Must the Color of Your Boots Match the Color of Your Pants and Belt?

Men are sometimes concerned with fashion considerations, such as the color of boots to wear with certain colors of clothing, particularly for office wear.

In my opinion, such color-matching considerations do not matter when a guy is wearing denim jeans since boots and jeans go well together in any combination. However, the color-matching concerns could be an issue, albeit more of a personal one, with dress clothes.
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Going Retro in Leather and Boots

Even 28 years ago when I had my second bike, I wore boots and leather LOL!

In this photo, I am wearing my first pair of tall engineer boots made by Chippewa with the Sears label. I am seated on a Kawasaki 750, which was my second motorcycle after my first, a Kawasaki 440, crapped out after only three years.

The leather you see?

I am wearing a pair of leather jeans that I purchased via a mail order catalog from a company called “Deerskin.” Man, those were very comfortable jeans!

Also shown is the first leather shirt that I struck up the courage to purchase from a store located within the DC Eagle. Visiting that store scared the beejeebers out of me. The first two times that I tried to go to the store, I never made it because my fears got the best of me. Man, all those guys in full leather and boots — what were they going to do to me?

Turns out, as I learned from experience, these guys were friendly and non-threatening. They pretty much kept to themselves, within their own groups (clubs, cliques), and left me alone. But the first visit or two, I was afraid that I was going to be attacked. Never happened. The only attention that I received was smiles and winks.

I receive the occasional email message from younger guys who are exploring their interest in leather. Man, they have it so much easier these days with leather fetish and motorcycle leather vendors so easily accessible on the internet. (See the links page on my website for recommendations.) Back when this photo was taken, the internet was restricted to military applications and us regular dudes didn’t even know what it was.

Well, anyway, thank you for traveling down memory lane with me. Yeah, it is easier to get leathers and tall boots these days — and you can, and should, wear them even if you do not ride or own a motorcycle.

Life is short: wear leather!

Not Being One of the Kool Kids

Most everyone wants to be accepted among “the in group” — “the cool crowd” — those who are admired and lead the pack. In straight male culture, the “kool kids” are the Alpha Males. In gay culture, these are the “A-Gays.” If you get an alpha male or a-gay to like you and accept you among his friends, invite you to his events — anything from “lunch with the gang” or a “pick up motorcycle ride among us friends” or a “night out on the town” — then “you’ve made it.”

Or have you?

Throughout my life, I have struggled with observing the behaviors of the “kool kids” and wondering if I could be more like them. When I was in high school, most of the “cool guys” were graceful, athletic, and went to all the dances. Man, that left me out. Yeah, this klutzy kid never grew into the graceful man. Such is the life of a quarantasinestrapede*.

The Alpha Males center on guy-things, like spouses/girlfriends, sports, cars, and other things that social expectations dictate. Males are taught to behave that way from the day they are born.

There again, that leaves me out… while I like women as friends, it is obvious that I am not interested in women as straight men are interested in them — sexually. Interest in sports? Nope… I really don’t care for sports of any sort. I was happy to be my jock twin brother’s main cheering section back in the day, and that’s it.

Alpha gays seem to spend a lot of time choosing “the right” clothes. They (IMHO) obsess on grooming. They spend a lot of time socializing.

Man, there again, that leaves me out. Fashion statement I’m not. Suit, tie, and dress shoes? I’d rather be in leather and boots. Grooming? I’m happy to take a shower every day, towel my hair dry, and leave it “product-free.” Smelly cologne? No.friggin.way. Socializing? Nope… bedtime arrives early!

As I have matured, I have grown comfortable in my own skin (and the skin of cows), and with the choices that I make about what I do, how I dress, and avoiding discomfort — such as being around others watching “the game” or dancing during a night on the town.

I have also realized that being one of the cool crowd as an adult has many similarities to how school kids behave — watching, posturing, boasting, and closing into a clique. In fact, this just happened to me once again when I attended a dinner held by a group to which I belong. Seating at the dinner was open — except for the kool kids, one of whose leaders made nameplates made for them to reserve spaces at the two best tables in the room. Gosh, this kiddie stuff still happens… disappointing, but not surprising.

Relating back to the opening of this post — “you’ve made it if you can get an alpha male/A-gay to accept you as one of his friends — or have you?” …

I have realized that I am who I am and what makes me, “me,” is not going to change. I have also come to terms with the understanding that the characteristics, behaviors, and even style of dress that I have adopted are not on the “favorable list” among the a-guys. So I remain left out.

Have I “not made it” as a result? No, on the contrary…

I have made it to another level of comfort with myself, and a sort of pity for those who feel that they have to behave the way that they do — anything from arranging name plates on a table for their clique, to grooming and dressing in a certain way (and espousing disdain for those who do not).

I really do feel sorry for those who feel that they must behave that way. I am better than that. So look to me to lead the way to a different level of self-acceptance and comfort in the complex man that I am.

Life is short: accept yourself.

*Quarantasinestrapede: “forty left feet”. Having left feet is an American expression meaning that the person so-footed cannot dance because he is known to step on his partner’s feet or trip over his own, or both. Having 40 left feet is even worse. Believe me, I know… perhaps that is why I own so many boots, to have enough for each of my 40 left feet.

One Year Ago Today

I can hardly believe it has been a whole year. One year ago today, I held the hand of my 96-year-old aunt as she lay bewildered, uncomfortable, and miserable in a hospital bed. She briefly opened her eyes, and asked where she was and what happened.

… a brief interlude of lucidity among the deep clouds that Alzheimer’s Disease wrought on her brain.

I explained that she had a heart attack, and that she was being treated in a hospital.

“A hospital? I don’t want to be here…”.

Gosh that hurt. “Of course, sweet aunt, I know you don’t want to be here, but you’re not well enough to be home right now.”

Then she closed her eyes, and I thought she was going to sleep. Suddenly, she opened her eyes wide and reached for my hand again. With strength I didn’t think she had, she pulled me close. She kissed me, and said the last words that I would ever hear from her,

“Thank you, thank you. I love you.”

… then she closed her eyes, dropped her hand, and stopped breathing.

The alarms on her monitors started bleeping and screeching and making quite a cacophony. I just sat there with her, and two of her caregivers who were there with us.

Nurses ran in, but honored our previous discussions — my aunt had a “DNR — Do Not Resuscitate” order — so they silenced the alarms and left the room.

I had made my peace, knowing that I had done everything possible that I could do to ensure that she was happy and safe in the last years of her life, up until her dying day. I have many fond memories of this memorable time in my life.

The rest of that day was a blur. I talked to her sons who live out-of-state, and who made arrangements to come as soon as they could. My siblings offered to come look after me, but there really wasn’t anything that they could do. I just wanted to go home and be held by my partner.

Soon enough, I regained my composure and strength, and moved on to do what needed to be done, to honor my aunt and observe her final wishes.

Dealing with death is never easy, but when you know in your heart that the loved-one you cared for was happy and that you had fulfilled all promises and moreso, then the grief is not as painful. Sure, I cried, but I slept well that night, too, knowing in my heart that my aunt was finally at peace.

Life is short: show those you love how you love them, each and every day.

Frye or Wesco Boots?

Kid you not, this was a question that landed a visitor to this blog. Unfortunately, it was directed to a post where I discussed differences between Chippewa and Wesco boots, not Frye. Oh well, here goes… what are the major comparisons between Frye and Wesco boots?

Hmmm… like what’s the difference between a Yugo and a Harley?

Some readers may not be old enough to know what a Yugo was… photo shown… a little car made in by the Serbian automaker Zastava that was imported in the U.S. It was notorious for frequent breakdowns as a result of poor manufacturing processes. Compared with a Harley — purely in jest — one would easily find a Harley motorcycle to be much more reliable and better built than a Yugo. The only comparisons were that both of these machines were vehicles made of steel and had tires. That is it.

Today, this comparison is sort of the same when it comes to Frye boots and Wesco boots. While some of the men’s classic-designed Frye boots are made in the USA, the process of Frye bootmaking took a serious nosedive when the original John A. Frye Company of Massachusetts sold out in 2003, and was subsequently purchased, sold, bought, and re-sold by a string of holding companies. The current company that owns the Frye name is Li and Fung, based in China.

The companies that have owned the Frye name since the original company sold out were, in my opinion, not interested in making boots — they were interested in selling boots with a name that was well-recognized in the United States (and around the world.) These companies simply bought the “Frye” name, then had boots made of similar, but not equal, design and made with lower quality materials by machines. However, the price of a new pair of Frye boots is very high, especially considering the low value one gets from the use of cheap materials and labor to make these boots today.

The company that makes Wesco boots, on the other hand, has been owned and operated by the same family since 1918. Their bootmaking facilities are based in Scappoose, Oregon, near Portland. Other than making boots, this is where similarities between Frye boots and Wesco boots end.

Wesco boots have superior leather, materials (such as Kevlar stitching), Vibram soles, double-stitching at the sole and stress points, as well as each boot being made under human control and attention. Yes, machines are used to do various processes in making the boots, but always under human touch — from forming the foot onto the last (the form), to stitching the sole onto the boot, and much more.

I’ll throw an intermediate boot brand in here for consideration. This is based on a comment that someone posted with one of my videos. That is — Chippewa boots. Well cared-for Chippewa boots will last as long as Wesco boots. Chippewas are very well-made, and made in the USA. To a lot of guys, it doesn’t make sense to spend two or three times as much on a pair of boots if you would get the quality from Chippewas that you would from Wesco boots. While Wesco boots have some more features that Chippewa boots do not — such as lug soles — for the most part, the two brands (Chippewa and Wesco) compare well — sort of like a Chevrolet and a Cadillac (in U.S. car comparison terms, carrying the analogy that began above.) Both cars (i.e., boots) “drive” well.

Price-wise, a new pair of Frye boots is almost the same as a new pair of Chippewa boots, but that is it. Frye quality suffers tremendously. The money they save on using cheaper materials and labor to make Frye boots lines the pockets of the Chinese owners of the Frye label. Frankly, I would rather invest money in a U.S. owned and operated company (Chippewa or Wesco) than Frye.

In my opinion, there is no true comparison between new Frye boots and new Wesco boots. It’s worse than comparing apples and oranges … or … Yugos and Harleys.

Life is short: know boot quality!

Mail Bounces

I enjoy receiving messages from people all over the world who visit this blog and my website.

Unfortunately, there are times when I receive an email bounce, which reads like this:

This is the mail system at host gateway07.xxxx

I’m sorry to have to inform you that your message could not be delivered to one or more recipients.

The mail system

: host[] said: 554
delivery error: dd This user doesn’t have a account
( [-5] – (in reply to end of DATA command)

[I deliberately obscured the actual email address, but Jim should know who he is]

This is a sample from an actual bounced email that occurred earlier today, January 23. The message from a guy in the U.K. was very nice, and I wrote a reply, but unfortunately, he did not enter his email address correctly on my write to me page, so my effort to respond to him was returned — and he is left thinking that I never responded and probably worse about me as a person. I hate it when that happens.

Please, if you write to me, follow the instructions to double-check your email address. If it is wrong, even by one character, then it will bounce (or perhaps be delivered to someone else.)

If you are the author of a message from my “write to me” page and have not received a reply, then please, write again, and make certain that I have your correct email address! I will reply to all legitimate messages that I receive.

Life is short: ensure accuracy.

Dress Shoes and Cowboy Hat?

Another search that landed a visitor to my “Cowboy Boots Tutorial” on my website. The searcher asks, “can I wear dress shoes with a cowboy hat?”

… and the searcher is from McKinney, Texas?

Really? … the state with the most cowboy boot-wearing men in the U.S.? Really?

Well, I guess you “can,” as it, yes, it is possible to wear a cowboy hat and dress shoes, but the real question is, why?

For so long I have blogged about having the freedom to choose to wear boots with dress clothes, urging guys to let go of their trepidations, fears of what others may say, and so forth … so I guess I should not have a negative opinion about the other-way-around. That is, it is often perceived that cowboy boots are worn with casual, not business, attire. A cowboy hat is considered, inaccurately, as being a part of casual attire.

The opposite way of thinking is combining a “casual” cowboy hat with “business attire” dress shoes. Well, yeah, you can do that if you want. Probably few others do it, but that’s their problem, not yours. Wear what you want! Even in Texas, there are no rules that require a man who wants to wear a cowboy hat that he must wear cowboy boots.

“Can” you wear dress shoes with a cowboy hat? Answer: yes.

The real question is, “do you want to?”

Well, that’s up to you. Forget about what other people may say — that is their problem, not yours. If you want to wear a cowboy hat with dress shoes, then go for it! Even in Texas. You will not be shot for wearing both. Even in Texas.

Life is short: wear what you want (but boots are better than silly ol’ shoes… bleccchhh).

Observations from First Timer at MAL

Note from BHD: The following guest blog post was written by my friend Kevin who has written guest blog pieces before and comments frequently on this blog. He was invited by a friend who lives in Washington, DC, to visit and drop by to see what Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) weekend was all about. Here are his observations. (Sorry, no photos, but I learned a few years ago that there are some closet cases who get very upset if their image of them at MAL appears anywhere, so for respect of those who don’t want to be seen there, I have no photos to post with this message).

My weekend trip to DC was fantastic and I was quite pleased and pleasantly surprised to discover that my friend planned for me to visit this past weekend because MAL was happening and he knew that I wouldn’t venture there by myself. My preconceived ideas would have gotten the better of me and I would have missed out on a truly important growth experience. I am indeed fortunate that I can be myself with them and they love me unconditionally. As a result, I’m learning to strip away the barriers I’ve built over a lifetime. I’m thankful to have supportive and loving friends who allow me to do so.

My friend, a couple he knew, and I ventured out on Saturday afternoon to attend the leather mart. I chose to wear jeans and a pair of wingtip cowboy boots and my friend donned a rubber shirt. Unknown to me, my friend has been to several MAL events over the years and his interest leans toward rubber wear.

We made our way to the registration area and paid the $10 fee to enter the leather mart. I believe the proceeds go to charity. Heading down the escalator I spied my first view of a man wearing a**less chaps. [BHD note: all chaps are a**less, but I digress…] I anticipated encountering this sight at some point during the day and I thought it was good to see that at the very beginning. We made our way through the various rooms of leather and rubber wear and a few demonstrations of how to use some gear were going on as well. The couple we were with tried on and purchased a pair of matching harnesses from a wonderful dealer from Miami. The salesperson couldn’t entice me to try one on, however. I was far too anxious for that!

Next we ventured into the ballroom where the puppy pen was taking place. Now that’s something I really didn’t expect to see. My friend could see that my anxiety level was growing, although I thought I was hiding it pretty well, and suggested that I have a cocktail. I had a couple of beers and calmed down considerably.

The couple we were with had to leave. My friend and I spent some time in the main lobby people watching. It was fascinating. It was at that moment that it began to feel comfortable and somewhat at home. I saw all shapes and sizes of men in a variety of gear and boots and began to see how comfortable they were just being themselves. We pointed out to each other those men who wore their gear very attractively. I also began to realize that for many, their leather/rubber/police/football gear was a form of drag. A few seemed to be more serious sporting various colors of shoestrings, handkerchiefs, and the like signaling their interests in various fetish activities.

We ventured downstairs again for a short while before it was time for us to leave. I suggested that we return to the leather mart on Sunday afternoon and I purchased a couple of items myself.

The lesson I learned from my experience at MAL was that we’re all multi-faceted. I can find a man equally attractive if one day he’s wearing harness boots, a harness and a**less chaps or dressed in a suit another day. The drag doesn’t define the man. Although it may serve to characterize a particular interest that enhances how attractive he feels, it’s only clothing and what the man chooses to wear at that moment. And the same can be said about me. And if that clothing choice enhances my feelings of sexual attractiveness — all the better. I’m learning to appreciate and not fear the part of myself that is a sexual being — if that makes sense. From watching the puppies and their handlers, I also learned that there’s nothing wrong with role-play between two consenting adults. It can provide a healthy and very satisfying outlet.

So, I’ve marked it on my calendar for next year’s MAL and am strongly considering attending IML in Chicago at the end of May. LOL…I might just buy myself a harness at next year’s event.

So, my friend, there you have it…my first and hopefully not last experience at MAL. The only disappointing aspect was the lack of cowboy boot wearers. I only saw one couple dressed in matching boots, hats, vests and jeans. But the abundance of harness boot wearers more than made up for it!

Men’s Confusion on Masculinity Today

The following guest blog was written by someone from Belgium who visited this blog, read many of my previous posts, and sent me an email. He brings to light interesting points about views of masculinity, women’s roles in today’s society, influence on choices of clothing, and more specifically, boots as a choice of male footwear.

In honor and respect of privacy, I will not reveal the writer’s name or contact information, but if you have comments, please leave them on this post or write to me and I will forward your comments to him.

Guest Blog from a Straight Man in Belgium

For me, a man’s sexual orientation is not important. But as a straight man (married, with 3 kids) I notice how many straight guys are in fact very insecure and confused.

I don’t see this confusion amongst women. What is masculine these days in a society where women are playing more and more a leading role? Is there still room for old fashioned masculinity? Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that women have taken their rightful place in society, but it has left lots of men (and boys) in confusion. Not that they want to turn back the clock, but we do have to re-evaluate what being a man is about.

I wonder if the boots-are-gay-thing isn’t just an aspect of this. Women have adopted more traditional men’s wear (e.g., boots). It started after World War I, during the roaring twenties, when women in Europe demanded the right to vote. At the same time the French female fashion designer Coco Chanel invented a masculine inspired form of women’s fashion that still has its influence till now. Coincidence? I don’t think so, because a few decades later, in the sixties, gogo-boots became a huge fashion. Is it a coincidence that it started at the same time that women were massively emancipating? Again, I don’t think so.

Fashion designers are artists who just pick up the spirit of their age and transform it into fashion. So, women demanding their place in society wanted to show this emancipation by wearing powerful clothing. The fashion designers made this clothing. Boots have always been associated with power and so women wearing boots show their “girl power”. Just observe how some women wear their boots in an office and you’ll see what I mean.

But where does it leave the men?

Again, I think men are very much confused. They don’t know any more what it means to be a man. To be honest, I don’t have a ready-made-answer either. Maybe every man has to find out himself what he thinks being a man is about.

What I do know is that this confusion also makes men insecure on what to wear. Some men just play safe and stick to the suit, that always works. All the others stick to sportswear, because sports is masculine. Far searched? I don’t think so. The famous fashion designer, Dirk Bikkembergs, uses soccer as the model for his men’s clothing. Everything is soccer-based, so you’ll find lots of sneakers in his line of footwear.

Where does it leave the boots?

Well, I think lots of men stick to sneakers because it’s sports and thus masculine. Since women now mostly wear boots, some men will accuse those men who wear boots to be feminine (read gay). They get confused because “real” men wear sneakers. Ridiculous? Absolutely, but it shows the level of confusion. So, if you feel confident as a man (and I really don’t care weather you are gay or straight) wear what you want to wear, but do it with confidence. So, if you want to wear boots, do it!

And for the straight guys: women like a man with confidence. If you wear boots with confidence and style, they’ll love you for it. Because although a lot has changed, some things haven’t. Women want men with personality and for me boots are a nice way to show off my masculine personality. Trust me, it works. And now I think about it, it probably is the same in gay relationships. Don’t we all want a partner with personality?

Note from BHD: I sincerely appreciate that readers take time to send me comments or thoughts about what they read on this blog. I invite guest posts from others, and assure you that I will maintain respect for the privacy of individuals who communicate with me.

As for my footwear? I’m comfortable in my own skin (or the skin of cows). No worries, I’ll remain booted wherever I go, whatever I do.

Dehner Patrol Booted

Today, Monday, marks a holiday in the United States. I have the day off from work. It also marks the end of “leather weekend.” While I did not attend any of the Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend events, I did have some time yesterday to take some photos of me in a new-to-me pair of Dehner patrol boots that arrived on Friday.

I was going to take a short ride on my Harley yesterday to break these boots in, but it was too darn cold, so I just leathered up, posted photos to my website, and enjoyed my partner’s company.

What’s special about these boots, and don’t I have enough Dehner Boots already?
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