds of people who wanted to see me in discomfort. Sometimes I didn’t stand my ground and was not assertive enough. I still slip up to be honest. I realise when I’m saying this, that it really echoes my experience working with Government bureaucrats too, just different contexts!
I also didn’t think over very basic things like investing in a good VPN, not using Paypal and taking proper time out for self care. Just work/life balance stuff.
Do you encounter people like the dude I encountered in your job?
I am a white male who sent out an innocent photo of a foot. You are a non-binary POC who sends out more than feet. I am just curious what challenges this throws up in your life, and how you weigh the pros and cons.
I think the challenges that my identity presents are never-ending, but also present as an opportunity. I recently have been a bit more open about identifying as non-binary. Whilst I show more than feet, a big part of what I do is to create a dialogue with people and to allow myself permission to feel sexy in a body I haven’t always loved.
A huge challenge I deal with is ‘gaze.’ I talk about this in my cam shows too — I know that people have impressions of a person before they interact with them so it takes me time to break that stereotype and to build a community with people who support what I do. I battle a lot of stereotypes, where people make assumptions about my background, or assume submissiveness and sexual proclivities catering to their whims.
I think gaze permeates other parts of my life and I know that I lose out in a lot of situations where I have been more deserving of opportunities than my white counterparts, or that men have felt more entitled to my body because of what I look like and the way I present myself.
The longer I have done sex work, the more at home in my body I have felt. The pros and cons are interesting to weigh up. I constantly critique the working conditions of vanilla jobs (including mine) in relation to the flexibility and the satisfaction that sex work can bring. I often feel more humiliated by the general public and by fellow co-workers than I do from a stranger on the internet in a sexualised environment.
Look — Euphoria was one of my favourite shows in recent memory. There is this character in there, played by Barbie Ferreira, who cams in that show. And it was cool because while it wasn’t sugar coated for that character, she was in control and it was a very empowering thing she was doing. I guess what I am leading to hear is - how empowering do you find this gig, versus “Oh God the internet is awful get me outta here!”
I think it’s echoed across the camming world that luck plays a really big part of how successful you can be in it. To add to that, I think that certainly the privilege of race, literacy, education, fresh food, basic income and safe housing have afforded me the ability to be empowered by sex work to begin with.
I do often hate the internet, but I grew up on it and now rely on it. It’s safe to say that I know my way around it — so it’s a part of me in ways I might underestimate.
Whilst it has been a generally positive experience for me, it has been and is a lot of work. I think there’s a need to look at sex work as survival for a lot of people and there is inherent privilege in being able to enjoy it safely and to find empowerment from it.
FOSTA-SESTA (Editor’s note: “A new law intended to curb sex trafficking threatens the future of the internet as we know it”) has impacted people’s livelihoods from its passing and still does to this day. Payment processors withhold income from workers and it is hugely disempowering to have your income withheld from you without any recourse.
How has the scene changed over the years, and would you say it’s gotten safer and more empowering, or there are even more pitfalls now than when you started?
In the scheme of things, two years can seem like a long time to do sex work, but it is and it isn’t. The influx of newbies has made me feel like a veteran though! This is a long answer so you’ve been warned!
It’s hard to answer this question because there’s such a context to it — I acknowledge the fact that I am a solo performer and I produce, light and shoot a lot of my content. Over time I have been able to upgrade my specs as well and I also pay someone I trust to take pictures of me.
Further, I already have a lot of life experience under my belt! There are huge risks that have always come with this industry. To name the main ones from my perspective, this is piracy (which is always malicious), fraud (which you have encountered with your foot pic man) and also full on predators.
I do believe the net has widened in the pandemic and more people have come on board. This means there are more people to organise and build community and connections with, which is great! On the other hand, this could also mean more actual losers, predators and time wasters out here preying on sex workers.
Since the pandemic, on the one hand, we have literal celebrities with a million followings taking advantage of platforms like onlyfans and literally being digital sex tourists to gain advantage of an already saturated market. I mean it’s their choice, right? Though to me this makes the space unsafe and increases the threshold of harm, as more people, often very young people, are drawn to create content and see it as a really lucrative thing. It is lucrative for some, but not many.
There’s so much to unpack if you have all day to be honest — men asking sex workers to create content for free with them, men pressuring newbies to meet up, ‘content houses’ being started up during the pandemic to maximise profits in the camming/porn industry, so-called photographers doing ‘hotel room photoshoots’ for ‘new model’.
The pitfalls and risks are things that have always existed, but there is real desperation out there as vanilla jobs are also short changing their workers, who may look at sex work as a viable alternative. I don’t blame them — I was in those shoes not long ago.
I think to sum it all up, the pandemic has made the environment of online sex work more chaotic. The pitfalls and risks will grow as the online/offline world shifts and changes, and I suppose as workers, we will be organising, sharing information and protecting each other so we can mitigate these risks.
I feel like more people are probably on the likes of OnlyFans and so on during the pandemic, and I feel in 2021 there must be a steep learning curve for people. What advice would you give for someone new to this game — like me in this case I suppose! But actually, for someone serious about this or considering online sex work?
Take safety/internet safety seriously and get a VPN. Watermark all your images.
Do a lot of research and take notes - learn about payment platforms and providers. There are many forums for gathering information for how to start.
Always get your money first. Corny but true: If the opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is.
This has been said a lot: Imagine that your co-workers, family and friends find explicit pictures and videos of you. Are you prepared to sit down and have a conversation with them about it?
Last but not least — if possible, invest in therapy and think about how you want to set your boundaries. People will push them.
Okay — thanks for this. Is there anything else you'd like to add? Like misconceptions about what you do, or a funny story?
Okay, I don't know if I should mention this, but here goes: I talked about your work (Tickled and Webworm) in my cam show and someone in my ‘cam room’ said he’s worked in an office with you before! Isn’t it a weird way for the worlds to collide? Gosh, isn’t this conversation a kinda cool remix — maybe a clashing of timelines? Wild.
Imagine a separate non-fictional universe where he’s watching me on the computer while working in that office with you. HR would be pissed off. I guess I could have waved ‘hello!’ at both of you.
Ha! I can’t stop wondering who that colleague was now! Thanks, Ellie.
So yeah, while my experience was an amusing experiment (that backfired) for me — I think it’s important to remember it’s not a joke for everyone.
Oh before I wrap this up, I’d reached out to Wikifeet for comment on all this, too. They got back super quickly and had this to say:
“I’ve deleted the photos in question and banned the user responsible for those uploads. There is a system in place to blacklist that user’s IP as a measure to try to prevent him from creating a new account.
Also, just to make sure those photos don’t get uploaded again by anyone else, I’ve soft-locked your gallery. There are 2 lock levels on wikiFeet:
Soft-lock: Only a handful of trusted users are allowed to upload to your page.
Hard-lock: Nobody can upload photos to the page.
If you’d rather I hard-lock your wikiFeet profile page, or even delete it completely, please let me know. Please feel free to contact me to this email address for anything.”
I thanked them for taking the photos down, but told them the main page could stay up. My rating had risen: 4.62.
I’m coming for you, Hemsworth.
PS: With all this in mind, I donated some money to The Kindness Collective (my friend Sarah runs it, and they do great work for New Zealand families who are having a hard time). Some asshole lying to me shouldn’t stop them getting some money.