Yep, the annual gathering of the “great leather clan” and the “leather curious” in Washington, DC — otherwise known as “Mid-Atlantic Leather” (MAL) begins on Friday, January 11, 2013, through Sunday, January 13. (More info here.) It is being held a week earlier than usual this year because next weekend, DC will be focused on the U.S. Presidential Inauguration and it will be murder trying to find a place to stay or get around the city with all the crowds.
So yeah, I have the boots, the leather, and I’m gay ==> most prerequisites to fit the demographic of those who register for and attend MAL. Will my fiance and I attend?
As usual, our answer is “no,” but have a good time if you go.
Why are we not attending? Same answers as before —
1. We have outgrown such events which are focused more on single, city-oriented gay men than us almost-married, monogamous couples in the ‘burbs.
2. I cannot handle “late.” For me, “late” is defined after my bedtime of 8:30pm. Many of the events (both official and non-official) around MAL are held at times when my ol’ body cannot function, and an afternoon “disco nap” does not work for me any more.
3. The registration fee is, in my opinion, very high ($180 preregistration/$200 at the door). For two food events, a leather contest, and a dance, I know the actual expenses for those events are high, but the “full package” is too rich for my blood. When I have attended before, I have not felt that I have gotten my money’s worth, but that is because I do not drink alcohol (which is included in one of the official events), the food wasn’t so great, and I stay away from dances whose noise gives me a headache worse than a migraine. Seriously, I’m just an old party pooper — no negativity cast at the overall event or the dance. Guys who like to dance will enjoy it. I don’t — but I never have liked dancing.
4. My ever-reclusive fiance does not want to go. If he doesn’t want to go, then I won’t go. I do not attend gay-oriented events without him.
I will miss seeing some guys with whom I have communicated through my website or the “BOL board,” and regret opportunities to connect a name with a face. But it is just too much of a hassle these days to get into the city when you live in the ‘burbs. Metro track repairs pose significant weekend delays. Parking (if I drove my truck) would be very hard to find since no public garages are open late, leaving street parking the only option.
If you are attending MAL and traveling to DC from a distant location using an airplane, be sure to read my tutorial, Air Travel with Leather Gear which you may find helpful. Short story: “less is more” and “don’t pack what you may only wear once.”
One other thing: do NOT pack poppers, drugs, pot, meth, or things like that in carry-on bags or in your luggage. (See this guy’s true story). The DC area airports are first to test all new inspection equipment which is very sensitive and can detect even the most miniscule molecule of illegal substances. Delay, arrest, fines, etc., will occur if you are caught with this stuff. Don’t be stupid.
Actually, I have other plans for the weekend that indeed require wearing boots and leather, and lots of guys (and women, too)… check back!
Life is short: Travel safe, travel light, have fun! (And use a condom if you … well, you know.)