Don Thompson
February 12, 2006


Are You Into Leather?

That question can have several different answers, in addition to "Yes" and "No."

When judging leather contests I often ask the contestant "What was your first leather experience?" Some will say something along the lines of "I met this guy and we talked and then we went to his place and he tied me up"Ö.and so on.

That response tells me that this contestant knows and appreciates the difference between leather as lifestyle and leather as costume. Others will reply "I got my first vest at such-and-such a time." That tells me that this person is probably into leather as costume only. Nothing at all wrong with that, leather as a fetish in itself is perfectly valid. Some men do look a lot better and more interesting when wearing leather than when wearing typical yuppie desert wear. And most men, I think, feel more attractive and masculine when they are all decked out in their leathers.

However, guys all dressed up in leather but knowing nothing about "old guard" leather, as itís called and knowing nothing about the signals they are giving can send mixed messages and even get into some uncomfortable situations.

I saw a friend (who I had no idea was into leather) all decked up not too long ago. He was wearing a "masterís" peaked cap, with a flogger hanging from his belt on the left side, but he was also wearing a chain round his neck with a lock on it. Really mixed signals. The cap and the left side for the flogger indicated that he was a top. The chain indicated that he was a bottom and the lock indicated that he was "owned" by somebody. Obviously he couldnít be all those things.

Anyone who wears a chain round his neck with a lock on it is advertising to the world that he is not available except by permission of his master or daddy. Of course heís not going to get cruised, at least not by anyone who knows protocol.

So we had a little talk.

Also, people who wear colored bandanas in their back pockets as clever accessories without knowing the significance of the color and the side on which itís worn can send unintended messages too. More years ago than I care to remember, I would wear a red hankie in my back pocket to match my red shirt, thinking I was being cute, until somebody told me what it meant. Oops!

So where can you buy leather here in the desert if youíre a tourist or a newcomer to the lifestyle? There are a few places. Tuff Stuff Leather sells new and used items, as well as "toys" and they are at 169 East Alejo, between Indian and Palm Canyon. The genial manager, Jim, will also tailor leather to your measurements. They also have a small outlet in The ToolShed. " A great new store is Gear, which is at 650 East Sunny Dunes. They have a large selection and knowledgeable staff. Leathersmith operates a small outlet inside The Barracks Bar and they are open on weekend nights and during the beer bust. Finally Bear Wear is at 319 E. Arenas and they have a decent selection including the excellent polyamide/nylon uniform shirts and pants made by NastyPig of New York. Of course if you want to shop on line you can go to the worldís largest supplier of leather and fetish wear and equipment, I got all my early leather there and their quality is excellent. Their huge catalog is an erotic item in itself and can be ordered on line. Go for it!