Is the Choice a Message?

I am tagging off a blog post I read on the ‘net written by a man I have not met, but whose analysis was interesting to me.

What he said and also from a comment he received on this post is this:

It is once again the time of the year when motorcyclists begin to populate the roads of Finland. More often than before I find myself pondering whether a leather-wearing motorcyclist is trying to hint at his fetishistic interest in leather. Modern non-leather riding gear with all the technical innovations (Gore-Tex, Kevlar et cetera) is very practical. Choosing leather gear is no longer the obvious default choice it may have been in the past.

Further, the comment he received said:

anyone still wearing the old style gear raises the question of fetishism.

The observations shared in the blog are interesting to me, especially when it is pointed out that more men these days wear riding gear made of practical technical innovations, and not leather.

I got to thinking, then, when I wear full leather, from motorcycle jacket to leather breeches and tall boots, am I attempting to signal my interest in leather? Is such an interest “fetish”?

I point out as I have before, that by definition, fetish means a sexual admiration of an inanimate object. Yeah, I have had sex in leather with my partner. But he’s animate (especially in that situation!)

But I wear leather regularly on my motorcycle (and off) because I find it warm, protective, and I think it looks good. Plus, I have a closet full of biker leather gear, and I want to get the most use out of it. I call it “functional” leather gear, because it performs a function to provide protection and warmth while I ride. I also like the tall boots for the same reason.

Is this a message about a fetish interest? To me, it’s different from that. The message I feel I may be giving is that, perhaps, I am old enough to be among the “old guard” bikers (as well as leatherman) and prefer to wear leather, that’s all. I don’t really care what other people think about me being in full leather when I ride on a cool day. No one says anything anyway. I know I am warm and protected in the gear, and feel that I am getting the value from it for the investment I have made acquiring it.

Your thoughts?

3 thoughts on “Is the Choice a Message?

  1. As I think I’ve suggested before, the word “fetish” is used in the strict clinical sense but is also, I think, used in a broader, more colloquial way. For example, people talking about the “fetish scene” are not claiming that everyone who likes going to a club dressed in leather or rubber is specifically sexually attached to the clothing in the absence of other humans.

    I’ve also heard people claiming to have a fetish for something when they simply like collecting it. A female friend tells me she has a shoe fetish because she has a collection to rival Imelda Marcos. She’s not using “fetish” in the clinical sense.

    I’m not disagreeing with you (and obviously it’s annoying to have other people tell you you must be X because of Y) but I do think the term itself has become blurry with popular usage.

  2. For whatever reason that you wear leather, are you being truly honest with yourself with that reason? I wore full leathers when I rode both for safety but also because it was and is a fetish of mine. I simply feel sexy in black leather clothing and boots; for some unknown reason it pushes a primeval sexual button for me. I read what you’re saying about moving on to another level from leather as fetishism to leather as simply protection and a way of life but consider an experience I had: I tried to explain to my partner (who couldn’t really care less about leather or boots) about how protective and functional leather was. He simply took me to the closet and opened it showing me the inordinate amount of leather clothing, gloves and boots, saying, ‘just be honest with yourself, you have a leather fetish and there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you can afford it and it makes you happy.’ So, I’m a leather fetishist, and it’s ok.
    Just something to consider from my experiences, if leather still turns you on, then that’s ok.

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