“What do you think they’re doing with your socks?” I ask Jessie over the phone.
“What do you think they’re doing with them?” She responds, as if I’ve just asked her the stupidest question she’s ever heard. “They rub them all over their face, deeply inhale the stink, and masturbate with them.”
It’s apparent to Jessie why men would want to buy her disgusting used socks online. She’s a foot fetishist, and her customers are foot fetishists, too. In fact, infatuation with the feet is the most popular form of fetish, according to the Journal of Sexual Medicine. So unlike most other schmucks, who throw away their stinking socks, Jessie recognized her footwear’s value to a niche sexual community, and decided to cash in.
She started out posting old pairs of socks to Ebay, and much to her amazement, got responses within minutes. Her competitive edge came from the knowledge that customers want to see much more than just the Fruit of the Loom logo. Her listings modeled the socks both on and off, flaunting her curvy arches or her painted toes. “You make it provocative,” Jessie says, “and you’ll get millions of buyers.”
Of course, customers will have their fair share of questions and requests. They’ll request a specific style — be it gym socks for extra odor, or thigh-highs that can fulfill a schoolgirl fantasy. They’ll request that you wear them for up to 10 days. They’ll request that you to spit in them.
They may ask for an intricate description of the stench. One man once asked Jessie, “do they smell more like cheese, vinegar or Fritos?” They may also ask for extra evidence that the seller is an attractive young woman. Jessie will oblige and send the customer a selfie, but she says this is a surprisingly rare request. “Most guys don’t ask,” she claims. “Either they don't care, or they get off on the mystery — the fact that they don’t know whose feet were in the socks.”
Perhaps for this reason, women aren’t the only ones profiting off the used sock market. Men have also been able to earn thousands of dollars meeting market demand for "frat boys used socks" or "hot college jock socks."
Perhaps more difficult than finding eager customers, however, is finding a fetish-friendly storefront. As Jessie discovered after her first few hundred dollars in sock sales, Ebay isn’t the most welcoming platform to build your foul footwear empire. The site once deleted 13 of her well-crafted sock listings in one fell swoop.
Ebay’s health guidelines require that used and unwashed socks cannot be listed, so sellers either have to play coy — claiming their socks are unworn and hoping customers can take the hint — or risk their listings being repeatedly deleted and their account suspended.
There are a multitude of alternatives for dirty sock selling, however. Reddit provides a foot-worshipping corner of the Internet at r/usedsocks, where every posting contains seductively-posed pictures of feet dressed in disgusting socks. Craigslist has also been known to boast a thriving used sock economy. Jesse’s considering making the move to Ebanned, an adult site where filthy footwear listings can be as pornographic as possible. This is extremely important, given that marketing strategy is a major aspect of the foot fetish trade.
“When I tell people that I’m doing this, I say I’m a business-woman. I have the product, I know how to market myself, and I know how to talk to people,” Jessie says. She’s also insistent that an open mind is essential to making it as a used sock dealer. “You’ve gotta have the time, the patience, and not get creeped out so easily.”
Once you discover the cash to be gained from accomodating foot festishists, who knows? You might consider the slew of other sexual services that pay a pretty penny. This certainly happened to Jessie, who found herself a financial dominatrix to one customer who was all too eager to become her human ATM. “He got off on me forcing him to buy a certain pair of socks, and telling him how much money to bid on them. He wanted to send me money every week,” she says.
But Jessie refused the offer. She also consistently turns down the opportunity to boost her business by selling soiled panties, too. But therein lies the beauty of the used sock industry. You can watch the money pile up, all while maintaining anonymity, the ability to turn down uncomfortable requests, and not seriously fucking up your future.
So if you’re anything like Jessie — interested in cashing in on fetishism and sex appeal — selling stinky socks may be the perfect way to dip your toes in.