Oh Leatherman, Where Art Thou?

Me in my leather … before I give it away to Goodwill.

Last Sunday night I was at the Ramrod, Lauderdale’s leather bar, at its send-off party for the town’s entry into the Mister International Leather Contest held being, as it has been for the past 36 years, on Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. (Buddies who’ve attended tell me the contest is a footnote to all the fucking.)

Not that he was bad looking, but our rep was young, slinky, hairless, and a tinge femmy, not my vision of a leather man who in the old days meant humpy, broad shouldered, hairy and ruggedly handsome like my buddy Bob (sorry for embarrassing you, bro, but it’s true.) And while our rep – I’ll call him Sam, that’s how much an impression he made on me – was gushing on about the support from the leather community – whatever the fuck that was since I thought were just a bunch of men competing for cock and ass – and the leather businesses – which obviously wanna keep hearing that credit card reader purr – I got to talking to a 35 year old, very cute, no, handsome, leather guy with a hairy chest from my old stomping grounds, New York. He did like his Daddy and if he weren’t with his friends – they came in one fagmobile – we just might have made it. Or at least that’s what I fantasized to myself as they left.

What made both Sam and my new found New York City Boy especially exceptional was that they were YOUNG. Looking around at the crowd of guys, a few genuine hotties, juicing and not juicing, but mostly middle-aged, out of shape men way past their mid-life crisis who used their harnesses as brassies , I wondered how much longer this “leather scene” as we called it, was going to continue. I mean when I heard stalwarts like Washington DC’s Eagle had closed, how much longer before all these bastions of rebel manhood would turn into twink bars?

Or worse, pizza parlors or Vietnamese nail salons?

The few other under thirties I saw in the crowd were, like one of my Facebook fans put it, wearing leather as drag. They were twink twinks with ironing board bodies, probably not even pubic hairs, dribbling on about the Cher concert that had just happened in town, sprinkled with all the typical, tired lame gay remarks you hear in a bar when someone doesn’t have something intelligent or witty to say. The reality was they were wearing leather not as a symbol of a lifestyle – rough around the edges in and out of the bedroom – but as a fashion statement, like they were on some Prada catwalk, not at a Marquis DeSade foreplay party.

With more and more very unleatherlike men – and their OMG! girlfriends – entering the enclaves of bars like the Ramrod, which after all is in the business of selling liquor first and serving as a leather hangout second, I truly wonder if in another ten years or fifteen at most, the glorious “Leather scene” will be relegated to a wall of honor, or infamy, take your pick, at the Stonewall Museum.

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