Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Internet Killed The Leather Bar?

Internet Killed The Leather Gear

MTV first started to broadcast in 1981 and the first video they played was Video Killed The Radio Star, a great song that didn't quite live up to its name.

In the late 90's the World Wide Web started to gain popularity, and it very quickly became a part of most people's lives. Very shortly after we started to hear the discussions in bars, the comments on Bulletin Boards and then before long the blog posts blaming the Internet as it had become known for the demise of the Leather bar scene. Here I am using the term Leather to include all forms of fetish gear.

In the last year I have travelled to San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam and London. In each city I have done a very unscientific experiment using the Recon iPhone App I looked down the profile list at all members within 1 mile of my location, usually near the centre of the gay village area of the city.

I then counted how many fit into the following criteria:

1) Fetish gear photo (someone in leather, rubber, skinhead, uniform or clearly fetish gear such as S.W.A.T. gear)
2) Just in a harness / jock
3) Topless, so if not in category 1 would usually mean jeans, tracksuit trousers etc
4) Street wear
5) Headless / no photo

Bearing in mind this was done only using what is probably the largest gay mens fetish cruising site. And it was quite depressing, I would say over 60% were topless / street wear or no photo. Then only about 15% were actually fetish gear pics.

The Internet has had an effect on the bar scene, both positive and negative. But it has far from killed it off, it has evolved and changed as the guys who are going have evolved and changed and new blood comes in. And sometimes new blood are like children - they don't want to do what their parents did because that is so uncool.

Tastes and fetishes have changed, back in the Old 'when everything was better' Guard days you would have been lucky to see guys in rubber, and neoprene was unheard of! Now both of these have become much more popular, have more unique fabrics such as NastyPig Rubber - the manufacturers of many leathermen's first Chaps.

If you head out to what would be considered a Leather bar on most nights what can you expect to see? Most guys in jeans and t-shirts, plenty of trainers some boots and if your really lucky some leather jackets. It is only when places and events have enforced dress code events that people actually gear up.

Even then it's rather depressing ... If you go to most fetish events in London for example, Recon's Full Fetish often being the biggest, they aren't really fetish events. They are sex / cruise clubs with a dress code. And in the majority of cases that means a harness and designer underwear / jockstrap. And most of them would have no idea what a collar on a guy actually meant.

For me if I go to a fetish club event I want to play. I want to tie my boi to a St. Andrew's Cross and flog him, I want to get a guy strapped down to a fuck bench and tease him and put on a show. I don't just want to walk around seeing 100 blowjobs.

And for me this lazy attitude is what is killing the bar scene. Guys are leaving the gear at home. They are loosing the pride of standing tall in full leather or full rubber, for showing off who we are and what we like.

There is one area of the fetish scene that is slightly different, that the guys get geared up and play. The pups are coming!

In the past few weeks one of the oldest Leather bars in Amsterdam, Argos, closed its doors for the last time. The response was the same as to when Woolworths closed in the UK ... People complained, they said it was the loss of an institution, it was a place of so many memories, it was an amazing place etc. Ask any of these people when they last visited ... Oh years ago. Ask them if they went in any gear ... Oh no and then some rubbish excuse of why they couldn't.

So I am joining BLUF and others in trying to encourage people to get out to visit the bars and more importantly to do so with some gear on! Show others and newbies that fetish is alive and well, we are proud of our kinks and don't just want to hide away in the bedroom.

Gear up, get out and get off!

And if you don't support these businesses shut the fuck up moaning when they close! They are businesses with rates and rents to pay, with staff and bills to pay.

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