Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Coming Out Nudge

I received an email from my friend Kevin in response to yesterday's blog post titled, "Why Are Gay Men Insecure?". His words express a lot of thoughtful insights about "coming out" (revealing his sexual orientation) to others. I had no idea that my writings would inspire him in this way. I'm truly touched.
I [was] thinking how blessed I have been by a close friendship over the years and decided that I was doing that friendship a disservice. There would always be this part of myself that I would keep hidden. It wasn't the fear that we would no longer be close friends, I don't believe there's anything that would change that. But it was fear that [coming out to her] would forever alter her perception of me.

My greatest regret is that I didn't have the courage or wisdom to share this with my mother while she was alive. When I realized that it was the very same fear that kept me from telling my mother, I knew things had to change. I had to face this insecurity, move past it, and deal with life honestly and courageously.

So, better than any critique I could give about the points you so very eloquently made in your post, I simply say your words have touched my heart and moved me off the fence and into action. I thank you for that. I'm choosing not to delude myself any longer. If you truly care for family and friends, keeping this simple fact from those you care about harms the relationship you have with them. You never give them the opportunity to love you and not the false representation you've given them.
Life is short: be yourself, and have confidence that true friends will not forsake you if you come out to them. Family, if they love you as they proclaim, won't either. (I know; been there, done that... and while there is no t-shirt for it, the immense sense of relief that you feel when you confide your sexual orientation to those who love you is tremendous, and immeasurable.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why Are Gay Men Insecure?

Another question entered into a Google search and landed here on this blog. Good question, but bad presumption.

I'm here to say that not all gay men are insecure. The question could have been phrased better. Nonetheless, among the straight community, there is an assumption that all gay men are the same. They all act and behave the same. They like the same things, and hang out with the same type of people.

... none of those assumptions are correct. I can attest, being one....

There are as many different behavior traits among gay men as there are in the whole population. Some gay men are indeed insecure. They worry about what other people think of them. They worry about how they appear to others by what they say and what they choose to wear, among other factors.

Think about it: scientific studies affirm that being gay is not a choice, but most boys are raised with the expectation by their parents and society that they are heterosexual. But as boys mature and some of them are interested in others of the same sex, they worry about why they are "different." Social stereotyping plays a big role in that. Boys are expected to act and to behave in masculine ways, so they adopt (or try to adopt) masculine mannerisms that are expected of them -- and also to hide behind the mask of being a guy. (This is sometimes confused with "living in the closet" which is not the same thing, but related. A gay man who lives in the closet is not disclosing publicly his sexual orientation.) A gay man who puts on a facade of "acting straight" is doing that mostly because he believes that is the way he should behave and appear to others.

So back to the point: what makes some gay men insecure? In my opinion, mostly it is fear. Fear of "being outted." Fear of reprisal from those they hold most dear -- parents, family, and respected others in their lives (teachers, clergy, bosses at work, etc.)

What gets a gay man over his insecurities is to become comfortable with who he is. Like I have said about myself before, I'm a guy. I am also gay. I behave in a masculine manner because I'm a masculine man. I don't like all things that society expects masculine men to like -- such as sports. I don't like sports because I was ridiculed by my early-year gym teachers because I'm a klutz and seriously deficient in athletic skills. Okay, so be it. Does that make me insecure?

I admit, it once did. I was afraid what other people would do or say about me.

Then I grew up. I realized that most educated people don't give a flying frig about my sexual orientation. They were more concerned about me in ways that other people are evaluated: what I did for a living, how I carry myself among others, if I lived a decent life (measured in various ways from being financially responsible to being good to others.)

I don't go around waving the rainbow flag and pushing the fact that I'm gay in other people's faces. I know that most people aren't gay and some are uncomfortable with even the thought of a same-sex relationship. Okay, fine. Their problem to resolve. I help them figure it out by being "me" and doing what I do in my work, my community, and my life, then they find out that I'm gay. By then, it's a moot point. They have already figured out that I'm a normal guy living a decent life, who happens to live with another guy in a stable, monogamous relationship. So what?

The point that I am trying to make is that yes, indeed, some gay men are insecure, because society has taught them to fear acts and words from others who are not gay. Once they realize that the world won't end and their life will continue as it always has, then they can feel more self-confident and therefore, more secure.

Life is short: be who you are, and be secure with that.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Come Stay At My Vacation Home

Sorry, fellas, this isn't an invitation for you to come to a vacation home that I own. I don't own one. This was an invitation that I received from a good friend.

"Come chill. Do nothing. Sit and watch the water, read, relax."

... sounds inviting.

However, when she extended the invitation to me, I was caught off-guard. I mean, who wouldn't want to take a weekend and just go "veg" ... "chill out" or whatever you want to call it.

Well, who wouldn't is me. I admit. I thanked my friend for her offer, but declined.

Why? Well... first of all, I'm really too much of a "Type A" guy to sit and chill for any length of time. I always seem to be up and doing something from home repairs to caring for my aunt and elderly friends to preparing chef's creations in our kitchen to ... writing blog posts. I dunno, I'm the type of guy who can't sit still for very long.

I'm afraid that if I were to go to my friend's place, I'd be fretting about the stuff I could have been doing had I been at home. Isn't that sad, in a way? Oh well, it's just how I am.

Further, I wouldn't go off somewhere without my partner, and my partner is so antisocial that he wouldn't want to "chill" with other people around. So I have a conundrum of knowing that taking a day completely "off" and relaxing would be good for me, but not something I would enjoy.

So be it, I am very much of a "home-body" these days. I choose to relax by helping other people (that really is something I enjoy), riding my Harley, cooking in my chef's kitchen, and sharing company with my partner. Even if we don't go anywhere. He has my heart, and you know what they say, "home is where the heart is."

Life is short: enjoy it your own way in your own space.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Christmas Shopping Done

I'm late this year... I usually have all of my Christmas shopping done by July. I was delayed because I have been spending so much time with my aunt who has required a lot of attention. But she's better now, and stable. I have arranged 24/7 care for her, so I can attend to other matters.

The last "thing" on my list was birthday and anniversary cards for the families and loved-ones of five special seniors. (I've been doing this for a number of years). I buy cards for each of these seniors' special people, then address the envelopes, put on a "forever" stamp, and insert them in a month-by-month card organizer. It's a great gift for a senior who can't really get out to buy cards any more, but who wants to send a card for a loved-ones birthday or anniversary.

For the past two weeks, I bought 186 cards -- "birthday, male child; birthday, female child; birthday, adult male; birthday, adult female; anniversary of child's wedding; daughter-in-law or son-in-law birthday; or a "you're special" birthday card for a non-relative, but loved person. I sorted, labeled, stamped, and organized all of these cards into card organizer holders for these very special seniors in MY life. With that, my Christmas shopping is DONE!

Note: I didn't mention my partner. Of course I got him some gifts, but I did that back in April. All done... no stores, no crowds, no "bah-humbug." Just smiles and cheers of "woo-hoo" 'cause I don't have to have any Christmas shopping hassles. Yea!

BTW: I guess it's a "guy thing" that I celebrate not having to do any Christmas shopping. I know it's not a "gay thing" but as I've said before, "I didn't get those genes." (LOL!)

Life is short: plan ahead!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Isn't This Sad?

One of my banking institutions included this image in a recent email that they sent out to market for new business. The message was about "back to school" and spending money at participating merchants that provide a small bonus to their banking customers (and probably more to the bank for advertising and promotion fees.)

Anyway, isn't this image sad? Two kids probably about 10 years old, each with their own expensive gizmo-gadgets, smiling away as they spend their parent's money on monthly fees to support those things? Truly, I find that quite sad.

Back in the day, a dime to call home if we were going to be late was all we needed. Mom and Dad knew where we were all the time, or there would be hell to pay. Today, parents give their kids all these techie toys that cost a lot of money each month in service fees.

Frankly, I was just as happy with two cans and a string.

Life is short: just ask... I am on a first-name basis with dinosaurs, Julius Caesar, and Plato (or is that Pliny the Elder?)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Trials of a Having a Large Boot Collection

Unlike some guys, I actually wear (or try to wear) all of the boots that I own. I admit, I own a few pairs of boots that I can't wear any more. I keep some of them for nostalgic purposes. Like the boots I wore atop the Great Wall of China, or the boots I wore while in Romania during the immediate aftermath of the post-Ceauşescu era, or the boots that the Pope blessed (well, he blessed me, but the Fryes I had on got blessed along with me.)

I also have a few pairs of boots that I talk a lot about selling or finding a home for, such as my old Redwood Wesco boots that don't fit me any more, and a couple odds-n-ends that don't fit as well. I just cannot possess myself to discard a pair of boots, even if they are damaged or completely worn out.

Well, anyway, the other day I was rummaging around in the closet of our guest room and I saw something on the floor. Turned out to be a pair of jungle-type tall canvas/leather motorcycle boots. I had forgotten that I had them, and how those boots ended up in that closet, I'll never know.

I got them out, put them on, and was pleasantly surprised about how comfortable they were. I wonder why I stopped wearing them. (Well, I know why: I forgot!)

That's the peril of having a large boot collection. No matter how well one is organized with a website devoted to cataloging the collection and storage built expressly for the purposes of displaying the boots and keeping them in order (and off the bedroom floor, which begat the whole website thing in the first place) -- sometimes one may forget that he has a certain pair of boots. Sometimes the boots wander off to get squirreled away in places that one doesn't ordinarily look.

I do intend to reduce the boot collection to those that I wear regularly. (Note to self: keep writing that and perhaps you will follow through with this self-promise!) But I do wear a lot of my boots. I may change boots three to five times each day, depending on what I am doing, where I am going, and what I need on my feet for the conditions: rain, snow, or whilst motorcycling, for example.

At least no one can accuse me of not knowing what I have any more (giggle.) Just check out the website and my questions are resolved.

Life is short: wear boots!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Blank Page

I found the most interesting and useful internet page -- it is called, simply, "Blank Web Page." (See it by clicking here. I promise, it won't hurt your computer nor introduce bad things like a trojan or a virus.)

I build in re-directs from some of my website's pages to this page from time to time. A "re-direct" simply means that if you think you are visiting a page on my website, it ends up somewhere else and entirely off the domain of my website.

Unfortunately, some people who participate in various on-line forums include a link to my website. They make comments about what appears on the website page to which they are linking. Most of the time, I can't see what they're saying, but I can guess. Since they linked to me without permission and I have no idea what they're saying, I redirect them elsewhere. I don't want them on my site.

Forums for CHP officers, Finnish motorbikers, die-hard Harley bikers, and even some brain-dead chick's blog have linked to some pages on my website and then have been re-directed to "Blank Web Page."

Whoever invented "Blank Web Page": thank you for creating it. I had no idea something like this would be so useful.

Fortunately, the people who link to my site and get re-directed to a blank page quickly loose interest and stop visiting. Then I can rest my website back to usual.

Life is short: outsmart dimwits.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

90-lbs of Sister in 180-lbs of Cowhide

Question: why would my little sister put on my new, tough, thick cowhide biker chaps?

Answer: because she wanted to ride on my Harley, yet her pants were so thin that the heat from the bike was hurting her legs.

Here's the story. My little sister asked me to pick her up on my Harley at the Metro station, then go visit our aunt, then go to another sister's house for the regular Friday night family dinner.

When I arrived at the Metro station, I saw that sis had on a pair of dress slacks that were thin. I was a little concerned, but she hopped on the back of the bike, donned a helmet, and said, "let's go!" Off we went.

The visit with our aunt was great, but as we were leaving her home, sis explained that her legs were feeling really hot from the heat of the bike's exhaust.

I offered to take her to my local K-Mart to get some jeans. When we arrived in the store's parking lot, she was changing her mind and suggested we go back to my house and get the truck and use that to go to our other sister's for dinner. But as this sister is known to do, she changed her mind again and said, "I'm having too much fun. I want to ride on your Harley!"

That's when I said, "well, I have a pair of chaps in the saddle bag. You want to see if they will protect your legs while we ride?"

Well, there she is, all wrapped in custom-made chaps in my size. She is half my size and half my weight soaking wet. (That's why I call her my "little" sister, even though she's four years older). She and I both laughed our heads off. But it worked...she was safe and enjoyed the ride to Outer Slobbovia to sister's house for dinner. The family saw our arrival and roared.

We are all still laughing. What one does for family.

Life is short: protect those you love and show them you love them!

Monday, August 23, 2010

900th Blog Post

Blogger makes it too easy to count the number of posts on a blog. So here's 900 (well, actually #903 since the "straight guy" series and my brother's post occupied important, sequential positions).

I'm thinkin' of reducing the every-day posting activity to less often. Some times I have a lot to say, and other times I don't. Some times people have time to read, and other times, they don't. I think I'll try to strike a balance in the middle somewhere. What do you think?

Meanwhile, keep reading, and I'll keep writing.

Life is short: blog on!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Out Riding

I led a ride yesterday. In order to lead a ride, I had to take more than several "test-runs" earlier in the week, one of them with my brother. The trials were not all that successful, but even though I didn't complete the route during the test-run, I learned what would work and what would not work; what roads to take and what roads we could not navigate, or were closed due to repairs and a detour was required. I also learned not to rely on the GPS completely. Great as a guide, but not the final authority.

If you want to know how a typical group motorcycle ride works, read this previous blog post.

All 14 of us had a great time riding the Maryland back roads and byways on a bright, sunny, delightful day. Not too hot, not cool ... just right for Harleys and the smiles of the riders who enjoyed the ride that I led.

Life is short: get out, ride, and enjoy it!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Brother's Perspective

Guest blog by BHD's twin brother, J

Well, bro', our visit sure went quickly. It seems that no sooner than we arrived, we're back on a plane headed for home in France. But I did get to go riding with you several times, and enjoyed visiting with our family and our aunt who you look after so closely. Too bad the rain interfered with some of our riding, but that's life. It didn't interrupt the quality time that you and I spent together.

This year, I observed that you were more laid back, calm, and -- how do I say it? -- peaceful. When we were around our family, with the kids running around and everyone talking at once (as our family is wont to do) ... you may have been sitting quietly on the floor with our two-year-old great nephew building a tower with blocks. Or you may have been sitting with our sister having a quiet conversation. Or, I even caught you poking your nose under the hood of our brother-in-law's restored '76 Camaro. (Don't tell me you aren't a wrench. I know 'em when I see 'em.)

You extend you care so gently to our aunt, and draw her out of her shell and engage her in a way that she doesn't do with anyone else. You get her to smile, to laugh, to walk, and to eat. No one else can seem to do that as well or as often, even though she has excellent around-the-clock care.

And once again, your clan of seniors who adore you were omnipresent. Their gift of cake, ice cream, and their little song during their visit last Sunday afternoon was a delightful surprise for our birthday. It is obvious that they adore you, and you care for them very much. You always say, "what goes around comes around" or "it's a two-way street." Whatever... the energy you put into caring for them is obviously much appreciated, and you are deeply loved.

You seem to be at peace with everything and everyone. You certainly remain busy with the political campaigns you are working on, your community work, keeping your household running, and lots of other stuff. But you have made your limits clear; keeping your focus on (how you say it) "the priorities." You have established your priorities and everyone around you knows what they are. That's simply amazing. But then again, you always amaze me, man.

I laughed when you were preparing dinner on Tuesday and the doorbell rang. At your request, I answered. Your state senator was at the door, and it was obvious he needed something. But before he said anything, the first thing he did was greet me by name, then excuse himself. I've never seen a politician 1) remember the name of a visitor he's never met; and 2) figure out quickly that with my visit, it wasn't the time for a lengthy discussion. Man, you've educated him well. (Mom would be proud, as the Congressman she worked for wouldn't have done that!) You just handed him an envelope and said, "talk to you later" and that was that. Simple. I like that.

I won't forget the looks on our family's faces on Wednesday evening when we went to our nephew's event to recognize his recently-awarded M.D. You got me to wear my leather pants and you wore yours. I think we were the coolest dudes in the place. I have to admit, I was a little self-conscious, but The Wife encouraged me to wear those leather pants to this big function. They looked great with the jacket & tie I was wearing (though I couldn't get you into a tie for the life of me.)

You seem to have natural grace. Not necessarily in how you walk or move, but how you function. I'd say that you take each minute of every day and flow from one thing to the next. You don't get rattled. You accept change -- no, I would say that you "embrace" change -- quickly, and with an even temperament that sets a great example for the rest of us. We should learn your secret, though you swear it is no secret; you just naturally and gracefully move on from task to task, person to person, thing to thing, or whatever. Again, amazing.

I am also glad that The Wife and your partner spent quality time together. They seem to hit it off well. Your partner is so well-read, and so interesting to talk to. You have a tremendous man in your chosen mate and I am delighted to be part of your lives.

Brother, just being with you restores my soul. I cherish you, and am blessed to have you as my own. My twin. My soulmate from our early life, and my best friend. How fortunate I am.

In closing, I will borrow one of your lines: life is short... show those you love that you love them. Love you, bro'! Sempre!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Guest Blog: Straight Guy and Leather Gear, Pt. 3

This is the third and final post in this Guest Blog series which I invited to be written by a friend. If you missed it, read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.


My Perspective on Wearing Leather

BHD has given me some questions to help guide me along -- an interview of sorts -- I will attempt to answer coherently:

1. What is it about wearing leather that you like?

I like the way it looks. I like the confidence it represents. I like the way people react to it. It makes me feel good. Much better than a suit or a good pair of jeans. Wearing leather gives the impression that I don't completely conform to everybody's whims, and if you choose to enter into a relationship with me -- whether it be business or friendship -- you should not expect me to go along with how the mainstream may do things. The mainstream is more becoming screwed up!

People are more and more just becoming "Look At Me" copy-cat automatons incapable of independent thought.

2. What do you think about having an interest in leather and not having an interest in men?

I admit I think some guys look good in leather, but it stops there. Some guys look great in a good suit or a pair of jeans. It is possible to admire something without wanting to hump it. Takes some practice but it is accomplishable. Its called self control! Our society has too little of it these days. Is it possible to say, "that is a good looking guy" and not be gay? Yes.

Completely. And I am not deluding myself. I think leather is a wonderful material -- supplied by God -- I love wearing it and the way it looks. I have gained confidence since I realized that. Maybe psychiatrists should try making patients with low self esteem wear leather out in public. Hey, maybe I'm onto something: "Leather Therapy" LOL!

As I explained previously when I wear leather I feel confident. I like the way it wears. It is strong. It can be rejuvenated. All I have to do is imagine what I would loose should I ever indulge and my thoughts go another direction. There is a difference between lust and love. Lust happens all of the time. Its human nature!

We lust after people, food, and things. It is completely possible to control lust and keep it where it belongs just as it is completely possible for me to not eat half of a pecan pie in one sitting, much as I'd like to. Look: I have kids who depend on me, a wife who depends on me. Would I destroy or at least severely change their lives for a selfish indulgence? Sure it will make me feel physically great for a fleeting moment but it will destroy three other lives in the process.

So how do I get what I want? I don't always get what I want. That’s what is wrong with society. Everybody is trying to get what they want and nobody is thinking about the lives they are impacting in the process. In the case of leather I just have honest conversations with my wife and it all seems to work out. Right now I want to get my ear pierced. She ain't down with that. We'll work on it. How many guys do you know who's wife lets them wear leather to church? Mine does. She says I look sexy.

If communication is what it should be in bed then your sexual needs should be satisfied! I love my wife. I am not attracted in a loving way to other men, wearing leather or not. I use lust to make creative energy. Works for me!

3. Do you think hanging out with gay guys may possibly cause others to raise questions in their mind about you? How do you feel about that?

Yes, in fact I am a little surprised this didn't come to the top of the pile right off. I'm always telling my son, "Son, you are who you hang with." I'm not gay. I have known a couple of gay men through work. One of them was extremely insecure, and the other one was pretty confident. In fact, Rick, the confident guy was a lot of fun to be around. He wasn't constantly second-guessing himself. If he had not told me he was gay I probably would not have known. Being Gay wasn't the subject of *everything* that came out of his mouth, unlike the other guy. I found the insecure one very embarrassing. I would not want my sexuality questioned.

I think you can wear leather without people thinking you are gay. I have come across many many many masculine men in leather with their wife at their arm. They appeared to be happy. Probably because they weren’t sitting in a cubicle in some non-descript business but rather out enjoying their Harleys. After penning this out I will probably not find myself hanging out in a gay bar. Biker bar maybe, but not a gay bar.

So, if I may borrow the closing style of the great Blogger BHD: "If you like wearing leather, whatever the reason, wear it."

The Good Book says, "What is life, it is even a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes." Before you know it you'll be 80 wondering why you never wore the leather you liked so much. Wear your leather. Enjoy your life!"

Note from BHD: I truly appreciate the thought and energy that my friend put into writing this series of blog posts. He said, in a way, it was cathartic for him to express himself this way. I sure learned a lot. If you wish to write a message to send to him, write to me and I will forward it to him.

I hope you enjoyed this series. I hope to have other invited blog posts from other guys on occasion.

And remember: life is indeed short! Get out there and embrace your passion!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guest Blog: Straight Guy and Leather Gear, Pt. 2

This is part two of a series. If you missed Part I, read it here. Enjoy!


Embracing My Passion

I took a credit card and bought several thousands of dollars worth of equipment and leather hides. As a teen I did some tooling and I liked it. My dad is a very talented carpenter and I think some of his creativeness may have made its way into my make up.

The more I work with leather as a medium, the more I feel satisfied that I have found something that can be my true area of expertise. People would come to me with their leather-making needs.

I like the bald-guy leather look. Time to remake myself into what I actually feel and not what I think will appease other people. As far as Jesus, I think we have him figured out all wrong. Read your Bible! There is so much we ignore in favor of "church" which is not Jesus. Time to get some leather pants.

They were hot and they were too big so I ordered a smaller pair. They were three sizes smaller than what the tag said. I took pictures using a tape measure and sent them back. I got a third pair; they had a saggy butt. I ordered a fourth pair with side lacing; slightly too big but manageable. I wore them.

After wearing the side-lace pants for a week every day in the middle of winter I decided I really liked them! I wore them out ... to Walmart ... to eat ... to a school function. I was afraid of embarrassing my 14 year-old son. He thought it was cool.

Some of the parents gave me weird looks. They were secretly jealous that they didn't have the kahoonas to wear leather out in public aside from riding a bike.

I bought a leather vest. Three of them actually. One was too big. One was really flimsy. It looked hot on the guy modeling it but it was made really cheaply and I doubt it would have held up very long had I kept it in service. The third was just right. Great lining .. Looked good. It's the one I wear every day and in pictures.

Next were the wrist cuffs. I have made myself ten or so that I really like. People look at me either with an admiring look or like I am a fetishist. Again, it's my life!

Now for the big conundrum. How can I mix with other guys who enjoy leather for the purpose of promoting my products without being involved in the homosexual side? In my experience, which is very limited, most guys into leather are gay. I am not. I am happily married 23 years to my wife. We have two great kids (14 year old boy and 21 year old daughter, who is about to get married). While I think some men look really good in leather, it stops there. I would never indulge myself at the risk of destroying what I have with my wife and my family. She is too much a part of me.

We are entering this new stage of our lives together. She is very feminine but I manage to sneak some leather on her in the form of bracelets and cuffs and she really likes them.

Check back tomorrow for Part 3: My Perspective on Wearing Leather

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Blog: Straight Guy and Leather Gear, Pt. 1

Dear Readers: this post was written by a friend who I invited to write a guest blog series about his thoughts about wearing leather gear. He is straight, married with children, and has interests that parallel mine. Enjoy a series of great reads!


Young Adulthood

First of all let me start out by saying that if this blog entry got out amongst my fellow Baptist friends I'd pretty much be finished! I'm not ignorant, I know it is going out onto the Internet, however in a somewhat anonymous fashion.

Since turning 40 two years ago I am finding that I really care less and less what other people think about me. I used to care a lot. I would dress to be accepted by my conservative friends; use language that would be accepted by my conservative friends, eat and drink in a way that would be accepted by my conservative friends ... Notice a pattern? I am also a Christian and I would try and act in a way that would be a reflection of Christ.

So what happened? Simple. I started a little business making leather wrist cuffs, and I immensely enjoy it. I like making the stuff, selling the stuff, taking it to shows, doing custom orders...all of it. For the first time in a long time I really enjoy my work!

I think I have always loved leather. Actually I have but I didn't know it. As a youth I was always attracted to slick shiny things. In the 70s it was anything satin. In the 80s it was vinyl and latex. I worked in a call center with no dress code and in the late 80s and early 90s I would wear latex jeans to work. I had several colors. I liked the way they looked but they were hot and sticky. I had not yet considered leather.

In my 30s I started noticing leather; but I wasn’t really into it. I thought a pair of leather pants might be cool to have, and I have always liked boots. In my 20s I was a deputy sheriff and I wore boots as part of my uniform. The boots represented rigidness and adherence to a code. When they get dingy you can shine them up and they look new. They stand out no matter what you are wearing. They represent order and neatness. I've always had at least one good pair of leather boots.

In my late 30s I was an I.T. manager for a manufacturing company. I was there for five years. I remember how I hated going up to that office every day and sit in that little room with no windows. I was making good money but I absolutely hated going to work. One day the boss came in and fired me. He said it was nothing personal he just wanted to try something different.

His choice didn't really work out for him. The brain-child that wooed him into the decision to get rid of me only stayed a short time and left a big mess. I came out of it with the thought that I would never again put myself in a position where I could be fired. (Just wait for it. I am going somewhere with this.)

One of the things I did when I had the I.T. job is shave my head. I was getting a little thin atop. Bald was making its appearance and I liked the bald-goatee look. My boss told me I looked like a gay forest ranger. I didn't know there was a stereotype there. It may have led to the demise of my job. Of course there is no way to know.

After loosing the job I went through a year of depression. Serious depression. I came out of it with the help of Prozac, and Vitamin D. I no longer take the Prozac finding that probably some good counseling and vitamin D was what I really needed.

I am now in a good place. I have decided that even though it is a little selfish, I am half way through my life and I am going to care less about what people think about me and do what I like. I am going to embrace my passion.

Check back tomorrow for Part Two: Embracing My Passion

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


My brother and I got out our respective Harleys early yesterday morning and went for a "ride to nowhere" which we enjoy doing. Ten miles (16km) beyond where I live, we have many fine two-lane less-traveled country roads to explore.

Our practice is that when we reach a major intersection, we flip a coin. Heads, turn left; tails, turn right. Or tails, turn another way. Or heads, go that way... whichever... the point is, we're out to ride and have fun.

Sometimes, we let that "twin thing" guide us. We would reach an intersection and whoever was in the lead would just turn, and the other would follow as if he knew it was our planned route. While I'm not much of a believer in mystery, I am convinced that I can sense what my brother is thinking and vice-versa -- at least when we are relaxed and doing something fun.

We found a neat little hole-in-the-wall diner for lunch. We stopped for gas at a little gas station that still had a pump for "Ethel." (Though it had a modern pump for 93 octane gas that our Harleys require.) We stopped for water. We stopped to watch a whole herd of ... some large four-legged animal that I swore looked like Elk, but I know we don't have herds of Elk in Maryland. We stopped to stretch and just admire the corn as high as an elephant's eye.

By early afternoon, though, storm clouds were gathering on the horizon, so I set the GPS for "home" and we made it home safely.

What a terrific motorcycling companion. What a wonderful brother. What a great birthday ride!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Yep, happens every year just about this time. I am taking some time to share my birthday with my twin brother, to ride motorcycles together, to share joy with family and friends, and to rejuvenate my soul.

Unfortunately, a police-escorted ride to lunch yesterday didn't happen, because it was raining all day. My partner arranged with some of the local police officers with whom I work in civic activities to ride over and take me to lunch. They were supposed to arrive on their police bikes and ride with me to the restaurant on a nominal "police escorted" ride. (Due to department procedure changes, they couldn't officially stop traffic in taking lil' ol' me to lunch while I was riding my bike. But it was the thought that counts. I mean, how many guys get four police officers to take him to lunch?)

However, considering the rain, all four of them showed up in a large truck that one of them owns, and took me with them. That was nice enough. I enjoyed lunch with them and some other friends who joined us.

A family tradition is that the "birthday boy" gets to pick what he wants for dinner on his birthday. My tradition since I've been together with my partner is to request Maryland steamed crabs -- nothin' better (though I admit, I have to wash off the spice. Don't threaten to have my "Maryland" license forfeited, since Old Bay is a mandatory requirement on Chesapeake blues. I wish my colitis understood.)

This afternoon, we'll be pickin' crabs and spinnin' yarns and relaxing on the deck among the flies and the beer with the bestest brother a guy could have, the most best partner a guy could have, the wonderfulest sister-in-law a guy could have, and all the smiles one could ever want.

And to Tef and all my other English teachers: please accept advanced apologies for killing the language in the para above with the superest superlatives. I affirm that I wrote this alcohol-free.

BTW, my brother gets to pick his birthday dinner tomorrow. Since I am four minutes older, I have "seniority" and get to have my birthday dinner on my actual birthday, while "little" brother gets his own special celebration on the next day. That's how my family has always done it -- we each have our own special day and our own party as we want it. We were raised to be individuals, even though we happen to have been born on the same date. Our parents were quite thoughtful, weren't they?

Life is short: enjoy it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

First Ride - Bad Ride

My brother and his wife slept peacefully yesterday morning until after 11am. Even though we didn't get to bed until 4:30am, I slept fitfully at best and decided to get up at 7am because I couldn't sleep since my system is so conditioned to rising fully awake at 4am anyway. I read the paper, talked to my partner, and did some quiet housecleaning.

When J and his wife awoke, I had prepared a great brunch of home-made waffles, fruit, sausage, orange juice and coffee. We enjoyed catching up a bit. Then sister M came over and took J's wife to visit some of our family while J and I went to go pick up his Harley rental.

The bike rental process went fine. Then J and I took off to pre-ride a group ride that I'm scheduled to lead next week. A pre-ride is riding the actual planned route to look for potential hazards, note the turns, and become aware of any possible problems or situations in advance of leading a whole group of riders there. A pre-ride builds confidence in that "I've been there before" and I can then concentrate more on the group when I'm leading it than on making certain I catch each turn.

This was J's first ride on a Harley since he rode with me last August. He was a little rusty, but picked up his riding skills rather quickly after a few turns in a parking lot, plus some practice on stopping quickly.

Off we went... the first 65 miles were great. J loved the scenery and I enjoyed riding with my brother again.

We approached a turn onto a busy highway, which would soon be followed by a quick left onto another back road.

Unfortunately, the road we were on had a very steep incline as it approached the highway, then a stop sign. One literally was pointed to the heavens and then had to stop. Then accelerate quickly to join the flow of traffic on the highway.

No way... no friggin' way. I lost my nerve, and almost lost my balance. J did, too. We couldn't get the bikes going without potentially stalling or dropping them. Here we are, at the top of this hill, holding these darned heavy Harleys with our lug-soled booted feet, the bike's brakes, and our balance. Gosh, one would think that after the same experience last year, I would remember and not do that to myself.

We realized that: a) we couldn't go forward; b) we couldn't turn around; and c) no way in hell I could lead a group through this torture. What we finally did was slowly walk our bikes backward in the curb lane until we got to the bottom of the hill and were able to turn around. Tuck our tales between our legs and go back home.

We got home safely and unscathed, if not feeling a bit sheepish. But that is what a pre-ride is for: to learn what potential problems there may be and avoid them. I will plot another route and J and I will go ride that some time this coming week, to make sure there won't be any more problems like that hill again.

Life is short: know your limitations.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Bro's Arrival

Last night, twin brother and his wife arrived. Or shall I say, this morning, just a little while ago... 2:30am to be exact. This post is actually going up "live" as I write it, then to bed...to bed... I'm exhausted.

J's plane was scheduled to arrive early yesterday evening (at an airport on the other side of the Potomac River from where I live), but it was delayed leaving France. I was told it would arrive at 9pm, but we waited, and waited... with little information. Finally, we were told that the original plane had to return to France due to a mechanical problem that happened soon after it took off. They had to offload all of the passengers and luggage, find another plane, and put everyone and everything back on the new flight.

But wait... there's more. My brother told me that they made all of the passengers go back through security, even though they never left the secure side of the airport. Oh brother... no wonder flying internationally is such a challenge these days.

I brought a book to read, which I had finished fairly early. I went to look for a bookstore, but by the time I thought to get another trashy novel, the stores had closed. I tried to sleep a little bit, but there was a Mom with a bratty little kid waiting for this same flight to arrive. The kid was cranky and tired, and instead of sleeping as his mother was encouraging him to do, he seemed to scream louder.

I had to wait outside the customs area, and there weren't many places to sit down available. When I did find a place to sit, that's where the kid was. There wasn't any other place to go, as the restaurants and shops were closed.

I'm a zombie. I am only on the computer to find out the hours of the place that has the Harley that my brother will rent. I don't think we're going there the moment it opens, but it's not open tomorrow so we'll pick it up today, sometime.

Wish us a good visit, despite how badly it started.

Life is short: patience is a virtue. Sleep is better.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Not Another Poker Run

It seems that when a weekend day may free up on my schedule and I look for a motorcycle ride to join, it always seems as if there's a ride to a poker run.

What's that? You ride to a designated meeting place. You pay an entry fee, which is collected as a charitable donation to the event organizer's designated charity. You get a map of a route to follow. You ride the route, and as you go, you pick up playing cards. At the end of the route, you put together your best poker hand. Prizes are given to people with the highest-scoring hand.

Can you spell b-o-r-i-n-g? Sorry, I know there are a lot of people who like events like this. I don't. I never have. I don't play cards, anyway. But that's beside the point. The point is to ride along a route with your friends and help a neighboring club raise funds for its charity. I get it. But...

I really prefer shorter rides without some gimmick along the way. I need to offer to lead more such rides, which is why I offered to serve as a road captain anyway -- to offer these kinds of rides as a choice to our club's members. So rather that bitch about what other people are doing, I need to step up and assert some leadership.

News at 11...

[An American expression for "check back later for more information"]

Life is short: lead when you don't want to follow.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm Taken

Having a website and a blog inevitably results in receiving the occasional email from guys who are interested in more than my boots or leather. Receiving such email on these rare occasions is flattering. However, they miss the note in my profile that clearly says that I am in a monogamous relationship.

I do not intend to mislead you -- I really do not receive much email at all, and very few email messages making "certain suggestions."

A few years ago if I received a suggestive email message, my first response was to say to myself, "what, this guy can't read?" Then I thought about it for a while, and realized that most read a few pages, and do not see the pages that describe my relationship. Nowadays I reply to say, "thanks, I am flattered, but I'm 'taken'."

I enjoy camaraderie with lots of people. I enjoy exchanging email with people from all over the world. I learn a lot. I appreciate the comments and different ways of thinking. But that's my limit: no clandestine meet-ups, no traveling to meet other men, no playing around behind my partner's back... none of that.

Yep, I'm taken. I remain in love with one man. Bound by our hearts, we continue to make bootprints of our journey.

Life is short: love is sweet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oh Doo-Doo!

I was served a subpoena to appear in court yesterday as a witness in a civil matter between two neighbors who are in dispute about, of all things, doggy doo-doo. Oh cripes! Thus the challenge of being a community leader. I feel great regret that I wasn't able to encourage these neighbors to resolve their issues civilly between themselves without having to have a judge do it for them.

On came my dressy Nocona blue full-quill ostrich boots with a pair of dress pants, dress shirt, and a "spot" of leather -- my maroon leather tie. Damn it was hot! Choking in that noose made me sweat a lot -- but because I had to do a quick 10-block trip to a drug store to get medicine for "Dog A" which was present in court as "evidence" (seriously, I kid you not!) "Dog A's" owner is disabled, and the doggy was suffering an asthma attack because the air quality was poor. I couldn't let "Dog A" suffer so badly, and if getting a children's antihistamine would help relieve it's symptoms, off I marched in the heat to get the drug. It actually worked!

One of my friends is a local police officer. I griped a bit about this court date with him a few days ago. He told me stories about appearing in court on both civil and criminal matters that made my head spin. I don't know how cops have the patience to deal with all the dumb stuff that some people do. My short court visit is nothing compared with what he has to do on a regular basis for his job. So I'll quit my bitchin'.

Civility in today's society is lost. People are quick to yell, scream, and behave like total and complete idiots -- then file a civil complaint for a judge to decide. Such a waste of time for the judicial branch of government. I am so sad. We have to be better than this.

However, that is one reason why I refrain from posting much about politics on this blog or on my Facebook page or other non-political forums. Some people have opinions that oppose my own views. They're entitled, but the vehemence with which they voice their opinions is awful. I choose not to incite those riots on on-line social forums.

I do have political opinions, and I do post comments about them where it's appropriate. There is a statewide political blog on which I have written comments and guest blog pieces. But always in a civil, respectful, manner. I choose to post in what I call "appropriate" places -- and not discuss politics on social media. To me, "social media" is for fun and friendship, not for challenging others to a war of words.

Life is short: be calm, civil, and choose where to say what in cyberspace.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Persistent Website Downtime

I truly regret that my website experienced a significant period of downtime yet again last night.

After incurring five prolonged periods of downtime within the last six weeks, I said to myself, "okay, that's it!" I called my web host, Hurricane Electric (which was recommended to me by Larry of hotboots.com), and they confirmed the server on which my website is hosted was having problems again. So I sent them an email and requested that my site be migrated off their dysfunctional server to another one. Hopefully, the new-to-me server on which my website is hosted won't have such problems.

Unfortunately, my website and my email was also down during the transition period to the new server. If you sent me a message any time from Monday afternoon until night, I haven't seen it yet, but no worries, I'll get it eventually and reply to you.

I have been very pleased with Hurricane Electric's service for many years. I have a number of websites hosted by them now. Bootedman.com is the largest, but regardless of a website's size and functionality, their reliability and affordability is what "sold" me. I think this one server downtime problem is an anomaly.

To anyone who tried to visit my website and received an error message or a message that the site wasn't there any more, I apologize. Hopefully with this migration to another server, the problem will be resolved.

Life is short: don't have unplanned downtime!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Guest Blog From The Bro'

Hey, big brother... in just a few days, a big jet will be headed your way with The Wife and me on it. Headed back to see you for our birthday. I've made arrangements to rent a Harley. Lets Go Play! One week 'til our birthday! (But who's counting?)

M and The Wife will do the girly stuff (shopping, yakking) while you and I will go explore. Revisit our youth, see our family, strengthen our souls -- as only you can do for me.

It has been a year since we've done this, yet it feels like longer. I rejoice in knowing that you and I will be spending significant time together, hangin' out, havin' fun.

Love you, bro' ... always have, always will. Can't wait!

See you soon,


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Formal Summer Leather

These words do not always go together: "summer" and "leather". "Formal" and "leather" go better together... sometimes. Here's my take on both matters....

While I am definitely a cuirophile (a-ha, new word! But leathermen can figure that one out fast)... I recognize that leather is durable, looks good, and by design, it is warm. I mean, after all, it was the thick skin of a cow. (I know, leather is made from other animal hides, too, but let's not split hidehairs.)

When the weather outside is frightful... but not the snowy sort (pardon the lift from an old holiday tune)... temperatures in the 90s (over 32C), wearing any form of leatherwear on my legs and body can make me very uncomfortable. While the aroma of sweaty leather has some intoxicating prospects, passing out from heat stroke is not good. Not at all... so wearing full leather in the summer outdoors is not something I choose to do.

... except ... in the early morning before it becomes warm, when I may choose some of my nicest, "formal" leather, and completely leather up for some photos for my website. I think the background of fully-leafed trees is far better than the stark, leafless, cold background of a winter's day.

What makes "formal" leather? Usually, at least from my own observation, one can say that he is wearing "formal" leather when he has on leather pants that are clean and the leather is in its full lustre. A leather shirt, usually with long sleeves but perhaps with short sleeves, on the torso. A Muir Cap on the head, a Dress Leather Tie with a pair of well-shined black boots completes the outfit.

Must all "formal" leather be black? I dunno... this fashion-conscious "black-tie" stuff always throws me, since I am not the type of guy to wear a tuxedo. (Never have, never will.) I think good quality lustrous leather combined together, as shown here, can easily fit the bill of "dress leather."

Only downfall, this prince's date doesn't like going to the ball (don't go there... this is a G-rated blog!)... ahem... back to topic ... my partner detests going out. Thus, I can (and often do) dress in formal leather, but "going out" means to the back yard for some photos, then enjoying wearing leather indoors in cool comfort. ... until I have to go out. In which case, off come the leathers for a return to hanging them nicely in the gear closet... and on come the blue jeans and t-shirts with comfy boots, which are my customary summertime choices.

Life is short: enjoy leather!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What Do Cowboys Wear Under Their Jeans?

Yes, another question entered into Google and that landed on my website.

Question: "what do cowboys wear under their jeans?"

Answer: underwear.

What kind -- boxers or briefs?

Answer: yes.

Question: do cowboys ever wear jeans without underwear?

Answer: I don't know. I haven't checked. But when I have ridden horses, I have required all the padding I could get between the saddle and my butt. I figure the same is true with cowboys. Underwear is a good choice. But you'll have to check for yourself, guys.

Also, remember, most cowboys wear jeans over boots, so you can say, in a way, that they wear boots "under" their jeans, too.

Life is short: ubi sub sub ubi (always wear underwear -- a Latin proverb LOL!)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can Civilians Wear Cop Boots?

There goes that Google again, driving someone with the question, "can civilians wear cop boots?" onto this blog and my website.

Answer: yes.

Is a person who is not a sworn peace officer wearing tall motorcycle patrol boots, like the 20 pairs of patrol boots that I have impersonating an officer?

Well, if he puts on a uniform with insignia and goes out in public wearing it, then he's close to that label. However, what he does while wearing a uniform is the decision-maker. If he attempts to pull someone over, speak to someone like a cop, threaten giving a citation, or something stupid like direct traffic or point a gun at someone, then yes: that's impersonation and penalties for doing that are severe.

But if you just pull on a pair of tall patrol boots with breeches but have no insignia, and if you don't speak like a cop or pretend to do things that cops do, then no, you're not impersonating an officer.

So bottom-line: yes, "civilians" can wear tall patrol boots. I do it all the time. So do thousands of other men who like the appearance, feel, design, and style of the boots.

If you're afraid someone might say something, then crawl back under a rock and put on your sneakers. Otherwise, boot-up and enjoy!

Life is short: wear boots you like to wear!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Are Frye Boots Good for Motorcycling?

This question was posed, where else, but in a Google search and it ended up on my website.

The answer to the question, "are Frye Boots good for motorcycling" is "mostly no" with a few exceptions.

The reason why the answer is "mostly no" is that most vintage Frye boots were made with a smooth leather sole, as shown here on a pair of vintage Frye Boots of the '70s. Boots with a smooth sole are a poor choice to wear while operating a motorcycle simply because the soles do not provide traction which is required to hold the bike at a stoplight or whilst maneuvering into a parking spot. In fact, smooth-soled boots like most Fryes and cowboy boots are very likely to slip on pavement. Why? Pavement, particularly asphalt parking lots, is a repository for oil. Most people think, "my car doesn't leak oil, so why worry about it?" Cars drop a drop of oil here and there, particularly while hot, and just parked.

Slipping while parking a bike is, according to NHTSA, the third-most leading cause of injuries to a motorcyclist, after a crash or driver error (dropping the bike or running off the road.) You see, if your boots slip under you, you put enormous pressure on your ankle while trying to prevent the bike from falling over. There are a number of ankle sprains, strains, and breaks reported. Believe me, I know how fragile the fibula is (the smaller of the two leg bones that go into the ankle.) It can snap and break when such sideways pressure is applied to it.

Back in the day when Frye Boots were made at the original plant in Massachusetts, the company did make a line of boots with lug soles suitable for use while operating a motorcycle. (Image from a 1975 Frye Boot Catalog.) Today, there are some Frye boots made in China that have a rubber sole. (The Frye Boots made in the USA plant in Arkansas nowadays are the campus style, which have smooth leather soles.)

Unless your choice of boots has at least a rubber sole -- preferably a lug sole -- then do not use them while operating a motorcycle. Sure, you'll be fine while the bike is in motion. You may have serious trouble when you have to stop.

In summary, it's not the boot, it's the sole. And in post-summary, repeat after me: "boots are for motorcycling, sneakers are for the gym."

Life is short: have sole.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thinning the Wesco Boot Collection

Wesco Redwood Boss BootsNote (added later): these boots have been sold and are not available

I have had this pair of Wesco Boss Boots since 1989. The color is different -- The West Coast Shoe Company (Wesco) calls it "Redwood." They are 20" tall (after sagging about an inch once they were broken in), and have a 16-1/2" calf circumference. I wore them while riding my Harley (and previous motorcycles), so shifter-scuffing on the right boot is noticeable.

I bought these boots directly from Wesco. At the time, Stompers wasn't open yet, and I did not know that you can get new Wesco Boots from a third-party retailer for significantly less money than from the dealer direct.

The boots are standard, or stock, in measurement. The foot size is 10D. They are not lined with leather, but the leather is very stiff and they stand up well. They have one buckle at the top, closed with a brass closure, and of course one buckle across the instep, which is traditional for an engineer-style boot.

I can pull them on with a struggle, and my regular 10D foot fits fine. The leg is where I have a problem. The calf circumference is too tight for me as my calf muscles have gotten a bit bigger as I have aged.

I have decided to sell sold these boots to someone who might just like a pair of biker-worn, attractive Redwood Wesco Boss Boots. Before I put them up on eBay, I'm announcing it here so in case anyone wants to make me a decent offer.

Life is short: continue the life of a long-lived pair of boots!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Promise to Self

Hey, self, get out and ride your bike!

Life is short: carve out time to have fun!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Living Vicariously

There are people who:
  • are curious to know what it's like to wear leather
  • would like to leather up and go out to some leather-dress-code-enforced gathering
  • would like to ride a motorcycle
  • would like to wear boots
...but who don't.

So they search the internet to explore their interests. Some of those searches end up on my website or this blog. Looking at photos and reading about what other guys do is a safe way of living vicariously through others (provided you're not on the computer 24/7).

For example, through a commentary exchange on this blog that I have been having with Straightjacketed, a bondophile in the UK who is a very nice guy, I am living vicariously with his interest and ability to get his partner to get into gear and go with him to The Hoist, which is a leather bar in London and has gatherings at which they enforce a strict dress code. For various reasons explained in all those comments (so not to be repeated here), my partner and I no longer gear-up and go out. But I enjoy reading about the experiences of a younger guy.

SJ also truly enjoys bondage, which he explains and demonstrates on his blog. I read it and learn what someone who does that enjoys. While bondage is not something I would want to do or would find stimulating, there are a lot of guys (both gay and straight) who do. Fa così sia, to each his own.

As another example, I see visitors come to my website from very rural areas of the United States (and other countries) where they can only dream about wearing leather, going out, riding a Harley, having a boot collection, or whatever. They are stuck. I know what it's like to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. The norms of the society in which they live are conservative and restrictive. If they put on a pair of leather pants, boots, and a leather shirt and went to a local pub or restaurant, they would feel very uncomfortable because of the reaction from family, friends, and neighbors who don't accept. They would be called names and perhaps worse: lose employment, housing, and maybe even be "run out of town." These things really do happen. So they keep their interests private by surfing the 'net and living vicariously through others (including this old vanilla leatherman, me.)

I admit: I live vicariously through others, too. There are things I might like to do, but either do not have the financial resources for exotic travel, the stamina to stay awake past 9:00pm, or a partner who has any interest in socializing with other people. So, SJ, keep posting, and please continue to comment, as I enjoy learning more, as well as your witty remarks and information that you share.

Other guys: keep visiting the website and this blog. I'm always open to receiving questions which I may address in future blog posts or directly via email. I respect privacy, and know that living vicariously through others is human nature.

Life is short: explore!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Black and Tan

I mixed and matched some leather gear the other day and created a black and tan leather uniform. Tall Dehner patrol boots, CHP leather breeches tucked into them, Sam Browne Belt over the leather shirt, and Muir Cap to top it off. Grrrrr....

No need to buy a leather uniform when I can put a new look together with what I have in the gear closet.

Life is short: enjoy your boots and leather!