Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How I became a Leatherman

Decades ago, I came out into a world of confusion and loss. Although I had flirted with Leathermen over the years, I had never allowed myself the freedom to fully explore this world until the early 1980's. At that time, AIDS was beginning to take its toll on the Leather Community, and I felt as if I was emerging into a world that was fading rapidly. In spite of this, I was determined to explore the boundaries of man to man sex. A few years later, I would be "out" to everyone. My main focus, to find my soulmate. In spite of continued dalliances with BDSM, I dated men who were not part of the Leather scene. "I am not a Leatherman," I told myself. "I am just a man who likes Leather and enjoys creative sex.

During that decade, I played with many men. Being a professional ballet dancer, I enjoyed the thrill of the rough physicality that could occur between Leathermen. Unlike the staid and often guilt-riddled sex in the mainstream Gay Community, many Leathermen were deeply invested in celebrating sex while advocating safer practices. To offset my impetuous sexual behavior, many experienced men would take the time to instruct me in these practices. They would also show me how to wear clothes to accentuate my body, instruct me on the nuances of cruising, and teach me how to show respect for myself and others. These men were gods to me, beautiful men who exuded sex and confidence.

"A Leatherman must be invited to such exaltation," I thought. "I am not worthy."

Around this time, I met a handsome Seattle Leatherman with a tight, toned body, a perfectly groomed mustache, and a voracious appetite for sex. We met at the Triangle Campground north of Everett, Washington, and passed a long weekend in unbridled passion and hot sex. After returning back to Seattle, he called me up on the telephone, and asked me out on a date.

My response was immediate. "I can't," I replied. "You are a Leatherman. I am not. It wouldn't work."

I will never forget this man's astonishment. "WHO do you think you are?" he asked. "We have spent days having hot Leathersex, and you say you are not a Leatherman?"

To which I replied, "Sorry! It wouldn't work between us. I am not like you."

During the next couple of years, in spite of my growing attendance at Leather gatherings, I still did not consider myself part of the Leather Community. I wore my boots daily, always impeccably shined. I developed a reputation as a hard player. I hung out more and more with Leathermen. Still, I felt I had not earned the right to call myself anything but "Hugh."

One spring evening, I attended a Leather awards event. I listened as my friend, Wes Randall, presented tokens of appreciation to various members of the Leather Community in Seattle. Wes had a particular way of speaking that always made me smile. As he called out each name, I watched the person walk to the front, receive the award, and return to join the group of applauding Leatherfolk. After he had finished presenting the awards, Wes stopped, smiled, and said in his distinct voice, "I would now like to take this opportunity to recognize someone who does not consider himself a 'Leatherman.' He feels that he cannot assume this title, so I am going to give it to him. To Hugh, the best Leatherman I know."

I felt embarrassed, speechless, and I felt proud. I stood sheepishly as members of the Community looked on approvingly. After years, I had been invited to join the ranks of others that I had respected and revered. I felt validated, worthy to wear my Leather in public. I had become a Leatherman.

The world today seems to revolve at a faster pace than it did then. Leather is easier to obtain, as is instruction into Leatherplay. Becoming a part of the Community now takes days instead of years; there is a place for everyone in the expanding world of Leather and fetish. Still, I value the slow path that led me to become a Leatherman decades ago. Today, as I stand next to my husband, another proud Leatherman, I feel fortunate to have emerged from a generation of so many great Leatherfolk, a great number who are no longer with us. To them, I owe a great debt that cannot be repaid.

With respect!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Back to Black

After a painful and productive period in my life, I am ready to write again. Little did I know that such drastic changes would happen at this stage. Instead of contemplating my upcoming retirement I am beginning again. Saul has undergone conversion and Paul stands strong.

In the last few years I lost both of my parents, my thirteen year relationship, my Seattle home, and a number of submissive men who looked to me as their SIR and MASTER. I lost the respect of many men in the Community through my efforts to be honest with myself and others. I have angered others who feel that I have not continued to be as active in titles and events.

Rather than being defined by my what I no longer have, I feel defined by what I have found since the summer of 2012. I found a new appreciation for men who have demonstrated true brotherhood, my chosen family, outstanding Leathermen who have supported me in times of weakness and rejoiced with me during times of strength. I have felt the continued support of friends. Most important, I also found the love of my life, my perfect boy, my compliment, my husband. I am now a legally married SIR. I prepare to emigrate to Canada to be with my new husband and to begin a new life there. I investigate academic options that will enable me to build on my professional life in the United States. I feel as if I am just beginning to realize my potential in life.

Even though I attend fewer events I am more Leather than ever. Together with my handsome husband I play more and feel more liberated by the power dynamics of our relationship.

I am almost 59 years old, proud to live in accordance with the core values that I learned decades ago. I am a Gay Leatherman.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Phenomal Bond

I hug my property in front of Reagan National after another Leather run. Six weeks ahead without the property's service. After my property, I walk away, dragging my suitcase to the check-in counter for Alaska Airlines. This is a job my property would normally do for his MASTER. I stand before the ticket agent and sense the absence of another body against mine.

I walk to the cafe and order my own coffee. I then sit down and instinctively look up to grant property the permission to sit beside me. A habitual act. I sit and drink my coffee alone.

I go to the restroom and pull out my cock, aiming my warm stream into the white, porcelain bowl. I think of the willing mouth of my property always ready to nurse out my piss until I have finished. I shake off the last drops, return my cock to my 501s, and button up my jeans. property is not there to serve as my valet and fasten up my clothing.

For the ensuing weeks I will do for myself what he usually does for me. Each simple action will remind me of the physical bond with my property, of its service when I wake, wash, eat, dress, urinate, walk, and cum. My body will feel incomplete without my property beside me. The bond between MASTER and property now realized through an awareness of absence.

Ownership of another creates an apparent paradox. Over time, my body as MASTER has redefined itself according to the service provided by the property. No longer can I as MASTER experience true independence in action. Without property beside me, I must do for myself what my property would do for me.

As participants in BDSM, we recognize the strong connection between our bodies and our identities. We define our roles by actions during play. Essentially, our movements or lack thereof establish identities that we feebly attempt to define by words. Without such action, roles do not exist. The dance of trust requires a minimum of two participants.

Given this, we must immediately dismiss the notion that a man can be a MASTER without a slave. One is defined by the other. It is not an abstract like a tenet of faith, a personal conviction, or a mysterious rapture felt in the bosom. Rather, both the MASTER and the slave carve out their identities based on physical interactions with each other. The MASTER understands this when the slave no longer is present. He must now do for himself what the slave usually does. Every physical need becomes a reminder of the slave.

Thus, the idea of independence as an attribute of strength is absurd when considered within the power dynamic of BDSM. Standing alone, the MASTER realizes that he is not Superman, Nietzsche's conceptual higher being beyond duality. Without his slave, the MASTER realizes that he is very much connected to the worm of the body which the slave addresses through diligent service.