Philadelphia author and former Inquirer reporter Buzz Bissinger (Harry Gerard Bissinger III) on Tuesday checked into an undisclosed rehab facility to seek treatment of an addiction to clothes shopping.
Bissinger says he has been in the grips of his obsession for three years, spending more than $587,000 on sartorial purchases, most notably leather outfits from Gucci.
Bissinger, 58, best known for his 1990 high school sports chronicle Friday Night Lights, which spawned a film and a TV series, checked into the center after posting a sprawling 6,000-word essay about his addiction on GQ magazine's website (www.gq.com).
"I have an addiction," Bissinger writes. "It isn't drugs or gambling. . . . But there are similarities: the futile feeding of the bottomless beast and the unavoidable psychological implications, the immediate hit of the new that feels like an orgasm and the inevitable coming-down."
At turns moving, bizarre, disturbing, profane, tragic, and comically surreal, the essay is titled "My Gucci Addiction," and features explicit descriptions of Bissinger's lusty, emotionally orgasmic encounters with clothes. Encounters that once done leave him feeling empty.
Bissinger says that over the last three years he has amassed "eighty-one leather jackets, seventy-five pairs of boots, forty-one pairs of leather pants, thirty-two pairs of haute couture jeans, ten evening jackets, and 115 pairs of leather gloves." He provides, in excruciating detail, a narrative of his latest clothing binge: a four-day trip in January to see Gucci's new collection in Milan and Florence.
He ended up dropping $22,500 for a lamb's wool coat. "A new Gucci record for me," he writes.
In a statement to NBC, Bissinger says he wrote the essay "because it was the only way I knew of coming to terms and getting the help I am now getting. I have no regrets about what I wrote but I also have nothing to add."