About five years ago I met up with a Leather boy, new in town, whose profile had popped up on my radar one day. He was blond and his blue eyes matched the t-shirt he wore when I picked him up for our first meeting. His baby face made him look a couple years younger than he was, which is never a bad thing for a twenty-something. He was a handsome, well-mannered sub with a slightly pensive look to him.
In the thirty minutes it took to drive back to my place, I saw his story writ large across his brow. He'd returned home, tail between his legs, to be closer to his parents after finishing college without a clear direction and with the sting of a failed relationship still burning inside him. I also sensed his fierce devotion.
It would have been easy enough to beat him, fuck him, drive him home and be done with it, but I knew that that would be wasting a hell of a lot of potential.
As a Leatherman, I've always been a family man, seeking permanence and commitment in my kink-oriented relationships and thriving on the sustained joys, sorrows and achievements that come with it. While I still enjoy the hunt of finding and pursuing subs for fun, I find an even greater need to teach them, to be the hand on their shoulder that helps them grow, and to share experiences over years. To me it's the hottest part of being a Leatherman.
Why? Because I've been that boy myself.
When I first saw Aaron, who has been with me ever since and is now my alpha boy, it was like looking in a mirror. I remember, twenty-odd years ago, being so awkward and inexperienced that I tripped over my own boots whenever a hot Sir looked me over. I remember wanting to make them proud of me. And when a collar was placed around my neck, I remember the extreme satisfaction of being a part of something solid and lasting.
I served four Doms at different times, and while I no longer wear their collars, I had their personal symbols tattooed down the left side of my ribcage. They are family.
Daddy Al, in addition to fueling my addiction for paddling, pushed me to explore and to find myself in doing so. Master Andrew taught me about the inner peace that comes through a connection with nature. Master Arturo insisted that I have confidence in myself, and indeed, he always seemed to have more confidence in me than I ever thought I deserved. Daddy Charles simply loved me more than most people I've known.
And amazingly, all of this somehow developed initially from the deep bonding of hot, fetish play.
While collared to Arturo, I gained two Leather brothers, his other collared boys. These relationships began as they often do, with jealousy. I was a terrible brat toward Frank, a hunky, ginger-bearded athlete, until I realized how much I admired and hoped to be like him. John can still remember the stern look on my face the day he arrived. Thankfully his natural charm melted my heart.
These two men are still my close friends. They look after me as they did in our collared days, making sure I haven't bitten off more than I can chew, advising me through changes in life and now and then coming to visit. John still calls me, "kiddo."
At one point, Arturo and I started arguing about nothing on a regular basis, which was very unlike us. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with him until it finally hit me that nothing about him had changed—but I had.
He allowed me to collar my first boy, Trent, who has a honey-sweet Georgian accent and a killer smile. Still, the arguing persisted, and I slowly came to realize that something had crossed over and I was no longer a boy. I tearfully returned my collar, promising that our relationship was only changing, not ending. I've kept my promise.
Since then I've collared four more boys and one slave. I experienced firsthand the joys and headaches of bringing new boys into the house, which is a lot like socializing cats. Perhaps some of that was karmic retribution for the grief I gave my brothers previously. After a year or so, each earned his own tattoo on my right arm.
Three of the boys moved on in their turns, but all of them except one, with whom things ended rather badly, still speak regularly to me and still call me "Sir." Furthermore, all of these men—Sirs, brothers, boys and slave—and their spouses were present at my wedding last fall, in the front row seats that were reserved for them.
So how does one set up his own family?
First, you have to really honor the tradition of collaring. When a prospective boy comes over for the first time, I present the collar as a prize to be won. He gets to wear it during play because I enjoy seeing it around his neck as much as he enjoys wearing it, but I let him know under no uncertain terms that if he wants to wear it fulltime, he's got a lot of work to do. Specifically, he has to show up regularly over the course of several months. Until then he may be considered under my care, but not yet mine.
I insist on doing things my way and according to my schedule. I find that a lot of well-intentioned Doms spoil their subs by giving them whatever action they desire up front, but the net effect is that the boys get bored and move on quickly. Instead, when a boy contacts me, I never meet him the same day. I set a schedule, which often includes an in-public, no-play meeting to check chemistry. If he can't handle waiting a bit to play, then for me that's a signal that he won't make it in the long haul anyway.
At the first play meeting, I give the boy a good taste, but not the whole enchilada. I have an inspection protocol that usually leaves him dripping precum, but I almost never allow him to cum. Again, I want him eager to come back for more the next time.
I admit, I've had some real disappointments at this point, namely boys who promise their undying loyalty and then the excuses start. Before I moved to California, a boy chased me relentlessly over the course of years and I was very interested. Twice we set up regular training schedules and each time there was a new reason why he couldn't make it. At one point we attended the same party, but he refused to acknowledge me in front of his friends. That was the absolute end for me, but still, a few weeks later I found a "Hello Sir" from him in my Recon inbox.
I cannot imagine what might have happened had I tossed a collar around his neck and expected my boys to put up with this behavior.
Finally, I build structured social time into the schedule and make use of my boys' interests and talents. Aaron is an exceptional cook, Trent and I love the same whiskeys, Will has a thing for hot shorts and over-the-top underwear and Lucas loves to travel. I had all of them running 5K or more at one point. We took road trips, had our own holiday dinners, went to the theater and sometimes just piled up in front of the TV with pizza and wine. I consider all of this service to me because it makes me happy and deepens my bond with them.
And then there are the bad times. For one of my boys, 2018 was the year from hell. Everything that could have gone wrong for him, did so in spectacular fashion. For months, my relationship with him was mostly about reminding this beautiful young man that come hell or high water, he would be loved. At times I wasn't sure that he believed me. At other times, I felt that he was pushing to see how much I meant it. Finally, the message seemed to sink in. I hurt when my boys hurt. I cry when they cry. But as I said, this is all about structure, effort and achievement. The achievement always comes in time.
By the way, Aaron is now very active in his local Leather club. He created and managed their first Leather title competition last year from scratch, using his own initiative. They just had their second competition last month. The fledgling boy who felt he had so little to offer has become a leader. I like to think I had something to do with his success.
If I had to describe my position in my Leather family, I would say I am the conduit through which the things I've learned from my Sirs and brothers reaches my boys and slave. The act of passing on what I've learned and experienced connects us as a family through generations and distance.
To me, that's fucking hot.
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