Fire Island: a land of legend, an island of social history…somewhere between fag fantasy and summer paradise reality. Beautifully sculpted bodies supported by little more than speedos and sunglasses strut up and down the beach in a constant parade of lust and vanity accompanied by Gaga remixes that serve as an omnipresent soundtrack to the narrow wooden walkways that connect lavish houses to the beach, bay, and port. They say Fire Island is what you make it, and for the droves of gay men that giggle and woof around this scenic island it’s a place to relax, be free, and have a lot of summer fun.
Over the weekend I took a trip to the island with my leather brothers Rick and Peter who have a brand new gorgeous house in the Pines. This was actually my first in-season trip to Fire Island and after hearing all the stories, anecdotes, and even watching a documentary about the island, I was eager to explore it for myself. The weekend begins Friday evening when we arrive, settle in, and then turn our attention to going out. Tonight is the Underwear Party at the Pavilion where apparently lots of gay boys are shy to be in their underwear (despite the fact the swimsuits they wear all around town are as minimal as underwear). I look to Rick about what to wear and he says, “We’re going in gear”.
Twenty minutes later we’re teasing some queen on the walkway about ropes and cigars on our way to the party. The path is dark and only the occasional passing light reveals our boots, vests, and armbands. I opted for a jock, because, why not–it’s Fire Island and as we reach the downtown area Rick asks, “Are you ready, we’re about to go out into the light!”
The party is alright…there are lots of silly boys fully clothed inside and the music is the thud-thud-boom-boom kind. A quick look around the room and a leather armband on a stranger’s wrist catches my attention. We exchange smiles and suddenly I’m introduced to a gentleman from Amsterdam who’s also in the community. Love it when that happens…wear your gear and you’ll make new friends.
Underwear Party done, we then head to Sip and Twirl next door. As the 3 of us push through the crowd I see eyes turn and hear a few excited whispers of “leather men” and “in a jockstrap!” Surprisingly no one gropes or grabs me in the crowd…isn’t this Fire Island? The music here is much better and the crowd is friendly and once again being in gear attracts the attention of another leatherman who passes by and recognizes my vest. After a bit of growling and a few licks I’ve made a new friend and also managed to startle an old friend who’s never seen me in gear before (all he said was “Justin?” *turns me to stare at ass, laughs, stumbles away*). FRIDAY WIN.
Flash forward to the next day, Saturday evening around 6pm when it’s time for Tea (there’s high tea and low tea…just the time/place the boys/men come to drink/socialize) and big brother Rick is ready to show me off again (seriously he’s always encouraging the men who stare by saying, “You like? You can touch it if you want”). For Tea I wear one of my FAVORITE things: my wrestling singlet (from Roman International Fight Gear). Love love love my singlet. It’s easy, it’s hot, it makes my ass and bulge look amazing! Men and women stare–something that of course gives me a thrill but also surprises me a bit. Hanging out at Tea is another fun time and I love the opportunity to wear my gear out somewhere new. I get a thumbs up from a go go boy, see old friends, make new ones, and Rick gets to say hello to one of his fav porn stars. Life on the island is pretty cool.
Sitting on the ferry on my way back to the mainland I’m exhausted and drift in and out of sleep with the waves. My formal introduction to Fire Island has been a success and I now understand all the excitement and enjoyment people get from vacationing there. One of my last interactions with someone on the island was Sunday afternoon when a man walking by did a double take and said, “Hey! You’re the singlet guy! I know you, I saw you at Tea.” In that moment I was wearing just regular clothes, but the fact he recognized me as “the singlet guy” brought a HUGE smile to my face. “Yeah, I’m the singlet guy,” I say coyly. “You should wear a singlet too next time.”
Until next time.