Reposted from Leatherati. Hardy Haberman’s GLUE Keynote Speech.
I have a confession to make.
I never expected to speak in Houston for the GLUE (Gear, Leather, Uniforms, Etc.) weekend. I never expected to travel to cities across our country and in a few weeks, around the globe speaking. I never expected anyone would give a damn about anything I said, and quite frankly it still baffles me.
When I first started exploring leather, I was looking for the kind of hyper-masculinity Touko Laaksonen portrayed in his artwork. He was better known as Tom of Finland, and between him and the motorcycle gang movies of the 1950’s the image of masculinity I wanted to associate with wore leather jackets and liked their sex as rough as they were.
Well, I found those guys, and they indeed did like rough sex, though most were equally comfortable cooking a gourmet meal or carrying on a fascinating conversation over cocktails. Many of them looked every bit as sexy as the illustrations, albeit with realistic sized genitalia.
Since that time I have come to identify with them and often refer to my sexual orientation as “Leather”.
Since the time I first timidly walked into a leather bar back in the 1970’s the idea of that kind of sex has always been something I sought out.
It has taken on new meanings to me and I suspect it will always be something that will continue to change in subtle ways, but the underlying energy and erotic power of leather will always be at it’s heart, and in my heart.
It seems to be an obsession today to define this mysterious thing I call “leather”.
When I first discovered it, I was more concerned with participating in it than defining it.
I am often reminded of the old adage that
“those who can, do,
and those who can’t , teach.”
Well, as someone who teaches a lot, I can tell you that old saw is not always correct. I still “do”!
As often as I can.
That obsession with defining “leather” comes up almost on a daily basis.
At conferences, parties, events, online and even in a university setting I get the question “What is leather?” a lot. Sometimes it is even by an eager newcomer with a pad and pencil waiting to jot down my every word like a scribe.
Again, it baffles me!
But since the question comes up so often I thought this would be perhaps as good an opportunity as any to give you my definition, once and for all.
So here goes.
When you are pushing your way through a crowded dark bar, and the musk of a hundred half-naked men blends with the scent of their leather vests and harnesses.
When you feel a dozen hands “accidentally” brush up against your crotch or butt.
When you feel the arms of a big muscular man wrap around you as he whispers in your ear, “what are you into?”
When you slam that hot boy up against your car in the parking lot and invade his mouth with your tongue and his pants with your hand.
When you find yourself facing a naked man, his feet in the stirrups of a sling as you grease your hand with Crisco.
When you see his eyes burn with erotic desire as you slowly invade his body.
When you hear the deep guttural primal growl as his body opens to your hand.
When you pant like an animal, every breath matching his as you move in and out of his ass.
When you share a cigar with your buddies on a patio and laugh at the tales of their misadventures.
When you burn the chest hairs off that big bear one at a time using the glowing tip of your stogie.
When you carefully nurse your cigar ash until it seems to be defying gravity and then reward that hot guy on his knees with a mouthful of burned tobacco and he savors it like a fine wine.
When your cock gets hard just watching him do it.
When you spend an hour carefully wrapping a man old enough to be your grandfather in plastic and duct tape creating a cocoon around his body.
When you stand watch over him as he experiences the out-of-body floating that mummification induces.
When you tease and taunt his nipples and cock through the covering, controlling the sensations that you deprived him of.
When you cut open the covering around his hardening dick and after suitable torture, stroke him to an earthshaking orgasm.
When you cut him out of the tape and plastic and hold his still shaking body close as he returns from that magical place he was in.
When you sit through the hundredth drag show and carry dollars up to the glittered performers like bringing an offering to the queen…and you are.
When you pimp your friends for raffle tickets to raise funds for those brothers and sisters medications and health care.
When you stand on stage and endure the taunts and cat calls as you raffle yourself off for a charity.
When you answer the late night phone call from a friend who needs to talk.
When they bend your ear about a relationship that has soured and they just don’t know what to do.
When you listen patiently because you know that simple act is exactly what they are really seeking, and you refrain from giving advice.
When they thank you and apologize for waking you at 3:00am and before they hang up, say “thanks for being there for me”.
When you help your friends clean out the house of a leatherman who died before his family arrives and discovers his personal dungeon.
When you pack up years of memorabilia and move it to storage and unkink an apartment before relatives who never really knew him throw it all away.
When you attend a memorial service and sit with a leatherman’s extended family, and endure the nervous stares of his blood relatives to pay your last respects.
When you take in a timid newcomer and show her the proper way to tie a person’s wrists so the circulation still flows to their hands.
When you explain how to hold a flogger and use it like an instrument to elicit moans and whimpers from a willing bottom.
When you guide her through a scene step by step and then watch her grow and bloom on her own.
When you are approached respectfully by a man with a shy smile and bright eyes.
When he asks you if the flippant remark you made in your speech about “not having a date” was true.
When he follows you to a late night cafe riding his Harley and you both spend the rest of the evening talking and laughing.
When you end up taking him home and end up sleeping together, actually sleeping together and don’t get to sex or SM until the morning.
When you end up spending the next 19 years together and he still calls you Sir.
When you think you have done it all and still find something new and exciting to try.
When you find that you still have something to offer even if you never looked like a Tom of Finland illustration and you will never fit into those sexy chaps again.
When you find yourself being asked to speak at events, month after month and though you say you are going to finally say “no” you say “yes” instead.
When you feel so much gratitude to your brothers and sisters in leather that it almost brings you to tears.
That my friends, is leather.