Friday, March 2, 2012

A Visit to Leather/Gear Night

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #438, March 2, 2012)

A monthly “Leather/Gear Night” has been part of the Twin Cities leather scene for several years now. Promoted on Facebook by several younger leathermen, the event has been drawing big (and mostly younger) crowds. I decided to check it out.

The evening starts at 9:00 p.m. but doesn’t really get going until 10:15. Since the event is about leather and “gear,” I start to keep an eye out for what constitutes “gear” among this crowd. I see a few wrestling singlets. A uniform shirt. A kilt. Latex. Neoprene. Spandex. A black jock waistband peeking above low-cut jeans. Cadet cap. Muir cap. A leather Civil War cap that turns out to have a built-in blindfold.

Although the crowd is predominantly younger, there also are some older—excuse me, I meant to say more mature—men (including your humble columnist). Standing at the bar is someone I used to see when I first came out. We’re both still around, all these years later.

Lumberjack shirt. Leather armband. Mirrored aviator sunglasses. (Is there anyone who doesn’t look good in mirrored aviator sunglasses?)

Two guys at the edge of the crowd are making out. Someone sees I’m taking notes and asks, “Got any good recipes in there?” Very funny. For your information, sir, I haven’t heard a single recipe exchanged this evening. Yet.

Chain collar with lock and leash. Leather puppy paws. Blue jeans. Black jeans.

One of the bartenders estimates there are 100 people in the bar. It seems like more. I see people checking their cell phones—these guys are connected and tech-savvy, and many of them have really interesting wallpaper on the screens of their phones.

Leather harness. Chain suspenders. Tattoos. Mechanic’s shirt with patches. A porn star. A female—one of two I see this evening.

House music is pounding on the sound system and the lights on the dance floor are pulsing. Nobody’s dancing.

At midnight I think it’s starting to clear out, but am told people are just going upstairs to smoke. There’s a gentleman in contemporary sport-bike gear next to a gentleman in classic black biker leathers—a nice picture, and a perfect summation of the evening.

I hadn’t known what to expect tonight. I was afraid it might all be different, but what drew me to the leather scene years ago is still here. A companion says, “A lot of it has to do with the energy. The energy is good tonight.” I’m happy to see that, judging by this crowd, leather’s culture and legacy are in good hands.