This blog will cover my interest in the Leather, Bear and other gay related communities.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Leather...A new interest or an old one finally realized?

Recently, I have gotten into liking being part of the leather community.  Even though I am very new to this scene, I look back and think.  Am I very new to leather?  Or is leather something I have always liked but was afraid of "coming out" about?

A very big part of my fear of embracing the leather community was the gay scenes that I had been exposed to as I was growing up.  The areas that I had spent the most time since I realized I was gay was here in Virginia.  I spent about 8 years in Blacksburg, which is a tiny country town where I went to college after leaving the military.  There almost seems to be more students than residents.  Then for the last couple years, I have been living in Richmond.  Richmond is a smaller city.  as a gay scene goes for Richmond, a lot of it is geared towards he college kids for the local universities.  We have 4 gay bars.  Nu (formerly Nations) is the closest item we have to a club; Barcode, which is setup more as a bar than anything else; Godfrey's which is the very kiddy bar since they allow 18 y/os there; and Babes, which is geared more to the lesbian community, but friendly to all.  Outside of these, the next closest gay bars are in Norfolk which is 90 minutes away and the DC area which is about 2 hours away.

Part of my fear about being part of the leather community is finding a way to be part of it.  We have no dedicated leather bar in Richmond.  We also had no formal leather club that I was aware of.  I had no mentors or friends into is just me.  Even worse is that the area I live in has little "respect" for those not in the twink, college, 18-25 year old kid.  Being someone who has been associating with bear groups for a while, I am made to feel like an outcast at the bars here.  While my boyfriend has no interest in being part of the leather community, he tries to support my interest in it.  He actually got me to go to my first leather bar when we would go to Washington DC.  So almost every time we would go up, we would hit the DC Eagle.

I think the defining moment when I came to realize that I wanted to be part of the leather community was in January of 2011.  My boyfriend and I had been in DC visiting some friends.  We decided to hit a few of the clubs and stuff since Mid Atlantic Leather was in town and it we thought it would make for a more fun evening.  That night we had gone to the DC Eagle like we had done before, but this night was exceptionally packed due to the MAL event in town.  I was being my usual shy self.  Chris had been trying to get me to mingle since this was such a rare occurrence.  That is when I saw this really cute furry guy wearing a pretty cool harness.  I was mentioning him to Chris and he kind of nudged me towards him and said go talk to him.  As I went to go chat with this stranger, I never realized he would have such the impact on me than he did.

I went up to this guy when I saw him standing by himself for a few minutes.  I said "Hi" and had mentioned how that I was really new into leather and I thought his harness was really neat looking.  He went about telling me about it.  The next 20-30 minutes was a whirlwind of things.  He introduced me to his partner and he got to meet mine.  We talked some about a bunch of tiny topics.  He introduced me to a bunch of his friends who were the competing at MAL.  But the thing I remembered the most was him telling me that the leather community was very accepting of everyone.  It didn't matter that I wasn't some muscled jock wearing leather...I could be short, tall, thin, muscled, "bigger", white, didn't matter.  It was only that wanting to be part of the community is what made you part of it.

I was almost taken aback.  From the places I have lived, I never truly fit into the gay communities there because they were so clique-ish.  I was shocked that this really hot guy took over an hour out of his evening to talk to a stranger, tell me all about the leather community, introduce me to his family and friends.  That act of kindness has always held a special place with me.  And that person who made such a great first impression with me... his name was Woody Woodruff.  For that kindness, I will never forget that.

After getting back to Richmond, my bf showed me a group of people part of a leather/rubber community did meet at one of our bars once a month for a social evening.  I joined up with this group and discovered that they were just as accepting of me joining their group.  So, now, I am finally getting to express my interest in leather.  Whether it has always been an old interest I never had a chance to realize or a new one that I am joining into, it does not matter.  I am just glad that they have accepted me and I look forward to passing on the interest to any who would approach me about it.