Recently I shared about my ventures in the Leather World with my straight female friend, Caroline. As a dear and supportive friend she exclaimed, “That’s so exciting! Sounds awesome!” and followed up with a less enthusiastic, “But you don’t really seem the type…?”
The type? Not the leatherman type? B-But what is the leatherman type?
5 traits that immediately come to mind when I think about “leathermen”:
- facial hair
- 40+ years old
- unwavering security in one’s masculinity/sexuality
- man scent
A quick assessment of how I match up with these traits:
- capable of varying degrees of scruff
- ha, I’m in the L.C. to bolster this one.
- none. yet.
- got this one!
So at first glance I see Caroline’s point (of course her only points of reference are the Village People and Mr. Slave from Southpark). But fear not! Because as I have learned the folks of leather are one of the most open and accepting groups I’ve encountered (especially in a gay world where it seems like guys are expected to be as beautiful and fit as a Ken doll and have to match looks with sassy comments and in-depth knowledge of theater/fashion/Golden Girls).
But still, if a typical leatherman looks like this:
…then can I be a good representative for my community and thus be Mr. Eagle 2012 (the point of this blog)…?
I love this guy’s aesthetic…so masculine and strong…edgy and intense. Makes me want to howl and bite! But I’m not quite like this guy (I mean, my body is almost as gorgeous)…and I know myself well enough to realize that I resonate with a different energy.
As I ponder this thought I recall something someone said to me the first times I ever thought about going for Mr. Eagle…”Being leather is less about physical appearance and much more about heart. And everyone has a different heart to give to this community.”
Ah, encouraging words…and true I believe. Also the L.C. is changing…and a new perspective and face for the scene might be a good thing. Right now I think the greatest thing I can offer the L.C. is dedication to maintaining a warm and embracing community of like-minded men. For me, the leather is an accessory to the real reason I go to the Eagle every Thursday night: sex–er, I mean relationships…it’s the relationships that excite me and drive me to hike it over to far side of Manhattan on a work night.
I put on my gear because it’s hot and empowering and fun…and gives me something to explore and be proud of doing. Developing a more specific and unique identity is what all people do–if gives us security. But at the end of the night I feel good because I have a group of men around me who I can kiss, laugh with, and protect/be protected by. This is the heart of leather for me…and the reason I want to make sure the L.C. continues to thrive.