Folsom is a "fetish" festival that started in San Francisco and spread to New York and Berlin. It's a guaranteed good time because the well-cultivated scary vibe surrounding it has thus far scared off all the bachelorette parties that plague our bars like herpes sores.
BACHELORETTE #1: Ohmigod, Cynthia, look -- there's a man in a puppy mask!
BACHELORETTE #2: Ohmigod, Charlotte, look -- those aren't Snausages!
I find myself trying to figure out what about this festival is uniquely Berlin. It's not the dozens of puppies, the sad trend I first spotted in New York months ago. It's stupid: basically it's submission in a leather dog mask. You scamper around and wait for your master to either spank you or give you treats. I tell Dieter's friend Herbert I don't think it's remotely sexy. Call me crazy but I've never gotten an erection looking at a big dog's ass.
"What about the tails?" he asks. "Do you know how they stay in place?"
I don't care if Burt Reynolds is holding them on, it's not getting a rise out of me.
Herbert points out the rings some guys have tattooed around their forearms, some as high up as their elbows. "It means they're into fist-fucking, and it shows how far they've gone," he explains.
That's kind of Berlin, I decide. The trend hasn't yet hit the U.S. but I should not be the guy who starts it. At least my tattoo would be cheap, since it'd be just below the second knuckle on my index finger.
The streets are jammed with hunky men in leather and vinyl yet one area is oddly clear. We investigate and find a mostly-naked man in a wheelbarrow -- I will tell this story to Germans later and no one will have the faintest clue what a wheelbarrow is -- holding a cardboard signs that says PISSOIR.
Isn't that French? I wonder. I decide since the cardboard is only three feet across the man couldn't fit the German word, which is PENILFREEFLOWINPLATZ. The man looks lonely, dry and dejected, so the liberal crowd is feeling guilty and muttering excuses.
MAN #1: I can't! I'm pee-shy.
MAN #2: I just went two minutes ago.
MAN #3: Look at this crowd! I'm a grower, not a shower.
Finally a young butch number steps up to the plate. The crowd presses forward to watch as he unbuttons his fly and whips it out.
This is really Berlin, I think, as I await the forbidden act. Pure decadent Berlin.
Just as the first splash nears its target, though, a man bursts out of the crowd and throws himself between the yellow flow and Wheelbarrow Guy. The crowd gasps: it's like a really gay version of Saving Private Ryan. The urine flies at the newcomer's face and hits it. It's close range so water ricochets everywhere and the receiver's face distorts both from the impetus of his sudden movement and the pressure of the golden stream. Still, the giant smile he's wearing tells us everything we need to know.
The man in the wheelbarrow isn't smiling quite as much.
I walk away and reconsider my judgment. No, that was all New York, I decide as a wayward puppy licks at my boots. It looks like you're finally going to get what you want and somebody shows out of nowhere to take it.