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Sterling of West Hollywood
One of the very first things that I did when we moved into the gayborhood near LA in 1979 was to stop by the shop of Sterling of West Hollywood, on Santa Monica Boulevard near Highland. I am shocked to find zero references for him on Wikipedia, because he was the man who invented assless chaps for gay leathermen. He deserves great honor for that.
I was intensely excited. This was my first experience with being in a dedicated kinky gay leather tailor's shop, and I bounced around Sterling's store, saying "Oh! I want that, and I want THAT!" Sterling and his boyfriend followed me around, amused by my youthful enthusiasm. Then, he stopped me, and gave me some very wise advice:
"A man of your size doesn't need all of the shiny-shiny accessories. Simple and elegant, plain black leather works better for you. Leather is just a frame for the picture within. I would make more money selling you any old thing, but I want you to look your best."
During the year and a half that I lived in the area, I stopped by Sterling's shop dozens of times. He saw potential in me as a rising young star. We never had sex, but he was a deeply-experienced mentor, and he shared his kind wisdom with a generous heart. Decades later, I realize that everything that he told me was true, useful and practical, with no expectation of reward.
I learned so much of the Tribal wisdom that I know now, because of kind older men like him. When I mentor folks nowadays, I emulate his patient style. I help others as a way of gratefully repaying my debt of love to dozens of men like him.
I regret having lost touch with him during the AIDS holocaust. Like so many wonderful men who died young, he exists now only in the memories of the rapidly-aging gay leathermen who survived. If I want to have ONE thing locked into the public record, it's Sterling's name and place in our Tribal history.
My Oldest Piece of Leatherwear
I currently have a walk-in closet full of leather fetishwear. I have owned at least ten times more gear than is currently in my collection. I've given a lot of it away, mostly out of respect and approval for rising new stars, and partially because of the biggest problem with kinky gear:
The longer that leather gear hangs in your closet, the more that it shrinks!
The one thing that I will never give away is the leather harness that Sterling custom-made for me in 1979. I can't wear it in public, even though it still adjusts to fit me nicely. Here is the problem: it yanks out my back-hair by the handful when I change position. I can't engage in polite conversation without holding perfectly still!
I remember when my boyfriend David ordered a custom-made pair of Sterling's chaps in 1980. He had a cute little ass, and proudly wore his new chaps to the LA Eagle when it was at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Fairfax. While we were walking toward the bar, we passed a crowd of big, scary straight men outside of a biker bar. These men had seen a lot of gay men in the area, and they were cool with us.
Tom of Finland didn't start adding assless chaps
to his drawings until he arrived in Silverlake.
They saw us coming, and were highly amused when they saw David's butt-cheeks passing by. Instead of being threatening, they practically fell down on the sidewalk in their honest laughter. There was no meanness in it. They had just never seen anything like it. I can't help but think that this started the trend for hetero bikers to start wearing (baggy) chaps as well, since those didn't start showing up for a at least a decade or so afterward.
Ugly, baggy, hetero-chaps.
Gay men's chaps did NOT require the ownership of a motorcycle. They were designed so that a man in a sling with his legs up could express his kinky fetish while being fucked or fisted. They were also ideal for showing off your great ass in a crowded leather bar, while wearing a codpiece. To this day, it's common to wear a hanky spread across your naked ass as you are on the streets, until you get to the bar or street-fair. At that point, you can let your ass out on proud display.
International Mr. Cheeks & Chaps
As I said elsewhere, I had been approached by a buddy to step up and take more of a leadership role in the gay leather community in 1998. I pondered for a day or so, and signed-up for a "Mr. San Diego Cheeks 'n Chaps" contest that same night. I knew nothing about being in a titleholder contest, or what it meant, but I wanted to start with a silly bar title. No pressure.
Folsom Street Fair, 2016.
Out of seven contestants, I was the oldest by at least a decade, and the others had cute little peachy, perky asses. Mine is big and blocky, even now, several decades later. During the contest, I was silly and relaxed. I was not attaching my self-worth to whether I won or lost. I was in a zen space on the tiny stage.
Whenever one of my drunken buddies in the crowded bar would yell something at me, I'd yell back with an affectionate, quick and witty reply. I have that ability, and the crowd loved me. Example: Emcee: "Our next contestant is known to be slutty!" Drunk in audience: "Hey! I'm slutty, too!" Me: "Yeah, I know, honey - I've seen your web-page!"
When the emcees went down the line and then held their hands above my head, the crowd screamed for me, more than the others. I was asked if I would be willing to travel to San Francisco during Folsom Street Fair week to represent San Diego during the International title contest, and I said yes.
On the Road to San Francisco
Recent baggage-claim portrait
Being huge, I always have to travel to large annual leather events while dressed in full gear. My boots and jacket don't fit into luggage, and I will not willingly crush my Master's cap inside a bag, so I like to strut through airports as a proud, gay six-foot-ten-in-full-gear leatherman. If I have my slaves walking a few steps behind me, they will say "EVERYBODY turned around to watch you go by!" Being a big, sassy extrovert, and as out of the closet as you can get, I have always liked to hear that.
My Only Experience As A ProDom
He started asking me questions, and I would fire the answers back in funny ways. Example: "I see that you are wearing a fireman's t-shirt. Are you really a firefighter?" My response "No. You wouldn't believe how far I had to chase him to get it. The last words that I said to him were 'Be grateful that I let you keep your pants!' However, I DO get hired periodically to stomp out forest fires with these big boots." I was in a sassy, friendly mood. I don't do unkind "humor."
After a while, I realized that his increasingly-horny attempts to flirt, combined with my comedy routine, had caused the entire trolley to go silent, interspersed with roars of laughter. Suddenly, he panicked, saying "This is my stop, and I really want to see you. Here is my business card." I had printed up a few title cards of my own ("Mr. San Diego Cheeks 'n Chaps 1998"), so I amiably gave him one, and that was that.
That night, I went to Daddy's Bar on the Castro, and it was Underwear Night. I stripped down to white boxers covered with red hearts, and flirted for a few hours. At one point, I had five guys groping me and smooching, and I said "I'm tired of all of this dry-humping. Who wants to leave with me and go FUCK?!??" Four men scattered, and the fifth guy said "Let's go!"
We went back to my hotel. We had a grand time fucking, and I topped him in a variety of kinky play styles. A few hours later, he got up to take a shower, and my phone rang. I was not in the mood to be disturbed so close to midnight, so I answered with a fake-sleepy voice. It was Shawn, my admirer from the trolley.
"I have to see you!" "Not gonna happen. Call me in the morning." "No, I REALLY NEED TO SEE YOU!" "Listen, dude - I am going to be honest. I am all fucked-out, and it's not going to happen."
"I'll give you a thousand dollars."
"I will call you back."
I hung up, and saw that my recent fuckbuddy was standing in the doorway, wondering what all of the fuss was about. I said "A guy just offered me a thousand dollars to play with him." His response: "Hey, man - If you want to get rid of me, then just TELL me." I said "No! That is what really happened."
The thought occurred to me… What would my non-kinky husband say? I realized that he would say "Get the money up front." So I called the guy back, and I said "Bring the CA$H."
Before I had left for the trip to SF, my boy Kevin had given me my very first Viagra, so I crunched it down (it activates faster that way, but it tastes vile) and waited for Shawn to arrive. I fucked him, I tied him up, I flogged and then whipped him (he begged me to), and I basically took him around the world of kink.
Afterwards, we cuddled naked and slept in. In the morning, I took him to a local bistro and bought him breakfast. I was feeling rather generous, under the circumstances. While eating, I mentioned that Mister S Leather would be opening soon, and I had my eye on a very high-quality jacket. He said "Oh! I have always wanted to buy leather gear for a submissive, but I was afraid to shop, because I didn't want to ignorantly get any combination of items that would look inappropriate together."
I invited him to walk down the street to Mister S with me, and that I would help him shop. I was wearing a string tank-top, flimsy red gym-shorts with the inner lining removed (I like to flop around), and tennis shoes. He was still wearing the baby-blue business suit. I gave him his orders: "You must keep my cock hard the entire time that we are in the store, and you are not allowed to use your hands." Then, we entered the crowded store.
Alan is standing, second from the right.
To this day, a major highlight of San Francisco's tour of gay mecca is Mister S Leather, created by Alan Selby. Yes, shopping there is expensive, and the "Mister S Tax" is legendary, but you really do get what you pay for. It is THE shopping destination during Folsom Week, and the place was jammed by the time that Shawn and I arrived.
He scurried around on his knees the entire time, keeping his slobbering mouth on my erection through my shorts, while I would make a big show of ignoring him. I'd casually chat with other Sirs wearing leather (this is called doing "Top Talk"), while Shawn was given orders to bring me various items for my inspection. Then, he'd resume his greedy cock-worship.
Lips firmly attached, he'd scramble on his knees as I slowly moved to the next section, and picked out gear in his size. He'd throw the most-recent item on the pile by the cash register, and then crawl back to me. As we approached the jacket section, I pulled a $900 jacket off of the rack and said "I'm considering buying this." He released my cock and said "Throw it on the pile, Sir." I did so.
At the end of the shopping, he paid for everything, and I was stunned at his generosity. I felt that a good reward would be for him to wear his new leatherboy gear, along with my rope around his neck during the Street Fair the next day. With great regret, he declined, saying that he had to return to Minneapolis that very evening. This was a business trip, and he had had no idea that it was Folsom Weekend.
I asked him "Why did you pursue me so vigorously? You could have had any number of men to play with." He said "When I saw you on the trolley, I knew that you were the King of the Leathermen. I wanted you to be my first."
So, I bid him farewell, and escorted some other sweet boys around the Fair the next day. All during the fair, folks stopped me and said “Was that YOU at Mister S yesterday? That was one of the hottest Dom/sub scenes I’ve ever seen, and you weren’t wearing any gear!”
I haven't been a Professional Dominant (ProDom) since, though I could certainly do so, even now.
My International Title Contest
So, I showed up an hour or so later at the Lone Star cowboy bar for the pre-contest interview. One by one, each of the sixteen contestants (from three countries) were led to a separate room to be interrogated by the eleven judges. A woman came to fetch me for my interview. I stood in front of the seated judges, and I felt as transparent as water. I was mellow, had nothing to hide, and had no issues left to work through. I was ready.
The judges were tough. They were looking for leaders. Not one of them asked to see my ass. They were too busy asking me about our history, and what I intended for the title. Some of the questions were focused on stuff that I knew nothing about, and I would answer "I don't know, but I will find out, and get back to you." I did so, before the weekend was over.
One judge asked me "After your title year is over, how would you like to be remembered?" I said that I would be the hugging-est international titleholder ever. They liked that. Then, when things wound down, I got asked the crucial question: "What would you like to tell us, that nobody here has asked about?" I said "That's easy. I want my turn." Facing their baffled faces, I continued:
"I will explain. For decades, I have complained from the sidelines. 'Who elected these idiots? Why can't they do anything right?' There has been no power in my bitching and complaining, and I am done with it. I am 42 years old, I know how to network, organize huge events and build teams. It's my turn to shut up, step up and DO something. For all that I know, it might be a terrible experience, but I don't care. I will work every day to make you all proud of me, so please let me have my turn."
Later on, the woman who guided me back and forth to the interview confided that she had told her friend "You see that tall guy? He's going to win."
The evening came, and we arrived for the contest. I walked through the audience beforehand, getting a sense of the crowd. It was almost entirely made up of titleholders from all over the world, and I was very pleased to meet them. Unlike the bar titleholder contest, it wasn't a random crowd of rowdy drunks. I had a strong sense that these were my peers, and I trusted them to support me.
Sterling made me these chaps, twenty years earlier, along with the studded bandolier holding my flogger. His excellent work undoubtedly helped me to win my "International Mr. Cheeks & Chaps 1998" title.
The contest began, and the emcee was Lenny Broberg, who has been the go-to guy for Master of Ceremonies work for decades. Well, I was starting to get annoyed with Lenny, because he clearly had a bias for me above the other contestants, and I wanted them to get some praise, too. Lenny kept announcing my entry onto the stage with "Papa Tony, standing six-foot five, and 235 pounds!" So, I started interjecting comments like "Actually, I am only five foot seventeen, when I am standing fully erect!" which he would gleefully repeat for the crowd.
At one point, I had taken off my jeans offstage, and wore my chaps with a codpiece, so my ass was hanging way out. Lenny placed a quarter onto a beer bottle on the stage, and invited me to pick up the quarter with my ass. I didn't hesitate, and when I handed him the quarter, I said "Luckily for you, I have been sanitized for your protection!"
Later on, I was asked "What will be the benefit if you win the international title?" I replied "Well, for one thing, up to now, my ass has only been nation-wide!" Then, came the inevitable "silly question:"
"If your ass was an animal, what would it be, and why?" I pondered, and said "If my ass was an animal, it would be a squirrel." Then, I intentionally stopped talking. Lenny did the perfect straight-man thing and asked "A SQUIRREL?!?? But WHY?" I said "Because I can crack Brazil nuts with my ass!" The crowd just about turned inside out, and once the laughter died down, Lenny asked "Are there any Brazilians in the audience?"
When they announced me as the winner, I feigned surprise, and Lenny chided me for that. He said "You owned this stage from the beginning."
Mike Pereyra. One time, he bleached every
black hair of his body bright white.
It was an eerie effect on a young man.
Then, I went home to San Diego. I was the first international leather titleholder in ten years in San Diego. International Mr. Leather 1988 Mike Pereyra was the previous one. As soon as I got home, I didn't get a celebratory party. The folks that I will refer to as "The Powers That Be" tried to have my title removed instantly. That story will be coming up soon, along with The Most Corrupt Title Contest in History. It ends wonderfully, I promise.
The Hazard of Wearing Chaps
I have newer chaps now, custom-made for a man of Heroic Proportions. 😀 I rarely wear them, though. My big ass is starting to point toward hell, now that I am in my sixties. When I wore them more often, I noticed a peculiar thing. This happened several times.
Some ignorant drunk would come into the leather bar, and my submissives would catch him winding up to take a hard slap at my ass. When he would protest, saying "He LIKES it, right?" the boys would tell him - "No... WE like it. You don't want to mess with him!"
That's why I don't go shirtless in bars any more. My nipples are at just the right height for some drunk to BITE them when I least expect it! Rather than make the idiot eat through a straw for months, I'd just slap him and warn him to leave the bar right away.