Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ways of Serving the Community

Do you know what a community is?

A community is a group of people. Individuals, with individual desires, dreams, hopes, aspirations and problems.

There is a Leather community, a kink community, a queer community, a gay community... there are a lot of communities, all made up of individual people who have some things in common with each other.

In Leather, people often speak of "serving the community". This type of service is not restricted to bottoms - it is something that all people, regardless of orientation, are encouraged to do. The community in question, usually, is the Leather community. Service? Well, that can be anything.

I choose to believe this attitude in Leather is based on Golden Rule principles - let's care for other people and be good people (whatever that might mean individually). This is a large idea that many communities make use of; the idea of taking care of each other. In Australia, we even have a cultural idea behind this, that we call "mateship". In short, "one must look out for one's mates", and in Australia, in the idea of "mateship" when used as a cultural idea, means that most of us are all mates. Mate, in case you're not familiar with the slang, means dear friend. So, mateship is looking after each other.

In Leather, service, while not exclusively this, can be seen to be looking out for others in the community.

So let's get back to what a community is. It's a person.

So to apply "service to the community"... we can apply this to the idea of "looking out for someone" as an act of service.

Now that might seem a little obvious, but I wanted to talk around it a little, so you could see where I am coming from.

The boy's 36 hours in the cage had to be broken. I received a phone call at 2am that night (why are these types of phone calls always between 2-4am?). Someone dear to me needed help. They were in a bad situation and while they were in a safe place in that moment, they had to move out of home as soon as possible.

I told them to relax for the night, and the boy and I would be there tomorrow. I woke the boy up and told him that I needed him to move to the bed so he could get a good night's sleep - I summarized the situation.

He woke up fully immediately and asked if we had to go then and there. I told him no, but we would have to go tomorrow, so I needed him to sleep well. He ended up staying in the cage after all (apparently he sleeps very well in there), but I left the door unlocked.

The next day, I called another friend for extra manpower, and together we all moved someone out of home in about an hour.

It got me thinking about what an act of service can be, and to whom it can be given.

Yesterday, we did a very good thing. We helped remove someone from a toxic situation. That act, in of itself, was looking out for someone. Taking care of them.

Aside from helping them specifically, they will now be in a better place to help others in future, and to perform their own services for the community.

Yesterday, we committed an act of service for the community. It may not have looked that way, perhaps... but what is a community? A community is made up of people.

Yesterday, we helped a person. This is a revolutionary act. An act of kindness, an act of care, and yes, even an act of service to the community.

Yesterday, we performed an act that was completely and utterly an important piece of what Leather is all about.

The idea of committing to serving the community can be a daunting aspect of Leather life. But it can be as simple as small acts of kindness, or as large as operating a community space. Leather doesn't care how much you give - only that you give it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Cage Adventures

Sorry I've been absent, I had a very good friend visiting from interstate and have been busy paying attention to him. :-)

While he was here, we shared in a moment that amused us both. We were sitting on my couch, discussing all kinds of things, and sharing a delicious lunch of bagels and things. The boy was naked and in the cage - by his own volition, perhaps I should add.

Sitting, talking with my friend, I pulled apart pieces of bagel, dipped them in hummus and slipped them into the boy's mouth between the metal bars. It was a very natural movement.

After a few pieces, I paused and chuckled quietly to myself.

"There are moments," I say to my friend, "where I realize how strange my life would be to most people."

"I was just thinking that," he replied. "Not many people have naked boys in cages in their living rooms."

Perhaps they don't. But that is their loss.

The boy is in the cage again presently - locked in, as a matter of fact, for the next 36 hours (with the exception of supervised toilet breaks, of course). This is happening because I made a joke that he would get bored if he was in the cage for a day or two - he disagreed. (Are you noticing a pattern? I do believe this is how he ended up spending the night in there last time!)

At the beginning, I felt certain I would lose - he seems so happy in the cage that I am pleased this bet did not have any money attached. But a few hours in, and while he may not be bored yet I suspect another full day and a half of this may prove me victorious. We will see.

I asked him a few minutes ago how he is going, since I have a couple of friends online who want updates. His response was a big, cheerful smile that only boys know how to give, and a happy exclamation of "NICE!".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sleeping in the Cage

I own a lovely large cage. It's a dog cage, one that's sized for dogs like great danes and st bernards, so it's very big - about 1.5m x 1m x 1m. You can fit people into it extremely comfortably. At an event I ran, we had three people locked in the cage and then they started wrestling with each other... it was very entertaining to watch, and it gives you an idea of just how roomy it is.

I have always had a thing for cages. It's not necessarily a BDSM thing, either. For example, I like being in cages myself, even though I am exclusively dominant. For me, it is like when you are a child and you play in boxes - it's like having a fort, a place where the rest of the world doesn't matter, somewhere cozy and nice where you can settle down and just relax.

My cage is very comfortable for short term snuggling down and relaxing. I knew it was big enough to make someone sleep it it overnight without harming them, but I wasn't sure if it could be done comfortably.

Enter, the boy.

Last night we were mucking about with the cage, at one point discovering that you can easily fit two people who are snuggling into it. I talked to him about how much I adore cages, how I find them fun and secure when I am in them, and how I find them sexy and exciting when I am putting someone else in them. How I always fantasize about having someone sleep in them overnight.

He made a joke about sleeping in the cage that night. I laughed it off. A little later, he joked about it again. I told him that I doubted it would be very comfortable for him. He told me that he'd be fine.

Long story short, at midnight I was tucking him into the cage with lots of pillows and blankets. I deliberately did not lock it, because I was going to be sleeping in my room (the cage is in my living room) and I wanted him to be able to get up and pee if he needed it, or if it became too uncomfortable, come in and get into bed with me. I was not comfortable with locking him into something if I wasn't going to be able to be in the same room all night.

I covered the cage with blankets to keep the light down, as I was going to be up for a couple more hours in the living room and I didn't want to disturb him too much. This is a trick that you learn if you have caged pets - growing up I had a cockatoo, and to put her "to bed" each night I would cover her cage with a large sheet, to keep the cage dark.

Half an hour after putting him to bed--or perhaps, "to cage"--I heard soft snoring noises. Two hours later, they were still going on, and I went to bed myself.

I got up in the morning and came out into the living room only to find that he was still asleep in the cage. I sat down on the floor by the door and uncovered that part of the cage. His eyes opened.

"Hello," I said softly, smiling at him.

"Hello," he said back, smiling that wonderfully adorable boy-smile.

Then he said, "I told you."

Indeed you did, my boy. Indeed you did.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Leather Means to Me

With a title like "Diary of a Leatherman", you'd want to hope I'd get to explaining this part early on.

Leather is a complex topic. Many think it's simply about the fabric, many think it's just a synonym for kinkster, while for many "Leather" refers to a strict, protocol based lifestyle that was born out of returning gay WWII soldiers in the 40s and 50s.

Personally I think they're all right, but then, this is often my attitude towards these types of things (I feel the same about religion).

But this isn't about them, it's about me.

It is only relatively recently that I have begun calling myself a Leather man, and begun identifying myself with Leather. In order to explain it, I think we'll need to cover a little history.

Before I turned 18, I already knew that I was kinky, that I wanted to live this lifestyle. Of course you can't do anything about it before you are 18, aside from playing privately with your partners. So that's what I did - I played with my partners, and I read books and articles on the internet.

The internet was a lot smaller back then, but it was still big enough for me to find the information I craved. I read safety notes, "how to" articles, journal entries, anything I could find. I snuck into sex stores that I knew wouldn't ask for my ID so I could buy floggers, collars, handcuffs. Then I took those toys home, and using the information that I had gleaned from the internet, I practiced. I practiced flogging on pillows, I would tie up chairs and pillows with rope.

For the mental side of it, I would roleplay. I would get into online roleplaying games and roleplay Master/slave relationships, using them to explore this world that I was so drawn to.

I would play with my partners - only things I was confident in, slowly increasing the complexity and intensity of toys, words, voice, play.

By the time I turned 18, I was ready to burst out onto the public scene - and I did. Now, I did so as part of a couple - I had a girl at the time, and we would go out together. Because we were a couple and we already had some idea what we were doing (so we were not complete newbies), we had a lot of trouble making friends. It's very difficult to get to know people when you first enter the scene if you are in a couple and you are not incredibly new to BDSM. So it actually took a few years before people started recognizing me around the scene - but anyway, that's getting off topic.

So for a long time, I identified simply as a kinkster, as a dom.

However, my voracious appetite for learning and reading did not stop at 18. I continued buying books (many of which, unfortunately, I no longer have) and I continued reading everything I could find on the internet.

I can't remember how old I was when I first heard about Leather as a lifestyle. It was probably via googling the term "old guard" - goodness knows you see that term everywhere around places like collarme and and such, mostly used by people who have no idea what it actually means.

So I began to learn about Leather. I found it intriguing, yet somehow intimidating. It was so full of rules and protocols and "the right way to do things"... it took a long time for me to stop being afraid of Leather.

As you might have gathered from my history, I was not trained in the old ways, in the old protocols. And generally, this has always been the thing that stopped me from identifying as Leather - even when I was utilizing much of its philosophy and traditions myself. I did not want to step on toes. I did not want to offend anyone by identifying as Leather when I had not gone through the same beginnings as they had.

So you're probably wondering what changed my mind.

A few things happened. Let's take a look at them.

First, there is another aspect to my personal history that is relevant here. I grew up being very involved with martial arts, and when I switched styles at age 12 (from GKR Karate to Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-do) I found the most incredible teacher.

His name was David Lambert, and he was the highest grade black belt in Australia, as well as the regional Master.

To me, he was and always will simply be "Sensei".

Sensei's classes were nothing at all like what I was used to. While there was certainly a lot of formality and serious business, he smiled and laughed and talked with his students. He taught us personally, with special care and interest in each and every one of us. He took very good care of me, coming to teach me not only martial arts but also much about life. He was my mentor.

He was also the most caring, sadistic and powerful dominant anyone could ever ask for.

Of course I did not know this at the time - indeed, it took many years later for me to realize what had happened. At the tender age of 12 I had found my Master. I lived and died on his words, he pushed me until I feared I could go no further, only for him to show me that I could go further after all. He showed me what I was capable of, he kept me grounded, he beat me and held me and it was all too magnificent for me to describe here. Anyone who has learnt martial arts in a very traditional way will know exactly what it was like.

Leather lifestyle was built vaguely on a military foundation. Well, the only place in the world as military as the actual military is a martial arts Master's dojo.

Sadly I lost Sensei to cancer some years ago now, but he still lives on in my memory.

However, my background in martial arts, when I compare it to taking the first steps into Leather... are not all that different. That was one of the pieces that made me realize that perhaps I was more Leather than I thought.

To get back a little closer to home, the other thing that happened was that I started socializing with more Leather people. Those found in the kink scene, those found in the queer scene. I met them, I talked with them. I watched them and their relationships and their journeys.

I realized I wasn't that different from them.

So, it took a very long time, but through looking at myself, my past, and at others, and at the past stories from Leather men before me, I gradually began to see that I was Leather.

Now here is where we get to something important.

I am not, nor do I particularly wish to be, "Old Guard". I have come from a different source, and I am walking a different journey, to the old guard ways.

I am "New Leather". Not only am I all right with this, I am actually very pleased with it. I am forging my own path, that happens to coincide with Leather ideas and philosophy.

So after a very long history lesson, we come back to the title of this post - what Leather means to me.

In karate, we had a set of rules - called "dojo kun" (loosely, "school rules"). This is what they say:

Respect others.
Be courageous.
Train in mind and body.
Practice daily and protect traditional karate.
Strive to reach the essence of Goju Ryu.
Never give up.

You can apply "dojo kun" to Leather. Leather, to me, means respecting others, being courageous, constantly aiming to improve yourself, living the lifestyle, serving the community, always finding the meaning and spirituality in Leather, and never giving up.

About karate, Sensei would say, "Karate is not a sport. It is a way of life."

Leather is a set of protocols, yes. But is it also a way of life.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Holding Steel

I know I said I was going to write about what Leather means to me in this post, however, something came up that needed to be written about. Please forgive me, I will post about what Leather means to me soon.

Today, the boy and I went to purchase his collar.

It wasn't meant to be a big thing, actually - and in a way, it wasn't. It was simply preparation for our collaring ceremony, me buying the collar that he will wear. The collar itself is lovely - it is a steel cable that closes and can be locked with a padlock. Here is a link to it, if you'd like to see. It is a very masculine collar that can easily pass as jewellery during the day while he is at work or seeing his family.

We went and tried on a couple of sizes to make sure it would fit right, looked at them in the mirror, and I selected the 19 inch one as it may be a little bigger, but I felt that helped it look more vanilla during the day and also would give a little extra leeway for him to wriggle once it's locked. I paid for it, then we decided to look around the store a little before leaving.

We bumped into a friend while there, which was a pleasant surprise, but not what this post is about - however it was a lovely moment to be in a BDSM store and meet a friend who you met through the scene, talk about D/s as small talk, then part ways. It struck me how similar it was to any person meeting their friend in a store - a housewife meeting her friend in a homewares store, a bloke meeting his friend at Bunnings, that sort of thing.

We got in the car and started home, and I took the collar out to take the price tag off it and examine it much more closely - and bond with it, as it is my collar now.

As we rolled along, I began to think about this collar.

This steel cable collar has been one that I have been in love with for years, ever since I first saw it. I remember the first time I saw it, and that I thought how much I would love to have someone in my life that I could lock that collar about their neck. I would look at it online and fantasize about having someone wear that collar.

And then, all of a sudden, I have someone. I had bought this collar for the purpose of locking it around my boy's neck. Not only had I chosen it, but he had chosen it with me, and he loved it as well.

My dream had come true.

I looked over at the boy, who was driving. He was bouncing his head and singing along to Fountains of Wayne that were playing on his ipod. He was happy, he was beautiful, and he was mine.

Is mine.

It is more beautiful than I can express. To dream of these relationships, to dream of these collars, to dream of this life... and then to have it! Not only to have it, but to have it be even better than I had dreamed.

This collar, this boy. My collar, my boy.

My boy, you are so beautiful, and I am so honoured to be your Daddy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Nice Warm Cup of "Sir, Yes Sir!"

Hello, blogosphere!

I am your friendly neighbourhood Leatherman, beginning a blog about my life as a Leather Sir.

I have started this blog for a few reasons, but one of the largest reasons is that there are not many blogs out there written from a Dominant perspective. There are plenty of blogs from submissives and slaves, but not many Doms, Sirs or Masters - and what few there are, they seem to almost entirely be from a heterosexual perspective.

So I am here offering my own perspective - that of a queer, polyamorous Leather man. A man for whom D/s is not always sexual, a man for whom D/s is as variable as the people who take part in it, a man who plays and loves men, women and all those in between and outside.

Another reason is that this blog will be an excellent resource for my partners, both present and future. Many Dominants ask their submissives or slaves to keep diaries that they can read, so they frequently know what their s type is thinking about and feeling. This is an excellent idea, and I see no reason why it would not be useful for submissives to have something similar.

I feel like now is a good time in my life to begin this blog. I have approximately eight years of "experience" under my belt at this point, having accepted that this is my orientation and preferred lifestyle and working towards building my dream life. I have had enough relationships to know what I do and don't want and need, and the relationships that I am in now are both at exciting turning points that will be interesting to both write and read about.

So here I am - a young Leather Sir with a kinky-boyfriend-of-two-years about to become my officially collared boy, and a newly collared girl. All I need is a talking dog and I can go on some of the best adventures ever.

In case you're wondering about the title of this post... it was the runner up for what I was thinking of calling my blog. I realized it was much too long, however, thus settling on the much more boring "Diary of a Leatherman" instead. :)

Next Post: What Leather Means to Me.