Friday, September 2, 2011

Where Are the Leatherdudes?

I received a message via Recon, which is a site that I seldom check any more, but have a profile there to maintain my "BHD" identity and to prevent others from using that identity and cause confusion.

Anyway, I was asked, "can you help me find someone who likes leather and help me to learn about the leather scene?"

Gosh, it's been so long that I've engaged in that realm, I had to reply that I really don't know.

These days, there are very few leather-oriented venues where guys gather on a social and frequent basis. Back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, bars were the prime location to find other guys into this. These days, bars have been replaced by the internet, which comes with a completely different set of "rules" and methods of meeting other people. I've said before, I met my partner through traditional means -- joining a club -- long before the Internet was available to the masses.

I'm so old, stable, monogamous, community-oriented, and established in my suburban lifestyle that I have not gone out to a bar or attended events like IML, MAL, or Folsom in years. I have no intention of attending these events again. Been there, done that. Want some old t-shirts?

I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with going to IML, MAL, or Folsom. Fine for single guys or guys in relationships that they call "open". My relationship is absolutely closed, including any potential for going out by myself to such events. I wouldn't think of it. My partner is my life, and if he doesn't want to go, and I'm too tired to go, then we don't. That's just how it is as a monogamous gay couple ages.

To try to answer this guy's legitimate question, I suggested that he try to attend one of these events to meet other guys and perhaps attend workshops that may be offered. I'm not a fan of trying to find someone on-line, because there are so many posers out there who aren't who they claim to be. You never really know who someone is until you meet them in person. (And if you do, be safe and meet in a public place. By all means, don't invite someone you have not met to your home the first time you may meet!)

Where are all the leatherdudes? Well, in my humble opinion, there are three answers:

1. Like me, they have "aged out" of being interested any more in attending social events and don't go. Unlike me, they probably have closets full of gear that they don't wear any more. I wear my leathers regularly in my off-time as I go about my daily life. Heck, I've made such an investment in it, I don't want it gathering dust in the closet or in a trunk, never used again. What a waste.

2. Some attend events like IML, MAL, Folsom, and a few other, smaller, lesser-known "runs" or gatherings. Check around. There may be one that you can attend.

3. The younger ones have morphed from buying and wearing leather to other types of fetish gear such as rubber, latex, etc. I don't know much about that, as I'm not into that kind of gear or play. Face it, I'm an old-fashioned leatherdude and am not interested in less expensive alternatives to fetish interests.

I know this post hasn't been much help to those seeking someone who can help them learn about the leather life in the gay community. I have been out of it for so long, I just don't know.

Life is short: know who you are now and be okay with that.

1 comment:

The Dutchman said...

Is the fellow asking from a small town? Here in Chicago there are still two leather bars going strong and I imagine that most larger cities still have vital leather scenes.

You are also dead-on about attending IML. I attend every year and always make new friends and contacts all over the United States.