Thanks to all who responded to my “Story” 2 nights ago by suggesting topics for my posts. Several followers asked me to write about the place of leather in the gay male community, a subject I know little about, as I’ve never understood its allure (I’ve often joked that, when I meet a handsome man who’s into me, my first thought is “How do I get him out of his clothes? Not, “Boy, wouldn’t he look good in leather?”). Leather’s popularity is widespread in our subculture, perhaps because of what it represents, the cultural images it evokes, and the memories it brings up for its fans. What does leather mean to you? If you’re an habitue, what is its allure? How did you develop your fascination with it? My last partner was a big leather fan; I accommodated his passion by accompanying him to the annual International Mr. Leather weekend on Memorial Day weekend (late May) in Chicago 5 or 6 times. We also traveled to Berlin on his 50th birthday in 2010 for its Folsom Street Berlin weekend (This photo was taken of bystanders at the original Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco in Sept. 2009). That was the only time I ever donned “real leather” (more than just an armband). In order to accompany him and our traveling companions to a leather bar which had a “serious” dress code, I had to put on leather chaps. But, I didn’t own any. Fortunately, I was able to borrow a pair from someone in our group (who was traveling with several pairs!). Unfortunately, the only way I could fit into his size chaps, was to strip out of my jeans. In the end (pun intended), I wore “assless” chaps, with bare buttcheeks exposed, walking down the main drag in the gay area of Berlin en route to Mutschmann’s Bar. Fortunately, it was at night and no one who saw me knew me (I have a shot from that occasion, but decorum requires that I not use it here:). While it was not an unpleasant experience, that was it for me and leather.
Folsom Street Fair