Monday, May 29, 2017

Birthright, and Ethics

This article is part of my Mentoring for Tops/Sirs/Doms/Masters curriculum.



I recently celebrated my 40th anniversary of being actively connected to the gay men's kink/leather & fetish community. When I started out, I was blessed with around 40 or so older kinky men who were my "Loving Uncles". Sure, we started out with sex (it's a GREAT way to "shake hands and say howdy!"), but the relationships continued onward, and became deeper. They saw potential in me, and took me under their wings.


I was in heaven, after a childhood lacking in positive male role-models. I was surrounded with love and respect, and I had SO many questions, about:

- Sex (“How could I have done that better?”),
- Relationships (“Why doesn’t that guy want a second date?”),
- Kink (“Why does my wrist always hurt after flogging somebody?”) and
- Interpersonal dynamics… All the stuff that older males knew, but I didn’t.

I will live to the rest of my days in utter gratitude to those men - Even the relationships that didn’t work out (usually due to their heavy use of drugs in the 1970’s) were of inestimable value, and became springboards for growth. I am a far better and happier man as a direct result of my upbringing by those wonderful men.

Then, they all died of AIDS. The ones who knew the most, and had the most to contribute, were hit the hardest, and right away. They were not replaced. Of my entire, extended Leather Family from the 1970’s, I am the only survivor. The other day, I mentioned to my husband of almost 27 years that in the entire time that I have known him, I have only run across 2 other surviving men of my larger social circle from the old days.

I mention this because of what has come down to the current days, and what has happened to the cycle of mentoring between the generations.


BIRTHRIGHT.

If I had my fondest wish, every kinky gay male on earth would start out with a MINIMUM of thirty or forty Loving Uncles. They would support, teach and guide him into becoming the sort of good man who will eventually stand shoulder to shoulder with them, so that the next new, shy and uncertain man can stand on THEIR shoulders.


Since my younger days, two new generations of men have arrived, with almost nobody there to thank them for showing up, or to help them with their kindly and pleasurable education. There are exceptions, and these older males are living virtuous lives of mentoring new kinksters. They are also as rare as Snow Leopards.

The vast majority of surviving, older gay-male kinksters who share my experience have dropped away. They gave all during the bad days, and are now unavailable to the larger community. Their lives have closed down to outsiders.



So, when I show up in gear at just about any gay-male event, and if I am kind and accessible, I am MOBBED by men who want to know more. If I demo in a bar, half of the men there want to try it out for the first time. The hunger for kind, accessible and approving Tribal Elders is not fulfilled, and I grieve.


ETHICS

I teach Master Classes in San Diego every Tuesday night. The first hour is about “Hard Skills” - hands-on practice of kinky technique. The second hour is spent talking about “Soft Skills”, such as:

- Ethics,
- Morality,
- Flexibility,
- Creativity,
- Social Graces
- True and deep intimacy,
- Establishing trust and commonality,
- Breaking out of the box of other peoples’ expectations, and
- Living your life authentically.

I use “parables” to illustrate my points, meaning stories with a moral core, and that make the point much better when it’s the climax of a hot and sexy story that makes the men laugh. Sometimes I get embarrassed that I am an old man who talks too much, and that I wander too erratically in my thoughts, but my protégés assure me that they love to hear whatever I can share.

When a man reaches out to me about mentoring, and we mesh well, I tell him that there will be a cost for my help:

Whatever he learns, he is required to pass it along when the time comes. It may take decades to heal the wound in our Tribe’s heart, and to re-ignite the cycle of mentoring, but we have to start somewhere.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you. I totally agree with your assessment.

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  2. Oh Tony, this brought memories and tears. Your uncles were my brothers. A few of the oldest were my uncles too. No, sex wasn't involved with the very occasional niece, but everything else was actually. They were mentors, teachers, (Occasionally Daddies) and friends.

    You are ssooo right when you say that each young leatherman *needs* the loving uncles who will love and lead him. We cannot change the past but...let's make that happen for a new generation

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  3. Thank you for sharing your life with so many, Uncle Tony. ~Toni

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  4. People don't realize how bad this situation, the vacuum of mentors, is in reality.

    For every 2 Boomers we have only one Gen Xer. At best we lost half of the elder Boomers due to AIDS.

    There are 4 millennials in their 30s some just turning 40 now. And we have estimated 6 centennials behind them - the first of which are turning 21 this year.

    At best, for every 10 guys under 40 we barely have 2 over 40 in the community to serve as mentors.

    You want to know the source of most of our community problems?

    This Is It!

    We're children raising even more children.

    AIDS wiped out our elders and there's almost no one with substantial experience to mentor the growing number of young men coming out earlier and earlier as both gay and kinky.

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  5. Have you thought about recording your session and putting them online?

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    Replies
    1. I did!

      http://fetishmensandiego.blogspot.com/2014/08/papa-tonys-verbal-history.html

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  6. I wish you taught in Seattle. I do have a good teacher for some skills and some mentorship, but the tone of what you say and do strikes a cord with me and it speaks directly to me as a gay man.

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    Replies
    1. I am doing remote mentoring with folks in distant areas, via Skype and such. It isn't perfect, but both sides are enjoying the process. I can be reached at papatony @mac,com

      The current semester's audios and videos are posted here:

      http://tribalvibept.blogspot.com/2017/05/master-class-spring-2017-audio-and-video.html

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