One of the things that I’ve encountered more often in talking to newcomers to the lifestyle or kinky people in general, is that Leather is expensive, and therefor the whole idea of being a leatherman must be associated with an exclusive lifestyle based on wealth and the imperative need to buy leather and have a huge collection. There are several reasons why this is inaccurate, and I believe it’s important to point out why and in what measure.
Leather is expensive so Old Guard is an exclusive community
Many young (and not so young) people affirm that the reason they are not interested in Old Guard or Traditional Leather lifestyle, is because they can’t afford the price of Langlitz Leathers, Wesco, Chippewa and other notorious name brands for their gear.
It seems like the gay pop community, in its ingestion of the Leather subculture and lifestyle, has transmitted a very wrong message, which is the result of the assimilation of the looks of this culture, without its values or deep meanings, without mentioning the respect of Traditions.
Yes, it’s true that Traditional Leather, Old Guard, is a very exclusive community. But its exclusiveness doesn’t depend on what you can buy with money; it depends on what you deserve through your humility, respect and dedication.
These, are three values hardly found in a vaste majority of modern culture, especially (but not only) for younger people, where there is always an immediate need to achieve a result, without taking the time to understand the meaning, assimilate a culture, and invest in commitment.
Our traditions prove that you don’t need to buy Leather to be Old Guard
In our traditions, a boy (who could be just overage or even an older person) is a newcomer to the gay scene who relates strongly to what Leathermen represent, and who is seeking to have access to this world.
The only way to get in, would have been to find a Leather Daddy or a Mentor (could be a Sir, a Master, a sub, a Mommy..) who would have taken the boy under his care and training, to teach him the ropes, introduce him to the society, and help the boy find out who he is or want to become in this complex ecosystem, which has a history, rules and a vaste set of Protocols and Etiquettes which are in place since generation to maintain balance and sustainability within BDSM communities.
Often, this Mentorship translates into a relationship and the boy becomes, if he so wishes of course to continue in the training to become a Leatherman, ownership of the Mentor. This ownership can be temporary, for the duration of the training, or could translate like in the best cases does in one of the different relationships present into a Leatherfamily environment.
In all of this, the boy is never evaluated because of is social status, financial possibilities, the gear he owns or his “talents” (big dick, nice ass, and so on). So it’s absolutely false and wrong credence, that Old Guard people won’t consider you because you don’t own good gear.
The Leather a boy owns, traditionally, is the Leather gifted from his Mentor and other significant others, and only when a boy is ready to understand the value and meaning of gear (and understood who he wants to be), he will eventually buy his own gear.
So, again, according also to our very ground rules, there is no such a thing of being excluded because you don’t have enough Gear or money. Ideally, you should actually start with no gear. I would personally consider with much more interest a boy who has no gear and no money but a true heart made for Leather, than a boy all geared up telling me “You’re hot”.
If Old Guard people won’t consider you is probably because:
- we’ve been raised with the idea that everybody should be interested in us, while normally people, especially those who have been educated differently, mind their own business; so don’t assume. If you want to interact, interact with openness and respect, and you’ll receive the same back.
- Another reason could be that your behavior speaks before your gear does
- Or because you have not presented yourself and manifested your interest in getting to know each other.
The fact that Old Guard people tend to stay between them and not participate to the pop trends of main events and parties, is because we know we are different; we know that we live in a way that to the masses can be off putting or not well seen, and therefor we have the respect to avoid these situations and spend time instead with those who appreciate the same ideals. We might believe that what the new guard and general pop leather culture is living today is an extremely washed out version of what things are to us, but that’s fine. You’re free to be whoever you want, as long as you respect others and you don’t try to wash away lives, history and cultures to suit your own sexual agenda.
Most of the times, when a man is not accepted within a community because of the gear he owns or doesn’t own, is for two possible reasons truly:
- wether we’re talking about a community which has a very specific dresscode requirement, such as BLUF
- wether we’re talking about shallow people who take comfort in making other people uncomfortable
The difference between BLUF and Old Guard
BLUF is a community; the name stands for Breeches & Leather Uniforms Fanslub. The name itself should give out pretty quickly that, in order to be part of this club, you need to be in Gear; and not just any gear, a specific dresscode that is detailed on their website. It’s a community of people who share of course interest for Leather and Uniforms, but not necessarily BDSM. Not necessarily with the same values, or interests, or education.
BLUF is a diverse group of many different people, personalities and stories. BLUF itself isn’t about Old Guard, or any specific tradition – it’s simply a community for men who share the love of the uniforms. However, for many people the strictness about the dresscode is a tradition in itself, and indeed some BLUF members do identify as Old Guard. We are friends with BLUF and one their supporting vendors too; we believe it’s an historical hallmark and community, and we will always support what they do. While we also have very different identities, there is some overlap.
You may find Old Guard people who are part of BLUF and viceversa, but these are two different, separate groups.
Where Old Guard is a community which is mainly underground and off the grid, made of men (and women) who like to live accordingly to standards (based on consent) which are considered non convenient and out of fashion today, and where the gear you wear is something linked to everyday lifestyle, BLUF is a group of different people with different cultures, united by the Fetish for the gear.
Are we trying to say that BLUF is less than Old Guard? Absolutely not, it’s just two different visions, ideas, missions and such. Many BLUF people will tell you that they aren’t Old Guard, some will not even know what it’s all about, but as said, BLUF is a very etherogeneous group and therefor what a few people say doesn’t speak for their whole community.
To enter Old Guard Leather lifestyle, you don’t need any gear
At this point, the reader will be thinking “so what’s necessary to be considered fit to be part of this brotherhood? I feel like I need more than what the scene offers, I fell like Old Guard’s reasons resonate a lot in me, but I don’t know where to start from.”
First off, you need to understand what Old Guard is about in Leather Lifestyle. If everything rings the right bells in you and you feel a natural adherence and understanding of this lifestyle, you should manifest your interest (respectfully, as you’re not in a supermarket ordering your food) to learn more from someone who is known to be an Old Guard man.
This applies wether you’re a sub or a Dom, wether you are young or older. The main needed step is to let go of your Ego, to allow growth and evolution in you. You can’t achieve this if you don’t let go of your Ego.
That’s why this website exists, as an example; we’ve decided to expose our lives, lifestyle, rules and thoughts to the public exactly with the aim of offering the possibility of giving support or guidance to those who seek it.
Before thinking you’re fit to enter this lifestyle, you need to understand that the first and foremost thing you need is, as said, to drop your Ego. If reading these lines is making you feel uncomfortable, offended or angry, that’s your Ego speaking.
Your Ego was built in years and years through defense mechanisms to keep you safe and to aid you achieve your goals; but now that you want to become something else, your Ego needs to be built down, so you can build yourself up again, this time in the environment you’ve always wanted, wants to defend itself and you, and when feeling threatened, will create oppositions. So if you feel that your life is going great and that you don’t need a radical change, or that you like an occasional role play, you probably wouldn’t happy with being included in Old Guard anyway.
Gear is earned with commitment and dedication.
Leather carries with it an ancestral symbolism; it’s the first piece of “fabric” used by men to build homes and as clothing and armors. It’s a garment that protects horse riders and bikers. It has a meaning when used for a purpose, or when linked to symbolic and historical meaning.
Otherwise, it’s just a dead piece of animal.
This is why in our Community, a newcomer covered in brand new gear showing no cracks or patches and such, is not seen with an enthusiastic eye. You don’t need to buy anything to be a man, as much as you don’t need to buy anything to be a Leatherman.
Being a Leatherman is something that goes way beyond buying yourself a piece of garment to snap a few shots for Instagram. It has do to with a lifestyle born between bikers and military people, who wore leather most of their time, and therefor, the term Leathermen.
Nowadays almost nobody in the western countries wears leather as a lifestyle, as time changed and new fabrics were discovered and we all dress adapting to our lifestyle, which often doesn’t include being a biker as a lifestyle, nor a cowboy or a Parade Protocol Officer. So the mere use of leather to identify with a trend in the hope that it’ll get you some popularity or new friends, and thinking that this is all that it means to be a Leatherman, is a quite sterile and reductive argument.
Being a Leatherman has to do with set values of ideals, codes, ways of intending relationships between men, and only after this comes the Boot and the Jacket.
And after all, this is the difference between wearing a Uniform, and just wearing a costume.
Hi sir lupus
Mi piace il discorso sul Ego
Abbandonare l”ego ci renderebbe felici e meno permalosi
Continua così.. Auguri Lupus
thanx again, that soothes its mind quite a bit! slave loves leather on Men and esp. Masters, but if the Master is not into it, they can still live that sort of lifestyle – maybe not exactly, but similar. Good to know You are sober and also welcome ordinary (if S&M is ordinary) people…