Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolving

As 2009 draws to a close, I reflect on the year and think about the coming year. Who I am, who I want to be, what I want to do, and how I will execute these goals. My personal goals are not quite "new years resolutions." I don't believe in making public statements that are not achievable, or not consistent with who I am.

I reviewed my "Resolving" post from last year, and I can say that I achieved most of what I said I would do. I will continue with more of the same:
  • Caring for my partner, family, and friends by lending a hand, giving a call and paying attention, and sending all those birthday cards. In 2009, I sent 200+ cards and anticipate the same in 2010.
  • Sharing a smile, even with people I don't know. A smile may be the only good thing that happened to someone, so I resolve to continue to smile often in both a physical manner, as well as with my words.
  • Making lemonade when life serves you lemons. I had a rough year in part of my life, and I resolve to move forward, held held high, and accept and appreciate the support I get from those who care for me.
  • Trying to take time to have more fun, including riding my Harley with my club, and continuing to practice my Italian with my Bocci buddies, among other things. I wish I didn't have to "schedule" fun, but if I didn't work at carving out time to go ride, play Bocci, visit my family, and celebrate life, I would be bogged down with chores, work, and feel burdened. My burdens are lifted when I take time to enjoy, to smile, to laugh, to share, and to contribute to the welfare of my friends and neighbors.
  • Continue to love and care for the man who means the world to me, who accepts me for who I am, with all of my faults, foibles, and klutziness. My beloved partner deserves nothing but my TLC, as he returns his to me.
  • Continuing with my community service, and supporting good people to run for office in our local elections, stepping down from my own. It's time for me to take a break!
  • Show those that I love that I love them, each and every day.
Anything I didn't do that I said I would in 2009?

Yep: I didn't build that gazebo in the back yard. Gazebo-building took a back seat to reflooring our upstairs hallway with hardwood. Man, that took a LONG time.

Anything new for 2010?

I didn't say this last year, but I should have: I will continue to follow the example set for me by my best friend, AZ, as well as thoughtful and caring friends with whom I exchange email regularly (in alpha order) Bama, Brian, Clay, Derrell, Eugene, Kelly, Kevin, Paul, Sue, ... and more. I hate naming names because inevitably I'll forget someone. If I have, please pardon me!) These people are wonderful, thoughtful, insightful, caring human beings who mean a lot to me. The example they set by what they do and how to they do it is one that I will continue to try to follow.

More new things for 2010? Well, some new leathers are making their way into my motorcycle gear. I'll share about growing and changing focus from fetish to function as I continue my journey in life. New boots? Well... probably. I have my eye on some boots that I don't have and would like to have, so when my boot fund is adequately financed, I'll make the move. Declutter? My partner is King of "getting rid of stuff" and I may just help out. Oh, and I'll try to relax and just chill out; kick my boots up in the hammock and watch the world of the animal antics in our back yard park. Just sittin' and chillin' is very hard for me to do, due to what my twin brother calls my obsession with acting like "Taz" in the Looney Tunes cartoons. (giggle) It's really my Type A personality.

I would love to take a long, long ride on my Harley with people who want to stop and smell the roses. About 200 - 400 miles per day is do-able. More than that, I just get too tired and it's no longer fun to ride. I hope I can find some buddies who want to take a road trip with me for a week or two, perhaps north to the Canadian Maritimes. That has been a long-term desire. Having ridden a Harley in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, I know what such a trip can be like. I wish my partner could join me, but due to his disability, he can't. But now that I own a touring class Harley, it's time to take such a trip on my own bike, if only I could find a few people who don't want to ride long 15-hour days and drink all night.

Are there places to which I would like to travel? You bet! But travel beyond the US or Canada is not in the financial picture for me due to the devalued US Dollar. I just can't afford it. Within the U.S., I would love to return to visit my old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, my favourite City By The Bay (San Francisco), or rent a bike and go riding through Zion National Park. Better yet, have my buddy Clay take me to the Calgary Stampede with all those cowboys! Woof!

Overall, I resolve to continue my life's journey by sharing joy, loving life, extending a helping hand, supporting my lovely aunt through her 95th year, caring for my partner, doing a good job at work, having some fun, but most of all, taking action. It's one thing to talk about it. It's quite something else to do it. That's my goal: do it, and with a huge smile on my face. (And in boots and leather, too!)

May you have a wonderful 2010. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top 10 Countdown: 1 - 5

Reviewing my stats on which of my posts throughout the whole year are most viewed, the following are the most popular posts on my blog for 2009:

#4: (tie) Cowboy Boots and Jeans Google Searches

It is amusing to me that many people use the Google search engine to ask serious questions about ordinary issues, such as wearing cowboy boots or about leather in public. This blog post gets more "hits" than many others because its keywords about using the Google search engine result in many viewers using Google to land here.

#4: (tie) Where Do You Find Masculine Gay Guys?

This is post on my blog related to masculine gay men gets about 100 visitors each week. Lots of people are interested in finding out how and where to meet a masculine gay man. There are a lot of us (masculine gay men) out here, but perhaps we're not where you've been looking (or in my case, "taken").

#3: Best Motorcycle Boots

Many people search the internet for "Best Motorcycle Boots" and my blog post comes up hundreds of times each week. There are a lot of people looking for recommendations and reviews of motorcycle boots and end up frequently on this blog post. I have composed a very popular review of motorcycle boots on my website.

#2: Bulges and Breeches

I think this blog post is viewed very often because I featured a popular Tom of Finland drawing within it, as part of a review. Using the Google image search feature, this image on my blog comes up very often.

#1: Wesco Boots and Gay Culture

While this blog post first appeared on December 27, 2008, it absolutely amazes me how many hundreds of visitors find it each week. There is a lot of mystery and interest in Wesco Boots and Gay Culture. I have reached the conclusion that much of the confusion by the straight community comes from fetish videos they see on YouTube. I posted an update about this "interest" on December 11, 2009.

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While not the most highly rated, my blog post titled, "Not A Practicing Homosexual" was separately nominated for the funniest of the year.

Thank you for visiting this blog!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 10 Countdown: 6 - 10

It has been interesting blogging for my second year, with posts appearing every day about various things in my life and about my interests in boots, leather, motorcycling, and caring for people.

I keep stats on which of my posts throughout the whole year are most viewed. The posts come up -- even the older ones -- from Google searches, mostly, since Google owns Blogger, which is where this blog is hosted.

So here goes .... the following are the most popular posts on my blog this year:

#10: (tie) Best Value Motorcycle Boots

Lots of people search for information and end up on my website and this blog while looking for insights on the best value for [quality] motorcycle boots. This post was written in response to seeing all of those searches end up on my website.

#10: (tie) Leather Repair and Alteration

This post was written in response to a number of email messages that I have received this year.

#9: Rules for Cowboy Boots

It never ceases to amaze me how many people use the Internet to search for the mystical "rules" for wearing cowboy boots. Here they are.

#8: Rules for Wearing Fetish Uniforms

Searching for "rules" about whether it is legal to wear a uniform if you are not a law enforcement officer results in many hits on this blog and my website. Here are "the rules" for those who have a uniform fetish.

#7: The Masculine Gay Man

As I said in the opening of that post, a LOT of people use search engines to look up information about gay men and masculinity. This is one of the two most popular posts on this blog that gives my opinions on the matter.

#6: Wesco Boots -- Gay?

An attempted blog comment on a previous (and still very popular) blog post resulted in my developing another post about Wesco boots and gay culture. It seems that YouTube videos about Wesco boots by gay guys has caused misperceptions by some straight guys.

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Check back for my next post tomorrow when I reveal #1 - #5!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Some "Me Time"

Christmas is over. My partner is taking my mother-in-law home today. It still isn't easy to live with her. Oh well, she's the only mother that my partner has, so by extension, I try to be as kind and gentle with her as I can. I admit, it isn't easy. I will be happy not to have to watch another sappy Christmas movie that my partner recorded to keep her entertained during her visit.

My twin brother and his wife will be here through Wednesday, but in order to see more of the family who live much further away from me, he and his wife also are leaving this morning and will stay a few days with our sister before going back to Europe. Gosh, I'll miss him. It has been a lot of fun having him around.

Now through Thursday when my partner returns, I have some "me time." I am off work this entire week... whoopie!

This extended free time is rare, but appreciated time to do things that I want to do: read, update my website and see if I can create a special feature for it, play a little bit (and perhaps do a video or two), replace leaky valves in three faucets in our house and two in a couple rental houses I own, get the truck inspected, cross over to Virginia to pick up some things that are half-price over there than where I live, etc., etc.

And, of course, I will be writing some more blog posts for future viewing.

Please keep the ideas coming. Questions, thoughts, concerns, suggestions -- all are welcome. Questions and suggestions that I receive via email sometimes turn into good stuff for a post on this blog. Please be assured that I will not reveal the name of anyone who communicates with me (unless the person says that it is okay to do so.) Viewing habits on my website, usually driven by search engines, also have been good fodder for sharing some musings. So keep searching -- it's interesting to "see" what people want to know.

To communicate with me, it is easiest to write to me. You may also leave a comment on this (or any other) blog post that is consistent with the anonymous commenting policy.

Okay, now to enjoy some "me time." This blog will be on "auto-blog" status through January 1.

Life is short: enjoy it!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Boots-n-Leather Christmas

Continuing with my regular interest in wearing functional, comfortable clothing, I picked out my side-laced leather jeans, Dress Instep Dehner Boots, and my dress leather shirt to wear on Christmas.

Then I began to re-think this outfit.

Not that wearing all leather on Christmas Day as we went about visiting family and friends would be unusual for me. In fact, if I didn't wear something made of leather, it would be likely that someone would notice and ask.

However, I got to thinking about wearing all black on Christmas. That isn't too cheery, is it? Hmmm... perhaps spice it up with a red leather tie? Nope... my twin brother promised me that he would not wear a tie, so I was not about to wear one, either. Plus, with the bending and reaching that I do in the kitchen whilst cooking, a tie would be too restrictive. (That's why I dislike ties).

I put the dress leather shirt away, and pulled out a solid red flannel shirt. It looked more "holiday-ish." It went well with the black leather pants and boots.

I wore my leather cop jacket to keep warm, and it served well, in addition to the leather jeans, from my getting too wet in the snowball battle that my brother got going with the kiddos at my niece's house.

So that is what I wore throughout Christmas Day -- to visit family, friends, and around our house as I prepared our meal of turkey, corn, green beans, pani (dinner rolls), salad, and a lemon meringue pie for dessert.

Life is short: wear your leather -- not just for an "event" or occasional outing, but for warmth, style, and comfort.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas With My Brother

Guest blog by J, BHD's twin brother

I wrote this post for my brother to put on his blog on Christmas night. When this message appears, three of us (my brother, my wife, and me) will be visiting family and exploring the neighborhood where we grew up. Many of our family haven't met my wife yet, as we were married in Italy and this is her first visit to this part of the United States.

We began our Christmas by awakening to the aromas of breakfast. We came downstairs and greeted my brother-in-law and his mother who were seated in the living room by the Christmas tree. They had been up for an hour and were waiting for us before having breakfast. We entered the kitchen and beheld a huge meal that my brother was ready to serve. Man, it reminded me of our Christmas mornings when we were kids. We had cialda (waffles), bacon, egg souffle, home-made bagels with lox and cream cheese, orange juice, coffee... wow, what a treat! I usually don't have much for breakfast but a roll and coffee, so this breakfast was an extreme pleasure. Even my wife was impressed (and that's saying something.)

After the huge brunch, we exchanged some gifts, but nothing much. Our family has long agreed not to exchange gifts among each other because we would all go broke. But my brother and I have always exchanged a little something, following a strict limit on how much we spend. My brother gave me a month-by-month calendar with photos on it that he took when I visited in August -- of me, "the bad boy Harley-biker guy." What a hoot! How did he have time to do that? "Non รจ nulla," he says. (Ha!) I felt silly giving him a belt, but he seemed genuinely appreciative.

Then it was time to visit some of our great-nieces and great-nephews. After all, Christmas is for kids! My brother wanted to ride his Harley, but since my wife and I both were going and neither of us wanted to be tied by a bungie cord to the back of the bike, we opted to ride in his truck. Good thing we did, as the weather was lousy (cold, wet, icy, yucky).

We enjoyed seeing the younger ones. I took some of them outside to build a snowman and have a snowball fight, despite the rain. We had a ball! I got soaked. My wife got miffed (fa bene!) My brother and sister laughed and laughed and laughed. They never expected me to get all messy. (They forgot the days that I played football on many a muddy field).

My wife and I stayed at my sister's house while my brother drove back home so he could prepare our Christmas dinner. (I'm glad we went to church on Christmas Eve, as my clothes were unpresentable after that snowball battle!) My niece dropped us off at his house by mid-afternoon. I changed clothes, but not into a suit. When I stay with my brother, I have to live under his "house rules" which included "No Suits In The House!" I put on a comfortable sweatshirt, jeans, and sneakers, much to my brother's dismay (the sneakers, anyway). My wife couldn't figure out what was going on about how I was dressed. I had to explain it later. (She still didn't get it.)

We held hands while my brother-in-law said grace. That was sweet. My brother said a special prayer for his friend who died. He remains sad, but he's okay.

My brother had to hold back the food until we were seated... like he did at breakfast... to keep certain people from eating before all were seated. (I shan't say more, but I know that the eating habits of a certain visitor drives my brother insane.)

The dinner was wonderful, plentiful, and delicious. We laughed, shared stories, and enjoyed a relaxing and delightful meal. It was odd, in a way, not to have children running around, or to have rolls tossed around the table. I missed having dinner with 50 people, but then again, I could hold a conversation and have time to translate the American idioms for my wife. All was good.

After dinner, my brother took my wife and me on a tour to see the Christmas lights in our old neighborhood, and to visit a woman who babysat for us when we were kids. That was fun. We sang carols (as we missed going caroling with our old high school crowd since that gathering was canceled due to the snow, and my flight was delayed two days).

Overall, I had a wonderful Christmas Day. I enjoyed watching my brother do "his thing" -- from cooking and serving meals, to ensuring that everyone was cared for. How he relates to our family, friends, and his partner and mother-in-law. Greeting neighbors with a friendly wave and a smile is his trademark. He had a table overflowing with cookies and treats that his "crew" (seniors for whom he cares) made for him.

What a joyful day. This is what I wanted to show my wife about Christmas, and our family. I am basking in the warmth of love for my big 'bro.

Happy Christmas, Brother! I love you!

J

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! (Updated)

Ooops, I've been so busy entertaining my twin brother, his wife, and my mother-in-law that I forgot to post a message for Christmas!

I hope you'll forgive me!

Merry Christmas! More tomorrow!

UPDATE: ahem, the "real" reason I was so off from my usual blogging is that Daddy Santa visited last night, and his shiny cop boots kept me up waaay late. (giggle). I just love my partner when he gets frisky. Sorry, no photos. We both were rather "occupied."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

In Memoriam

There never is any "good time" to get bad news, but at Christmas, it seems to be worse.

I was deeply saddened to learn that my very dear friend who served as my first and longest-supporting mentor, died last night.

She was a warm and caring woman who taught me, among many things, how important it is to sit back, to listen, and to hear what someone else is saying. Then devise ways to help.

That is what she demonstrated in her almost 93 years of life. These are the practices that I continue to carry out today, each and every day. Her influence lives on through my actions.

I recall fun times in taking her for rides on my Harley (much to her family's angst), and even going for a ride in a hot air balloon. We had many fun times in addition to the time we spent working together.

I am indeed sad, but I am not lost. I have no regrets. My partner and I went to see her a couple weeks ago and had a marvelous visit, filled with laughter, smiles, and joy.

May God care for my beloved friend and bring comfort to her family and the many of us who loved her.

Still Believing

This is my Christmas greeting, and to all of my fellow bloggers, blog visitors, friends, neighbors here in the Maryland area or Down Under or in between, I extend my heartfelt wishes for a joyous holiday and good cheer.

Last year I got spiritual and whimsical when I reflected on the meaning of this holiday and my small role in this world by saying, "I Believe." Well, that's true -- as true last year as it is this year.

I am very fortunate to have many wonderful things in my life: a loving and caring partner who means the world to me; a large and raucous family who hold me close and keep me grounded; close friends who lift my spirits and support me, no matter what; a decent job that keeps me engaged, challenged, and pays the bills; no debt; a roof over my head that I put there with my own two hands and support of my partner; a chance to put the roof over the heads of seven other families who serve the residents of the county where I live; food in the fridge and pantry; a Harley on which to have fun; and opportunities to serve others.

I would not say that "I have it all." I am not rich in a financial sense. I get by, make ends meet, and get the bills paid. But I am rich in the quality of people who compose my circle; rich with the belief that I have and I can make a small but noticeable difference -- one person at a time. I have faith.

I just gazed over at my partner as I was writing this, and my faith deepened because he looks so serene and happy. I then glance over at my twin brother, who is holding his wife's hand and just gave me a wink and a smile. I am content. The most important people in the world to me are here with me, and it makes me feel wonderful.

I quote once again from my favourite movie which is shown at Christmastime in the U.S., It's a Wonderful Life. I was watching it again while writing this message, and heard the familiar line from Clarence who served as George's guardian angel on his night of crisis:

Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?

That's my point: each of us touches so many others. I believe that in those moments when we reach out to touch another -- send a greeting, give a call, lend a hand, flash a smile -- that we are filling that hole. One person, one step at a time.

Yes, I believe. This is the faith by which I live.

Merry Christmas! See you in the blogosphere!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Didn't Win The Decorating Contest

Wonder why we didn't win the neighborhood Christmas decorating contest?

Ho ho ho!

Christmas Checklist

Christmas Day is two days away... here's my checklist:
  • Home decorated
  • 409 cards sent
  • A fresh loaf of cinnamon raisin bread has been baked and delivered to every neighbor on my street
  • Presents wrapped and under the tree
  • Mother-in-law here
  • Brother and his wife here
  • Daddy Santa is ready to visit on Christmas Eve (evil grin)
  • Turkey and trimmings ready for the big dinner
Well, then, we seem to be ready.

I am ready for the material things, and now I am readying my heart. What's that? Contemplating, reflecting on the past year, thinking about those whom I love and about whom I care. Thinking of ways that I can help or lend a hand. To me, that's what Christmas is about: the reason for the season, the spirit of caring, loving, grace, and joy.

Life is short: Keep the faith and keep it focused.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fun in the Snow

My buddy Clay claims that I'm always out saving the world. No, not really. Okay, during the cleanup from our recent record-breaking snowstorm, my snow blower got more use than it ever has since we have owned it. I'm glad that's all over.

My partner was able to get out and drive to Pittsburgh to pick up his mother. They return later today. Last night, my twin brother and his wife arrived a bit bedraggled and jet lagged from Europe, but they're here safely with us and I am looking forward to spending Christmas with him, his wife, my mother-in-law, and of course, my wonderful partner.

I had a little time to go play in our snow during some "me time" yesterday afternoon. Two videos below attest. Happy winter! Happy snow!




Monday, December 21, 2009

Being a Neighbor

Okay call me crazy or a glutton for punishment, but as we continue to dig out from a record-breaking December snowfall, I find that some neighbors need help.

My next-door neighbors are retired, and while they are generally in good health, they are near 80 years old and trying to shovel 21" (53cm) of snow by hand is too much to do. I have a snow blower, which (once you get the hang of it), makes snow removal fairly easy.

I have another neighbor down the street who is disabled. She has managed to antagonize some of the other neighbors, so no one would even check on her or offer to help.

Well ... it is not in me to ignore someone when I know that they may have a need. I called the disabled neighbor on the telephone, and when she didn't answer, I knocked on her door. She was okay, but as you can imagine, she was daunted by being blocked in by all that snow. Therefore, I used my snowblower and shovel, and soon enough, opened her drive and sidewalks as well.

It wasn't easy, and I'm sore. But I am not looking for a medal. I am saying that "being a neighbor" means more than just having an address in the same block or building. It means taking time to learn about your neighbors and their needs, and offering to help with skills that you can share.

I get annoyed at the able-bodied yuppies down the street who only care for themselves. Whose children don't lift a finger (or a shovel) to help out even at their own house, much less at a neighbor's. The kids have no work ethic, because the parents have not taught it as a value nor demonstrated it by their own actions.

Call me old-fashioned, call me crazy, but whatever you may call me, I hope you call me a good neighbor.

And yeah, after the snow removal was done, I did have a little fun, as demonstrated below.

Life is short: be a good neighbor


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowy Evening Beauty

My partner and I were entranced at the beauty we beheld last night, admiring the Christmas decorations on our house while the snow continued to fall. I finally am in the Christmas spirit!

This is definitely gonna stick around through Christmas ... the first white Christmas we have had in over a decade. As of 9pm last night, we had over 21" (53cm) of snow. A record for snow in December has been set for the DC area.

And yes, this is the house that I built (with the help of several crews that I hired.) I swung the hammer on many a nail....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let It Snow!

Afternoon update: as of 4pm local time, we had 17" (43cm) of snow, and as this photo attests, it is still snowing!!!! My Wesco Combat Boots were on my feet this afternoon!

Why fight it? Just sing after me,

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn't show signs of stopping,
And I've bought some corn for popping,
The lights are turned way down low,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Life is short: enjoy it! (As I am now, unbooted and curled up with my hunk, comfy on the sofa.)

Blizzard of '09

Yep, it's official. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for my county and surrounding jurisdictions. It really IS snowing out there. By 9am when my partner and I first went out to see what was going on, we had over 8" (20cm) of snow, with more than twice that still expected to fall. For this time of year and for the area where we live, this amount of snow is quite unusual.

Concerned that my elderly aunt would be alone and worried about potential power outages, I picked her up and brought her to our house last night to stay for the weekend. My partner was going to leave today to drive to Pittsburgh to pick up his mother and bring her back to stay with us for Christmas, but he postponed his trip. My aunt can stay in the room where his Mom was going to stay until we know that things are safe and she can return to her own home where she lives by herself.

In order to stay on top of things, I began to use the snowblower to remove snow before it got too deep and beyond the capacity of the intake of the machine. In no time, I removed snow from our drive and walks, as well as the drives and walks of three elderly neighbors. It's just what we do -- they take care of us and we take care of them. That's what being a neighbor means.

BTW, in this photo, I am wearing 18" Wesco Harness Boots that I bought from my buddy Bamaboy. These boots have seen a lot of abuse, and seem to enjoy it. They kept my feet warm and dry.

Life is short: exercise your responsibilities, exercise your body (such as by blowing snow), and enjoy!

Leather Repair and Alteration

Owning a wearing a vast assortment of leather gear, which I use for motorcycling, comfy gear to wear after work and on weekends, as well as for fetish interests, I am sometimes asked about suggestions on having leather altered or repaired.

Recently I had a zipper installed in my blue leather cop-style shirt and my CHP leather breeches. The shirt fits great, but the snaps over the years became loose and would unsnap all by themselves when I moved while riding my Harley. The CHP breeches, which were a gift, came with the cheapest snaps at the fly, and they always would unsnap (often when I swung my leg over the saddle of my bike.) Not a good thing...

I brought these items to a luggage repair shop. Think about it -- most luggage repairs are of zippers on leather. Who better to be able to install a zipper on leather than someone with experience?

Now these items fit great and remain closed where they're supposed to, and give me flexibility to move without worrying about an indecent exposure arrest (LOL!) The cost was $40 for each item, and I consider it a good investment as I will get much more use out of these pieces of leather gear for years to come.

I have not had many situations where leather has had to be repaired. I take good care of my gear. However, once I got a tear on the side of a pair of leather jeans when the leg got caught on a sharp-edged bolt on my bike. Once again, the luggage repair shop was able to fix it and the results were great.

Some guys require leather to be altered. Hemming to a shorter length is simple. Re-sizing to a larger waist is possible, and sometimes necessary as one ages and gets that "over-30" spread. It is a wise investment to have leather resized if indeed you will get many more years of enjoyment from the initial investment you made in it.

I have tried to have leather alterations done by a tailor, without much success. Tailors are accustomed to doing work on suits and cloth items, not on leather. A luggage repair shop has the equipment and experience to alter leather correctly. Consider it next time you may need work done on leather gear.

Life is short: enjoy it in leather!

Friday, December 18, 2009

One Week

Guest blog by BHD's twin brother, J

One week, big 'bro! One week to go until The Big Day!

One day to go back here, then we board our plane and join you! Whoopie!

I can't wait to show my wife all the cherished memories of our Christmases back home ... the ornaments on your tree that we had when we were boys ... go caroling in the old neighborhood with our former high school classmates ... helping to bake those special Christmas cookies and breads that you make ... get the kids in the family all excited with lots of treats and uncle-chasing ... the list goes on.

I can't wait! This is going to be one heck of a fun Christmas, because we will be spending it together. Can you believe it? It's been TWENTY YEARS since we have had Christmas together. I'm afraid that your partner, his mother, and my wife will think we have gone completely daft. However, that is what is so very special about spending Christmas with your twin brother who is your best friend.

I can't wait! Woo-hoo! Love you, bro'!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Slogging Through the Crescent City


I just completed a short business trip to New Orleans, the Crescent City. My work was brief -- a one day-meeting. It was productive and for the most part, interesting.

At the meeting's end, I put on my lug-soled Chippewa Firefighter boots, a pair of jeans, and an old comfy sweatshirt and hopped on the trolley. I rode to the location of the local office of my former employer. I visited with a long-time friend who is the CEO. She gave me a tour of their refurbished facility and told me about their work during and after the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

It had rained for three solid days before I arrived and throughout my visit. Over 20" of rain, with more falling. Water was overtopping but not breeching levies. Localized flooding was everywhere. Man, it was wet! But the spirits were good, and the efforts to help people affected by the current storm and flooding were well underway, well organized, efficient, and calm. Man, it brought me back to the days when I once worked for that organization and helped in such circumstances.

I am home now. I enjoyed the visit, the memories, and seeing the good hearts in action. I am glad I went. I regret that with all the frivolity of the city, that there remains so much sadness under the thin veil of the happy face put on for visitors. Lots more recovery work is needed.

Life is short: support those who help others.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rules for Wearing Fetish Uniforms

Again, I have observed a recent high number of internet searches ending up on this blog or my website from people entering questions like, "can I wear a uniform in public?" or "how to wear a CHP uniform" or just plain "CHP uniform rules". This is the third (and last, for the moment) in my series on the "rules" regarding fetish wear.

Rules for Wearing a Uniform

This applies to wearing a uniform by someone who is not an authorized representative (such as by being employed by a law enforcement agency) to wear such a uniform. Some people choose to wear a uniform to fetish events and parties. There remain many questions about impersonation and the legality of wearing a uniform. I cover those questions in much more detail in this blog post about assembling a uniform. Here is a summary of the main points:

1. It is possible, and legal, to put together a replica uniform yourself, as long as you do not wear it anywhere within the jurisdiction it represents. For example, you should not wear a California Highway Patrol uniform anywhere with in the State of California, USA. That's illegal. Even if the uniform is completely fake, such as one made of all leather. But you can wear it outside of California.

2. By all means, make sure the uniform is clean and pressed, and if worn with boots, the boots are shined. Think about the fine details, such as if the name plate is on the correct side, pins and buttons are in the right places, etc. Try not to overdo the bells and whistles, especially on a duty belt.

3. Do NOT wear a weapon (gun, billy club, police baton.) In many jurisdictions in the United States, it is illegal to wear a weapon like this in public or at a public place like a leather bar. I know some guys who have been arrested for doing that. Do not take this risk!

4. Do not assume behavior while wearing a uniform that implies you are a cop. Impersonation is evaluated on two factors: how you look and what you do. If you try to act like a cop in public, such as by pulling someone over, frisking or handcuffing a "suspect," interrogating someone, etc., then a real cop may think you are trying to impersonate an officer and take you in for questioning and possibly place you under arrest on criminal charges. Keep the cop-acting behavior behind closed doors.

5. Wear a plain jacket or coat over the uniform shirt so insignia is not visible while seated in a car, using public transit, or walking on the street.

6. Do not wear a full uniform while riding a motorcycle -- even if the uniform you are wearing is not from the jurisdiction where you may choose to ride. Think about it: most car drivers only catch a glimpse of other vehicles and their drivers sharing the road with them. If they see something that appears to be a uniformed motor officer on a motorcycle, they will not look more closely to ask themselves, "is he a uniform fetish guy or a real cop?" Instead, they may think you are the real deal because (think about it) most straight people have no clue about the relatively small number of guys who have a uniform fetish. That's where the line of impersonation gets very fuzzy. Real cops take an extremely dim view of guys who wear uniforms who are not real cops and there are examples of uniform fetish dudes being brought in for questioning, delayed, and even held in jail until things get sorted out. Don't take that risk. It's not worth it.

7. It takes some courage to wear a fetish uniform. Stand tall, walk confidently, and remember -- nothing is more sexy than a guy in a uniform with a smile. The old sinister sneer drives people away (who would want to talk to someone who looks like he has indigestion?)

These are the "rules" in my opinion, from my experience, and from my perspective. Hope this is helpful to readers!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rules for Wearing Leather

This is the second of a series on "The Rules." Recently, people have been using internet search engines by entering questions like, "how to do I wear leather?" or "should I wear leather in public" or "what leather do men wear in public" or just "leather in public." I sense that there remain a number of people who want to, but may not have the courage, to wear something more than a leather jacket in public. Leather jeans, boots, shirt, and vest all look great, but cause some people to ask questions.

Here is my "take" on the "rules" for weather leather in public. These are my personal opinions, but based on experience. I wear leather a lot and not just at home.

Rules for wearing leather in public

1. Wear leather gear (jeans, shirt, jacket, boots) that fit you well. If the leather is baggy, saggy, or too tight (showing that it is being stretched or is being pulled), then it looks bad -- just as bad as a poorly-fitting suit, shirt, or cloth pants.

2. Probably for your first forays into wearing leather in public, temper your choices and avoid going out as the compleat "Old Guard Leatherman." For example, choose a pair of black leather jeans with a t-shirt or denim shirt, and a nice but subdued pair of black boots. Or, wear a leather shirt with a pair of bluejeans and boots. You may choose to wear a leather jacket if the weather requires it. While there are times that I have worn complete leather (shirt, vest, pants, boots, jacket, and Muir Cap) in public, I do not do that as often as this blog's history may imply. Sure, I wear leather a lot, but I mix it up with complementary denim clothing (or often a dark flannel shirt.)

3. The "stop obsessing" rule applies here as well. If you are very worried about what someone else may say, then you need to work on building self-confidence.

Be ready if someone may say something when they observe you in leather gear:

Your primary response should be non-verbal.
  • Smile!
  • Stand up straight
  • Give a clear indication that you are pleased to be wearing leather.
  • Consider saying something like one of these comments:
    • Like the jeans? I think they're cool!
    • My wife (or partner) gave this (pointing to the leather item) to me for my birthday. Doesn't s/he have great taste?
    • I like how this vest looks with this shirt!
    • I haven't been more comfortable in my life in a pair of jeans.
    • I thought these leather pants were stylish. They look great, and feel even better!
    • Thanks for noticing! Isn't it (pointing to the leather garment you have on) nice looking?
    • Grrrr... those hoodlums might run in fear now when they see me (giving an evil grimace, of course, all in jest).
    • Just wait until you see the Harley I've picked out at the dealership!
    Life is short: wear your leather proudly!
  • Monday, December 14, 2009

    Rules for Cowboy Boots

    Someone used an internet search on "rules on wearing cowboy boots" (and ended up on the cowboy boot section of my website). Someone else asked, "what guidance can you provide when I wear cowboy boots? Are there rules?"

    I'm not sure why there seems to be an interest in "rules." There aren't any rules, per se, about wearing cowboy boots, but here are some suggestions based on my experience.

    Rules for wearing cowboy boots

    1. Wear what you like and what fits you and your lifestyle.

    2. Stand tall and proudly.

    3. Smile! Men appear more confident and self-assured when they smile (and wear boots!)

    4. Stop obsessing about what other people may say or think about you wearing cowboy boots. Seriously, get over it. If you're worried that someone may say something because wearing boots is new to you or not common where you live, then make the choice not to wear them. But it is YOUR choice -- not someone else's.

    5. If you have nice boots that you want to show, tuck your jeans into them. If you don't want to do that, then don't. It's your choice.

    6. Cowboy boots go well with dress clothes or a suit. Generally, it is wise to choose an all-leather boot or subtle alternate skin boots (such as smooth ostrich or Teju lizard) in black, brown, or black cherry and which have a rounded or semi-rounded toe and traditional heel height. Boots with more fanciful design, sharp X-toes, high heels, or made of unusual materials (Caiman alligator, rattlesnake, python, etc.) may be too ostentatious to wear to places where one might wear a suit, such as at an office, conference, wedding, funeral, or to a place of worship.

    7. Have at least two, if not more, pairs of cowboy boots if you will be wearing them regularly. It is a good idea to let boots "breathe" for at least one day between wearing them. The boots need to air out and allow time for sweat which may have been absorbed into the leather and insole to evaporate. (This is also sometimes called "rotating boots" but does not mean turning them around.)

    8. IMHO, do not wear cowboy boots that have smooth leather soles while operating a motorcycle. This is a safety precaution -- smooth soles provide no traction! Same applies about wearing smooth-soled cowboy boots in places that may be slick with rain, snow or ice.

    Keep your boots clean and in good condition

    9. Mud will dry out leather. While sometimes it's fun to get boots muddy, it is also important to clean it off when you're done playing so the leather is not permanently damaged.

    10. If boots somehow get biological stains on them, wipe it off -- don't let it dry on. The most often-applied biological agent that somehow gets on boots dries out leather and may cause permanent damage.

    11. Avoid getting boots that are made of snakeskin or lizard wet. Scales on snakeskin boots will curl when they get wet, and they will not "uncurl" when they dry.

    12. Use a quality leather conditioner or reptile skin conditioner on your boots. Avoid using waxy shoe polish on boots (or parts of boots) that are made of materials other than leather -- snake, lizard, alligator, etc. Waxy shoe polish can build up within the scales or fine creavases on boots and dull the finish or ruin the skin.

    13. Do not use a hair dryer on boots, put them in an oven, or place them near a source of heat such as a radiator or forced-air heat vent. That can cause leather or skins to shrink permanently. If boots are wet and you want to hasten the drying process, a trick I learned from Bamaboy is to put the boots on top of a water heater.

    14. Store boots so air can circulate around them. Keep them in a well-ventilated area. Keep them in the light -- avoid storing boots in dark, damp places. That includes storing boots in a box when the boots may be wet. Mold and mildew love "dark and wet". They "eat" cellulose products, and particularly have a "taste" for leather. To avoid having boots be destroyed by mold and mildew, keep them dry, in the light, and in a place where air circulates.

    Life is short: stand tall, walk confidently, and smile while wearing your cowboy boots!

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    The Gift of Listening

    It seems that these days, most people want to do all the talking. You see them all the time -- yakking away on their cell phones while driving, walking down the street, or everywhere else. I was seated with a group at lunch on Friday, and watched a table of four next to me. Each person was talking -- no one was listening. It seemed to me as if they were in a contest about who could outlast and "outtalk" the others. No one listened -- they all blabbed away.

    I am fortunate to live with a man who is a superb listener. Among his many skills, he listens to what others say, and acts on what he hears. He is a man of few words. Often, he prefers that everyone else do the talking and he not say a word.

    I value that my partner is such a good listener. We went to visit my old friend yesterday. She lives about an hour's drive away, so the visits are not as frequent as I might like them to be, but nonetheless, are good ones. He picked up and remembered that my friend gets cold, but because she must have daily intravenous medical treatments these days, she cannot wear a traditional sweater with sleeves. He found my friend a sleeveless fleece sweater/vest at our local KMart. He also remembered that my friend just loves a dairy treat that is sold by a fast-food restaurant. On our way to visit my dear old friend yesterday, we stopped by that restaurant and got the treat for her.

    I recall that this friend taught me so much as she mentored me when I was just learning about working in the non-profit field. She cared for me and listened to me back then. Now it's my turn -- to listen. During our visit, I sat, held her hand, and my partner held her other hand. We gave her the dairy treat which she loved. She was so thrilled with the vest that my partner found for her, she almost jumped for joy. Unfortunately, her jumping days are over, but her joy was quite palpable.

    I realize that I get so busy doing so many things, that I have to depend on my partner to help me keep focused on priorities, remember what and who are important, and to slow down and listen. Yeah, I am kinda verbal, but I credit my partner for continuing to teach me that all-important lesson especially when it comes to relating to older people. "Shut up and listen. Just listen. Hold their hand and listen." He is so right. Just having someone to listen to them -- even if it is stories one has heard before -- helps an older person feel that someone else is interested in them, cares about them, and loves them.

    I thank my partner for helping me to remember this very important lesson. I am so blessed in so many ways -- for having him keep me focused. For having close family and friends support and love me, lead me, and guide me along life's highway. But most of all, for the faith that so many others have in me. I guess I learned that by listening.

    Life is short: listen. You will be amazed at what you hear.

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Not Always Leather

    Someone sent me an email which I found amusing. He asked, "do you always wear leather?"

    Ummm... no. I do wear it often, around the house and around the community on my own time, when I am riding my Harley, and when I just feel like it. It is warm and comfortable to me. However, I have to wear "business casual" clothes to work, and on occasion, even a dreaded jacket & tie. Fortunately, those occasions are rare.

    I always wear boots when awake: at work, at home, everywhere. I do not own a pair of shoes.

    But this picture attests, I do have comfortable clothes made of materials other than leather (LOL!) -- Wranglers, flannel shirt, etc. This is typical attire I wear when I am doing construction, repair, and yard work, mostly.

    This photo was taken just before I took off to attend a public hearing in my community. Just normal comfy clothes for the community leader I am. Thank goodness I am a volunteer, so I do not have to conform to dress codes of the attorneys who testify along side me. They're stuck in a confining suit & tie at these hearings -- and dress shoes. Yuck.

    What boots am I wearing? These are my Chippewa non-steel toe engineer boots. So light on the feet and very comfortable. I got them from Stompers of San Francisco (where else?) Mike, the Owner of Stompers, got a special order of tall Chippewa Engineer Boots without steel toes. Stompers is the only place that sells them. I wear my pair of these often, 'cause they make great work boots and don't get hot and heavy.

    Life is short: Boot up!

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Wesco Boots -- Gay?

    Someone visited the post on this website titled, Wesco Boots and Gay Culture and attempted to leave a comment on that post. The post was written on December 27, 2008, but continues to rank high in Google searches.

    The person made a number of broad generalizations and asked a number of questions, so his statements fit best in an entire blog post rather than a comment on a post that is almost a year old. (By the way, the plural of "Wesco" is "Wescos" -- in American English, one does NOT add an apostrophe to make a word plural.)

    I shared that guy's message with several straight and gay friends varying in age from 23 to 68 who like to wear boots. Following are some things this commenter said, and the responses I received from my friends. Interestingly, there really was not a difference in response or reaction between straight and gay men. Below, "SG" means "straight guy" and "GG" means "gay guy."

    I love these boots, but I don't get a hard-on for 'em like all these gay fetishist that obsess over them.

    GG: He's correct in observing, and reinforcing the statement from your original post that some gay men have a fetish interest in boots and like you he appreciates the boots because of their style, function and quality workmanship. It's funny how easily we think that what we see on-line and via YouTube is highly representative of current thought and practice. It's been my observation that those who take the time to create video do so not from the perspective of showing life as it exists, but from a creative or artistic eye that is meant to entertain more so than to be instructive. Extremes get the most attention and in a sea of millions of videos, it's the extreme that allows your video to be seen and not overlooked or ignored.

    GG: He may see more gay men who have a fetish interest as the authors of the videos because by and large this demographic has been more exposed to role playing venues where the boots, leather, and Tom of Finland inspired scenes have been such a staple in gay culture. So, it's easy to see how a creative medium like YouTube and web would have more gay men creating these images.

    GG: Interest in the power these boots may represent can't only be confined to those with fetish interest. Wesco boots are sturdy and come with lug soles, for the most part, and harness and engineer boot styles were originally worn by men who worked in professions associated with strength. There is also the association of power produced by 50s icons like Brando and James Dean that has clearly left a mark on our society's perception of the boots. The characters these men created spoke to the personal power of the rebel who called his own shots. Taken in this context, the boots were seen as highly masculine and it's this concept that many masculine gay men found attractive. There are just as many, if not more, straight men who were inspired by this image. Unfortunately, they're not the ones creating the on-line images, for the most part.

    My interest in these boots are for their function and style and quality workmanship.

    SG: Many guys wear them for protection for their jobs/hobbies etc. With those guys, their boots are just another piece of gear and thats all they are. They don't think twice about them.

    I've never touched or seen a pair of these boss boots, only from the internet and your videos and everywhere I look, there are these "GG Allen" types licking them and being all gay with them.

    GG: Who is GG Allen? [I think he means GG Allin, who died in 1993. He was a punk rocker, and was rather perverse in his antics on stage. I had to look this up, because I didn't know who he was, either.]

    SG: His past observations about one crazy punk rocker influence him now.

    GG: He (the writer) watches too many YouTube videos. He should know that what he sees on YouTube isn't what the majority of men who wear Wesco boots are like. Think about it: would a straight guy post a video of himself in a pair of Wesco Boots just walking around, riding his motorcycle, or smoking? Of course not. Guys who post on YouTube usually are showing some sort of fetish interest.

    My concern, is how gay are the boots?

    SG: My guess is if the guy is thinking Wescos and gay go hand-in-hand then something in his past caused that association. Also, when you see sites on the web showing the boots - as with most boots, they seem to somehow be connected to a gay or sex related site.

    GG: I've never heard Wesco boots being labeled as "gay"

    GG: If they are "gay boots," I want more!

    You say, "It's all about the boots. Boot up. When I'm on my HARLEY." Like the gay community stole the rainbow. And Hitler stole the "Chaplin" Moustache. The KKK stole pointy robes.

    GG: He's afraid of guilt by association. It's only when we begin wearing something new that people take notice. By and large, in the real off-line world, after the first few weeks, gays and straights could care less about your choice of footwear. That's not to say that some will leap to conclusions, but people will leap to erroneous conclusions regardless of what he chooses to wear and his point about co-opted styles can be easily said any number of clothing choices. Of course, all this gets thrown out of the window if he finds himself in the Castro or in a leather bar. LOL But, as you've pointed out on your blog, there are a good number of gay men attending leather bars wearing sneakers and jeans. Sometimes a banana is just a banana.

    SG: What does he mean by you wearing Wesco boots on your Harley and then immediately say that the gay community stole the rainbow? What do these two things have to do with each other? This guy doesn't make any sense.

    No comparison to gay people, I'm just talking styles, that have almost become like their proprietary 'uniform' in a sense.

    GG: If Wesco boots have become the "uniform" of gay people, then this guy doesn't know many gay men. I think he watches too many videos on YouTube which are causing many misperceptions in his mind.

    GG: The gay friends who I hang out with never would wear Wesco boots. Heck, most of them won't wear boots at all.

    SG: He almost makes it sound as though without support from the gay community, Wesco would go out of business. How ridiculous. That is like believing that companies that make colored handkerchiefs are dependent on the gay community for their existence or Doc Martens depend on restless teens and rock stars to survive.

    You seem friendly and nice, and flaming homosexuals are free and fun, but many of the Wesco Boot Fetishists seem pretty hardcore. Like, I wouldn't want to hang out with most of them.

    GG: I'd venture to say that he wouldn't find himself at places frequented by the Wesco Boot Fetishists as he terms them. Any one of us runs the risk of unwanted attention because someone perceives we are like-minded because of what we've chosen to wear. Even the most confident of us have periods of self-doubt about our appearance. We are conditioned to believe that appearances are important. It's a way we try to make sense of things. But, at the end of the day, we all have to ask ourselves if we can not just live with our decisions, but with our regrets created by giving in to our insecurities and deciding against wearing what we like.

    GG: He is making assumptions based on some of the more "active" videos he is seeing on YouTube.

    SG: I guess he saw too many pictures from Folsom Street [Fair in San Francisco]. While I can't imagine wearing some of that leatherwear in public, on the other hand my curiosity could ask what it might feel like to wear it, just as I am curious what it would be like to don a full set of football gear (from pads to cleats) or professional ice hockey equipment. I also wonder if, in that sea of leather-clad men, any of those men are straight and how well they might be accepted.

    SG: I am a hardcore biker. I wear Wescos. You think he thinks I am going to challenge him to a fight?

    So is wearing these super-gay boots the equivalent to a girl wearing a slutty dress, in your eyes? Like, If I was wearing the uniform of these GG Allen Leather Boys, Is that asking for gay trouble?

    SG: Where did that come from? Yes, many gay men may enjoy wearing Wescos or any other boots for that matter but so what. Many straight men wear boots and possibly for the same reason that gay men do. It is what the boots feel like, the appearance they give (Masculine) and perhaps sexual stimulation. Can a straight man be "turned on" (sexually) by wearing boots or seeing other men in boots. Absolutely. It is the boots, not the gender of the person wearing them.

    GG: You are asking for trouble from Gay Guys by holding such narrow, incorrect, points of view. [BHD] did not publish your comment because you refused to identify yourself. Would you dare say something like that in public? I doubt it.

    SG: Wescos are not "super gay". This guy is way off base and has jumped to a lot of conclusions, again probably from what he is seeing on YouTube.

    Would I have to constantly explain myself to "booted men" that I'm not into sodomy, I just like gay boots? Thanks for taking the time, and I really hope you can shine some light on this.

    GG: You would only have to explain yourself if you opened your mouth and stuff like this fell out of it. You're way off base.

    SG: This guy said that he doesn't even own a pair of Wesco boots, and he probably never will because he is so obsessed over perceptions about them, and jumped to conclusions based on observations from what he has been seeing on the Internet.

    SG: He has to realize that most straight guys who wear Wesco boots -- linemen, cable guys, and so forth -- don't post information about their footwear on the internet. Guys who do post about Wesco boots on the internet, including youtube, are giving him a false impression.

    GG: As long as he keeps referring to Wesco Boots as "gay boots," he has much to learn. He probably should not get any, because he is so far off base and it seems that he has already made up his mind.

    BHD says -- Life is short: Wear your Wescos (if you're man enough!) Thanks to my friends who provided review and feedback for me. Out of respect for them, I am not revealing who they are -- even their screen names -- which would be recognized by many who frequent "Boots on Line."

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Cowboy Boots and Jeans Google Searches

    The following searches were done recently, and all ended up on my Jeans and Cowboy Boots page on my website. It continues to amaze me that at least 200 people visit my web page about jeans and cowboy boots every single day.

    Information about cowboy boots (and jeans) is searched much more often than I thought. I will refrain from speculating why -- other than to say that searching on the Internet is done so often now, rather than asking someone in person. It is faster, easier, and gives you a choice of answers to pick from (whether right or wrong, good or bad.)

    Here goes -- I have divided the searches by categories as indicated. Note: these were searches done by people in the United States and Canada. One might figure that people outside the U.S. & Canada who are unfamiliar with cowboy boots and customs may have more questions, so I did not include non-U.S./Canadian search results on this list.)

    Jeans and Cowboy Boots
    • Jeans men wear with cowboy boots
    • What is stacked jeans?
    • Do you have to have boot cut jeans with boots?
    • Best jeans for cowboy boots
    • Do cowboys iron their jeans?
    Responses (my opinions): most guys choose to wear Wrangler jeans with cowboy boots. Wranglers have the thick rolled seam on the outside, instead of the inside, of the leg. Cowboys and bikers choose jeans with the rolled seam on the outside so it doesn't rub against the leg pressed against the saddle of a horse or motorcycle (thought I do NOT recommend wearing cowboy boots with leather soles when operating a motorbike.)

    Most men choose straight-leg jeans to wear with boots. Boot Cut jeans have a slightly flared (wider) leg opening, but this isn't necessary. It is mostly a marketing ploy designed to get you to pay more for the cut of the jeans, rather than get any improved functionality from them. And no, most guys (cowboys or not) do not iron their jeans. Just wash and dry and that's it.

    Stacked jeans means, simply, that the jeans are long enough to rest with soft folds ("stack") on top of the boot foot, but not be so long as to be lower than the top of the heel (or fray by dragging on the floor).

    Wearing Cowboy Boots
    • How to wear cowboy boots
    • How to put on cowboy boots
    Responses: I am puzzled why someone would search "how to wear cowboy boots." Ummm... pull them on, stand up, walk. What else is there to know? Stand and stride confidently, held held high? Be proud? Smile? Then the question, "how to put on cowboy boots" -- that's easy. Sit down, pull up the leg of your jeans, and pull the boots on. Repeat with the other leg. You're done.

    Jeans Inside Boots

    If there is anything that people obsess over more about cowboy boots and jeans is the ongoing question about wearing jeans inside boots -- or not. Here is what was searched:
    • Can men wear their jeans inside their boots?
    • Do guys tuck pants into boots?
    • Why do cowboys tuck their jeans into their boots?
    • What does it mean when pants are tucked into cowboy boots?
    • Men with their pants inside the boot
    Responses (my opinions): Yes, men can and sometimes do wear jeans inside boots. It doesn't "mean" anything about the person who does it, yet others seem to be afraid of what other people may think. My observations (here in the United States) are that most men wear jeans over cowboy boots, except boots like Buckaroos, which are more often worn with jeans inside them than over them. Overall, my opinion is that if you have nice boots and want to show them off, then tuck your jeans into them. If you obsess about what other people may think of you doing that, then forget the boots and wear sneakers. Life is too short to worry about other people's opinions, and you will arrive at this conclusion with time and maturity.

    Why do cowboys tuck their jeans into boots? It comes from an old tradition of doing that since the Roman and Greek times, mostly to protect the lower leg with stronger, more firmer protection of the leather on the boot shaft. Doing so also makes it easier to keep the jeans clean and not be exposed to dirt, mud, and gunk that may fly up from a horse's hooves.

    Other Unusual and Amusing Cowboy Boot Related Searches

    Here are some other searches related to cowboy boots that I saw come in:
    • Rules for wearing cowboy boots
    • How to wear tall boots with jeans men
    • What boots do real cowboys wear?
    • Should I wear cowboy boots?
    • Wear jeans over cowboy
    Responses (my opinions): The only "rules" for wearing cowboy boots are: 1) wear what fits you and your lifestyle best; 2) stand tall, walk confidently, and remember to smile! That's it -- simple as that!

    How to wear tall boots with jeans? I think this may be going back to some of what was above about wearing jeans and boots, or wearing jeans inside boots. "How" to do it? Use this trick: sit down, and pull the sock on your left leg up over the end of your jeans. Pull the jeans down to smooth them, and make sure the inside and outside seams of your jeans run down both sides of your legs. Repeat with your right leg. Then pull on your boots. Smooth the jeans into the boots to reduce puckering of the jeans fabric at the top of the boot shaft. Stand up, stand tall, walk proudly. Smile!

    What boots do "real" cowboys wear? Good question. Most working ranchers and riders may wear solid, sturdy boots like Buckaroos while actually riding a horse and working with cattle. When the go to town, you will often see them in ropers, which have a short shaft and rounded toe. The traditional, 13" cowboy boot with fancier stitching and design is worn more for dressy occasions, and by some men in the U.S. Midwest, South, plains & mountain states, and Southwest, to work (even with a suit.) I have observed that a rounded toe or squared toe is more common than a pointed toe, but that is a matter of personal preference and varies widely.

    If you have to ask, "should I wear cowboy boots," then you probably shouldn't. You're obsessing too much. Let go, relax, and wear your boots, but don't fret over whether you should or shouldn't. It is a personal decision, made by YOU, not the opinions of other people around you.

    I close with a final funny: wear jeans over cowboy. Yeah, I know what happened here, but it still amuses me by conjuring up some pretty ridiculous images in my mind. I will leave it to your imagination. (giggle)

    Life is short: wear your cowboy boots!

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Role Model?

    I received an email message from a young guy, age 15, who said that he visited my bootedman.com website and this blog. I do not knowingly communicate with people under age 21 via email (family excepted) because I do not want anyone for any reason to think that I am trying to have interactions (however benign) with people who are not consider adults in the eyes of the law. These days, you can't be too careful. That is why it says on my "write-to-me" page that you can send me email, but if you are under 21, I will not write back.

    This young guy said, "I look up to you greatly because of your collection and lifestyle. I have a bit of a boot fetish (Especially Cowboys and Cops in Boots) and I think it is grand that you share your collection."

    Well, thanks. Remember now, I'm considerably older and have worked for what I have for 34 years since I was emancipated. My boot collection has grown over many years. I look at it this way: some guys collect baseball cards or stamps. I collect (and wear) boots. Everyone should have at least one hobby to keep them interested, and as long as they can afford it and have room to keep it, then go for it!

    Further, he said, "I am way in the closet and I wish to be out, but my Religious Homophobic Parents are holding me back."

    I am very sorry about that. I do not know you or your family, but I realize that it must be hard when parents who love you do not really know who you are. I sense you are Internet savvy and can find groups who can help you. Be assured, you are not the first and you are not alone. There are other young guys in your same situation. Hold close to your family, as they are all you have. But work toward your independence to become the man you want to be.

    This young guy continues, "I want a pair of boots badly, but they don't look right on me and not to mention my parents would be in constant question mode."

    The question about how boots look on a person is a matter of self-perception. Perhaps boots he has tried have not been to his liking. Perhaps he is concerned about the perception or comments from others. Young people notice everything, and it is unfortunate but quite common that they will made snide remarks. I hate to say it, but it is all part of growing up. Place those comments in the virtual trash can and choose boots that you like and fit well. Then stand tall, smile, and walk with confidence. Expect derision, which is a frequent teenage custom, but just hold your head high and hold your tongue. Soon, if they don't get a reaction from you, they will move on to pick on someone else.

    I observe that parents who care about their children are always in constant question mode. It indicates that they are interested in you, which is a much better place to be than to be ignored. I remember when I was about 14 and wanted a pair of Frye Boots badly. I went to my Mom to ask for her help to get them. I had saved money from mowing lawns and doing odd jobs, but I needed her to drive me to the store so I could try them on.

    I asked, and of course my Mom said, "why do you want those boots?" (sorta with a mutter, "of all things!") I had prepared for that question. I decided not to say, "all the guys in school wear them" to which my Mom would undoubtedly have replied, "so if they all jumped off a cliff, would you jump with them?" [This is a perennial parental come-back to 'all my friends do this or have that'].

    Instead, I remember that I explained to my Mom about what I liked about the boots and how well they were made. I framed my answer that such good quality boots would last a long time (they have! I still have 12 pairs!) I think I remember explaining all of the characteristics about the stitching, leather soles, quality of leather, and so forth. I based my argument on quality and durability, rather than on just wants and desires. My Mom listened, and said, "okay." Off we went, and I got my Fryes. (Remember, back in the 70s, Frye Boots were made in the U.S. from quality materials, instead of how cheaply they are made now in China via a company that owns the Frye brand name.)

    The young man continued in his email by saying, "When I move out, I want to start my own boot collection, and hopefully will find a man with similar interests."

    Just take it one step at a time. When you move out, concentrate on becoming an independent person. Work, get an education, pay your bills, keep a roof over your head, and keep moving toward your goals. Sure, buy a pair of boots when you can afford them, but don't do that if you can't, or if you would go into debt. There are reasons to carry debt, such as for a mortgage on a home of your own. But there really isn't a reason to carry a credit card balance over months (or years) just for boots. A home is a "need." Boots are a "want." Keep the differences in mind and your financial priorities straight.

    Find a man with similar interests? Man, I could blog about that for days. Sure, it is nice if the guy with whom you choose to develop a long-term relationship likes boots, but it is far more important if he is an honest, caring, thoughtful, and financially pragmatic guy. Do it like I did with my partner, who didn't have a pair of boots to his name when we met: we developed our relationship first, then I introduced him to boots. While he seldom wears them, he will. For me.

    In closing, the writer said, "When I see photos of you and your partner, it gives me hope that there is someone out there for me."

    I always believe that there is someone for everyone. It takes time, so don't push it. It is a totally unscientific observation, but gay guys take more time to find a mate and settle down. I was 35 when I met my guy, but I know in my heart that waiting was the absolute right thing to do, because I met the man who became my heart, my soul, my love, my one-and-only. And my heart didn't get broken in the meantime.

    Thanks for the message -- and thanks to all for reading. I know this was long, but there was a lot for me to talk about here!

    Life is short: keep the faith (and do it in boots)!

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    Being Consumed

    This time of year is always busy. My life at work transitions to doing more things than regular work, such as the going to the requisite office holiday party and attending receptions hosted by offices of local agencies and organizations that I frequent. I'm not the party-boy, but I stop in, say hi, give greetings and wish good cheer ... then skedaddle. On top of this, I have a short out-of-town business trip next week. I hope I can just fly in, meet, and get back home as quickly as I can, and not encounter travel delays.

    Community-life transitions to being invited to holiday parties and other social occasions. My lovely partner, the world's #1 recluse, declines to join me, and generally, I limit the visits when possible ... but it's not always possible.

    Family-life transitions to more holiday stuff as well. Four family Christmas parties before Christmas day compete with other demands for time. But I love my family, and won't be a stranger.

    Home-life transitions to decorating for Christmas (we're all done, yippie!), and getting ready for my annual bread-baking that I do at Christmastime. I make a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread for all of the neighbors, plus a couple dozen senior buds. I probably go through 100 pounds of flour, if not more....

    All of this is additional to regular things I do -- work full-time, and serve as a community volunteer and civic leader by night, whilst the other half of my time includes doing household handyman chores for senior friends, whilst the remaining 99% of my time includes caring for my dear elderly aunt.... not to mention my partner, and not ignoring him and his needs (just to have me with him "more than less.")

    Then I finally broke down and opened a Facebook account last Friday. Gosh, that thing can be consuming. I have, however, connected with several long-lost friends from high school and college, political life, buddies from Down Under, and so on. Hundreds of "friends" have piled on within just a few days. Sheesh, I didn't know I knew so many people. I have been hearing more from younger family members who communicate regularly through that thing, and think email is such a dinosaur, they seldom use it. Oh heck, this ol' dinosaur is finally moving a bit more forward, while trying to keep those activities in check.

    Add all these things together: the pressures of work-work, personal work, and holiday time are taking their toll. Thus, not much is happening on my "booted" website. I'm kinda weary and don't have much Christmas spirit (yet). I'm sure I'll "get there" soon enough. But right now, I feel like a dog just thrown into a pond, paddling ferociously.

    Gosh, I haven't even done my Christmas cards yet. Thank goodness, though, I did finish my Christmas shopping back in July. Else I truly think that I would be overwhelmed.

    Life is short: do what you have to do!

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    The Blue Bell


    110 years ago, when my maternal grandmother was enjoying her first Christmas with her newly wed husband, he gave her a hand-blown little blue bell. You can see it here in the lower middle of this photo.

    It is a cherished family heirloom that enjoys a prominent location on our Christmas tree.

    When we were kids, my Mom would unwrap the little blue bell and hang it on our family's tree, and tell us the story of her mother and this little bell. It has been in our family for only three generations, and lives with me now. I cherish it. The bell brings many happy memories of my childhood Christmases, my grandmother, and my Mom.

    Yesterday when my partner and I were decorating our home for Christmas, we put our tree up. We have lots of decorations -- an eclectic assortment of family heirlooms and newer pieces that he and I have acquired. But nothing means more to us than this little blue bell.

    When my Mom died, she left a note: "Please ensure the little blue Christmas bell goes to [BHD]. He loved it so. It's my gift to him and [his partner], to enjoy on their tree as they begin a life in their new house."

    You see, my Mom died just three weeks before the house that I built for my partner and me was completed. She and my partner planned all of its furnishings and decorations ... down to what things would look like at Christmas. I regret that she never saw our house, particularly at Christmas. But that little blue bell is her living memory which we so enjoy.

    Life is short: remember happy thoughts of loved-ones.