Boot Fetish Researcher’s Q&A

MCbootsI received an email with a series of questions from a fashion design student based in Hong Kong, who wrote:

I am doing a men’s boots fetishism (MBF) fashion research. The project aims are finding out the MBF consumer behavior and personal perspective; i.e., how the MBF wear their boots in daily life, how MBF wear boots with clothing, and what they want to express their message form they wearing.

He said that many others referred him to me. Wonder why.

I tried to answer his questions. Here goes…
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Not a Dating Service

It may be the phase of the moon or something else, but within the past ten days, I have received 14 messages from guys in the U.S. and Canada who are looking to meet other men who like boots and leather as I do.

I have been asked,

… “Do you know any guys in (city, state) who are into men into tall boots?”
… “What gay bars do you recommend in (location) where I can find a guy into leather?”
… “Where can I meet Mr. Right in (city, state) who also looks hot in leather and boots?”

My response?
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Do All Bikers Have Tattoos?

Interesting question that landed a visitor to this blog… for reasons unknown to me (that is, why direct a visitor to this blog)… anyway, someone googled the question, “do all bikers have tattoos?”


Nope. (This image is not me; it was found somewhere on the ‘net.)

The images you see of bad-ass bikers with a ton of tats is inconsistent with reality. I ride with a lot of bikers, and only a few of them have tattoos. But perhaps it is the company I keep — everyday common ordinary Harley riders who have families, day jobs, and are responsible, thoughtful individuals.

Not that bikers with tattoos are all irresponsible, either. Perhaps the media and one particular U.S. cable television show has affected my perceptions, as well. As a website points out, “those who have the tattoos, however, might be family-oriented individuals with conventional, normal jobs, and only enjoy biking and biker culture as a hobby or recreational activity. Bikers are no longer necessarily excluded from mainstream society and biker tattoos do not symbolize gang involvement or deviant behavior.”

Would I consider getting a tattoo?

No way. Why? Needles. Tattoos are made by inserting ink-filled needles into the skin. I don’t do needles. Not by choice, anyway (annual flu shot excepted.)

Further, tattoos are permanent. Have you seen an 80-year-old with a tattoo? I have. Not a pretty sight.

Nope, not all bikers have tattoos. Some of them do, expressing their love of freedom, affiliation with their brand of motorcycle, or love of America. I will not be among them. Needles… uggghhh… no way. If I want to display my affiliations and joy, I can do it another way.

Life is short: live free, live to ride, ride to live, and live your limits.

Can You Dress As A Cop for Halloween?

It is inevitable at this time of year that a number of internet searches for “Cop Uniform for Halloween” or “Police Costume” are ending up on my website, especially on my page related to how to assemble a CHP uniform.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) uniform is the classic, most sought-after cop uniform in existence, made popular by the TV show, “CHiPs” which was broadcast on American television from 1977 to 1983. I tell ‘ya, a LOT of people are looking for that uniform — and not all of them are gay uniform fetish guys, either. Lots of straight guys like to wear a uniform for Halloween, or dress their kids in one.

For those who thought it might be easy to find a source of a complete CHP (or other law enforcement) motor officer uniform via the web, I am sorry to disappoint you. It is not possible to buy an authentic, complete California Highway Patrol (or other) uniform. In fact, it is illegal even to sell such a uniform to someone who is not authorized by the CHP to buy one. (This is due primarily to laws that went into effect after the U.S. terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. They don’t want the bad guys to have easy access to a uniform that they could use for nefarious purposes.)

However… it is possible, and legal, to put together a replica CHP uniform yourself, as long as you do not wear it anywhere within the State of California OR assume behavior while wearing a uniform that implies you are a cop. (If you ARE in California, choose a uniform from a different state.)

Impersonation is evaluated on two factors: how you look and what you do. If you try to act like a cop in public, such as by pulling someone over, frisking or handcuffing a “suspect,” interrogating someone, etc., then a real cop may think you are trying to impersonate an officer and take you in for questioning and possibly place you under arrest on criminal charges. Keep the cop-acting behavior behind closed doors, and don’t wear a uniform in the city, county, or state where cops in that uniform have jurisdiction, and be cool. You will be okay.

It is not hard to assemble and create a CHP (or other agency) uniform, but it takes some advanced planning. Here goes:

1. Get a uniform shirt (any shirt supplier can sell it) in the color “silvertan”

2. Get breeches (if you want to go with the look of a motorcycle officer). You can have “braiding” (stripes) applied from your supplier. Intapol is one source of breeches; there are others.

3. Get Dehner Patrol Boots (or a similar-looking pair. For a Halloween costume, no one will notice if you have cheap knock-off imitations.)

4. The insignia (patches) are worn on both the right and left sleeves up high near the shoulder. They are a bit harder to find, but it is possible to find them at leather fetish shops (choose your favorite) or on eBay. Sew them on.

5. You probably can not find a real CHP or other agency badge. And it’s probably not a good idea to wear one. You can find a replica badge on eBay, but try to avoid getting one that says “security officer” or something generic like that. IMHO, badges like that are cheesy and make you appear like Deputy Dawg.

6. Get a regular belt (to serve as an underbelt) and a Duty Belt (called a Sam Brown Belt), attached with keepers. Get a few doo-dads to hang onto it — see my duty belt description on my website for ideas.

7. Consider a good-looking, tough leather cop jacket to complete the look. This is my Taylor’s Leatherwear authentic motor officer jacket that I have enjoyed wearing for many years. (Notice, no insignia on the sleeves, so I can wear it over a shirt with insignia when I am out in public, so I do not have an appearance of wearing a uniform where doing so could be misinterpreted.)

8. By all means, do NOT wear a weapon (gun, baton, billy club.) Such devices are illegal for an unauthorized, unlicensed individual to wear on the street of most cities and towns in the United States, Australia, and probably many other countries.

9. Optional Damascus cop search gloves set an interesting “tone.”

10. Go hatless or if you wear a hat, choose as authentic a ballcap as you can find. A motorcycle helmet with CHP colors is good, but likely not easy to find. If you choose to wear a ballcap, avoid a generic “security” hat. Remember the “Deputy Dawg” warning above?

That’s about it. It isn’t hard, but takes planning. Go get ’em (at home, privately!) Have fun!

DISCLAIMER: All the information contained in this post is provided solely for the benefit of collectors and fans of the show “CHiPs” to assist them in constructing a “CHiPs” replica costume. In no way is it intended for use in any attempt to impersonate any law enforcement officer. Apologies to long-term visitors of this blog for repeating a post of two years ago, but this is a very frequently searched question this time of year, so I thought it was worth repeating.

Top 10 Countdown: 1 – 5

I continue with the list of my blog posts that receive the most number of unique visitors, as revealed by Statcounter for this year.  (The top 6-10 posts were revealed yesterday, here.)

#5:  How To Wear Biker Boots  (November 18, 2010)

I should have posted this a long time ago.  Of course I should have known that few people know how to wear biker boots, which is the reason that question must be entered into Google so often.  That can be the only reason — only us bikers know the secret handshake, the concealed location of the privacy pocket in a leather vest, and the intricacies of precisely how to wear biker boots.  (As I said yesterday, sometimes I wonder why someone has to ask that question… perhaps they need to revert to wearing sneakers or loafers and refrain from operating a motorcycle.)

#4:  Wesco Boots — Gay?   (December 11, 2009)  [This was ranked #6 last year]

As I said yesterday about this year’s post #6 (Wesco Boots and Gay Culture), there is a rather frequent misconception that guys who do not work in rough blue-collar trades (such as linesman, loggers, or woodland firefighters) and who choose to wear and display Wesco boots (or, heaven forbid, make a video about them!) — therefore must be gay and the boots are gay too.  While the West Coast Shoe Company (Wesco) does a lot of marketing to the motorcycle rider market, that marketing does not seem to penetrate among the bikers with whom I ride in the U.S. State of Merlin (that’s how you pronounce it, fellas).  I am the only guy in my outfit about which I am aware who wears Wesco boots while riding.  I am gay.  Therefore, the obvious leap of logic is that Wesco Boots are gay, or wearing them makes you gay, or that only gay men wear Wesco Boots. Bullshirt. Read the original post.

3.  Where Do You Find Masculine Gay Guys?  (July 10, 2010)   [This was ranked #4 last year … so the ranking indicates sustained and growing interest in this topic.]

I see sooooo many inquiries entered anonymously into search engines such as: “where to find masculine gay guys” or “are there masculine gay men” or “where to meet normal masculine guys” or even, “are there masculine gay men?” (as in, “do they exist?”)  There is a large interest out there from single guys, mostly younger, who are looking for a guy who doesn’t behave effeminately.  Perhaps there is some curiosity, too, that I am a masculine gay man who is in love with another masculine gay man. 

The challenge is that most masculine-behaving gay guys have learned skills to hide that they are gay, and remain firmly in the closet.  Society has taught them (incorrectly) that “real men aren’t gay” and that there is something wrong with guys who like guys.  I could go on and on… the point is that stereotypes and heteronormative expectations are out there.  Thus, it is very hard to find a masculine gay manThis post has some ideas about where to look … and this post explains why they are so elusive.

2.  Gay Leather Breeches  (November 1, 2010)

It is likely that this post’s rank so high in readership on this blog is an anomaly, in that while this post gets a lot of unique visits — sorta off the charts since it was posted — it may also be ranking so high because it is recent and serves as a topic of interest to gay men who are planning to attend upcoming gatherings of the Gay Men’s Leatherclan (Mid-Atlantic Leather in Washington, DC, in January and International Mr. Leather in Chicago, Illinois, in May).

I took the approach in that blog post to dispel the notion that leather breeches unto themselves are not gay, though well over 90% of visitors to that post have entered “gay leather breeches” into a search engine which directed them to this post.  I think what they were seeking were answers to any of these questions:  1) where can I find leather breeches to wear to a gay men’s gathering?  or 2) are people who wear leather breeches gay (as in ‘always’)?

Well, whatever, this post gets a lot of readers directed to it from internet searches.  Not a surprise — so many people like to search anonymously for information to resolve curiosity.

And … dah-dah-dum!  Here’s the Number One blog post this year:

#1:  Bulges and Breeches   (July 18, 2009)  [This was ranked #2 last year, so again, by an increase to ranking #1, it shows a sustained interest!]

Why such a high, sustained interest?  Just go to Google images and enter “Tom of Finland.”  You will see a LOT of ToF images on blogs, including this one.  I grabbed this image from the net, that links to my blog post.  The post was written as a review — admiration of superb artwork.

Perhaps, as well, images like this is where the perception of “gay leather breeches” and gay men in tall black boots comes from.

Life is short:  keep reading and I will keep blogging!

Living Vicariously

There are people who:

  • are curious to know what it’s like to wear leather
  • would like to leather up and go out to some leather-dress-code-enforced gathering
  • would like to ride a motorcycle
  • would like to wear boots

…but who don’t.

So they search the internet to explore their interests. Some of those searches end up on my website or this blog. Looking at photos and reading about what other guys do is a safe way of living vicariously through others (provided you’re not on the computer 24/7).

For example, through a commentary exchange on this blog that I have been having with Straightjacketed, a bondophile in the UK who is a very nice guy, I am living vicariously with his interest and ability to get his partner to get into gear and go with him to The Hoist, which is a leather bar in London and has gatherings at which they enforce a strict dress code. For various reasons explained in all those comments (so not to be repeated here), my partner and I no longer gear-up and go out. But I enjoy reading about the experiences of a younger guy.

SJ also truly enjoys bondage, which he explains and demonstrates on his blog. I read it and learn what someone who does that enjoys. While bondage is not something I would want to do or would find stimulating, there are a lot of guys (both gay and straight) who do. Fa così sia, to each his own.

As another example, I see visitors come to my website from very rural areas of the United States (and other countries) where they can only dream about wearing leather, going out, riding a Harley, having a boot collection, or whatever. They are stuck. I know what it’s like to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. The norms of the society in which they live are conservative and restrictive. If they put on a pair of leather pants, boots, and a leather shirt and went to a local pub or restaurant, they would feel very uncomfortable because of the reaction from family, friends, and neighbors who don’t accept. They would be called names and perhaps worse: lose employment, housing, and maybe even be “run out of town.” These things really do happen. So they keep their interests private by surfing the ‘net and living vicariously through others (including this old vanilla leatherman, me.)

I admit: I live vicariously through others, too. There are things I might like to do, but either do not have the financial resources for exotic travel, the stamina to stay awake past 9:00pm, or a partner who has any interest in socializing with other people. So, SJ, keep posting, and please continue to comment, as I enjoy learning more, as well as your witty remarks and information that you share.

Other guys: keep visiting the website and this blog. I’m always open to receiving questions which I may address in future blog posts or directly via email. I respect privacy, and know that living vicariously through others is human nature.

Life is short: explore!

Do you BLUF?

BLUF, the Breeches and Leather Uniform Fanclub, has been around for quite a while. It is based in Europe, where guys seem to be more freely out and open in their leather gear. Most of them post pictures in their toughest, roughest leather. Grrrrr….

I have been a fan of breeches, leather, uniforms (and boots) for longer than the Internet has been around. I wear leather regularly when the weather is suitable, and not always when I am on my motorcycle.

BLUF has some of events and gatherings in Europe, which from what I read are rather, ahem… (not “G” rated!) While I have never attended nor plan to attend any of these events, they are interesting to read about. Heck, I will not attend any similar events here in the United States, but that is not because anything is wrong with the events or the guys who attend them. It’s me… just old, settled, monogamously partnered me with a partner who cannot travel due to a disability, and the fact that I do not go anywhere without him (thus, we’re bound to home). Further, I do not have the energy or stamina to attend such events which start late at night and last until dawn. I just can’t handle it. In addition, I am “fiscally frugal,” and don’t want to shell out the bucks for a trip to Europe.

However, there’s nothing quite like a good-lookin’ guy decked out from boots to Muir Cap in full leather, featuring breeches and a leather jacket. This captivating image is of Leatherman Paul of Toronto, Canada, (BLUF member 211) whose image completely bespeaks what I am describing, and moreso. He’s a hunk, isn’t he? I am honoured to call him a friend. (Photo used with permission.)

Do you BLUF? I’m member #188 … been a member for a long time. I just recently updated my profile and photos on that site, which has been long overdue.

Life is short: get in gear. Say, “woof!”

Oh Officer?

Ooops… it finally happened. I had someone confuse me with a motor officer. Here’s the story…

Last Friday, I rode my Harley while going about errands and grocery shopping for my aunt. I also wanted to break in a new pair of lug-soled Dehner patrol boots. It was comfortably warm, so leather breeches would be too hot to wear. I chose a pair of cloth breeches instead. I wore a t-shirt and a vest on top. Nothing I was wearing had insignia of any law enforcement agency on it. However, I do realize that striped breeches inside motorboots gives a message that others may misinterpret.

While in the grocery store, I was moving rather quickly up and down the aisles to get the various items that my aunt needed. After gathering all the items, I went to the self-checkout register and began using it.

A woman came up to me, and said, “gee, you’re fast. I saw you and kept trying to reach you, but you moved to fast to catch up with. Officer, I have a question….” then she prattled on about something regarding what the police do with mentally disturbed people. I swear, she didn’t even pause to take a breath.

I finally had a chance to get a word in edgewise, and said, “Ma’am, I’m not a police officer, but I understand the breeches and boots might have confused you.”

She stopped, then looked me up and down and said, “well, I thought you were, because my brother is a motor officer and wears a uniform like that.”

I really didn’t want to get into a prolonged discussion, so I just said, “well, again, I’m sorry for any confusion. These are indeed police motor breeches and boots, but you see, I am not wearing any insignia and I’m not a cop. I ride a motorcycle almost every day, and find this clothing to be comfortable and practical, which is why cops wear it. It just works for me, that’s all. Again, sorry to cause confusion.”

She replied with, “well, you even had your sunglasses propped up on your head like cops do, your hair is cut like theirs, and you walk the same way they do, so no wonder I thought you were a cop.” Then, believe it or not, she kinda bopped me on the shoulder and said, “I wish you were a cop. You have a nice smile, and you’re making time for this old lady to ask you a dumb question.” With that, she spun on her heel and walked away. … left me with my jaw dropped and wondering what just happened.

The customer in the lane next to me said, “hey, man, those are nice boots. They look good with those … what’d you call ’em? Breeches?”

Hmmm… he was a very nice looking guy.

I finished checking out as he did, and he walked with me to the parking lot. He admired my Harley and asked a bunch of questions about the bike and the boots.

I mounted up and rode off with a smile on my face, yet with some bewilderment, too, regarding the incident that started the whole series of events.

Life is short: wear what you like, but don’t intentionally misrepresent. If someone makes an assumption, clarify!

Boot and Leather Videos

A link from a recent post on Straight Acting’s blog to Jonah of Finland’s blog lists what Jonah describes as “Ten Don’ts of Leather Videos.”

Jonah has expressed his opinions, and for the most part, I tend to agree. However, the method by which he stated his comments: “don’t do this” and “don’t do that” takes a negative approach which is unhelpful to the amateur leather guy who produces the occasional amateur video for posting on YouTube for entertainment of fellow guys into leather (and boots and other fetishes.)

What I want to know is what are the “do’s” — not the don’ts — of leather (or boot) videos. It is easy to say what not to do, but not as easy to say what to do.

I have a lot of videos posted on YouTube now. Admittedly, I have created some videos which violate Jonah’s opinions of what he likes or doesn’t like. That’s okay — he doesn’t have to sit through something he doesn’t like. There are some videos that I have created by request of some men with whom I have interacted on the ‘net. I may not have created some of them unless I was asked. Okay, so be it. Done. The requester (and I) enjoyed. That’s enough.

The good thing about internet-based video is that you can view what you like and surf to other videos if what you are seeing does not please or interest you. There are a lot of videos which I started to view then stopped viewing and surfed on, because I have not liked it, the content frightened me, or was just badly done (fuzzy, blurry, and poorly edited). There are some things that I do not care to view, such a stomping stuff, or breaking things. I am not saying that those who create such videos are bad — I am saying that those videos do not interest me. That is okay — I am who I am. Those videos interest others. It’s a big world out there.

Same is true with blogs, as well. Read what you like, surf on if you do not like what you are reading. It’s a free world (except for China), as far as the internet goes. (Regretfully, the Government of China blocks access to blogs and videos posted on YouTube, along with a lot more.)

I do not like lists of “don’t do this” and “don’t do that.” Lists of what not to do are not helpful. What amateur video creators like me want to know is, “what do you want to see?” (within the G-rated limits of what is allowed by YouTube.) As Jonah says, “there are some men who have a hard time coming up with something to do [in the video…so they smoke].” Regardless if one enjoys a video with a guy in leather smoking or not, the point Jonah was making, with which I agree, is that it is very difficult to come up with something to do in a video that is both real and interesting to watch. Acting in a video if one is not an actor is not a good idea. Just rubbing boots or putting on gloves or twirling like a leather model also gets boring. Jonah says that, and I agree.

However, I want to point out that it is a bit hypocritical to offer comments of “what not to do” if one does not engage in producing his own videos. It is much easier to be a critic of others’ work than try to create a work himself. I give credit to Jonah, though, that he acknowledges that he is giving his own opinion “for an audience of one” and also that his is both a beggar and a chooser. Witty guy, he is. I appreciate his candor.

So what to do?

Remember, telling someone what to do is not the same thing as telling someone what not to do. For most people, it is easier to remember what to do (“walk down stairs in case of fire”) instead of what not to do (“don’t use the stairs in case of fire.” — if one is not to use the stairs, then they have to have their wits about them to figure out what to do instead. In an emergency, one may not always be able to think clearly, so they react, and sometimes do the wrong thing. I know this example is unrelated to leather fetish videos, but it gets my point across.)

I do not have much time to create videos, since my partner is not interested in helping me with them and I have to do them when I am at home alone, which is seldom since my partner rarely goes anywhere by himself. However, I am open to ideas for what to do in a video, what actions to show, or what demonstrations or discussions are of interest to others. I would much rather know what to do — not what not to do.

Send me a message or leave a comment on this blog. I will be happy to consider reasonable, appropriate, interesting input. Thanks.

Life is short: figure out what to do!

Role Model?

I received an email message from a young guy, age 15, who said that he visited my website and this blog. I do not knowingly communicate with people under age 21 via email (family excepted) because I do not want anyone for any reason to think that I am trying to have interactions (however benign) with people who are not considered adults in the eyes of the law. These days, you can’t be too careful. That is why it says on my “write-to-me” page that you can send me email, but if you are under 21, I will not write back.

This young guy said, “I look up to you greatly because of your collection and lifestyle. I have a bit of a boot fetish (Especially Cowboys and Cops in Boots) and I think it is grand that you share your collection.”

Well, thanks. Remember now, I’m considerably older and have worked for what I have for 34 years since I was emancipated. My boot collection has grown over many years. I look at it this way: some guys collect baseball cards or stamps. I collect (and wear) boots. Everyone should have at least one hobby to keep them interested, and as long as they can afford it and have room to keep it, then go for it!

Further, he said, “I am way in the closet and I wish to be out, but my Religious Homophobic Parents are holding me back.”

I am very sorry about that. I do not know you or your family, but I realize that it must be hard when parents who love you do not really know who you are. I sense you are Internet savvy and can find groups who can help you. Be assured, you are not the first and you are not alone. There are other young guys in your same situation. Hold close to your family, as they are all you have. But work toward your independence to become the man you want to be.

This young guy continues, “I want a pair of boots badly, but they don’t look right on me and not to mention my parents would be in constant question mode.”

The question about how boots look on a person is a matter of self-perception. Perhaps boots he has tried have not been to his liking. Perhaps he is concerned about the perception or comments from others. Young people notice everything, and it is unfortunate but quite common that they will made snide remarks. I hate to say it, but it is all part of growing up. Place those comments in the virtual trash can and choose boots that you like and fit well. Then stand tall, smile, and walk with confidence. Expect derision, which is a frequent teenage custom, but just hold your head high and hold your tongue. Soon, if they don’t get a reaction from you, they will move on to pick on someone else.

I observe that parents who care about their children are always in constant question mode. It indicates that they are interested in you, which is a much better place to be than to be ignored. I remember when I was about 14 and wanted a pair of Frye Boots badly. I went to my Mom to ask for her help to get them. I had saved money from mowing lawns and doing odd jobs, but I needed her to drive me to the store so I could try them on.

I asked, and of course my Mom said, “why do you want those boots?” (sorta with a mutter, “of all things!”) I had prepared for that question. I decided not to say, “all the guys in school wear them” to which my Mom would undoubtedly have replied, “so if they all jumped off a cliff, would you jump with them?” [This is a perennial parental come-back to ‘all my friends do this or have that’].

Instead, I remember that I explained to my Mom about what I liked about the boots and how well they were made. I framed my answer that such good quality boots would last a long time (they have! I still have 12 pairs!) I think I remember explaining all of the characteristics about the stitching, leather soles, quality of leather, and so forth. I based my argument on quality and durability, rather than on just wants and desires. My Mom listened, and said, “okay.” Off we went, and I got my Fryes. (Remember, back in the 70s, Frye Boots were made in the U.S. from quality materials, instead of how cheaply they are made now in China via a company that owns the Frye brand name.)

The young man continued in his email by saying, “When I move out, I want to start my own boot collection, and hopefully will find a man with similar interests.”

Just take it one step at a time. When you move out, concentrate on becoming an independent person. Work, get an education, pay your bills, keep a roof over your head, and keep moving toward your goals. Sure, buy a pair of boots when you can afford them, but don’t do that if you can’t, or if you would go into debt. There are reasons to carry debt, such as for a mortgage on a home of your own. But there really isn’t a reason to carry a credit card balance over months (or years) just for boots. A home is a “need.” Boots are a “want.” Keep the differences in mind and your financial priorities straight.

Find a man with similar interests? Man, I could blog about that for days. Sure, it is nice if the guy with whom you choose to develop a long-term relationship likes boots, but it is far more important if he is an honest, caring, thoughtful, and financially pragmatic guy. Do it like I did with my partner, who didn’t have a pair of boots to his name when we met: we developed our relationship first, then I introduced him to boots. While he seldom wears them, he will. For me.

In closing, the writer said, “When I see photos of you and your partner, it gives me hope that there is someone out there for me.”

I always believe that there is someone for everyone. It takes time, so don’t push it. It is a totally unscientific observation, but gay guys take more time to find a mate and settle down. I was 35 when I met my guy, but I know in my heart that waiting was the absolute right thing to do, because I met the man who became my heart, my soul, my love, my one-and-only. And my heart didn’t get broken in the meantime.

Thanks for the message — and thanks to all for reading. I know this was long, but there was a lot for me to talk about here!

Life is short: keep the faith (and do it in boots)!