Out of the Leather Closet

Guest blog by WC

Once upon a time there was a man who wanted a pair of cowboy boots. His parents got him a pair when he was in high school and he wore them and wore them. Then shoe styles changed and the man wore other kinds of shoes, and those boots sat in his closet for years. One day, at the urging of the man’s wife, he wore his boots again, and has never looked back. Boots are every day, every-occasion footwear.

Work and play, he is always booted. As the years went on the man became good friends with Booted HarleyDude. He is eternally grateful for BHD’s boot wisdom and his wonderful mentoring. The man owes his bootism in great part to BHD.

As the man looked through bootedman.com and its related blog, the man could not help but notice…

…the presence of leather: not just in boots, but in clothing as well. Phooey, said the man. There is no way in heaven or earth that I could wear leather around my house, no less in public.

As time passed, the man got more and more curious about leather. He found a leather vest on ebay, and wore it to church one Sunday. It was nerve-wracking. Whatever would people think? His wife thought he looked handsome in it. NO ONE SAID A THING except “nice vest.”

Really? No one excommunicated him. No one excoriated him for wearing LEATHER. Wow. Quite a revelation.

Hmmmmm… That was just a vest. Up in his closet was a pair of leather pants that he had gotten through another social media pal. They fit perfectly. Yet, they sat in the closet, only coming out every so often when the man wanted to walk around the house in them. It was summer and the pants were too warm to wear.

As the weather cooled, the desire to wear those pants grew. But what would the Mrs. think of them? Would people laugh at him in the grocery store? Would he be branded as a freak? Halloween approached. Now the man works as a Jr. High teacher. Costumes are acceptable for teachers to wear. Many of them do. One of the secretaries suggested that there be a “Burglar Gang.” Hmmmmmmm…. Well, cat burglers wear leather, right?

I, of course, am that man.

I plotted and thought and pondered. What the heck. I will do the cat burglar thing. I’ll wear those pants. I borrowed a leather shirt and tie. Boots are plentiful in my closet. Got a black mask. Done. I will wear my leather vest too. Full leather,top to bottom (even underwear, but that is another story). As the 31st grew closer, though, I found myself going back and forth. No, I can’t do this. Yes, I can. No I can’t. Finally I told myself to just get over it and wear the damn leather.

So I did. First hurdle: the Spouse. What would she think? I came downstairs in black leather shirt and tie, vest and pants. She looked at me and said, “Wow. You look very very handsome.” Now understand my wife does normally not say much about how I look. She does notice but we are not touchy-feely, hey-babe-you-are-so-sexy people. So this was huge praise. My younger son asked me if I was a biker dude. LOL.

Off to work I went, creaking merrily along. Now the big hurdle. Jr. High School. I wasn’t worried about the kids so much, but the teachers????

A strange thing happened. The women teachers were absolutely enamored with me. The glances, smiles, giggles, flirts, and yes, I could feel eyes following my ass as I walked down the hall… I have never felt like such a piece of meat in my life before. One of the secretaries giggled and said, “Wow. This is a side of you we have never seen.” Men were more reserved, but one of my good buddies said I looked awesome.

This was so unlike what I thought the reception would be. As I usually do, I second-guessed myself, and said, “Well it is just Halloween. You can’t possibly do that kind of thing on a regular day!” The other part of me responded, “Yes, you can, silly.”

Fast forward a week or so to a Sunday morning. Wear full leather to church? Gulp. Nah. Not possible. Can’t do it. But I found myself creaking off to church…. I saw the Rector and he kind of giggled and said, “Did you ride your motorcycle here?” But he smiled and didn’t say anything negative. Now I am the church organist, so I wear vestments over my clothes. Of course I had to read a lesson as well that day, so here I went creaking up to the lectern. What will people ever think of the leather-clad organist? First the big mustache, then the boots, then the leather. Boy, did I feel self-conscious.

But I noticed something. I walked a whole lot taller and prouder in leather. I felt great. Even though I felt self-conscious, I realized that I was conquering Fear: fear of judgment by others.

After church, I saw the Assisting Priest. (Keep in mind this is an Anglican church so the priests can marry). He looked at me and said, “Wow. Nice outfit. I really wish my son were here today. He would be beside himself. We got him a pleather jacket for last Christmas and he thinks he is hot stuff. ” His son is 8.

Wow. Full leather at church. No. Big. Deal. No one excommunicated me. No one asked me where my rainbow flag was. Reactions were only positive, just like they had been at school.

“Final” test: wear leather to work on a normal school day. I didn’t go the full route, but yesterday I wore my pants and vest. And guess what? No one said a thing that was negative. One close colleague asked me if I was channeling Johnny Cash, but she liked the look. And another close colleague told me (as she patted my knee): “I LOVE those pants.” Kids didn’t even bat an eye.

All my fears were unfounded, like they usually are. I have the radio on right now and it is tuned to the Christian station we usually hear. The song words go: “My fears don’t stand a chance when I’m standing in Your love.” So apropos. All the worry. All the fretting. All the fear of rejection just because of wearing a different textile. All were silly. All were needless.

I love wearing leather. I look good in leather. I feel comfortable in leather. I feel strong in leather. So I’m adding Leatherman to my resume. Christmas is coming… now what piece of gear should I get?

Note from BHD: it has been my sincere pleasure to communicate with WC throughout his evolving process, from becoming a regular boot-wearing man to a confident guy who enjoys wearing leather whenever and wherever he likes. As I have said many times before, and as WC said, wearing leather is “NBD.” If people know you, really know you, they look past the “textile” and see the man inside.

Life is short: be your own man; stand tall and stride confidently in life.