Friday, October 29, 2004

Get Your Stocking Stuffed With Leather

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #246, October 29, 2004)

To make it easier to shop for that leather-loving person on your list, here’s a collection of stocking stuffers and other gift items to lust after, and places to shop for them.

PHOTO: Gear Essentials cock rings (Gear Essentials.tif)

Premium cock rings by Gear Essentials. Based in—of all places—Brooklyn Park, Minn. (where Jesse Ventura was mayor before he became governor of Minnesota, by the way), Gear Essentials proudly manufactures jewelry-quality, stainless steel cock rings. The basic line consists of six styles, of which the most popular (and heaviest) is the massive Omega. All styles are available in bright mirror or brushed finish; a new charcoal finish is available on select models. All come in a unique “gearbox” gift tin, ready for stuffing in a stocking. Shop online or find retailers throughout North America and Australia at <www.gearessentials.com>. (Attention Twin Cities-area shoppers: Gear Essentials rings are available at The Cockpit Project—see below.)

Gear Essentials is also offering special editions: engraved in either a barbed-wire or tribal pattern, or the perfect “commitment ring”—inset with a single diamond. For more information about special editions call Gear Essentials.

PHOTO: Lots of COLT merchandise photos

Gift ideas from COLT Studio. For 37 years COLT has been producing male erotica that is in a class by itself. Photographer Rip Colt has always had a knack for selecting jaw-droppingly handsome men. But there’s much more to a COLT photo than that—Colt takes the concept of male photography to new heights by making sure the settings, lighting, color and composition of the photographs are perfection itself. Many COLT images have become instantly recognizable classics, and many COLT men have become gay icons.

After years of selling primarily photo sets, magazines and videos, COLT is expanding its merchandise line with many “horny, yet classy” gift items. Perfect for stuffing stockings: COLT playing cards in two flavors (Men and Hairy-Chested Men—Monday night poker with the boys will never be the same); COLT shirts (seven styles); COLT belt buckles (four styles); COLT snug-fit caps (three colors); and COLT watches (six styles, including the most perfect Goth watch I’ve ever seen). Watches and belt buckles come in handsome round metal gift canisters.

Larger gift ideas include COLT mouse pads (three different illustrations) and the ever-popular COLT calendars: COLT Men, Hairy Chested Men, Naked Muscles, Cowboy, Leather (the only calendar in black-and-white), and Butt Beautiful. These COLT items and many more are available at <www.COLTstudiostore.com> or 1-800-445-COLT. Some items, especially calendars, are likely to be available at a store near you, but get ’em now before they’re gone.

PHOTO: Postcard supplied.

Biker Holiday Ornaments by LitmusX. The traditional glass Christmas ornament is given a new and delicious twist—wrapped in rings, studs and leather straps. Fourteen designs including leather pride and bear pride flag motifs. Shop online or find a retailer near you at <www.litmusx.com>.

The Cockpit Project is a retailer of Gear Essentials cock rings. If you need color-coded cock rings, the store has them as well. Co-owner Wil says leather police search gloves are popular this time of year. Leather underwear, a hard-to-find perforated-leather jock and a convertible thong/jock all fit easily in a stocking. In the clothing department, check out their selection of leather pants, uniform shirts and, for something really different, their new line of codpiece jeans. There’s a good selection of Nasty Pig (“the new rubber,” according to Wil) and they’ve beefed up their selection of floggers. If you’re a fan of Eros lube, Cockpit Project has the same stuff repackaged, minus the brand name, for less money.

The holiday merchandise lineup at The Smitten Kitten includes stocking-able items like little leather slappers, nipple clamps, and cuffs and collars in vinyl, leather or rubber. They also have the Fukuoku fingertip massager (wear it on your fingertip and massage any part of your or someone else’s body).

Smitten Kitten sells several versions of the ever-popular vibrating egg. A silicone cock ring attaches to a corded-hand-control egg that provides “pulsate” and “surge” settings in addition to seven constant speeds. Then there is the remote-control vibrating egg with up to 150-ft. range—control it from another room or from outside the house. Think of the possibilities!

Also available at Smitten Kitten is a new concept in lubes for men: Stroke 29, so named because of the manufacturer’s claims that between body heat and friction, by the 29th stroke it will melt to the perfect consistency for hand jobs. (Note that this is intended primarily as jack-off lube; it is not latex-friendly and is not really suitable for vaginal intercourse.)

Rainbow Road has all kinds of giftables this holiday season. Look for a huge selection of calendars by COLT, 10%, and others (but remember, shop early because the best ones go fastest). In addition to twelve-month calendars, Rainbow Road has diaries, datebooks and other paper/stationery items. Then there are holiday cards, club-mix CDs, coffee-table books, candles, novelty gifts of all sorts and rainbow everything.

Gifts from Query Booksellers that might be of interest to leatherfolk: A great selection of books, of course. (Don’t miss the sale table.) You’ll also find recently-released DVDs including A Home at the End of the World, Angels in America, and Latter Days. And here’s a rarity: a DVD documentary on the making of the French Rugby Team’s (naked, reportedly homoerotic even though the guys are purportedly straight) Calendar. While everyone else is going online to Amazon France and exchanging dollars for euros, you can just go pick one up and pay for it in dollars. How convenient is that?

For the ultimate in shopping convenience, how about the leather store that travels every week to a bar near you? Cellar Leathers/Leather by Boots Minnesota will have great stocking stuffer ideas. Find them at the Town House Bar in St. Paul on Tuesday nights from 9 to closing; The Minneapolis Eagle Friday nights from 9 to closing; etc..

And, finally, a holiday shopping event so special it only happens once a year. MSDB presents The Bizarre Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 11, noon-7 P.M. at Trikkx in St. Paul. Vendors, artisans and entertainment to boot. Get your holiday shopping done and have your picture taken with Kinky Santa. More details at <www.msdb-mn.org>.

Leather Vote Project Wants You To Vote This Tuesday

PHOTO: Election Poster.tif

As part of the Leather Vote Project, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, International Mr. Leather Executive Producer Chuck Renslow, and International Mr. Leather 2004 Jason Hendrix have teamed up to produce the above poster. Can you resist this call to duty? Of course not—so vote this Tuesday!

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