Van Skyler vs Fabrice, Undagear 29 - Sock It To Me (BG East)

The stark side lighting casts ominous shadows on the mat room walls and deepens the definition of the wrestlers' bodies - Van's is the more compact and solidly built, while Fabrice's body stretches gracefully towards the ceiling. (The effect is diminished in the flash photos above.) The two circle each other wordlessly, almost meditatively, converging at the center of the mat. 

Somehow the light and shadows make the space appear too small for them. The illusion of confinement, though, lends intimacy to the contest. They circle, collar and elbow. Then Fabrice takes Van down to the mat, legs straddling the midsection but not so firmly as to stop Van from rolling over onto his chest to avoid a pin. Fabrice then snares the muscle boy in a body scissors.

Skyler clutches Fabrice's sock and manages to unlock the guy's ankles, permitting escape. Then he retaliates, bending his statuesque foe's legs over head, pinning shoulders and knees together on the mat. Unable to increase pressure further, he segues to a reverse surfboard submission, facing away from his man, pulling the upper body off the mat, the two bodies dramatically perpendicular.

Skyler proceeds to work his opponent's body further with a series of tendon-snapping holds. The holds are improbably complex, like nothing you'd ordinarily encounter in the martial arts - more Cubism  than textbook grappling - stylized as to suggest a fetish or ritual. It takes some time before I realize that this struggle is all about the socks.

"Eat that sock," Skyler commands Fabrice while cutting off the guy's air supply with a figure-four headlock. The wrestlers possess an otherworldly allure and heat, which contribute to the air of fantasy and Black Mirror-style surrealism. This is wrestling - legit wrestling, more or less - but viewed through a distorting prism.

Shortly after the midpoint, Fabrice clutches Van in a rear naked choke while stroking the bulge in Skyler's briefs with the heel of his sock. Far from resisting, Van reaches down and guides the foot and sock up and down, pleasuring himself with his tormentor's toes. After Fabrice evens the score, the two strive for the vital third fall, which should decide the ultimate outcome. It does and it doesn't.

I won't give away the ending. Despite the ceremonial manner in which the match proceeds, it provokes some authentic memories, mostly of tube socks and wrestling on tiled dormitory floors, foot massages as a form of seduction, and the eroticism of feet and toes in general - for foot fetishists obviously, but also for others as part of the polymorphous perversity of all sexual interaction.

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