“I like the French. They taste like chicken.”
“Don’t mind me; I’ll do this til I die.”
“Oh honey, you’ll never fit in that.”
“Our short sash marriage has included you judging me, and leaving me… and you didn’t even give me any flowers.”
“Everyone knows International Mr. BootBlack is treated like the red headed step child.”
“I listened again, and I heard some slight snoring. So much for my sex appeal, bitch.”
“Jim is the best sort of sash husband. We shared everything, including play partners.”
“Jim was the first bootblack I ever met…Not really.”
“I take the appropriate amount of time for each pair of boots. If it doesn’t take me that long, I’m not into you.”
“He’s cute. I wonder what he looks like when he stands up.”
“Jim, yeah, I didn’t know he was funny.”
Two amazing events occur in the same city at the same time every year: Shibaricon and International Mr. Leather. The two events draw an overlapping crowd, intertwining multiple cross sections of kink. For the crossovers among us, directions to get to IML, both with a vehicle and through public transit, were listed in my Shibaricon registration packet.
I knew, even before I stepped foot in Illinois, that I would try to make it to IML. My friend Jim was stepping down as International Mr. Bootblack, and I wanted to go support him.
Unfortunately his actual step down ceremony conflicted with Shibaricon obligations. However, Thursday night, before my Shibaricon officially started, there was the roast for the current IML and IMBB.
So I found myself, right after the Meet&Greet, in a friend’s vehicle traveling to The Leather Archives and Museum to go see a roast.
Our trio arrived just in time. Technically the festivities had begun, but the guests of honor were not yet called to the stage. We quickly slipped in and sat in the back as the various roasters were introduced, followed by IML 2011 Eric Guttierez & IMBB 2011 Jim Deuder.
With their loins girded, the host brought forth the first speaker to the mic. It wasn’t long before I was bent over, laughing uncontrollably.
Some of the best lines were sent from those not in attendance, as well as the current title holders’ rebuttals.
When the laughing subsided, and the festivities ended, our little group made our way to the front. We greeted Jim, and were able to spend a little time chatting with him.
“So, if you don’t mind me asking, what now?”
“What do you mean?”
“What now that your year is over? What will you do?”
“Go back to my life. I presented on leather and fetish before. I went to events before. Now I just don’t have to wear the sash.”
Though my first experience with bootblacking was at FetFest, Jim taught the first class I took on the subject. Jim sold me my first kit. Jim was the first person to black my boots.
If you’d asked me about bootblacking a year ago, I wouldn’t have had an interest. I would’ve acknowledged my love for boots, but not understand the service and the skill. Now, with Jim’s guidance and encouragement, as well as others, I feel like a different person, a fuller person. I am a bootblack.
Even with this being the end of his time as IMBB, Jim was still busy. He had a car waiting for him even as we spoke. He was off, and then we were off.
After a journey, with a detour to possible Mac & Cheese pizza (don’t do it) and a drive-by of Wrigley Field, we found ourselves at a 24hr diner in the queer crossroads of Chicago. Over steak and eggs, french toast, and the best veggie burger I’ve ever seen, we chatted, relaxed, happy to be among friends.
We vented. We crushed. We hoped for what our weekends could be.
And then we made our way back to our temporary home, excited for the yet more fun to come.
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