Thursday, 8 March 2012

Real Men Get Raped

I was in London recently and saw a version of this ad on the London Underground ... I really had to do a double take. For several reasons, had I read it right, what was it for, where can I find out more, and how fantastic it was to see this horrible crime being given the attention it deserves.

Back in 1999 I started my first on line journal, probably one of the earliest on line gay diaries - they weren't even called 'Blogs' back in those days! Not long after I started mine there was another gay, one who lived in London who started his. I used to read his, I have no idea if he read mine - it really wasn't that interesting.

Then one day there was a post about something that I don't ever recall anyone talking about before .. he had been raped by another man. How he managed to write about it I don't know, maybe that was part of his own personal therapy - writing and sharing these things often is very therapeutic for people. Over the coming months he mentioned it, and also talked about some of the moments of terror when someone said the same thing the rapist did, or sounded like him.

Going through countless STD tests and examinations, the wait for HIV tests to come back - this was long before the the 1hour test, the wait for the 3month and then final 6month tests. I never knew him, but I really felt for him and also felt powerless to help him. And also frustrated at the assumption in the media and on the TV that only women get raped.

This was the last time, must be nearly ten years ago, that I read or saw anything about male rape until this poster.

Male sexual abuse (and the attacker can be either male or female) is brushed under the carpet, it isn't spoken about or discussed. Men are macho, men should be able to defend themselves, they shouldn't be weak and pathetic and let themselves get raped. What are they a man or a mouse?

So please stop trying to find porn for two minutes and spread the message so we can actually help some people get out of abusive relationships and get them the help they need!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Scent of a Leatherman

At IML 32 in Chicago one of the youngest contestants used his speech to talk about the start of his Leather journey. He described his first time visiting a Leather bar saying he “smelt of cologne and tasted of deodorant.” Describing this leather faux-paux showing how he was clearly fresh meat inexperienced in the traditions of how a Leatherman must smell.

This very traditional view says that a Leatherman cannot use perfume (some call it cologne or aftershave, companies use Eau de Toilet) or wear deodorant – to be a “real” man you must smell of “man”. Some apply this to when they are at a bar, for some it is a life mission and for others it goes to the extreme of not using soap – only water so as not to wash away too much of their natural “man smell”.

Why? What's wrong with wanting to choose how we smell? We choose how we look through our haircuts, our facial hair, and of course the gear / clothes that we wear. Some also use piercings and tattoo's to enhance and personalise their appearance. We use sight and touch every day to show our personality and interests, so why not use our senses too?

Smell is very important in memory recall, also for bonding relationships and attraction – pheremones are of course detected through the nose. They may be mostly odourless but they are very important in attracting a mate for all members of the animal kingdom.

I like to wear perfumes, I am building up quite a collection at home. From high street designer perfumes, though to more limited edition fragrances.

So does that mean I can not be considered masculine – or a Leatherman? I'm sure for some just by owning a collection of perfumes will automatically rule me out. But what of the scents themselves – does that have an impact?

One of my favourite perfume houses is a small french company based in Paris – Etat d'Libre. I currently have three of their fragrances – Delicious Closet Queen and Fat Electrician and my favourite from their range is 'Tom of Finland'.

The artists who's imagery is the opitomy of the masculine butch Leatherman, and indeed the packaging and bottle sports one of his iconic images. The citrus orange scent really is quite divine – and very unusual when compared to the more commonly found high street perfumes.

“This is a fresh, pure water that can wash away the sins of the night. Clothing becomes mearly ornamental, an insignificant wrapping paper that only serves to cload the true erotic power of the flesh. This is a man who wants to play, to love, to ravish, and to be free of all inhibitions. Tom is sex.”
But from my collection – my personal favourite really is the scent of a Leatherman, the smell you want to inhale deeply when in a crowded bar. It is part of the Tom Ford Private Collection, available in selected stores, Tuscan Leather.

If you imagine a big musclebear in full tight leather uniform enjoying his favourite cigar (think Alec Bradley MAXX with its hints of coffee and leather), now imagine a bar full of these men – that is what Tuscan Leather smells of.

Far removed from your typical floral, spicy or mass market Abercrombie & Fitch style perfumes. It is the scent of a Leatherman. Now I know many will say they would rather smell like that by wearing their leathers and smoking the cigar, and it is true - that is great. But for most of us that is not how we live our lives – we have jobs and offices to work in, we have other aspects to our social life – dinners, nightclubs, theatres, days in shopping centres. These are the times I really love to wear these less known perfumes – to be asked about them and to share my passion. But I also wear Tuscan Leather when hitting the bars, it is just an incredibly sexy scent.

There is one last perfume that really must be the ultimate 'man smell' – though I might add I don't own this one. It is not the bottled pheremones some companies like 10% advertise but the most, I guess notorious, scent from the Etat d'Libre house – Secretions Magnifque.
“Like blood, sweat, sperm, saliva, Sécrétions Magnifiques is as real as an olfactory coitus that sends one into raptures, to the pinnacle of sensual pleasure, that extraordinary and unique moment when desire triumphs over reason.”
This scent is so strong and so unique, many stores that stock it will only allow customers to sample the fragrance outside in the street. What makes it so offensive to so many? What could be that strong? Quite simply a combination of blood and sweat with a very heavy topnote of spunk / jizz / cum.

So is this the ultimate man smell? Maybe, but for me I'll stick with my Tuscan Leather, though this is not the only fragrance with a heavy leather scene – Christian Dior also produce a delicious Leather Ood. So next time you think perfume, think masculine and think leather.