Dear Madame Manners,
It may be my imagination, but I seriously doubt it because it does appear to me that Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend hosts, Centaur MC, seem to go out of their way at every opportunity to remind folks that their Saturday evening soiree, Leather Cocktails, is a formal event. Perhaps I’m a bit sensitive about Leather Cocktails because several years ago I was asked to leave the event, go cover my ass and put on a shirt, or, some type of chest cover up before returning to the social event. For what I perceived to be an accepting, playful and adventurous community, the Centaurs reaction did come as somewhat of a shock. So then, please help me understand exactly what formal leather means and also let me know if you believe they overreacted to my bare ass, hairy chest, and eye-poking nipples?
Sometimes Madame thinks that if she has to explain what formal leather is to one more person she’s gonna go ballistic. Honestly, how many friggin’ years have I been throwing shade at folks like you who walk into a beautiful room filled with beautiful people who are dressed to the nines to only discover someone’s ass hanging out near food and beverage; or, dressed in a ripped tee as if you believe you’re at an open casting call auditioning for the role of Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire? Fuck Stella. Justin, I apologize up front if my own initial response seems out of proportion to your seemingly innocently-posed question; but for the second time today, Madame’s legs are down and her dander is up. So please try not to take my deeply personal judgment of you and every thing that you and your hillbilly family represent – well, please try not to take it personally.
Justin, let’s agree that as a community some of us have a broad definition of formal; however, even taking this reality into consideration does nothing to change the basic tenets and history of Leather Cocktails. Perhaps questions such as your own are posed because many either don’t realize, or remember, that sometime before the premiere of the TV series, “Charlie’s Angels,” Leather Cocktails began as a small gathering of friends at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. I mean we’re talking about THE Waldorf Astoria Hotel that sits on Park Avenue in what is arguably the greatest city in the world! I mean these leathermen, these leather folks and these leather lovers all walked through the grand lobby of a renowned institute without their assess hanging out, with their chests covered, many wearing covers, tops, club colors, vests, chaps, and in one case, an exquisite diamond tiara on lone from then Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. And of course there was that legendary cock ring that spawned a tradition that is observed to this day – however, I am saving the story of the cock ring owner and his sweet, salty and sweaty chocolate balls for another post.
Now Justin, it’s not that we all don’t love looking at your rock hard chest and abs, or the voluminous carve of your bootyliciousness in ripped jeans or jock straps, but please take into consideration that your hosts are both representatives and torch bearers of a history that long precedes most of them and apparently some folks, like yourself, just don’t get it. Now does one need to hurry down to one of the many and wonderful exhibitors at MAL and spend several hundred (or even thousands if you got it like that) dollars on leather or formal accouterments? Of course not. Formal leather does mean you are dressed and carry a modicum of respect for others, respect for yourself and your beautiful clothed being. And your own formal attitude that is on display when you walk through the ballroom doors into this revered linchpin weekend event will be reinforced through Centaur MC member applause that you Justin are all that and a bag of salt and vinegar chips.
Finally Justin, I’ve seen many examples of “formal” at Leather Cocktails and formal attire runs the gamut embracing both leather and cotton, and is welcoming of kilts, rubber and more. And like pornography (and I do), I may not be able to adequately describe formal leather (or even pornography), but similar to the U.S. Supreme Court, I know it when I see it. And, I’m guessing in spite of your own questions, you, and others know it too.
Menno Pauls, Minnesota