Back in the days of my youth, even before I met my spouse and for a few years thereafter… I thought of myself as a “leatherman” whose interests followed to attend events like International Mr. Leather (IML), Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL), and various smaller gatherings of guys in gear. Yep, I have the leather, but what do I do with it now?
Considering my age and marital status, as well as my disinterest and (more likely) inability to stay awake past 9pm on any night (weeknights included), as well as the fact that I don’t drink alcohol — all forms and functions of participating in the Great Gatherings of the Leather-clad Leatherclan are over for me. And for my spouse. We are done.
I have felt that these events, such as the upcoming “IML-35” being held this coming weekend in Chicago are better suited for a younger, single crowd. I realize that I am a married man and take our vows of commitment and honor very seriously — so I am not interested in attending gay leather events where there is an unstated but overt tone of sex (imagery, activities, and so forth).
Please do not think that I am saying that IML, MAL, or other events like those are wrong or inappropriate. Quite the contrary — these events provide a good time for the right guys. I have realized that I am not “the right guy” — I can’t remain awake late, I don’t drink alcohol and feel awkward around those who do — and being married to a totally antisocial recluse has its consequences. I will not go to such an event without him, and he does not want to go — so I don’t go. Simple, eh?
Back to the leather that I own. I wear leather garments — jackets, shirts, vests, pants, and chaps — three seasons of the year. I do not wear leather during the hot days of summer. While I do not wear shorts, sandals, or flip-flops (ever!), either, I do not wear leather when the outside temperatures exceed about 80F (27C) because it is too uncomfortable for me. I do wear boots all year round, including summer, but I have boots that do not get hot on my feet so wearing them is enjoyable.
I have decided when going through my leather gear a few weeks ago to pack away, discard, or sell some of my more fetish-oriented leather gear that I know I will never wear again. I have nowhere to wear it, and no interest in going anywhere where I could wear it. What remains is my functional, motorcycle-oriented, leather gear that I can (and do) wear daily during my off-time from work and during Autumn, Winter, and Spring. I still believe that leather garments are very functional and comfortable, and can (and should be) worn regularly — not once each year for some weekend event. But I also know myself, and understand my limits both imposed by age, personal choices, health, as well as imposed by honoring the man I married.
As I have done in previous years, I wish those of you who will attend the International Mr. Leather contest and related events this coming weekend in Chicago a very good time. Have fun, be safe, and make the best of the experience. Meanwhile, my spouse and I will be doing chores and yardwork at his mother’s home in da’ ‘Burgh once again. (Oh joy!)
Life is short: know and live your limits.