Chin Up, Young Leatherperson

Customer: *gasp* “You’re not wearing leather!”

Me: “Well, I’m not wearing a ton of leather, but I’ve got on wristbands and boots. Plus I brought a leather jacket with me.”

Customer: “I am very disappointed. I’m a leatherman, and this is supposed to be Houston’s leather bar, but there’s hardly anyone here, and no one is wearing leather! And it’s the perfect weather for wearing leather!”

Me: “It’s also 9 p.m. on the Saturday before Halloween. Everyone’s either at the big costume party at Rich’s, or one of the annual block parties. It’ll pick up later in the evening.”

Customer: “You know, I bought the kilt I’m wearing here.”

Me: “It’s a great kilt.”

Customer: “It’s not made correctly.”

Me: “It’s not?”

“No. It should wrap all the way around and button on the sides, not in the front.”

Me: “Ah. I see.”

Customer: “Oh, and I went by your main store this afternoon. Why don’t they keep any softer leather in stock?”

[Ed. Note: I pulled a double shift this particular day and was working in the main store when he came in. He complained that all the leather shirts were too small.]

Me: “We’ve got softer leather on order. It’ll be in soon.”

[Ed. Note: Pants on fire.]

Customer: [picking up a pocket flag] “What is this… a power symbol? Like, power top/power bottom?” [gesturing to all the hankies with a sigh] “I don’t understand all these colors. I’m just a leather guy.”

An hour later, my buddy Enzo came in and was all, “Um, some dude on the patio is thanking Carlisle for wearing leather.”

Me: “Is the dude wearing a kilt?”

Enzo: “Actually, yeah, he is.”

Me: “But it isn’t made correctly.”

Enzo: “How did you know that?!

I really should’ve smiled mysteriously and responded with something like, “The veil between worlds is thin when All Hallow’s Eve is at hand.” Instead I just told him that the guy had been in the store earlier, but it was extremely validating to have someone else interact with one of my customers and come away from the experience like, “the fuck just happened?” At least now I’ve got a character witness.

A Notary Horror (Notorror?) Story

notary-noir-sticker-280x365The kindly little 80-year-old file clerk at my day job recently asked if I could notarize some documents for her. I was of course happy AF to do that, so I got her settled in my office and pulled out my notary journal to record the act. The file clerk’s daughter happened to be there as well, and seeing my journal prompted her to mention that they’ve been having some trouble with her dad’s (the clerk’s late ex-husband’s) will. I assumed it involved a dispute over part of the estate or something, but no, it simply involved gross incompetence.

Turns out, when the current will was originally drafted, the file clerk accidentally signed her name on the wrong line, and, following suit, her ex (the testator) signed on the wrong line as well. In order for the will to be accepted as valid, the family had to give proof that the testator meant to sign on the correct line, which shouldn’t have been a problem — after all, there were two witnesses and a notary present, right? Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get in touch with the witnesses. I don’t know if they didn’t leave contact info or skipped town or what, but regardless, they were nowhere to be found. So it was up to the notary to clarify the matter.

But here’s the thing: The notary didn’t get a record of the signing. Like, she showed up sans journal and slapped a seal on the last page without documenting the event, so there is no evidence whatsoever that the testator swore to the authenticity of the final wishes listed in the will. Excuse the highbrow legalese, but that is some fucked-up bullshit right there.

And you just know she doesn’t have eleventy-thousand dollars in Errors and Omissions insurance like I do. You just know it.

The family managed to track down an earlier version of the will, so hopefully, that one will stand up in court, and they’ll be able to move forward with the process. But guys, this is why I’m so paranoid about documentation, and about not letting anyone “borrow” my stamp or get their paws on it when I’m not around. And it’s also why I try to make sure people understand what a notary actually does, so that they don’t find themselves inadvertently screwed over by some lazy-ass with a label maker who can’t be bothered to do the job properly.

Anyway, that’s my official contribution to the campfire storytime season. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put on a clown costume, grab the Notarizer, hide in some bushes, and show a certain notarial no-goodnik the error of her damnable ways.

Bonnie Tyler Owes Me Serenity

In recovery, we are sometimes encouraged to “remember our last drunk.” While this sounds dangerously nostalgic on paper, in practice it’s a technique to combat those occasional thoughts of “I could have just one,” “I’ll be able to control it this time,” etc. After all, how better to convince ourselves not to drink than to think about whatever gutter incident made us realize how alcoholic we actually were?

I personally do not remember my last drunk, on account of I was asleep for most of it. However, after tonight, I have a new memory to work with in its place. If I ever catch myself thinking it’s okay to have a drink, all I’ll have to do is conjure up visions of being trapped in a leather shop and listening against my will to a barful of sloshed gay men belting “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at the tops of their lungs.

If that shit doesn’t keep me sober, nothing will.

The Royal, Wooden Sceptre of the Notary of the Realm

So a couple of weeks ago, I was telling Carlisle about the time I spanked a customer while making bad notary jokes, at which point he unwittingly uttered a comment that revolutionized my entire existence.

Carlisle: “You know what would be funny? If you had a paddle with a notary seal on it.”

Me: [silent wonderment]

Carlisle: “Uh-oh.”

Me: “You are a goddamn genius.”

Carlisle: “Thanks, I think?”

Me: “There’s got to be someone out there who could make that happen.”

Carlisle: “Well, if it does happen, you should notarize me first.”

Me: “Deal.”

[two weeks later]


Carlisle: “What?”


I’m calling it the Notarizer. Or possibly Mjölnir.

Carlisle: “…”


Carlisle: “Where the hell did you find this?”

Me: “I ordered it from a shop on Etsy called L.V.X. Supply & Co. They specialize in occult and esoteric BDSM products. I am so damn happy right now.”

Carlisle: “Understandably.”

Me: “So, all set for your notarization?”

Carlisle: “Um… perhaps?”

It turns out that Carlisle had never been spanked before, and also that he didn’t think I’d go through with having the paddle made in the first place (he hasn’t known me that long). But I bribed him with the promise of top-shelf tequila, so he came into the store last night and begrudgingly dropped trou.

Me: “Ready?”

Carlisle: [bent over the front counter with his jeans around his ankles] “No.”

Me: “Great!”

[insert the most satisfying whack in the history of impact play here]

I immediately fell to my knees and stared at his ass like I was waiting for a Polaroid picture to develop, while Carlisle put some quality time into reassessing our friendship. And then…

Carlisle's Stamp
Identity verified. Please don’t sue me, Texas.

To sum up, I have never regretted an online purchase less in my life, and Carlisle has learned an important lesson about encouraging me to follow my dreams.


PS: While searching for customizable paddles, I also came across an Etsy shop called (wait for it) Deadhorse. Shut up and take my money, you marketing savants.

Strange Case of Polite, Quiet Customer and Master Hyde

Customer: “Pardon me, but do you have any leather vests that button in the front?”

Me: “I’m afraid we don’t.”

Customer: “Oh. It’s just that the vests you do carry don’t seem to fit me very well.”

Me: “I promise it’s not you — it’s just the way bar vests are cut. They don’t close, because they’re designed to accentuate the chest.”

Customer: “Okay, that makes sense. But I don’t want to accentuate my belly. I’m a bit insecure about it.”

Me: “You, my friend, have nothing to worry about. You’re in the right bar for belly appreciation.”

Customer: [laughing] “So I’ve noticed. I’m going to need one of your riding crops to beat them off!”

Me: [also laughing] “Of course, they might enjoy that.”

Customer: [suddenly serious] “You know, I’ve never done this before, but I was in here a couple of nights ago, and there were two younger men fooling around with a riding crop.”

Me: “Yeah, people do play with the merchandise sometimes.”

Customer: “Well, one of them was gently running the crop up and down the other one’s leg. So I marched over to them and said, ‘THAT IS NOT HOW YOU USE THAT. GIVE IT TO ME RIGHT NOW.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “His eyes got really big, and he said, ‘Yes, Sir,’ and handed it over to me. And I took it and SMACKED HIM ACROSS THE ASS and said, ‘THAT’S HOW YOU USE IT.'”


Customer: [panting a little] “And then I handed it back to him and left. You should’ve seen the salesclerk’s face! Anyway, I’ve never acted like that before. I wonder where it came from?”

Regardless of where it came from, I am starting to suspect this guy is eventually going to convert his garage into a dungeon and/or murder house. But then, I also watch a lot of bad horror movies, so, y’know, I might be a little blinkered.

Radio Killed the Video (Head Cleaner) Star

My friend Robert recently asked me if I’d be willing to co-host a monthly, leather-themed radio show with him on our local Pacifica affiliate. I was flattered, of course, but also a tiny bit doubtful of his judgement, considering some of the things that flew out of my mouth the last time I was on the radio with him:

“Burn some candles, eat some babies, the usual.

“My new drag name is ‘The Sensuality of Athleticism.'”

“Oh, right, that one Misfit who drinks too much and says inappropriate things. I hate that one.”

“You should buy stuff at the ILSb-ICBB vendor mart and then take it to the Dallas Galleria and be like, “Now, I didn’t keep the receipt…”

Robert – “We don’t always abuse our community leaders.”

Me – “Yeah. Sometimes it’s a clean kill.”

Despite the above, and the fact that I involuntarily curse like a sailor, we survived our first broadcast without FCC fines or security escorting us out of the building. And because we are all about jumping the gun, we went ahead and set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account (neither of which we’ve gotten around to actually using, but don’t let that stop you from following us). I’ve also added some info and downloads of previous shows (all one of them) here, so that you’ll be able to keep up with our upcoming train wrecks newfound media success.

And really, I do understand that in the grand scheme of things, this whole endeavor is nothing more than two guys volunteering at a listener-sponsored radio station and goofing around to fill air time in the dead of night. But I like to think that in some small way, Robert and I are doing something that just might help our local leather community come together, and maybe even overlook individual differences in favor of solidarity.

Granted, they will be coming together and finding solidarity in never speaking to either one of us ever again after our next show, but hey, we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good. It’s just that some of us have a lot more practice with martyrdom.

Quick, Boy Wonder! To the Oblivious-mobile!

Customer: “Do you sell leather-scented candles? Or a leather incense?”

Me: “We do not.”

Customer: “You don’t? Then where is that amazing leather scent coming from?”

Me: “It’s… it’s from all the leather.”

Customer: [looking around] “Oh, hey, wow! I never noticed that before!”

It is generally accepted that when one sense is diminished, the brain rewires itself to draw more receptive information from the remaining senses. In this case, I can only assume that said customer lost his eyesight in a tragic, comic book-style accident, which gifted him with a preternatural sense of smell… and, I don’t know, maybe super strength or something? I wasn’t there. Long story short, he should really just get out there and fight crime.

Going Down

As previously mentioned, GLUE Weekend involves contests: Mr. Third Coast Gear, which is a fun bar title, and Mr. Third Coast Leather, which is a feeder to International Mr. Leather. We put a lot of work into assembling a well-known and well-respected judging panel for MTCL, and for the past two years, we’ve been very lucky to have Dirk Caber — star of numerous educational, adult-oriented, alternative lifestyle features — as one of our judges.

 “I’m dreamy but don’t act like I’m dreamy, which makes me like seventeen times dreamier.”

I don’t know how many porn stars you guys run around with, but Dirk is seriously one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. He’s modest and intelligent and has an excellent sense of humor, and he’ll hug you just for the sake of hugging, and I am not in love with him so much as I want to be him when I grow up.

One of the big highlights of GLUE is the Officer’s Luncheon, where everyone straps themselves into their finest formal leather and consumes mass quantities of Southern breakfast foods during a keynote address. Dirk and I happened to leave our hotel rooms at the same time that morning, and we boarded the elevator together to head down to the ballroom off the lobby where the luncheon was being held. It was close to checkout time, so every few seconds we stopped at a different floor. And whenever the doors opened, unsuspecting hotel patrons would start to drag on their luggage, then stop and stare at the two men attempting to act casual while dressed like administrators from the management offices of the Death Star.

The elevator continued its descent, with Dirk and I chatting about the difficulties of lacing boots while wearing skintight pants, and everyone else pretending we weren’t weirding them the fuck out, when one of the other passengers turned to Dirk and asked, “Are you famous?”

Dirk shrugged as I choked on my own spit and admitted that yes, some people would call him famous.

“Are you in movies?” the guy asked.

Dirk replied that he did in fact make movies.

“I knew it!” another guy suddenly shouted. “You looked so familiar, but I couldn’t figure out why.”

The elevator thankfully reached the ground floor before I could finish chewing through my tongue, and at the luncheon, the other guests at our table were greatly entertained when we related the story to them. (We ultimately decided that if it happened again, we would explain that he was a regular on the original British version of The Office.) Amusement aside, though, I can’t help but wonder who the guys on the elevator actually thought Dirk was. I mean, he sort of resembles a young Xander Berkeley (if young Xander Berkeley worked out a lot), but otherwise, I feel like somebody needs to sit these dudes’ wives down and have a long come-to-Jesus.

Sticking to the Script

Every October, the Misfits put on a fundraising event called GLUE Weekend — three differently-sane days of contests, parties, auctions, and generalized debauchery. I usually spend most of GLUE running around like a crazy person and doing my best to minimize assorted gay leather crises, but I always take some time to write down any pause-worthy comments I overhear and then share them without context. With that in mind, it gives me great pleasure to announce the definitive 2017 list of…


“I need to order catsuits tonight.”

“I like him better when his mouth is preoccupied.”

“They’re being mean to my nipples.”

“Do we need to trade that cocktail for a bowl of milk?”

“We’re going to have amazing abs after holding our guts in for three days.”

“He said ‘deep in the throat of Texas,’ and I almost fainted.”

“Have fun fisting or whatever.”

“I know what you mean, but you’re not peeing in my shoe.”

“You need to put a silencer on that tongue.”

“Remember the time security burst into your room at Club Houston?”

“I can’t believe we did it right in front of the bratwurst stand.”

“So we were talking about broken penises…”

“I’m looking at your eyes, but I can still see your legs.”

“Rainbow Bronies! RAINBRONIES!!!”

“My knees are together. I’m off duty.”

“Those are gold… lamé… leather… pants.”

“Look! I can make my sporran jump!”

“Little queen, I know you jerk off to Buck Angel porn, so swallow my load.”

“It’s analog Scruff.”

“That’s like if your tastes and my tastes got drunk and had a baby.”

“Dude. You have boob sweat.”

“I’m having more fun this year. Probably because I stopped smoking pot and remember it.”

“I grew into my butt hair.”

“We’re all trying to be butch, but then Erasure comes on.”

“If I’m the one holding your hair, there is a problem.”

“Not even with Rick Perry’s dick.”

The Emperor’s New 2XL Pancho

Customer: [in the voice of Alaska Thunderfuck] “Hieeee.”

Me: [gritting teeth, smiling pleasantly] “Hello. What can I help you with today?”

Customer: “What size is that shirt?”

Me: “It’s a medium.”

Customer: “Oh.”

Me: “Would you like to try it on?”

Customer: “No. It’s too small.”

Me: “What size shirt do you normally wear?”

Customer: “Medium.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “I want something that fits loosely.”

Me: “Ah, I see. Well, I only have that particular shirt in medium, but I do have larges in these other styles.”

Customer: “But you only have this shirt in medium?”

Me: “That’s correct.”

Customer: “None larger?”

Me: “None larger.”

Customer: [tapping his lips thoughtfully] “Hmmm.”

Me: “You’re more than welcome to try it on.”

Customer: “No. Then I’d buy it.” [exits]

Good call on his part. I mean, I can’t have my customers spending money on clothing that fits — what would happen to all the downtrodden shoplifters out there who prefer irregulars? I’m pretty sure this guy is some kind of folk saint at the least, and I shall build a shrine in his honor out of nothing but smocks and parachute pants.