Monday, September 10, 2018

Creating Sacred Male Space: Community Leadership

Encouraging and educating folks who want to be effective community leaders.

These are articles that I consider to be of value, based upon the responses that I have received.

You can find the Master Index for every category here.

This page is only one of many categories. There are HUNDREDS of articles, and each list continues to grow longer and longer.

I hope that you find these articles to be of value in your life.


Sharing some ideas that might work well for others.

These are articles that I consider to be of value, based upon the responses that I have received.

You can find the Master Index for every category here.

This page is only one of many categories.  There are HUNDREDS of articles, and each list continues to grow longer and longer.

I hope that you find these articles to be of value in your life.

I Am A Sir With No Need for Force, Discipline, or Abuse - a VERY popular article

Nourishment For The Isolated Gay Men’s Kinky Souls - Listening in on Men's Discussions

Better Adult, Better Dom - How to gain some attractive charisma

Finding Permanent Pride In Who We Are - Getting past negative programming

The Kinsey Conundrum - How can folks actually be bisexual?

The New Puritans - Getting past other people's judgments

Body-Shaming Yourself - It does nobody any good

Age And Youth - The blessings in an age difference.

Increasing The Odds For Our Submissive Brothers - Why I help Doms, in order to help subs!

A Brutally Frank Message to My Fellow Older Gay Leathermen - In praise of handing everything away to our younger leaders

Younger Doms are Valid, Too - We are all on the same path

This is Why You Shouldn't Kink-Shame - That Which You Resist, Persists.

Bottom-Shaming Hurts Everybody - It even harms the Sirs that might perpetuate it, without being conscious of the damaging 'internal-loathing' effect

High Protocol Relationships - Not sure where fact or fiction ends, here

Approval-Based Doms - Don't believe the porn hype

The Joys of Being a Pimp Daddy For A Slutty Sub - Slutty subs have needs, too!

The Value of Switches - Life is not just two boxes, marked 'black" and 'white.'

Boring, Bored, and Border Collies - I strive to be a respectful, obedient, pleasing submissive but I get a little bored.

Why 'Fifty Shades' is SO BAD - It's a trash heap, and we all pile on.

Real Life Is Not A Porn Video. Adjust Your Expectations Accordingly - Life is NOT like what you see on the screen

Sirs Need Brothers Too - It seems obvious to me

Dear Submissives - You're not going to spend your life in a basement serving somebody. It's a fucking fantasy.

Why I Am A Fan Of Pain - A great primer on the fun of pain play

How To Apologize - A grownup man lets go of his ego and admits guilt.

Why Am I A 'Daddy'? - I didn't write it, but it really resonates with people.

Make or Break - 'Reprogramming' the submissive with healthy, life-affirming memes

'Flexibility' Versus 'Rigidity' - Two extreme interpretations of what kink really is

If We Wait For The Perfect Submissive, We Will Wait Forever - What if the things that make you inappropriate, broken and JUST PLAIN FUCKED UP are actually your superpowers, and always were?

Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Poor Dominants? - Being burdened with the expectations of others

How-To: Hard Skills

Covering technical skills that will last you a lifetime 

These are articles that I consider to be of value, based upon the responses that I have received.

You can find the Master Index for every category here.

This page is only one of many categories.  There are HUNDREDS of articles, and each list continues to grow longer and longer.

I hope that you find these articles to be of value in your life.

Florentine Flogging, Part Two: Practical Application - Explaining the benefits

A SUPERB Way To Murder a Submissive - Learn safe practices BEFORE you stumble forward into disaster!

Flogger Cleaning and Storage - A few tips that might be of value

Flogging For Beginners (On Both Ends Of The Flogger): Video Instruction - Watched by over a quarter-million folks, worldwide, in FIVE places on the Web

The Tommy Tomcat: Video Instructions - An advanced toy for Tops who are ready for their next level up.

Toybag Tour, Thud vs. Sting: Floggers and Whips and Such - Learn the Basics

Restraints For Lazy Bastards - Fast and effective

Flogging With Intention - Horizontal Style

The 'Trophy' Boot Print - How to Reward a VERY good submissive

How to Mummify Someone - Nice how-to text

Kinky Playing Without Toys - Seduction techniques, which will drive a sub to ecstasy

Public Scene: Barracks Bar in Palm Springs - Watch me in an actual scene with a stranger.  I calibrate, check in, and use dozens of play-styles

Public Scene at the Faultline in LA, with Videos - I was showing off for the crowd, but I believe that these videos are also instructive.

Full-Body Orgasms, In Less Than Sixty Seconds.  Using Nothing But Your Voice - Long-term training for subs

Training and Protocols for a New Submissive - This is my personal style, but it has WORKED, for decades

Leaving Marks on the Ass That Can't Get Enough - Every kind of impact play on buttocks

Florentine Flogging, for Visual Learners, Plus Flame Whips and Poi! - How to become a sophisticated Flogging Top


How to save money, time and wasted energy when shopping.

These are articles that I consider to be of value, based upon the responses that I have received.

You can find the Master Index for every category here.

This page is only one of many categories.  There are HUNDREDS of articles, and each list continues to grow longer and longer.

I hope that you find these articles to be of value in your life.

Review of Inexpensive, High-Quality Floggers - an old article, updated

Video Review of the 'Thumper' Flogger; with Demos - I review kinky toys periodically. Mostly, those that pertain to Impact Play, because that is my specialty.

Review of Inexpensive, High-Quality Floggers - Very detailed information.

The Tommy Tomcat: Video Instructions.  An advanced toy, between a singletail and a flogger.

PTSM Singletail Whip, with Instructional Video - Looking to get into singletail whipping?  Here is an excellent start.

Portable St. Andrew's Cross - If you can't have a full-time dungeon, here is a good alternative

9x6 Lube Review - It comes off pretty quickly and cleanly with soap and cold water.

My Custom-Ordered Kinky Boots - I decided that I had waited for too many years to get what I considered to be my Ultimate Fantasy Boot

Valuable Links & Lists

Providing access to many more resources

These are articles that I consider to be of value, based upon the responses that I have received.

You can find the Master Index for every category here.

This page is only one of many categories.  There are HUNDREDS of articles, and each list continues to grow longer and longer.

I hope that you find these articles to be of value in your life.

Periodic Table of Kink - Fascinating project, worth checking out.

Audio from Men's Discussions - VERY popular posting.  Listened to by hundreds of thousands, worldwide.  I also talk about the value of these recordings here.

What Books Do You Recommend? - These are what I assign to my mentees and proteges., followed by…

My Education Plan - Alex's classic list

BDSM Links And Resources - I didn't create this list, but folks really like it

True Master, True slave - A lovely breath of fresh air

30 Kinky Terms Every Gay Man Should Know - I am astonished to find something this good on the Advocate Web site.

35 DOs and DON'Ts of a Gay Leather Bar - I was doing research for another article, and happened upon a VERY good article that covers the topic very well.

Ten Things A Dom Expects A sub To Know Without Being Told - This is the path to success.  I promise.

Updated Library For Kinksters - Quite a lot of useful information.

A Shout-Out For Officer Wes - He has a massive, excellent educational website.

Getting Into New Kink Practices - Bondage and Impact Play

Styles of Domination - Find yourself on the list!

Tumblr Doms Terrify Me - A retort to the usual Tumblr Fantasy crapola.

New Traditions & Mentoring

Going deep into mentoring as a goal and a noble activity.

These are articles that I consider to be of value, based upon the responses that I have received.

You can find the Master Index for every category here.

This page is only one of many categories.  There are HUNDREDS of articles, and each list continues to grow longer and longer.

I hope that you find these articles to be of value in your life.

Learning Gay Men’s History - Recommended reading Material

House Slaves On Duty - The outline for a successful Formal Leather Dinner

Creating a Celebration... Earning a Master's Cap - Building new traditions from the ashes of the old days

Why I Train Tops On A Constant Basis - My motivations as a long-time Mentor

THIS* Is Why I Mentor Doms - Blessing a fine protégé

The Path Toward Wisdom - If you are doing it right, it is an upward path

A Punishment - A successful scene, done well.

The Best Way to Help a Mentor - Interact - a lot!

How To Be An Elder, And Set The Tone For Your Community - I wish every older gay man would take this to heart. Creating new traditions, to replace the ones that were lost

How to Attract and RETAIN Younger Men in the Gay Leathermen's Community - It worked in San Diego

The Culture Of Mentoring Between The Generations - Passing it along, as a definite plan

Master's Cap and Whip Presentation - It's a blurry video, but it's a nice bit of history

Awarding A Master's Cap (AKA Cover) - Very long article, covering all aspects

Supporting New Kinky Talent - Taking on protégés as a Mentor

Pictures and Video from the Ritual Fire Event - Tribal pleasure and fiery fun!

Leather Protocols And History - My brother Mentor's history lesson

Creating Sacred Male Space: Community Leadership

Encouraging and educating folks who want to be effective community leaders.

These are articles that I consider to be of value, based upon the responses that I have received.

You can find the Master Index for every category here.

This page is only one of many categories.  There are HUNDREDS of articles, and each list continues to grow longer and longer.

I hope that you find these articles to be of value in your life.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Defining The Community That We Want
Part 3: Welcoming the Stranger
Part 4: The Golden Core
Part 5: Dealing With Negativity
Part 6: Effective Leadership

Advice & Soft Skills

Learn solid interpersonal skills, and to overcome obstacles in healthy ways

These are articles that I consider to be of value, based upon the responses that I have received.

You can find the Master Index for every category here.

This page is only one of many categories.  There are HUNDREDS of articles, and each list continues to grow longer and longer.

I hope that you find these articles to be of value in your life.

No Safeword is Not an Excuse - The value of checking-in

The secret about D/s is... - Simple and wise advice

The Difference Between Sadomasochism And Abuse - an excellent standard reference

Being a Slave-Owning Master Who Is Sadistic, and Sweet - One of my most popular articles

Dad/son and Daddy/boy relationships - My own journey

Making Public Declarations While Standing In Your Power - KINKY PRIDE!

Sex and the Independent Slave - How to attract a high-quality Sir

Training a Submissive to Cum on Command - How to get started

Handling Poly Relationships - How my Leather Family succeeds every single day

Poly Relationships, Part Two - What it's like to be in a Leather Family

Folsom Street Fair Tips For Newbies - Updated for 2018

Tips For Fitting-In With a Gay Men's Group - Another popular topic.  I go into detail.

How to Become a Legendary Sir - From one who knows

I Am A Sir With No Need for Force, Discipline, or Abuse - Working to dispel the stereotypes

How To Speak With a Sub - Being Open and Honest

Pain Play, and Gaining Marks, Explained - There is a lot of good to be said about mutually-enjoyed pain play

Sub-Drop, Defined - I am unsure what you mean by 'sub drop'?

Resisting Use of Safe Words - Safe words are an emergency escape hatch, in cases where there is little established trust between both parties

Humor During a Kinky Scene - It's quite nice, if you're not all rigid in a scene

Courtesy at a Men's Play Party - I have attended over 400 gay-male play parties over the decades since 1975.  A majority of them have been kinky by design.

Where are the Mentors for Subs? - Surely, there are more.

Bootblack Etiquette - Here are some tips to help you to understand what is going on, and how to behave

Setting Limits When You Are New - You have the right!

What Is Wrong With My Dick? - A sub with a limp dick is DOING FINE.

Balancing Between Submission and Dominance - That's what protocols are for...

Good Daddies Versus Bad Daddies - Warning signs and VERY good signs

When Kinky Scenes Go Wrong - How to be a Sir who succeeds, even when things go sideways

Responsibility - A Follow-Up on When Kinky Scenes Go Wrong

The importance of a collar! - I am offering a similar perspective, from somebody who has been collaring submissives for four decades

Tips For Attending Gay Men's Kinky Play Parties - Courtesy is everything

Mid-Life Crisis For Gay Kinksters, Explained:  What Your Dad Never Told You. - Tomorrow is Promised to No One

boys Bill of Rights - Always worth repeating

Handling Poly Relationships - I explain How I maintain a mixed, kink/vanilla multiway relationship

Male Touch and Skin Hunger - Men have needs that should never be dismissed

Developing An Allergy To Abuse - How to spot it, BEFORE it becomes a problem.

Advice For Younger Submissive Gay Males - Tracking down useful resources in your area

Tips For Leather/Fetish Swap Meets - Get what you want, MUCH less expensively

Top 6 traits you desire in your ultimate ideal sub? - This is a common question, and I agree with the author

Learning More About Your Kink - Locating resources

Does a Sub need to be sexual in a D/S relationship? - I say no.

Slave Safety - A solid re-posting

Finding a Sir - Advice from one who knows

Positive Things To Say To Your Submissive - These should be used often

What If You're Already Perfect, The Way That You Are? - We all have flaws.  Let's not pretend otherwise.

Sub drop - Warning signs and aftercare tips

Getting Into The Game - Realistic goals for male-male relationships

Dangerous Doms - Warning signs.

Dangerous Subs - The Perpetual Victim - Responsibility, or the lack thereof

Straight Sirs with Gay subs - I am in favor!

Advice For My Fellow Doms - How to get better at it

The Big Secret Of Cruising Success In A Bar - Quick and easy social skills

Withholding Communication As An Abusive Weapon - Recognizing and understanding it when it happens

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

FetishMenGlobal - A Gathering Place For Gay Doms, Sirs, Masters and Daddies

A few weeks back, I reached out with a special meme.  I followed it up with this article.  I used special phrasing, to attract a certain kind of man:  A dominant gay male who is sensitive, perceptive, and is on the road to becoming wiser.

My goal was to see who reblogged it.  Now, it's time for the next step.

My intention is to create a separate, safe space where dominant men of good intention can find each other.  Many men don't have a local support-system, and it can be lonely. Or, other folks in your local community don't understand what makes you special.

Imagine this kind of calm camaraderie, but online.

About Me

If you don't already know:

• I have been a community leader since 1981, and part of the kinky gay leathermen's Tribe since 1977.

• I created Leather Pride, worldwide.

• I have hosted over 3,000 social events for gay leathermen, mostly with the two leathermen's affinity-groups that I created.

So, doing stuff like this is easy for me.  It's time to take it global.

The Invitation

I have also been operating a Gay-Male Dom's Discussion online for about a year now.  It works well, but there is a need for new men to join in the discussion.

I invite YOU.

What To Expect

It's a free-flowing conversation.  Questions, suggestions, affectionate banter, sharing of triumphs and asking for help with quandaries.  I have often said that it takes a village to raise up a high-quality, confident Sir.  Doing it on our own is a tiresome mess, because we can never be sure that we are on a good path.

The goal of this ongoing, flexible conversation is for us all be supportive, and to be supported.  As past efforts have shown, this sort of thing never falls apart into High Drama.  Why?  Because nobody wants to be the one who spoils something so nice.

You can be as nice as you want to be.  There is no ego-driven hierarchy.  Just brothers together.

This same concept has resulted in a powerful feeling of connection across the miles.  You will be on the "inside."

The Rules

• It's okay to have strong opinions, and to be passionate.  Just come from love.  These are your brothers.
• There is no obligation to stick around  You can sign off at any time, with no hard feelings.
• It's okay to be shy, and wait a while before joining in.  That is perfectly normal.  Not everyone is a hyper-extrovert.
• Ask questions.  That gives us all an excuse to chime in with different ways to answer.
• I plan to copy-and-paste various deep and powerful conversations into my Tumblr blog (with identities removed),   I do this for the same reason why I have posted the audio from Men's Discussions online… "Information Shared is Wisdom Multiplied."

 How To Join In

First, go to and download the app.  Once you have signed up, please contact me at


and I will invite you into the FMG (FetishMenGlobal) discussion.

Please start by introducing yourself, and settle in for some amiable conversation.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Moving My Primary Base of Operations Onto Tumblr

I will no longer be updating this blog.  I'm officially shifting my main focus onto Tumblr.  Why there, of all places?  It's just full of jack-off material, right?

It's ALSO where kinky folks pass through in vast numbers, all day, every day.  If somebody (living anywhere on earth) stumbles across an article about how to deal with common issues for kinksters, they might be gratified, and stick around to find out more.  The numbers of such followers are growing quickly.  I am currently adding at least fifty new followers every day.

Why does this mean so much to me?

For decades, I have had a huge fire in my belly to heal the wounds of the Gay Leathermen's Tribe that I love so much.  We are still reeling in disarray from so many deaths among us.  Yeah, such an impractical, unachievable goal is way too big for any human being, but that has never stopped me.  No small dreams, ever.

I have never stopped experimenting, to try and find effective ways to help promote relationships and satisfying lives among my fellow kinksters.

There are vast numbers of porn sites promoting toxic, unpleasant and unethical concepts.  A bunch of excellent folks are now helping to promote healthy, balanced and pleasing alternatives.

Stop on by, and check it out!

UPDATE:  Huge success!

Thousands of followers (versus ONE here on Blogspot, after many years).  I've posted hundreds of articles that are going viral, all over the world, and with every kind of kinkster.  Yes, many articles are re-=posts from this poor, out-of-the-way blog, but most arte new material.  I am on FIRE!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Developing An Allergy To Abuse

Can u tell if someone isn’t a good dom and will probably hurt u?
Here is the problem.  You CAN’T, all by yourself.  As I have said before:  It takes a village to raise up a healthy, happy kinkster.  There are bad people out there.  Every generation has them…  You can either learn by harmful experience, or you can find support among trusted friends and THEY will have your back.

As I have said in a previous article, belonging to a group of like-minded folks can cut WAY down on being victimized by folks who get pleasure from abusing eager, open-hearted and innocent types. Your friends and allies will warn you about known abusers, and drive them away, either by shunning, or actively accusing them to their face.

Most folks don’t take the second approach, but I always have.  Sometimes, the only thing that a bully respects is a bigger bully.  I am very protective by nature.

Study Materials For Newbie Submissives:

A list of what to watch for contains topics like Gaslighting, Narcissists, and Manipulators.  Do some Google research on all of these topics, so that you develop a permanent allergy to ALL of them.

I went to Google and searched for abusive grooming signals.  I found lots of useful information, and I particularly liked What Is Sexual Grooming? 7 Things to Know About This Abuse Tactic, by Emma Sarran Webster.  She’s talking about folks who even younger than you, but it’s the same techniques, no matter what age you are.

Final thought?  If your instincts tell you that somebody is somehow “not right,” BELIEVE IT THE FIRST TIME.

Advice For Younger Submissive Gay Males

From phxboi98:
How does one take first step to being a sub - does one seek a master first or do i need to train myself first? i am young 19 trying to get into the scene.
Thanks for reaching out, young brother.  I assume that you live near Phoenix, Arizona, based upon your Tumblr handle.  I mention this, because "Pups" and "Boys of Leather" groups can be found in major cities.  I like such groups - young men like you can safely gain useful wisdom that will be of good use to you for the rest of your life:

Arizona Pups & Handlers (A-PAH)
Phoenix Boys of Leather

I found both of those links instantly by using Google.  I searched for Arizona leather boys and Arizona leather pups.

When I was your age, there was no such thing as "Puppy Play" and things like that.  As an old man, I am the last person to be qualified to judge the Pups or Boys (never having been one), but here is my outsider observation:

Groups like these are hugely valuable for younger submissive men.  If we had a larger quantity of kindly, supportive Loving Uncles in our community (like we used to, before AIDS), we would probably not have so many "Puppy Patrol" and "Boys of Leather" groups.

Why?  Because there would be a lot more kindly, accepting and unconditional support, which younger men desperately need.  So, in the absence of external validation from older men, younger men have turned to each other for support.

Being under 21, you can't go to events located in bars.  Luckily, groups like those tend to have non-bar events as well.

You are very smart to seek more useful information.  Ignorance of the culture can be fixed, by seeking out trusted resources.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Real Life Is Not A Porn Video. Adjust Your Expectations Accordingly.

A man that I am mentoring says:
I had a lot of slave boys on Skype and used to make cam sessions but mostly humiliation and degradation of the slaves, not this other kind that i am discovering from u… That to be a Master u have to be compassionate, which i felt out of the place for feeling empathy with the slaves. 
In real life as i told have met only 5 sub guys of all ages and only with the last one who was older then me we met several times until he decided to ignore me without explanation. But ur blog and wisdom which comes from real experience has opened my eyes.
Initially the first days on Tumblr too, pages which suggested that subs are less than real men, just to be used and abused and thrown away etc etc.
Made me feel real bad. It’s true that i love humiliating, degrading make one feel less than me but just in role play not in real life. I am a tender person who cares deeply for the others and would never do something to make uncomfortable someone out of the play role.
Apparently the lack of experience made me so confused.  Those few man i met were in this kind of thing where u just had to use them and never look back at them. Hooked up with them online sites like cam4 etc
That’s why i think the last sub i had maybe is not attracted to me anymore because the last 2 times i asked him to stay over, and needed someone to take care too just a human being not a worthless piece of shit like he liked to be treated.
But apparently that was his choice of life which i don’t want. I like to be a jerk only in role play but not in real life. I try to do things even that I don’t like just because i know the sub would like it. I don’t like scat but some slaves like it and allowed them to clean my ass after taking a dump etc etc.I am really confused Tony, in this period. 
I have been in relationships only with woman and being kinky with these men i thought it was impossible to have a relationship with a man. Its been almost 3 years now without a relationship just sex and a year in gay sex. But lately feeling the need to share things with someone like in a real relationship
None of what you say surprises me.  You speak for many men.  Be assured that I can help you with thousands of questions. I probably need to write a book on JUST the topic of finding balance as a Sir, a lover and a good man.  I want to be an even stronger advocate in the world for being an Ethical Sadist, who can also be a sweetheart.

First, a book recommendation link:  King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, by Robert Moore.  Every time that I read it, I learn more about how to be a healthy, mature masculine man. I am a better Sir as a result.

Our kinky gay-male subculture is starving for leaders, role-models and mentors.  Do an experiment:  Do an Internet search for the phrase “tumblr kinky gay mentoring”  - The results are nearly all extreme fantasy crap that does not feed the soul of the sensitive, perceptive and ethical Sir.

The ONE exception that shows up?  Me.  My writings.  I’m it.  That’s an upsetting thing.  Some men who didn’t show up, but who SHOULD, are my good buddies @realpowerexchange and @breederofbetas.  They are good men and fine Sirs who are just as committed to helping others have happier lives.

I’ve been saying for years that this is all because of AIDS.  The men who knew the most, were the first ones to die, and were not replaced.  So, two entire generations have risen up since those days without loving, kindly and wise mentors.  Dozens of such men used to be a BIG part of my own personal growth… and then they all died.

Tumblr is a SHITTY role-model.  When there is no other source of useful knowledge, no wonder there are so few long-term couples and Leather Families at Folsom Street Fair.  Just large amounts of men in great need of being claimed.

I am going to make a dangerous, risky declaration:

Kink, Leather and Fetish, done right, is just Extreme Intimacy.

Why would this be risky? Because the vast majority of the discussion online says that a Dom should be like a light switch:  always ready to turn on.  There is almost nothing out there on the Internet supporting the sensitive, perceptive Dom, who needs to be the full expression of a man:

On one end, vulnerable, and emotionally accessible.  On the other, hardcore Sadist - and, everywhere in between, as needed.

Any submissive who doesn’t know this needs to learn it, right now:  If you put your prospective Sir into a box of preconceptions and then nail down the cover, you are robbing yourself of a deep, long-term relationship.  If you want a perfect play-partner who never, ever fails you, I suggest getting one of these:

Okay.  I’m done complaining.  I just hear from so many lonely subs and Sirs.  I wish that I could take 100% of what I have learned and give it away, so that others can be just as satisfied and fulfilled.

There are TWO things, and two things ONLY, that cause long-term relationships to stay together forever.  Kindness and Generosity.  Science has proven this beyond all doubt.  Yes, you can have that, AND wildly kinky fun.  One does not preclude the other.  I can’t imagine what treating a sub like shit has to do with any of that.

I have a long-term husband (together 28 years) and two slaves (7.5 and 3.5 years).  We are in perfect harmony.  No bitchiness, no jealousy.  How do we manage this?  We have ALL read the Official Shop Manual for lifelong gay-male relationships:  The Male Couple - How Relationships Develop, by Drew Mattison and David MacWhirter.  It’s out of print, but widely available in used condition, online.  It helped all of us to get past insecurity/jealousy issues that our culture promotes.

I have had nineteen collared boys and six owned slaves since 1977.  I have never felt the desire to treat any of them like something that I would scrape off of my shoe, and THAT’S OKAY.  I grew up in a violently abusive childhood, and I know the cost of mental, physical, sexual and emotional cruelty.  So, I don’t do those things, and THAT’S OKAY, TOO.  Not being part of those stereotypes does not make me a bad, flawed, insufficient or fake Sir.

My mentoring articles reflect this same philosophy, and they go back many years.  My hope is to keep contributing to them for many MORE years.

I’m a really, REALLY good, satisfying and powerful Dom.  I am sensitive, perceptive, and a hell of a lot of creative fun.  If any of this sounds like you, then stick around, brother.  Send me questions.  I am a champion for men like us.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Tips For Fitting-In With a Gay Men's Group

I’d like to ask, how is the bear community or the gay community in general in regards to how welcoming they are and friendly? My area currently isn’t very welcoming and I’ve noticed a lot of cliques when it comes to groups and whatnot. I’ve been planning on moving eventually but I’d like to go to an area with a good, friendly, gay community.
I’ve been president of many, many clubs and affinity-groups over the decades. I have a few tips for getting past the usual indifference, gaining a foothold and fitting in.

ANY affinity-group has the potential to become a clique. I hate to see that. I have found that the new guy, the shy guy, the uncertain guy has the potential to be the one who adds value, and can even take over as leader/volunteer/star of that group some day. However, if he is never given a fair chance, then that possibility goes away, and everyone loses.

It would be GREAT if every group had somebody like me - a natural-born Julie the Cruise Director type. I see a new face, and I go toward them to thank them for showing up. I even give them tips on fitting-in as soon as possible, and then I introduce them around.

Fat lot of good that does YOU, living far away. Time for Plan B.

So, here are a few ways of cracking the shell of comfortable camaraderie that can be hard for a new guy to pierce.

- Find out who is/are the ringleaders/leaders. Who comes up with the plans that everybody else helps co-create?

- Once you find out, ask them questions... What events are coming up? How do I find out more? How can I help out?  These questions show a strong interest, and they set you apart in a really good way. Here is why…

The person in charge gets jaded after a while. This is inescapable. Everybody who shows up WANTS something. Pretty soon, the endless "I need, I need" just becomes background noise. That's part of the reason why it's hard to be taken seriously as a new face in the crowd. HOWEVER, when somebody says "How can I help?!?" then heads whip around in pleasure and surprise.

Doors swing open that are closed to most new people. You move closer to being on the inside. Folks start seeing you as a fully-formed person, rather than just as one more face that fades in, and then fades out, like so many that can drop away when nobody welcomes them.

Then, you are a lot more likely to get what you are looking for.

If all else fails, go with Plan C: Keep showing UP. Never miss an event. Sooner or later, folks will start to take you seriously. Wear 'em down. It's hard to find social gatherings in Real Life that get you the hell away from your computer screen. They are worth fighting for.

Memoirs of a Gay Leather Elder 16: Celebrating 27 Years of Marriage

The page listing all of the articles in this series can be found here

and my Mentoring for Tops page can be found here.

This is a slightly-updated version of a much older article.  I was not as accomplished of a writer in those days, but I wrote with passion and joy.

My husband Dennis and I got married in 1991, before it was legal, or trendy.  We had been together for one year at that point.

We exchanged vows in front of friends and family in August of 1991, right after the first anniversary of when we met.  We tied the knot out near the beach at Highway 5 and Seaworld Drive, where folks fly kites on the weekend. Hardly anybody attending had ever seen a gay marriage before, so we couldn't see anybody's face - All of the people there had a camera up in front of their faces, clicking away.

1991 was LONG before the topic of Gay marriage became a thing to even talk about. I wish we had thought to patent the idea, so that we could collect royalties! 😀

We got married again during the March On Washington in 1993, as part of a mass wedding of around 250 couples.  I had grabbed a piece of chalk and drawn the heart in the photo, and it proved to be irresistible to many, many news photographers. Our picture went out on the AP Wire, and was on the front page of many newspapers worldwide.

Then, in 2001, we registered as Domestic Partners in California, the moment that it became legal.  The primary benefit was that I could finally be a part of Dennis' employer health benefits.  Plus, it felt GOOD to be legally acknowledged as a couple.  We were in no way satisfied, because we didn't want to be jumping the broom, like second-class citizens.  We knew that we were HUSBANDS, and referred to each other that way.

We got legally married in California in 2008, but we rarely remember to celebrate that anniversary.  We talked about it when marriage became legal, and we knew that there wasn't a single thing that anybody could do to make us feel even 1% more married. We finally decided to go for it, just to force a public official to acknowledge us.

The 1991 marriage is what put us on the family map in a BIG way, and is the only anniversary that we celebrate.  That's the one that shocked the generations in our family into taking us much more seriously as a couple - Invitations changed from "Tony and Guest" to "Tony and Dennis."

Out of ten siblings in my family's generation, our marriage is the third longest-lasting. If we DARE to stay seated during slow songs at family wedding-receptions, we get a crowd of nieces and nephews physically yanking us out of our chairs so that we will be a visibly loving, long-term male couple on the dance-floor.

Dennis and I adopted our son Justin, years ago. I've raised several foster-kids, but Justin was the only one we adopted, in order to help him feel connected in a deep and meaningful way. We are thoroughly proud of him. He is doing well as a publicist in West Hollywood.

I've been in many relationships, including one that lasted ten years.  This is the easiest relationship I've ever been in. I can easily see us staying together for the rest of our lives.  We still hold hands everywhere, we cuddle close every morning, we share the same politics, and we always talk our way through any disagreements.

He is the love of my life!

Our Wedding Day In 1991

I arrived at 6:30 AM on August 3rd, 1991.  I came early, to claim the prime picnic spot at the big meadow.  Behind us was the bay, where there would be folks jet skiing later on in the day.  In front of us was the meadow, where the battle kite flyers would be controlling their huge, colorful and bizarre-shaped kites with 4 strings and both hands.  Around us were several dozen date palms.

I drove the 1965 Chrysler New Yorker station wagon, which was riding very low, due to the tables, 20-by-20-foot yellow-and-white canopy, 5-foot barbecue and all manner of other items I was lugging.

I was earlier than I needed to be, but I unloaded a few things to claim the spot, sat down and started to write down my thoughts.  Up to this point, Dennis and I had had a few ideas about the ceremony, but I realized that morning that the whole thing would last 30 seconds unless I created a speech to greet everyone.  I started to write, and it was a real mixed bag of concepts.

On the one hand, I was thrilled that my family and friends were on their way, but I was also angry that about 50% of my family members had decided not to come.  My greeting speech was pretty angry in some parts.  I wrote down 5 pages worth, and showed it to Dennis when he showed up around 7:30 in the 1961 Imperial Crown Coupe.  He told me that my speech needed to be toned down, since I would be addressing the folks who loved us enough to show up.  Good idea!

I looked around with relief, because the weather appeared to be ideal.  San Diego has summer weather that fools a lot of tourists.  It starts out cloudy nearly every morning, the sun starts to peek through around 9:30, the cloud cover burns away by 11:00, and the rest of the day is gorgeous.  That's the way this day turned out, but I had been nervous about it, since we had gotten mild drizzles of rain the morning before.

Dennis' sister Pat, her daughter Maggie, his brother Jim, Jim's wife Tracy and their baby daughter Katie arrived, and we all pitched in with unloading the wagon, setting up the canopy, tables and barbecue.  My sister Mo showed up at 8:30 AM, with her family and her friend Linda to help finish the setting up.  They brought helium-filled yellow and white balloons and lots of other picnic stuff.  My nephew Eric brought his boom box and two cassette tapes of our favorite music.  He had been laboring over the mixing and arrangement of tunes, and he did a great job.

My nephew Jeff manned the video camera all day, which is normally MY job at weddings.  Jeff took up the slack so that I could be free to relax at my own wedding.  Mo's mate Jack would be barbecuing later, but he helped with the setup and unpacking.

Mo brought a superb cake, complete with a cake topper of a little gazebo containing two little top-hatted men kissing.  At least half of the pictures that day were taken of that cake topper!  Mo's friend Kay, the cake decorator at Vons, had done the cake decorating.

Dave and Karen York arrived early to help (as usual!), with Dave's mother Shirley.  Shirley was one of only two people there who had ever been to a wedding of a male couple. My sisters Suzy, Mimi and Barby came, and then most of the rest of the people arrived between 9 and 10 a.m.

Dennis and I changed into our wedding duds and washed up in the nearby bathroom.  We wore matching outfits:  white cotton pants, yellow-and-gold Hawaiian shirts, and dark blue sandals.  This was very well-received by everyone there:  We walked to the canopy hand-in hand, and many pictures were taken.  There was no doubt that we were a couple.
We served sweet rolls and Kona coffee, and Dennis and I bustled around greeting everybody.

Being a car club president, I have a strong instinct to get people chatting with each other, and I could see many folks standing shyly by themselves.  My friend Carol Kerr offered to make name tags, which turned out to be a great idea.  Each tag said something like "Jane Doe, Tony's neighbor".  I grabbed people by the elbows and dragged them up to other folks and suggested that they introduce themselves.

It worked, because the conversations were going full force within a couple of minutes.  Many of the guests wanted to help and didn't know how to ask, so I 'd go up to someone who looked particularly idle and ask them to perform a task.  In every case, they took over that job and performed it superbly, even if it lasted all day.

I'd like to say more about that.  I'm the type of person who usually tries to do everything myself.  On my wedding day, I decided to "let go", to allow my beloved friends take care of the day for me.  Since only the people who wanted to be there had come, everyone who came, pitched right in.  It was as much a community effort as a barn-raising.  This is exactly what I like in a wedding.  I've been to so many of them where everything was pre-planned, locked-in and uninvolving for the guests.  I recommend the helping-hands alternative very strongly!

Dennis and I had decided to make it a potluck banquet.  We ended up with twice as much food as everyone could eat, so we divvied up the remainder later.  The idea of having a potluck was not motivated by cheapness on our part.  We could have afforded to have the whole thing catered, but we didn't like the idea.

I got an early indication we were right when I heard from my sister Mo on the topic.  She told me that the sister's gossip network was demanding that they be allowed to contribute to the wedding's success.  Mo took responsibility for the potluck coordination, along with about 80 other projects, which she eventually handed away so that more folks could be involved.

Dennis and I didn't get to see very much of each other for awhile, since we were circulating separately.  Every once in a while, we'd cross paths and we'd hug and kiss and then head on out again.

There was only one problem with having this event be a potluck: there were folks who didn't arrive who were supposed to bring important stuff, and we had to make a couple of grocery runs before the ceremony could begin.  I went from group to group. letting them know of the plans as they changed.  Nobody seemed to mind at all, since this was already such an atypical wedding.

I panicked all of a sudden, since I didn't know how the ceremony would go.  Dennis and I had come up with some ideas, but we didn't have a solid game plan.  I then did the most valuable thing I could have done:  I called together Dennis' sister Pat and my four sisters and asked them to help.  Wow!  Jackpot!  They had been aching to participate, and they huddled for about 15 minutes while we waited for more supplies to arrive.  They immediately created a ceremony worthy of being perpetuated by couples through the ages.

My sister Suzy was the master of ceremonies, and she and my other sisters called everyone together in a circle, in an area surrounded by palm trees..  Dennis and I were called to stand at the head of the arrangement, with our direct relatives arrayed on each side of us.  I suddenly lost my composure.  I started crying, which I didn't expect at all.  I saw everyone there looking at us, and I felt their love pouring into me.  My defenses fell away from me, and I felt as if Dennis and I were tiny children together before our extended families, basking in their approval.  There was unconditional love around the entire circle, and I was naked to it.

My sister Mimi stepped forward to say "Tony and Dennis' immediate family welcome you here, and we want you to join a circle of support".  She went to each family member, kissed them and said their name, and put a silk-flower lei around their neck.  All of our guests joined in a circle with us.

Suzy called on me to give my talk, and my notes were almost worthless to me.  I had written them in a stew of contradictory feelings, and everything had changed.  I knew now that this was the day my life had been leading up to.  I knew that all of the old hurts and fears were gone, and our life together was starting over from this point.  I cut past the bullshit and old baggage, and said what was in my heart.

This is what I said, (omitting the tearful pauses):
"We could have done this very differently today.  There are at least three churches in town that would have been happy to marry us, with the tuxedos and all of that.  We could have done the engraved invitations.  However, we chose to do this in a sincere and relaxed fashion.  We pioneered a few things, like the newsletter we sent out.   
We invited all of you because we love you very much.  You're here because you love us.  Since Dennis and I first met a year ago, we've been cocooning at home, cuddling and loving each other, and pretty much closing our lives down so that it was the two of us in a circle.  We've been doing that big experiment : when people meet, we find out whether we're compatible.  Overwhelmingly, we've found that we are very compatible. 
Today is our wedding day, in the most traditional way.  We're gathering all of our loved ones together to publicly announce our love and commitment to each other, and the relationship that we share. 
It would be very, very easy for us to have not had this event today.  It's common for gay couples throughout history to just get together, to hang out together and to fade away from the family.   It was a hard decision for us.  We made the decision when my dear sister Mimi encouraged us back in December.  It was something that we dreamt about, but we hadn't dared to think about.  As a matter of fact, it took me about 4 months before I could actually call it a wedding.  I kept calling it an 'exchanging of vows ceremony'. 
Everyone here knows us personally.  Everyone knows that we are warm, wonderful human beings, and I'm going to say that:  We are wonderful.  We take the right to be sharing our love with everyone, like all of the rest of the people in my family, like all of Dennis' family, like all of our families. 
Aside from today, Dennis and I are doing a lot of very good things together.  We're combining our lives together, combining our finances.  We're taking the necessary legal steps to get durable power-of-attorney for each other.  This is not a frivolous thing.  This is one of the things that meant the most for me to talk about. 
In this day and age, with so many of our dear friends dying of AIDS,  it's not a frivolous thing to be in a loving relationship as a male couple.  Dennis was very sick a few months back.  He was wasting away after 4 days of this really awful stomach flu.  I was driving home, with chicken soup in a can, and I was thinking 'What if this is the Big One?'  I knew, absolutely and to the very root of me, that I would never abandon him.  My commitment was total, and I knew that it was the exact same way with him. 
And so, in front of the rest of you, I'm saying that I'm absolutely committed to this relationship.  We intend to be with each other for the rest of our lives.  We stand in front of you, with you as our witnesses.  Thank you so much for being here.  This means so much to us.  Thank you very much."
While I was saying all of this, there were many cameras going like crazy.  I've seen weddings with a few cameras, but nothing like this!  Everybody was determined to document their first gay wedding.

It was now time to read our vows.  Everyone around the circle joined hands.  Dennis and I alternated reading the paragraphs, and read the last one together.  Here is the text of our vows:

Now that we’ve found what we have both been looking for, a relationship based on a sharing between equals, it is time for a declaration of our love and our intentions.  We share many interests and opinions.  Although we are not identical, we complement each other with our differences.  We have learned that we have a love that continues to grow and mature. 
We are two men who work together, play together and cry together.  We cherish each other’s company, and respect each other’s need for time alone.  We care deeply about each other’s needs and desires.  We share a bond that is strong and meant to last.  Mostly we have found a best friend who will listen and who will share his most intimate dreams and ambitions. With a love this meaningful, we are proud to tell the world that we are now living as a married couple.

We vow to work out our differences by the end of every day.  We promise to continue building a relationship that is ever-growing and vital.   We will stick by each other through sickness and health, whether rich or poor.  We promise to endure the hard times and stay together for the rest of our lives.  We look forward to a day when all men and women can feel free to openly express their love and relationships in the presence of dear family and friends.
To this end, today we exchange these promises and gold rings as symbols of our commitment for all to see. 

Our niece Maggie came forth with the matching, simple gold bands, and we put them on each other.  We'll never take them off again within this lifetime!

We kissed, and My sister Barby said "With great pride and happiness, I'd like to present our newly married couple, Tony and Dennis!" everybody clapped, and a few people cried, and Dennis' sister Pat stepped forward and said "You may all have noticed that there is no maid of honor, no best man.  They have a sheet here that they'd like you all to sign on as witnesses."

Dennis and I circulated around, hugging everybody there.  Later on, we realized that many of the men there were strangers to us, who had arrived with their girlfriends or wives who knew us.  These straight men were hugging us and praising us as vigorously as everyone else, and we were very pleased.  There was a large crowd of gay men that we have known individually for years.  They were pleasantly surprised to see so many young children there.  Most gay-only events don't have kids romping around.

The coals had been started in the barbecue, so four people appointed themselves chefs.  We had chicken breasts, pork ribs and swordfish steaks, with cajun barbecue sauce provided by my best friend John Chevis.  John and I were in the Navy together, but fell out of touch until a few weeks before the wedding.

I appointed our 8-year-old niece Maggie to be the one who got the eating started.  There was a large bowl of bite-sized chunks of fruit, and Maggie dished out some of it into bowls and handed to everybody until she ran out of bowls.  I asked our friend Butch to do the same with the drinks.  I've been to many weddings where folks were afraid to be the first ones to dig into the buffet.

There were several tables loaded with casserole dishes containing pasta salad, snack chips and the like, and we had a coverlet laid out under the canopy for the cards and the gifts.  We had specified that we were NOT soliciting gifts for ourselves, and everyone followed our suggestions.  We received many cards containing checks made out to Auntie Helen's Fluff 'n Fold, which is our favorite charity.  Others indicated they had already made contributions in our names.  The volunteers at Auntie Helens provide many services to people sick with AIDS.

There was dancing to music under the palm trees.  Nephew Eric had made a nice selection of music from the last 5 decades, and people only danced if they felt like it.  No awkward, forced dancing was necessary.   This went on for hours.  Lots of babies got held and bounced around by dancers.  Butts were shaken, dance steps were taught.

After a while, it was loudly proclaimed by many of those present that it was time to cut the wedding cake.  We assembled under the canopy, and the clicking still cameras and the videocameras were set up to capture the event.  We were told before we cut it that we were supposed to smash some cake into each other's faces.   This struck me as being a hostile act, and NOT a good beginning for a long-term relationship.

We sliced the cake together, but fed it to each other as lovingly as we knew how.  The vast majority of people immediately let us know that they approved of this, because we heard comments like "You can always tell which couples are going to stay together, depending on how they feed each other", or "I never DID like that silly custom before".

I allowed myself to fall into my favorite role at weddings: passing out food!  I cut the cake in custom pieces for every person that came up.  If that kid wanted a flower on her cake, that's the piece she got.  If somebody else wanted minimal frosting, then I took care of it.  I felt like I was parceling out love and approval with every piece.

After a bit of digesting, we were called together for a toast by my sister Suzy.  We were all given a small amount of wine in plastic cups. The two families each toasted to their new "brother" in their families.  Wine flowed, and we all got soppily affectionate, especially me.   A few people came up to bid us goodbye and to thank us, and the rest of us continued the picnic until my sisters came up and asked me to inspect their work.

Unknown to me, they had been busy decorating our 1961 Imperial Crown Coupe (with the big tailfins).  They had made dozens of tissue flowers and had firmly attached them all over the car.  Mimi had made a sign saying "JUST MARRIED", and had handed it around to be signed by the wedding party.  It took a long time to read everyone's notes of best wishes after we got home.  Mimi had placed slightly inflated yellow, ribbed condoms on the antenna, which were a big hit and raised much hilarity.  I gave everybody a tour of the car's unique features, like the swivel bucket seats and the Triple Trumpet horns, which sound like a freight train at close range.  Fully decorated, it was an eye-popper of a honeymoon chariot!

Everyone who was still there got busy taking down the canopy and gathering things to be taken home.  Of course there were plenty of bowls and spoons that nobody has claimed yet, but that's typical.  We loaded up the cars, and Dennis and I drove away with the wagon being driven by the nephews.  We took surface streets to avoid tearing the flowers off of the car, honking at regular intervals.  We got a lot of "thumbs-up" signs from the people we passed by, and we always made sure to honk at the cute construction workers to say howdy as we went by.

We got home and tried to take a nap, but we were too happy and excited.
The entire day had been a complete success.  It truly ended up as the happiest day of my life.  Nothing went wrong!  Several people told me that it was the most sincere wedding that they had ever attended.  We spent the evening and the next day visiting with Dennis' family, and we left on our honeymoon early Tuesday morning.

We drove up to Santa Barbara and stayed at a bed-and-breakfast inn, then drove to San Francisco and spent a few days hiking around the gay sections of town.  We squandered money like crazy and had a wonderful time.