It May Have Been Six Below Everywhere Else but in Lauderdale’s Ramrod Leather Bar, Saturday Night Was Smokin’!
Temps below 60 that caused some spoiled south Floridians to put on winter jackets and gloves didn’t bother most of the leathermen, both locals and tourists from around the world, who frequented Lauderdale’s leather bar, the Ramrod, at its monthly Saturday nite Pig Dance.
Sure, there were a few guys who sported leather jackets and chaps (decent and indecent) who were, or had been members of the rough and ready crowd in places like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, London or Berlin, where leather was part of those cities’ gritty urban tapestry.
But for the large majority of men who flooded the tight bar, its outside front gallery and back patio, no shirt, jeans and boots were considered overdressed. Hey, who even needed the heat lamps strategically located outside and on the patio when you had all that man-to-man heat.
Yes, there were luscious specimens of manhood and a few who apparently have funhouse mirrors at home who peacocked around in bikini underwear or jock straps and harnesses that left little happily to the imagination. Throw in some hot guttural techno sounds, wall to wall men, a light show on the dance floor, and the atmosphere was electric.
If it wasn’t for Health Department undercover spotters who could close the place at the sight of some naked erect penises in two obvious orifices, it looked like the bar could turn into one daisy chain orgy.
Me? I initially came in with an open camouflage leather vest and jeans. But when l realized l was at a convention of fellow exhibionists, despite the unusually cool SoFlo weather, l walked back to my car two blocks away and ditched the vest.
As l left for my car, my vest already off and hanging from my arm, a security guard, playfully twisting one of my hairy tits, cautioned me to watch l didn’t catch cold. He didn’t know he was addressing an ex NYC West Village leatherman who during its heydays of the eighties and nineties would often walk down to West Street, one of the sleaziest gay strips in the world at the time – now tall white skyscraper condominiums – in ten degree February weather with nothing between my leather jacket and my bare chest but some fur.
I think the reason why the Ramrod is alive and well when most leather watering holes are history as the leather scene continues to age is its popularity with the over forty-five crowd that likes to reminisce, and the under thirty crowd who think they’re recreating a time when leather was a life statement not a fashion statement.
Even if some of their outfits – harness, bermuda shorts and sneaks – would get them castrated on my old West Street.