This article is part of my Mentoring for Tops/Sirs/Doms/Masters curriculum.
Local, kinky affinity groups periodically host Leather Swap Meets. In San Diego, we have Club X (website) and FetishMenSanDiego (website). We also have a private individual who has been stepping into his power as a community leader. The picture above this shows a typical, large and successful event. I can't wait!
These swap meets are not meant as a profit center… just a courtesy for local kinky players who want to prioritize, and clear up some space in their closets, toy chests and dungeons. If you don't belong to your local affinity group, I recommend at least getting their newsletter, or following them on Facebook or Fetlife.
One good, solid Swap Meet can be a delightful way to fill your toy bag, play-space or closet with gear, at a fraction of the normal cost. Plus, your new acquisitions comes into your life a bit well-worn and LIVELY, with the history of the player who passed it along to you…
Arrive early. Don’t let other people scoop up all the good deals before you get there.
BRING CASH. The sellers are not corporations, they are generally heavy kink players, and they don't take credit cards. If you don’t have enough cash, leave a deposit to reserve the sale until you can get back from an ATM.
If it fits you, and if it makes you feel sexy, BUY IT NOW!!!!! Don’t say “Let me think about it” and wander away. You’ll see it next on somebody else, wearing a big smile, and wearing YOUR item. You’ll never see it again. The regret can be terrible.
Ask every vendor if everything that they have is on the table. I’ve lost some excellent deals, because there was some great stuff that I didn’t see before I passed on... such as a SUPERB Mister S Leather Sleep Sack in perfect condition (sold new for $1,699).
For fifty bucks.
The seller had it in a wagon behind him. I didn’t know this until he had agreed to sell it to another guy first. I was courteous and calm, but inside, I was furious with myself for forgetting this simple rule.
Don’t badger the vendor for a better price. It ain’t that kind of scene. These are usually well-known and respected community members. You’re gaining a big bonus already, by gathering part of their Tribal history into your life.
A friendly interaction can gain you points in the local community. A competitive, zero-sum hard-driven bargain can cause bad ripples. YOU may not know the vendor, but a lot of local movers and shakers DO.
I’ve seen many of these Leather Swap Meets. I’ve never seen any bad prices. Only excellent, gratifyingly low prices. Have a great time!
Let’s assume that you are open to buying uniform gear, you authority-figure fetishist, you.
If you find a uniform shirt with great insignia, emblems, patches or badges, BUY IT NOW. The way that it fits your body is immaterial.
The decorative items attached to the shirt are what is valuable. Buy a shirt from a uniform store, or online, and of the same design, that fits you reasonably well. Bring both shirts to a local tailor. Have them swap the insignia, and tailor the new shirt to conform beautifully to your shapely form.
Money well spent. HOWEVER…
Right after 9/11, everybody was putting firefighters and police on a pedestal, and they got arrogant. In the state of California, the right-winger, anti-gay First Responder types lobbied to get a law passed, and they succeeded. Their logic was: “Gay men are RIDICULING us by wearing uniforms!” Pound for pound, uniform gear is more expensive than leather. So, I am NOT going to spend thousands of bucks to make fun of somebody. Really.
So, it is now a $1,000 misdemeanor to wear California insignia if you aren't an official. This doesn't seem to apply to outdoor Halloween parties, but it's pretty serious the rest of the year. To get around this:
- Wear a jacket on the way to your next uniform party. Or,
- Get all of the insignia that you want, that applies to any other jurisdiction. My own New York Corrections Officer gear seems to draw admirers, just as well as my CHP gear. "Oh, OFFICER! Arrest me!"