According to a recent report, every single woman who’s used Parisian public transport has been sexually harassed in some way or another. The report is quite detailed in their definitions of assault but for some reasons it doesn’t list frotters. A “frotter,” for those privileged enough not to know, is someone who derives sexual pleasure by rubbing their bits and pieces up against unsuspecting people in crowded public spaces.
Concerned, I headed over to French health and sex forum Doctissimo, where I found a chat room called “Transport Fantasies.” It was full of frotter testimonies—the kind of stories that’ll make you think twice before taking the underground ever again. Ten minutes of scrolling through the pages made me understand why Japan has introduced women only carriages on some of their trains. An idea that is also currently being lobbied for by some UK politicians.
Curious to find out what this was all about, I reached out to some of the people in the forum. After some rather colorful exchanges—most notably one with a cross-dresser who liked to be photographed without underwear on the train—I was contacted by Maxine, who for obvious reasons didn’t feel like telling me his real name. The 38-year-old computer engineer is part of a subway frotting community that he says has been active for roughly 20 years. I gave him a call to ask just what the hell he was up to.
VICE: Hey Maxine, so you are into fantasizing about women on trains. What’s the deal with that?
Maxine: Basically, proximity on public transport is something that hugely excites me and has done for years. I get a lot of heat for it on different forums, to be honest. People calling me things like “pervert,” “sick,” or “disturbed”—you hear those words a lot. But I just want to clarify: I am not a sex offender. I’ve never made a salacious remark to a girl or touched her breasts or anything like that. I’m not what you’d call a predator.
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