I’m a loyal patron of the NYC Eagle. It’s our last remaining outpost in the leather wilderness and the guys who own and run it are great and great to our community. I look forward to Thursday CODE every week and it has become my “big night out” for the week. The only down side is that it’s a work night and Friday mornings are often blurry and sleepy (but filled with fond memories).
SO, when the Eagle announced a NEW gear night on Fridays, I was overjoyed! Finally a night to wear gear and be able to stay out late…and GEAR night seemed to have a new, modern flavor to it as dress code went beyond leather and included (as listed from the flyer): fetish gear, military gear, biker gear, sports gear, construction gear, punk gear, hoods & masks, rubber, latex, boots, uniforms, jocks, S&M, piercing, tattoos. I saw the image, read the description and thought, “YES, a night to try something different!”
Ah, but this change would not come easy…
Last week, my big brother Rick and I decided to go check out GEAR and give it our support. We arrived at the Eagle, promptly checked our coats/bags/shirts/pants, and saw that the bouncer was turning guys away from the designated 1st floor GEAR area. “Sweet!” we thought, “they’re enforcing dress code!” We went up to the bouncer, Rick got approved and let in…I stepped up smiling in my fun sporty outfit (a cut up tank top, jockstrap, tall socks, and high tops), got got a flashlight to the shoes. A pause. Then a DENIAL from the bouncer. “NO SNEAKERS.”
WTF?! B-b-but, it’s GEAR night…not CODE…? Sports gear! My shoes match my outfit!
DENIED. Long story short, I couldn’t attend GEAR dressed in my gear. The reason: old school thinking says BOOTS ONLY; new school me says BOO. A touch furious and insulted, I suppressed the inner diva in me and simply said, “I’ll just go then” and headed back to coat check. I got my things, didn’t even bother to put back on my pants, and strutted out the door in my jocks-strapped ass.
CLASH of the GEAR! Which raises the question: In 2011, what is gear? (and is there room for growth?)
I say–perfectly aware of that some may disagree–that “gear” is an evolving idea that flows with the community. It should always be rooted in the core concepts of being “edgy” and “sexually exciting”, but material and style should be open to change as society changes. The community has already experienced gear evolutions over the years with rubber, latex, and neoprene becoming more popular…and leather still remains our “father material” that defines as a community. I respect our past history and hold true to CODE on Thursdays (leather and boots); but on Fridays I wanna be a singlet-wrapped jock in my socks and sneaks.
Anyway, as a good friend and mentor told me, “it is not about the gear wearing the man, but the man wearing the gear. Gear will always be the thing that enhances a physical, psychological, and tactile experience that men respond to, desire, need.” So the emphasis is less on the WHAT and much more on the WHY (an important question when standing in front of one’s closest deciding what to wear for the Eagle).
I will attend GEAR night again…I absolutely loved the set up for it and applaud the Eagle staff for creating such a fun space on the 1st floor (seriously you guys should check it out). I see potential in Friday nights…especially for bringing in some new guys who hesitate to come on a Thursday. Let’s gear it up, boys.
I’m of two minds on the matter, which I don’t really think are contradictory.
On the one hand, there is “costuming accuracy”. (Yeah, it’s a costume, a set of clothing selected to send a message or evoke a theme.) Gladiator gear should have sandals, not Doc Martins. Football gear should have cleats (although the spikes may not be allowable in the bar). A wrestling singlet should have wrestling shoes. Turning someone away whose attire is consistent and correct is dumb (unless there’s a true reason, like the spikes).
On the other hand, tennis/sports shoes are such a default footwear these days that even for attire where they may be appropriate, they come across as “lazy”.
The door guy would be appropriate in turning away many guys in sports shoes, but there obviously needs to be a balance and not a blanket “No” answer.
I agree, Jim! It’s gets tough on the doorman when he has to navigate who’s really in gear and who’s a lazy and just trying to sneak in. Opening up GEAR to a wider dress code has it’s problems.
It’s hard because it is so subjective. What you might find to be gear, I would think is street clothes…it totally depends on the attitude of the guy wearing it. I was told to take off my shirt one night at CODE because it was made cloth, but it was a Tom of Finland shirt. I thought you couldn’t get much more fetishy than that.
I miss Wednesdays at the Lure. They used to have a party called PORK, which was open to pretty much anything. You’d see skinheads next to guys in business suits. Leather daddies with punkboys. It was a very hot vibe because you got the impression that pretty much anything could go (and a lot of times, it did).
Aye, the dresscode is a bit tricky. I will say the Eagle has improved and does pretty good for Friday GEAR…they allow sneakers/sports shoes for guys in sports gear. And they are VERY strict with dress code with the goal of creating a space where guys actually come in gear.
There’s no perfect formula…and gear does change over time. I just want folks to get excited about their gear and fetish stuff and come out and have fun.