LATE NIGHT LAVENDER

LATE NIGHT LAVENDER

Saturday, February 12, 2011

DOUBLE PENETRATION: Mr. Connecticut Leather and Mr. New Jersey Leather Speak!












(Photo 1: Michael Craft)
(Photos 3, 4, & 6: Jim Maciel)
(Photo 5: Jed Ryan)
DOUBLE PENETRATION: Mr. Connecticut Leather and Mr. New Jersey Leather:
Does It Get Crowded In Bed With Two Sashes?!



     Meet Tim White, AKA Leather Daddy Tim. Co-Founder of The CT Cruisers, Tim cuts an impressive and imperious figure, especially when in full Leather. On September 18, 2010, Tim won the envied Title of Mr. Connecticut Leather 2011. Now meet Robert Vitale, aka scruffy. Classically and ruggedly handsome, scruffy is active with the New Jersey Boys of Leather. On October 16th, scruffy became The Garden State’s Ambassador to the Leather community, winning Title of Mr. New Jersey Leather 2011. Here’s the first money shot: scruffy is boy and pup to his Daddy Tim. Via Facebook, Tim tells me how he and Robert met: “We met on Facebook, ironically enough... We started chatting in July of '09 after Bear Week, because of a pic I posted of his friend Spanky in high heels at tea dance. scruffy was in the photo and he saw it, and he commented on how huge his ass looked, and I said no he was damn hot. We started chatting everyday on Facebook, and met in person for the first time at the Connecticut Leather contest in 2009. The first thing he said to me was, ‘Your pictures do not do you justice.’ I'll never forget that! LOL!” Here’s the second money shot: Leather Daddy Tim and scruffy will both be competing at International Mr. Leather (IML) in Chicago this year, making this a rare (The first?!) instance of Daddy and boy competing against each other in the Contest. Both men are highly active and busy in the community. As Leathermen and Leatherwomen worldwide are anticipating an exceptionally zesty IML this May, here’s what Leather Daddy Tim and scruffy had to say about their relationship, the State of the Leather Nation, and more…
 

 
JR: Congratulations again to both of you on your Titles! Does these mean that there’s a possibility that the two of you may be running AGAINST each other at IML in May?
TW: The line has been drawn. The boxing gloves are on. Or maybe just Leather gloves... but yes, we are both planning to enter IML. I support my boy fully-- and as much as I want him to succeed, this is a competition after all. So may the best Leatherman win! Seriously, I am looking forward to going through the experience with scruffy. This is a once in a lifetime chance that I am so grateful for, and I know we will both enjoy it immensely. I am more than proud of my boy and it will be an honor to stand on that stage with him.
RV: It is my honor to represent the state of New Jersey in the Leather community this year: not only locally, but also nationally-- and that does include IML in Chicago in May! We are both excited! As Daddy said, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am glad and honored to be able to share it with him. Someone mentioned that they don't recall in recent memory that a Sir and his boy have gone head to head at IML…so bring it on, Daddy!! Seriously, even though it is a "competition": as far as I am concerned, anyone who enters any contest-- with the intent of trying to make a difference in the community-- has already won. We need more people to step and help out.

JR: Well said! In his book “Life, Leather, and the Pursuit of Happiness“, author Steve
Lenius writes a fictional exchange of dialogue between The Old Guard and The New Guard to show the generation gap in the leather community:
“Old Guard: New Guard, you say you’re the future of leather? Boy, are we in trouble! You’re undisciplined, you’re disrespectful, you’re slovenly! You think you know everything, but take it from me-- you know nothing! You’re hopeless! Why should I waste my time trying to whip you into shape-- so to speak-- when you show absolutely no interest in shaping up, getting your act together, and doing it right?

New Guard: Old Guard, you’re old fogies. You’re still fighting World War II, or at least Vietnam! The world has changed, but you haven’t! People don’t go for all that hierarchy and discipline stuff anymore, and most of your vaunted protocols are just so tired. Why would I want to play those games? Just because I’m young doesn’t mean I want to be your apprentice for the next 20 years! What do you have to teach me anyway? Who said your way was the only right way? Who made you leather god?”

On that subject: Tim, you’ve often spoke about your introduction to Leather through the traditions of the Old Guard. How important do you think that kind of education is for Leathermen who are just discovering the community in 2011 and beyond?

TW: That's an awesome question Jed. I have held the belief that when you enter this lifestyle, whatever is in your heart will emerge. For me, it was the discipline and structure that excited me, and the act of one man serving the needs of another, so it was a natural course for me to become involved in Old Guard ways. Sexual aspects aside, the real pleasure for me came from the tremendous respect and pride between two human beings, an amazing synergy that is often lacking in 'vanilla' relationships. I learned that whatever kind of person you are becomes magnified when you step into the Leather lifestyle. If you are slovenly and disrespectful, it becomes much more evident in this lifestyle and people certainly notice. If you carry yourself with integrity and respect others-- and more importantly, yourself-- then that respect comes back to you twofold. It's so important for those new to the lifestyle to look at where we have come from… and even if it's not for them, to respect those that hold those values in high regard. If you're a disrespectful undisciplined person by nature, chances are you won't get very far on your Leather journey, or generally in life for that matter. As much as I love and respect the Old Guard, it's important to note that you shouldn't be afraid to make it your own and to let your relationships evolve if you feel they can or if it's needed. A strict Old Guard relationship can be taxing on both parties, and this should be about enjoyment of life with another by your side, not about continuous stress and punishments. There are moments with scruffy that are strictly Old Guard, but there are also moments when protocol is lax and we simply enjoy each other's company like any other couple. As long as the respect is there, it's successful. We have found a balance that works for us, for now, but-- like any other relationship-- may change in the future. So I guess you could say 'we're a little bit country, a little bit Rock & Roll'... Old Guard with some New Guard mixed in. Evolution is inevitable, but if we disregard what has come before, we're doing ourselves a tremendous disservice.
RV: My two cents on this subject: The heart of a Leatherperson is what it is all about. I think the values of the leather community are basic moralistic ideas and common courtesies that have fallen by the wayside. These include pride, respect, and trust. I think the community in general still holds these values true, with the understanding that there needs to be some concessions made for changing times. With Daddy being taught the ways of Traditionalists (Old Guard sounds just that: old.) and with me being relatively new to the lifestyle, there have to be adjustments made to accommodate who we are, and where we see our relationship. To Daddy's point: You can make it what you need it to be and to fit your needs, as long as everything is discussed and agreed upon.


JR: Since winning, do you two find that you two get hit on more?! Or, are guys intimidated by the Sashes?
TW: scruffy should answer this one... he always used to say I looked “unapproachable”... I prefer “intimidating” (Laughs). I really am a nice guy, dammit! To be honest I have received messages from guys like “I saw you out but I was too shy to say hi.“ kind of thing. People sometimes want to put you on a pedestal and aren't sure how to react. To that I say “Nonsense!” We are here to interact and engage others, so you should NEVER be hesitant to say hi! We are just like everyone else, only we chose to put ourselves out there and be seen, to hopefully make a difference in other people lives through fundraising and to guide others to find their way and their own path. I'll admit my sash is big and heavy and could be used as a weapon, but it's only a piece of Leather with words on it that shouldn't hinder anyone from seeing the person behind it. So, never be afraid to say hi!
RV: Are there hot leather men hiding that I don't see?? (Laughs) Actually I have found that more people have approached me-- not trying to hit on me, but more to congratulate me and ask questions. Part of our responsibility is to meet others in the community, and to represent the Leather community in general to the public. I think that Daddy can agree that one of the best experiences that we both had was the day after we each won our titles. We put our sashes on and walked around the local neighborhoods and had people come up to us, ask about the contests, ask about the community, and ask about resources available to them, and take a picture or two. These people were from all walks of life....gay, straight, men, women, activists, students, housewives, husbands.... regular people walking down the street. It's that kind of interaction that really makes it all worth it.


JR: Wow! Tim, in the short time that you’ve been named Mr. Connecticut Leather 2011 in September, you’ve done a helluva lot of traveling already. It seems like every weekend is full for both you and Robert now. How is life on the road, always with your eye on the next big event?
TW: I'll just say we have stayed in some sh*tty-ass hotels (Laughs). Although we prefer the term “rustic”. All I can say is I am having a BLAST!! I am so proud to be out there representing Connecticut, staying true to who I am. Thankfully I have scruffy to keep it all managed. We are constantly on the phone going over schedules and upcoming events, and while we try to attend as much as we can, it's just not possible. There is a Leather SIR/boy contest in Tampa this weekend that we would have loved to attend-- sort of a combined “break” and exploration of new territory-- but it just wasn't possible with other events looming, and with travel funds low. Time to get on my knees again! Uh… to sell raffle tickets for my travel fund. (Mind out of gutter!). scruffy has been more than supportive of my events and bar nights with the CT Cruisers, and I travel to New York and New Jersey quite a bit for events... so much so that scruff finally bought me my own pair of pajamas and slippers that stay at his place. Such a good boy! So yes, life on the road can be tiring, but very worth it, especially since I get to share a large part of it with my boy. Let's just say you haven't lived till you hear the straight couple screwing in the morning in the room next to you and decide to show them up. “Honey, is that two men moaning?“

 JR: (Laughs) Sorry for laughing-- I just didn’t think you were the pajamas-wearing type of guy! So, back to business: Which cause or issue do each of you, as Mr. Connecticut Leather 2011 and Mr. New Jersey Leather 2011,want to bring to the forefront during your reign?
TW: We have raised some funds for the Hartford Health Collective's Rainbow Room with CT Cruisers, which caters to gay youth and offers a safe place to gather and receive counseling if needed: some youth that have hard home lives and/ or feel neglected by their families because they are gay. I look back at when I came out: the horrible experience I had, and only wished I had a place like that to turn to. In light of the string of tragic gay teen suicides, support of groups like these is imperative to gay culture. I would love to help them in any way I can. 
RV: Part of my platform is to help provide a safe space for LGBTQ youth, so that they have an environment where they feel comfortable being themselves and have no worries about being bullied by others. With the recent turn of events regarding teen suicide due to bullying, it is a great concern that we are letting these kids slip through the cracks, so we need to provide them with a support system. Organizations like the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and The Trevor Project are two organizations that are there for the youth, to answer questions and to support them through difficult times. There also organizations such as Hudson Pride Connection Center, in Jersey City NJ, that have similar programs-- but on a local level, which are also in need of support from the community.


JR: That rocks! Now, what can every member of the Leather community do, on a day to day basis, to keep our community thriving?
TW: Leather is not something you wear, it's something that is in your heart, how you relate to people. Always carry yourself with integrity and respect those around you, and uphold those values that make our community strong. The Leather lifestyle has become “unstigmatized”, so to speak, in recent years, so welcome those curious with a foot in the door, or take the hand of those peaking in the door and guide them though it. People that have been intimidated by Leather are venturing out to explore, a fact I noticed with CT Cruisers. I have had guys come up to me and say, “You know, I never realized I was into this stuff until I came here and experienced it”. That‘s a great feeling. We only become stronger with more people to carry on what we do today.
RV: I agree with Daddy on this. I think taking the first step is difficult for many people, so having an open mind, and asking questions is very important. They are no stupid questions. I think once people realize that this community is not built only on chains and whips-- but on trust, respect, and love-- then it makes it easier for them to relax and feel comfortable. And I think everyone should weather a harness under their dress shirts at work! (Laughs)

JR: I agree, I think everyone should wear a harness under their dress shirt at work-- or at least a leather jock… Now that will definitely keep people happy at the job! So, in addition to the big events like International Mr. Leather, what are some great events that the two of you recommend throughout the year… or, just some of your favorite hangouts?

TW: I love Mates Leather Weekend in Provincetown in October: a great weekend of events, guys in Leather, a fun contest, and an awesome jockstrap party Sunday afternoon at the Vault... “WOOF!” is all I have to say! The weather is perfect for wearing Leather and there is no better place than P-Town for a few days’ getaway. It's so removed from anywhere. This year we are both going to CLAW for the first time, and I am sure that will make the list of must do's in the future, I have heard nothing but good things. Of course, the two of us will be on vacation in Provincetown for Bear Week in July. I always look forward to that! The Vault at Large on Wednesday explodes with Leathermen... and the Fireman's Ball on Friday is always fun. Last year I dressed up in fireman's gear and had scruffy on a leash dressed as a Dalmatian. That was a huge hit!  On the home front, our CT Cruiser bar nights are always a great time. We hold them the second Saturdays of each month, each with a different theme, and it's just taken off in the year we have been putting them on. Everyone always has a great time and it's a perfect place to come and explore, even if you're not sure if the Leather lifestyle is for you. You can watch demos, and volunteer if you would like... we have done fire play, hot wax, electro, flogging... and we are always open to suggestions and feedback! We are fortunate to have the venue that we do, Tommy's in Middletown is gay owned and operated, so they allow us to take it to where we want it to go. I am so proud of how it has grown and am so thankful for the support we have received!
RV: Mates Weekend is fun indeed!! A very laid back environment full of hot men!! I also attended 12 Days in Baltimore this past year, which is a benefit fundraiser for local charities, where local leather talent gathers to sing, perform skits, do drag… all for the sake of charity. Each year they raise a ton of money, and it’s a lot of fun! It will definitely be on my calendar again next year. I agree with Daddy, I’ve heard nothing but good things about CLAW (Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend) and can’t wait to check it out first hand! They have educational courses, demonstrations, and of course the occasional “play time” during the course of the weekend! I do have to admit though, that going to the NYC Eagle on Thursday nights for their CODE party is always fun! You can throw on your gear, and hang out with the guys!

JR: On the subject of guys: Leathermen are often seen as the epitome of masculinity and sexiness. As role models and ambassadors for the Leather community, what makes a man sexy?

TW: Confidence. No matter what you look like physically, having confidence in who you are makes you that much more attractive. scruffy will be the first to say that. However, don't mistake confidence with arrogance, a complete turn off. Walk that fine line: Be confident but humble. Oh, and a beard doesn't hurt either. (Laughs) Hmmm… must be why we are both furry faced... Was that arrogant?
RV: OK, I DO have to admit I am a sucker for a nice beard, that always grabs my eye first, as does an easy smile, but it is definitely the confidence of how you carry yourself. There are many different types of people in the Leather community, just as there are in all walks of life, and I think just being true to yourself is very sexy. Don’t try to be something that you are not, just be yourself. If people like you and want to talk to you, that’s great…..and if they don’t, then it is their loss.


JR: I’ve always been a sucker for guys with beards. And a guy in a jockstrap and boots is always great… especially when it’s JUST a jockstrap and boots! So, finally: According to my research, there are a few states with no Leather clubs or organizations. Hawaii is one of them. Now, granted, it might be tough-going to be in your best Leatherwear where it’s always 80 degrees… but I was thinking of eventually settling in Hawaii, and bringing a bunch of dedicated Leathermen with me to start the first Leather club in The Aloha State. Are you guys up for joining me?!
TW: Jed, I was there when you said “Hawaii“. Never been, and the thought of being one of a group of pioneers is damn enticing and exciting!! Maybe just have a Mr. Hawaiian Leatherjock? As long as the entrants have the right values, it's all good... plus a sweaty man in Leather... Uh, what was I talking about? Jed if you head it up, it will only mean good things for the Aloha State. You‘re a great man with his head and heart in the right place, I wish you all the success, you deserve it my friend.
JR: Thanks, Tim!
RV: Woo Hoo!! When do we leave?? There is nothing wrong with getting a little sweaty under all that leather, now is there?
JR: Absolutely not! Sweaty is sexy! Thanks, Robert!



Visit the Mr. Connecticut Leather website atwww.MrCTLeather.net.

Visit the New Jersey Leather Family website at www.LeatherNJOnline.com
Learn more about International Mr. Leather at .www.IMRL.com

1 comment:

  1. Remarkable the insights drawn from these two individuals by the adept interviewer. I love how he moves into the future of their lives rather than focusing on their past. Jed never ceases to amaze me at how well rounded he is as well as highly articulate. Fine Work.

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