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Honestly, I've lived with this mythology of an "Old Guard," and protocols since I entered the leather community in 1996. I have to say, even if the information shared in this and the leatherboy handbook were true, it is actually more DAMAGING to the younger generation than it is helpful for these very reasons: 1) We're expected to believe there's a "better way" to be a leatherman. And that we'll never be able to attain it. It was exclusively the right of the Old Guard to have and their predecessors. This is unbelievably elitist and I know for a fact many if not all Gen-X and younger have rejected the notion of an Old Guard, to the extent that it has very negative connotations. 2) Newbies entering the scene read your book and believe that's the way it is. For one, protoocols are dictated between a Dom and his sub, NOT by some book. I have had several friends who've had to "re-train" their subs because they did not like the protocol methods described in your and Larry Townshend's books. 3) You create a mythology that is kind of hot and sexy to many sub types who search endlessly to find it. They never do. I've been in this scene for 15 years, I know a tremendous amount of people who are very active in it. It sets an expectation that can never pan out and can ultimately disappoint and confuse new players. That is why they reject the current leather groups and choose to go on recon or scruff to satisfy their kinks. Regardless if there ever was an Old Guard, it is damaging to continue discussing what it was like "back in the day," much like it is for political commercials to resurrect how great American life was in the's antiquated, romantic, and doesn't accurately recall the era. I honestly believe this Old Guard with which you speak never existed, but that it was a group of horny guys who knew what turned them on, and went searching for that. Much like it is today.
Hi Papa Tony, I just came across your post via a good friend of mine, Master Roy. And I have to say, it's funny that leathermen talk about the old guard and the "new guard," at the exclusion of those of us who rose as generation x, completely ignored in the leather bars when we hit our 20s because we didn't know the correct "etiquette" for approaching Doms. Additionally, there just weren't any you mentioned, they'd all passed. I've spoken about this at length with others in my age group (I'm 37, been actively involved in the leather community for 15 years and have yet to make a long term connection with a Dom or at least a kinky boyfriend). Those of us in our 30s-40s are extremely frustrated, and I think that's why the terms "leather community" and "old guard" have become bad words in our mouths. I do not mean to sound caustic, but i've lived in 3 different cities and it's been the same in every one. So many of my friends are single, particularly subs, willing to give their whole hearts to Doms in this community, but the Doms have now accepted this new guard rote, and are going after the kids just coming up in the leather scene. At the risk of sounding selfish, what about us?? I have experienced so many refusals from Doms in my area (SF) now because I'm considered "too old" for them. What the hell is that? You may sense some frustration in my voice, but it's not just me, it's a whole generation of men completely alienated...the lost boys of the leather scene. And people wonder why the largest group of men contracting HIV are those between 35-45? I'll tell you right now why...because we've given up hope that we could possibly have a loving, engaging relationship (kink or otherwise). It's an greater splash of cold water in the face as we see our elders and the kids coming up behind us rushing to the altar for marriage...and we're left to sit there with our dicks in our hands, wondering how we missed out. The topic "Is leather dead?" has been popping up constantly here in the city, but one of the primary reasons is that, for a time, it was so exclusionary that many of us couldn't get IN the community. Hell, I've been in it longer than many men in their 50s+ and yet the opinions of men in my age group don't seem to matter to anyone. As Kiki mentioned above "coming up in the early 90s and already feeling the granny..." well...yeah. I'll reiterate and state there's an ENTIRE generation of kinky gay men that have been taken advantage of sexually, and then tossed aside when the next new shiny thing comes along. I wondered if this was just me, but then I made a post on fetlife and men my age were coming out of the woodwork with the exact same sentiment. It would be really nice to be noticed and recognized we never received the guidance or support needed to find our way through the "leather community" (I remember my first experience was going to an Avatar Club function in my early 20s and nobody would even TALK to me...just constant looks of derision...what kind of example does that set)? Anyway, that's my rant on this...
Toggle Commented Aug 3, 2011 on A Brutally Frank Message... at Leatherati Voices
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Aug 2, 2011