Aug 302011
 

Sometimes, you gotta get off the highway.

On Sunday, September 5th, 2010, I got hit in the face with an epiphany about my journey in Leather, in slavery, that shifted my paradigm, re-routed a stifling blockage of self-pity, and enabled me to take back a part of me that felt broken and damaged.

 

It was a massive reset.

 

I was at the Master/Slave conference. I was looking forward to attending a class by Skip Chasey, and early on in the course of the discussion, he expounded on one of his more controversial positions: that mastery and slavery were arts that one could only be said to be engaging in if they were actively doing so. You couldn’t call yourself a master if you weren’t the owner of a slave, and an unowned slave wasn’t able to be called such. This was a sickening drop for me…and it only got worse when he referred to those who weren’t actively walking the path as “wannabees”

 

I was wrecked. Continue reading »

Apr 202011
 

Leather ReignI’ve been invited to do keynotes at Leather / Kink events a handful of times, and as someone who doesn’t really believe in writing speeches, this always throws me into a blind panic. Yes, one of my own making but I personally challenge myself to life up to the challenge of what speeches are, IMO, meant to be: spoken in the moment.

This past winter I was to speak at Leather Reign up in Seattle and I was nervous as fuck. Shout outs to Sheryn B., who tossed me a nugget from which to jump off for the speech and also props to The Dominant Guy, for patience with my hamsterbrain flipmode meanderings in the days leading up to the speechification.

I hope you dig it.

Listen!

Mar 072011
 

Some anonymous person asked me the following on Formspring…and I felt more like talking to them rather than writing about it.

Admitting my submissive side is one of the hardest things that’s happened to me. I don’t know what to think or do with myself anymore. I wonder if it’s a result of past sexual abuse I thought I had sorted out. think I’m depressed . Do you have any advice?

Listen!

I hope it helps…hang in there.

You are Beautiful as you are.

Feb 252011
 

There is little within the BDSM and Leather community circles that I take seriously serious, and that is not because I am irreverent about everything.

 

OK well maybe it is, a bit.

 

And maybe it is because fringe communities so often be takin’ so much so got-dammed seriously, I do not see that the weight of my intensity needs to be added to the creaking, smoking, swaying pile of egos, protocols, rituals, labels, factions, fictions and fooliganism that is a preexisting condition for so many subcultures. We perverts are far, far from immune from this. Lord Ganesha knows I have my pet peeves and I’ve been vocal about some of ‘em. And I am quite diplomatic about not baring my teeth and shredding-to-bone some trends and behaviours I find personally…well…absurd. Some of that is because, apparently, some people actually listen to what I have to say and believe it or not, while I am enamoured with being honest? I don’t see the need to stomp on the toes of others in order to make my own positions clear.

 

But I’m-a riff on something because it is relevant to some shit I’ve been mulling, and wish to share, and I want you to grok the context.

 

 

Continue reading »

Feb 062011
 

I didn’t break down crying. There were no other witnesses. I felt no cosmic upheaval. It was the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the country and I was in the middle of his dining room, in the middle of errands. We had been taking, since the day before, about expectations. He had asked me what I hoped to experience during this time we had together, as busy as it was going to be.

 

At one point I’d had a whole lot of ideas about this.

 

At this point, I had very few.

 

I’d been doing so much work to release expectations around seeing him after what felt like an eternity between skin-to-skin meetings that, when he put that question before me plainly, I was more than a bit surprised to realize… I did not have much left that I sought.

 

Time with him. Being able to feel what it was like to be in one another’s presence. To see how the dynamic breathed when it was in another dimension beside the mental and spiritual. To have touch also present in the physical realm. To be of service…

 

“…and to offer you myself in service. Not, like, in some big deal thing or something, I…”

 

why is this so hard…

 

“I want to know what that feels like, to be collared and in service. And to know that is what you want, too.”

 

I had no idea what this was gonna look like. Or how it would go down, frankly. I own my own personal, formal collar. One that I found after many years of searching, one that is unique and perfect for me. I keep it with me on my travels and it is a talisman for me of my own journey towards service, submission and slavery. A fetish in the true original sense of the word. My ethos embraces the idea that I, as a slave, will offer that symbol of my submission to the person to whom I would offer myself, my life.

 

But this wasn’t that situation. Continue reading »

Jan 172011
 

…and I WILL be clipping and sending this to Mom :-D

Gay leather fetishists gather to celebrate skins and substance

By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 16, 2011; 7:30 PM

LEATHER SHOW: Bill Zybach of Washington uses a flag during his dance at the Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend on Capitol Hill.

LEATHER SHOW: Bill Zybach of Washington uses a flag during his dance at the Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend on Capitol Hill.

Saturday night in Las Vegas was the 90th annual Miss America. The winner was a sweet 17-year-old blonde from Nebraska.

Sunday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill was the 26th annual Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather contest. It is the highlight of the Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend, the largest East Coast gathering of gay leather fetishists. The winner travels to the International Mr. Leather competition in Chicago, where he mingles with thousands of men who have managed to replicate every authority-based uniform – policemen, soldiers, umpires – in leather.

“I meet the nicest people through leather,” says contestant Frank King, who elects to pair a leather vest with a red lumberjack shirt for the casual portion of the competition. “Doctors, lawyers. Just everyday people.”

King, who owns a resort in Rehoboth Beach, Del., is new to the leather scene. His grown daughter wanted to come see her dad in the competition; he convinced her that he wanted to go it alone his first year.

“People say this lifestyle is about whips and chains,” says contestant Tim White, the reigning Mr. Connecticut Leather, who, in what is considered a celebrity romance in this community, is dating the current Mr. New Jersey Leather. “But it’s about heart. There is so much nurturing in this community.”

By the time you factor in all the costs, a good pair of dress leathers – the button-down shirt, the high-gloss pants, the chaps (if you are going in a chaps direction) – can run upwards of $900. This is not taking into account the maintenance costs, such as the bottles of Lexol Leather Conditioner, required to keep dress leathers supple. Seventy-five dollars is not unheard of for a classy leather jockstrap, and then there is the preparation that goes into wearing a leather jockstrap in public.

“I got a salad at dinner last night,” says White, who sports a leather police cap and a handlebar goatee. “And everyone said, ‘Oh, Tim has to get ready for his pageant.’ ”

The competition, held on a faux-marbled stage in a basement ballroom, begins with the American and Canadian national anthems and the lighting of candles in remembrance for leather men who have died. An interpreter in a leather vest translates everything into sign language for the benefit of International Mr. and Ms. Deaf Leather, both of whom are in attendance. The contest then proceeds to the physically revealing portion of the afternoon, in which the seven contestants are introduced with short paragraphs describing their likes and dislikes and why they want to be Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather.

Doug Pamplin, a customer service representative from Pittsburgh who goes by “D,” flexes his glutes as the emcee describes his love of toy tractors (Tonkas!); he later speaks of his desire to eliminate world hunger by starting a food bank. “But instead of perishables,” he would offer gift cards, which he feels are less “dehumanizing.”

Later, in the dress leathers and personal interview portion of the contest, a contestant who goes only by his stage name, First Sergeant, describes his big-tent goal of “involving Latinos in the leather community,” then thoughtfully discusses whether he would consider an enhanced TSA pat-down to be akin to getting to first base. (Only if he was taken to a private room.) The jokes are rife with innuendo, and sometimes out-uendo: The allusions and equipment would make your average sex-ed teacher blush.

Traditionally, the undergarment portion of the competition is the most popular, but contest chairman Steve Ranger does not want people to get the wrong idea. “It’s not about: Do you have washboard abs?” says Ranger, who hangs a fetching cat-o’-nine-tails whip from his fitted leather pants. “It’s about: Do you feel comfortable in your own skin? Most of the winners end up doing a lot of fundraising. It’s people who want to give back to the community. The winner is rarely the most attractive.”

Everyone says how friendly the leather men are. Just the best guys. Not like the aggressive club scene, that meat market where everyone is judged on how little they have of something: flab, hair, pudge, wrinkles. The leather men are into substance, into respecting their subculture’s history and the prominent leather families whose ties are stronger than blood. Also, world peace.

The seven contestants are evaluated by a panel of seven judges, who have conducted offstage interviews that count for a lot of the final score. These experts are led by the reigning Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather, Matt Bamford, a small, slender man known as “Travelsize” or “Bam Bam,” who wears a glitzy belt and studded leather sash announcing his title.

“As Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather, you have the capability to reach a large audience,” says Bamford, who spent his term advocating for the reduction of HIV and who also enjoys kayaking, camping and long car trips, when he’s not working for Pottery Barn. “So I am really looking for [a replacement] who can represent the community well.”

Other judges include the current International Mr. Leather, a balding, spectacled man with a soft voice who uses a wheelchair because he has cerebral palsy (“I’m the first disabled person to be International Mr. Leather,” Tyler McCormick says proudly), and Mollena Williams, the current International Ms. Leather and the only woman on the panel. Continue reading »