The first time I went to CODE at the Eagle and saw all the guys in their gear, I thought it was hyper-masculine dress up. I perceived leather to be on the far, opposite side of the spectrum from drag; Leathermen and Drag Queens, just two sides of the queer cosplay coin. This was an uninformed opinion.
The first time I saw an individual Leatherman’s extensive collection of gear, I thought he was nuts for having so much leather, rubber, latex, etc. in so many forms (pants, shirts, cuffs, ‘rings). I didn’t understand why a guy would need so much gear just for going out and playing.
And the first time I visited the friendly neighborhood leather shop, The Leather Man, Inc., I was in awe at the number of items and accessories one could purchase. I remember timidly going into the store and feeling like a whole previous unknown world was suddenly peeking through at me. What gear would I get? Is this my destiny? And so the journey began…
Gear is a physical symbol of the passions of the man. Gear is empowering and sexy; it singles to others your status and preference. Wearing gear let’s a man be a part of larger community of like-minded guys while still giving room for individual expression in what types of items he chooses to wear. Old Guard leather or new school kink…the materials and styles let you explore and play…and help bring out different, more intense parts of you. Also it’s just FUN.
In my short time in this gear world I’ve acquired a handful of items that each carry some importance. Like a RPG character outfitting himself for adventure, these pieces of equipment help create me as a leatherboy and also signify where I’ve been in my journey so far.
- Boots – I bought them under the influence of my inner leatherboy who was directing me before I even knew where I was going. Boots are a foundational item for CODE.
- Armband – gift from Christophe (Mr. Eagle ’06) when I first met him at the Eagle store one night. An armband signals to others my preference of role while accentuating my arm as well.
- Harness – gift from Rick & Peter (Mr Eagle ’07 & ’08) from their extensive collection of gear. I asked to borrow it and they ended up giving it to me. A harness is another core item of gear and is good for giving a man something to hold on to.
- Neoprene shorts – The first big gear purchase of my own! Neoprene is all the rage these days with the boys and these shorts make me feel like a superhero.
- Collar -secretly one of my favorite things to wear, but one I very rarely put on. A gift from a Sir, a collar means ownership and protection (and makes me feel proud and worthy of that ownership).
Several of my items of gear were gifts from other men and I love putting on these pieces and remembering who gave them to me and the connection I have to them. I heard that back in the Old Guard Days, when strict protocol governed everything in leather, men were often gifted leather as they progressed through the ranks. This process of initiation and reward has faded today, but I’m grateful for the men who are guiding and teaching me along my journey.
I love my gear…it excites me on all kinds of levels and wearing it is a lot of fun. Thank goodness for CODE Thursdays and the occasional leather event where I can be free and proud in my leather. Now what will I get next…hmmmmm…