No Halloween This Year

No, the holiday of frivolity and fun has not been canceled.

However, this year, I am on business travel and thus will not be at home — so no Halloween for me.

My partner is at home, in the dark, not answering the door and not giving out treats.  He hates that kinda stuff anyway and in years past, I’ve always been the one to dress up in some “costume” (usually full leather or a fetish uniform) and greet kids at the door.  Just not this year….

Have a Happy Halloween without me!

How To Tell If You Have Vintage Frye Boots

Note: the information below is about Men’s Frye Boots. No postings on eBay or Craigslist that link to this post are authorized by the author.


I have worn Frye (brand) boots since I was 13 years old… ahem, a “few” years ago … like 40 years.  Back then, Frye boots were the coolest boots to wear. They had taller than usual heels, and made a boot clunk sound like none other.

These boots are highly valued by collectors, and many pairs of these boots appear on eBay and Craigslist with claims of being “vintage.” True “vintage” Frye boots were made in the USA and the claim “vintage” is for a pair of boots made in the 1950s, 60s, or 70s, featuring heel height and label described below. Vintage Fryes were made of entirely US-obtained materials, including the leather. They were mostly machine-produced, but the process at their facility in Marlborough, Massachusetts, required a lot of hand-labor throughout the bootmaking process.

Today, the boots are all machine-made and assembled, with little hand-labor involved. The quality of the materials from which the boots are made are of lesser standard. And the company even states on a stamp on the inside of the campus boot style shaft, “made in USA of U.S. and imported parts.” That’s a crafty way of saying that it is likely that the leather is from a country such as Pakistan which has a reputation for selling inferior leather. Frye boots available today in styles other than the campus boot are likely made in China.

Update: Information on how to distinguish vintage Frye boots from modern-day Frye-labeled boots is here on the Boots Wiki.

If you come upon a sale or auction of “Vintage Frye Boots,” how do you determine if the claim of the boots being “vintage” is valid? There are three major things to look for:

1)  The height of the heel.  Pictured here is a heel from a Frye boot made and worn since the early 1970s.  The actual heel height is 2-3/8″ including the rubber sole plate.  True “vintage” Frye boots have this higher, stacked heel.

Frye boots made since the 1980s have a 2″ heel, including the sole plate.  The difference is noticeable in pictures on eBay listings, for example, but if the listing doesn’t say the actual heel height, you should send the seller a question to ask.

2) look for the Frye label on the inside of the boot shaft — or look for pictures or statements about the label.  True vintage Frye boots have one black label on the inside of the right boot (only) sewn in gold, with the words “handcrafted” in red and “SINCE 1863” in gold.

Frye boots made since the 1980s have a label in both the right and the left boot.  The label is white with the word “Frye®”, under that a steer brand company logo, and the words “Since 1863” under that.

While looking at the label, look at the printing under it.  Does it say, “Made in the USA” only?  Or “Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts?”  The latter is a clear give-away that the boots are not vintage.

3) look for the brand logo on the heel.  If there is no brand logo stamped into it or if there is the word “Frye” in letters stamped onto the heel, then the boots were made in the 70s or before.

If you see a logo of a steer head stamped into the heel, then the boots were made in the 1980s or after, and do not qualify as being labeled “vintage.”

More information on the history of Frye Boots is on the Boots Wiki, here.

If you’re looking for true vintage Frye boots, I hope this information is helpful to you, so you don’t mistakenly bid up the price of a pair of Frye boots that are not of vintage standards and quality.

Life is short:  know your Fryes!

Internet Searches That Land Here

Every now and then, I look at what people are entering into search engines that drive visitors to this blog.  Most of the searches are real, honest-to-goodness questions.  But some of them are, um, “interesting.”  The latest examples are below, with my attempts at answers.

  • can you spray leather protectant on boots and walk in the rain (California)

>> well, you “can” but the question is, will it work and will it cause damage to your boots?  If your boots are all leather and are dark in color, then it won’t change the color.  But what this stuff does is clog the pores in the leather, making it eventually become hard and brittle.  Don’t use it.  Instead, use a good quality leather conditioner and a good polish.  If the boots get wet, then allow them to dry naturally (out of the sun) in a place with good ventilation.  That will prevent mold.  Then shine ’em up again.  And don’t wear boots made of exotic skins like snake, alligator, crocodile, etc. if it is raining.  Those skins are made of scales which will curl when they get wet and won’t “uncurl.” 

  • how to wear male cowboy boots  (North Dakota)

>> Well, I didn’t know that boots had a gender.  Hmmm, gotta think about that one.  Otherwise, if you’re asking how a man wears boots — quick answer — on his feet.

  • do men still where [sic] cowboy boots (New Jersey)

>> Yes, men “still” wear cowboy boots.  Where?  Again… on their feet.  Just look down.  Or read this recent blog post.  Perhaps not as many men in New Jersey wear boots as in other states, but real men “still” wear boots.  Try wearing a pair.  You’ll look good and it’s likely you will get plenty of compliments on the boots, but perhaps not your spelling.

  • how do you wear boots for men  (Jacksonville, Florida)

>>hmmm, how to wear boots “for” men?  Well, men like to see other people who are wearing boots standing tall, smiling, and looking confident.  Regardless if they are gay or straight, a woman or a man wearing boots and who walks proudly and stands tall gets appreciation, interest, approving looks, and respect.

  • best motorcycle boots that don’t look gay  (San Francisco, California)

>> gee, this is an interesting question, particularly considering where it came from.  I already answered this as recently as this post dated September 8, 2010.  Check it out — then get over your hang-ups about “boots looking gay.”  I really would like to know sometime about what motorcycle boots “look gay.”  They look like boots to me.  And I’ve never seen boots making out with each other, but perhaps boots act differently on the Left Coast.

  • meaning of tucking pants in your boots   (Oklahoma)

>> Okay, here’s the secret — only a guy with a huge boot collection like me knows the real answer.  Glad you asked.  Here goes.  Ready?

It means that the guy likes his boots and wants to wear them so people can see them.  That’s all.  Period.  End-of-story.  Don’t read anything else into wearing jeans tucked into boots than is there.  Nothing is there.  Okay, done.  End-of-rant.  Again.  Or see this recent blog post.

  • the correct way to walk in cowboy boats [sic]  (Texas)

>> Yep, they have a lot of cowboy stuff in Texas, and while I have visited that state on many occasions over the years, I have yet to see a cowboy boat.  I guess the answer is: walk carefully and hold the handrail until you get your sealegs.

  • why to gays were cowboy boots [sic]  (Leesburg, Virginia)

>>this just illustrates so much… but I’ll refrain from making statements that would lower me to this guy’s level. Suffice it to say, there are some people who could be better educated.

Life is short: watch what you search for — your search could end up getting quoted here!

Cop Uniform Halloween Legal?

Phrases like, “is it legal to wear a cop uniform on Halloween?” are pouring in lately from search engine to this blog.  I understand why.  When I posted “You Want To Wear A Cop Uniform on Halloween?” on this blog last year, that post continues to draw a lot of visitors with questions like that.

Visit that post or check out the complete instructions on how to assemble a uniform on my website if you want to know how to assemble a cop costume for Halloween.  I also address the issue about whether it is legal to do so, but I’ll repeat that info here for convenience.

Yes… it is legal to assemble and wear a cop uniform (if you’re not a cop) with some provisos:

1. Don’t wear the uniform representing an agency that has jurisdiction where you are. For example, if you want to wear a California Highway Patrol (CHP) motor officer uniform, don’t wear it in the State of California. That’s illegal as noted in California state law.  I live in a county in Maryland.  I wouldn’t wear a uniform that looks like the same uniform my county officers wear. Even if I don’t wear the insignia of my local police department — it’s “too close for comfort” and technically, while it’s not illegal to wear a uniform of the same color and appearance as a local PD as long as it doesn’t have that PD’s insignia on it, the “second rule” of making a choice to wear a uniform comes into play.

2. That “second rule” is a question: “could a real cop think I am trying to impersonate an officer?”  Impersonation of an officer is a civil crime, punishable by fines and/or a jail sentence.

You can wear a replica police officer uniform as a costume.  Just don’t go around acting like a cop.  Impersonation is measured both by what you’re wearing, but also by what you do — how you act and behave.  Don’t try to pull someone over, write a citation (a ticket), handcuff someone in public, or do other things that you see actors-as-cops on TV do.

If you keep the uniform appearance to look like a uniform that is not worn by real cops in your area (town, city, county, or state), and if you keep the cop-acting behavior behind closed doors, then you’ll be okay — and probably have a lot of fun, too!

Straight guys as well as gay guys like to wear a uniform — and Halloween is a fun “excuse” to wear one.  Just be cool, and think before you act.  It’s dumb actions that get you in trouble.  Don’t be stupid — like wear a uniform that has the same insignia of your local or state cops, or carry a gun, billy club, baton, or other weapon, and don’t say foolish things (like you might hear on some TV shows) and you’ll be fine.

Life is short:  have fun, but be safe, sane, and sensible.

DISCLAIMER: All the information and photos contained in this post are provided solely for the benefit of those who wish to assemble and wear a replica cop costume. In no way is it intended for use in any attempt to impersonate any law enforcement officer.

Runnin’ Around In Leather

I make no excuses: this time of year, I like to wear leather.  The weather is cool, the leather is comfortable… it’s time to gear up!

I have blogged a lot over time about wearing leather in public.  Some guys are reluctant to do that because they are afraid about what other people may say or think.  I’m long over those feelings.  I wear what I like to wear.  As long as my gear is not “suggestive” and I don’t wear my chaps & boots with nothing else… it’s fine.

Lately, it has been ideal “leather weather.”  I am wearing a pair of leather jeans, instead of blue jeans, on most days.  I pick out various leather shirts from my gear closest — goodness knows, I have several from which to choose.  Then I go about my regular business.

“Milk Monday” at a local grocery store finds me there, as they reduce the price of milk by half of what it costs on other days. This store also has very good produce, so it’s worth the trip.  Full leather?  No sweat!

Tuesday, I took a senior pal to her doctor’s office and waited for her to finish, then brought her back home.  I was dressed in a pair of leather jeans with a lightweight cotton shirt, as it was unexpectedly warm.  Boots, of course. 

I also went about completing other errands, from visiting my aunt to delivering some plans to a fellow civic leader to review, and even attended a meeting on Tuesday evening … and by then it had cooled off, so I put on a leather shirt to go with my leather jeans.

I mean, it really is no big deal.  Nobody — NOBODY — gives a darn or says anything (at least not to me).  If you have leather, wear it!

Life is short:  ‘nuf said… wear your leather.

Some Cool Ride Shots

Here are some photos that were taken on some motorcycle rides that my club goes on.  I didn’t take any of these photos because I wasn’t on these rides.  The rides were too long and too “spirited” (that is, too fast) for me to be comfortable, within my riding limits, to go on.  Nonetheless, it’s great to see the scenery and the fun.

In one way, I’m gonna miss being photographer for the club next year, because you get to see all these great photos.  However, I’ve announced that I don’t want to continue in this position for a fourth year.  The job isn’t as much taking pictures, but it is gathering them, assembling, cropping, editing, resizing… it takes many, many, hours and to be honest, I’m kinda burned out.  Time to turn the reigns over to someone else.  

Meanwhile, enjoy some cool ride shots taken by some of my friends.

Last Ride of the Season

I went on what I think was the last group ride (for me) of the season yesterday.  I say that because it is predicted to rain a lot this coming week, so I won’t be able to ride mid-week.  This coming weekend, I’ll be so busy I won’t be able to ride.  Then the week after that, I will have my hernia repaired, so I will not be able to ride for several weeks after that.

Today’s ride was rather “spirited” — meaning it was rather fast for what was supposed to be short, casual, non-highway ride.  And there were a lot of us in the pack — some 21 bikes and 25 riders (that means four passengers).  I was planning to have a passenger, too, with my friend LC, but he wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t able to join me.  I am sorry that he couldn’t make it, but some of the turns and some of the riding was challenging to ride on my own, much less with a passenger.

So there I am, in full leather — started off with a t-shirt and leather shirt with my motorcross jacket, my leather riding pants, medium-weight leather gloves and while you can’t tell from this photo, I had on my 17″ Chippewa Hi-Shine boots.  We stopped along the way for riders who got divided by a tough road crossing to catch up.  While stopped, I took off the leather shirt, as the temperatures were climbing, and put my jacket back on with thinner Damascus leather gloves.

It was a fine, unexpectedly sunny, very pleasant day.  The temps by mid-day were 75°F (24°C) — absolutely wonderful on a great autumn day.

While I was rather tired by the time the group pulled into a parking lot at the destination late lunch stop, I was jazzed because we all had a good time, including me.  What a great end to my riding season.

Life is short:  RIDE!

Funeral Tribute By Air

A close friend with whom I went skydiving a lot back in the ’80s and ’90s died on Thursday of last week after a prolonged illness.  I was saddened of his passing, but appreciated that he was finally relieved of his suffering.

His wife asked me to be a pall bearer, along with three of our skydiving companions.  So yesterday, we suited up in our skydiving gear and I got out my parachute (which took me hours to open, clean, and repack correctly since I haven’t gone skydiving in about a year), and arrived at his funeral by air.  Well, actually, we arrived via parachute!  [Photo by the pilot using a cell-phone camera; I’m upper left].  We landed right on a ballfield next to the church where the funeral was held.

After landing, we quickly stashed our ‘chutes in a van and met the hearse at the church, and escorted our friend’s casket into the church for the service.  This was the first time I have served as a pall bearer in skydiving gear and jump boots, but that’s how my friend knew me and my friends, and that’s how we wanted to appear — as he remembered us best.

One of my fellow skydiving companions gave a very fitting and mostly humorous eulogy, and closed with the words that my friend always said, “you can’t seem to get rid of the butterflies when you skydive, but you can teach them how to fly in formation!”

Rest in peace, my friend…

Life is short:  show those you love, even in death, that you love them.

How to Win Friends (or not)

Having a boot-and-leather oriented website and blog (this one), it is not unusual to receive messages from people who see the website or blog.  However, contrary to popular belief, I don’t get that many messages from people I don’t know.  That’s despite having an average of over 2,500 unique visitors to one or more pages on my website each day, or over 500 daily visitors to this blog.  The vast majority of visitors reach my website and blog through the use of search engines like Google.  Some, however, have found it via links from my YouTube Channel, or links from profiles on hotboots.com, recon.com, and a few other places.  To be honest, I forget where I’ve linked it over the past five years.

Anyway, a way to “win friends,” or to build a friendship with me is to communicate in a sane and rational manner.  Sure, like anyone else, I appreciate compliments, but I am not seeking praise nor expect it in order to make a friendship.  What I look for is normal communication that demonstrates respect, kindness, and intelligence.  I admit, grammar and spelling is important to me.  If someone cannot spell (and English is their primary language), then it tells me something.  A typo or two is forgivable.  Writing to me in “text-speak” with all those abbreviations is not.  Email is a form of written communication — like a letter — and isn’t a text message.  Learn the difference!

I understand that a number of my visitors live in countries where English is not primary, yet they try to communicate with me in English as best they can.  I am very understanding about that, and accept that nuances of American English are not well understood, and are not handled well by on-line translators.

I will give three examples — two good and one bad — of some recent contacts.

1.  A guy from New England who rides a Harley contacted me.  He had been reading my blog, and sent me a message describing his interest in riding Harleys, told me about the boots he likes to wear when riding (and thanked me for information about the boots that he found on my website), and gave me some suggestions on riding in the Canadian Maritimes about which I had posted on my blog a desire to ride sometime.  He was cordial, friendly, and normal.  His message was describing his interests and talked about some of mine, as well as helped me pursue one of my motorcycle touring interests.  We have subsequently exchanged dozens of email messages about a variety of topics.  He’s straight, I’m gay — so what?  With his permission, I posted a couple of his messages recently as a “guest blog.”

2.  “LC” contacted me through my website complimenting me on it, but also describing his interests in leather.  His message was brief, but well-written.  We began a conversation and I was pleased to take him on a motorcycle ride recently.  What led to our getting together was an exchange of email that indicated to me that he was safe, normal, intelligent, and that we share some common interests.  Yeah, we’re both gay and we both really like leather, so there’s the beginning of the conversation, but not the end to it.

3.  The bad example is a recent one, that said, “Hello Dear how are you? you have great pics, love all your boots I would like to be your partner just to have you wearing those boots 24/7, I am 34 very handsome and masculine Italian looking, I am serious i really want to be you please let me know?”   As I was reading the message, I was asking myself, “is this guy nuts?”  Right out-of-the-blue, he’s proposing partnership.  He wrote with incomplete sentences — he wants to “be me” or “wants to be you(r partner)?”  Huh?  I just delete messages like this.

Let me assure you, I seldom get messages like that, but I do… sometimes, and into the electronic “trash” they go.

I try to answer all legitimate messages that I get.  I like to make friends, and talk about mutual interests.  I don’t care if you’re gay or straight or ride a motorcycle or not… what I care about is that you’re normal, safe, sane, and can carry your half of a written conversation.

I am pleased to have developed some wonderful friendships by starting off with an email exchange.  My friends, “AZ”, Kevin, Clay, Bama-David, “John Smith”, Steve, and some others initiated friendships with me that way.  My life is much better with them in it.  We enjoy our frequent email contact, and occasional chances to see each other in person when travels permit.

So in summary, communicate well, and you’ll win friends.  Make off-the-wall proposals, and you won’t.

Life is short:  communicate.

Unexpected "Date Night"

Yesterday my partner called me during the day — which caused my heart to skip a beat, because he never calls me on the phone unless it’s an emergency.  He said, “change your dinner plans, put away whatever you got out to make.  I’m taking care of dinner tonight.”  And he wouldn’t say much more….

When he arrived home from work, he handed me a bouquet of flowers and pulled out some bags from a restaurant up the road that we both like (though don’t go to but maybe once a year.)  He said, “it’s a date night… let’s enjoy dinner and snuggle after.”

He pulled out the china and set the table in our formal dining room.  He plated the meal and seated me, held my hand, and told me that he loved me.  We toasted each other with our respective glasses of water.  

Awww… how sweet.  For no reason at all, he brought me flowers and dinner and wow, was he ever snuggly! 

Damn, I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them.