The first event that we could go to after our shock-introduction to NLA-A was a benefit party being put on by a group called “Touch of Leather.” This group is based in a community about 45 minutes north of Austin and run by a woman named Miz Lilly.
I contacted her by email and phone. I explained that we were totally new to BDSM, had never attended a play party and were a little anxious about what to wear.
“Do you have any fetish clothing?” she asked.
“Well, yes, we do.” I replied.
“Just wear that, but cover up in the parking lot.”
“Okay,” I said. “See you there.”
The last four lines are an abbreviated version of many conversations over a two or three week period as we worked ourselves up to actually going to this event. She was exceedingly kind, warm, welcoming, and informative.
When we walked in to “The Secret Rural Location” out in the middle of nowhere, she immediately recognized us. Of course she did: she knew everyone else that was attending that night!!
There were about 100 people in the facility – that turned out to be a horse auction barn. People were mostly being spanked and flogged. My immediate reaction was: “Ah. Home at last.”
We walked over and took seats at the edge of the play area. We noticed that people kept looking at us. We thought that was simply because we were new. Actually, it was because we were so outrageously and inappropriately dressed. (I was wearing a collar and leather shorts and Renee was in a fishnet body suit with a leather torso top.)
On Ambrosio’s site, it said that the NLA-A munch would be at Antoine’s restaurant on Friday, June 8 at 7. Meet by the bar to socialize, then retire for the club meeting.
We had absolutely no idea what the National Leather Association was.
We walked into Antoine’s at the appointed hour. There were a few people at tables and a cluster of six people sanding at one end of the bar. They werealldressed in black levi’s and black T-shirts. The heads of two of the four men were shaved. One woman must have been 6’2” but the man with her was like a mountain; the other woman was closer to 5’4”. Nobody smiled as Renee and I walked up. I was wearing khaki’s and a colorful shirt. Renee was similarly Austin-casual. These folks were a little stunned. We were a little scared. One of the men was David Dyson and he helped me so much that I feel my life has changed.
After the social, the six of us (Dr. Chocolate and his boy, David and Kelly, Lloyd and Lauri) went to the restaurant’s “back room” and had the business meeting. The president wasn’t there, so David, VP, led the meeting. They welcomed us and explained a bit about NLA and the Austin branch. They explained that although it had become pan-sexual a few years before, it was fundamentally a gay Leather club.
I nodded and smiled politely. None of this made a bit of sense.
This was on Friday.
That Sunday, the NLA-A club president and his wife, who was the GWNN Treasurer, among other things, got into some kind of marital dispute. It ended up that he shot and killed her, shot up his computer’s hard drive, and was (ultimately) killed by the responding SWAT team.
I received an email a few days later saying we’d wait a few weeks and then meet at Dr. Chocolate’s house for a healing get-together and wait a few more weeks before reconvening a club meeting.
We did all of that.
The party at their house was really nice. Beautiful swimming pool; beautiful home.
When we got together for the club meeting, the only people to show up were the same as had been there at our initial meeting. David became president, Dr. Chocolate (who had been president for many, many years) said he’d take VP. Kelly Green remained secretary. They needed a treasurer. They looked at me. “Oh, no.” I said. “You don’t want me. I do words, I don’t do numbers. You want Renee.” I said, pointing to her. “She’s a CPA.”
So… About six weeks after even discovering the world of BDSM, my wife (who grew up in Effingham, Illinois in a farming community) was elected to be the treasurer of a gay Leather organization.
It was an accident.
Since I didn’t know there was a kink community, I wasn’t looking for one.
I’d always loved to look at porn photos, and because I’m somewhat of a photographer myself, I started collecting porn shots. Over a period of a couple of years, I suppose I’d collected a thousand or so. By then, I was able to pick out those that were professionally shot (by photographers that clearly knew what they were doing) or were “happy accidents,” or were just sort-of blah.
I noticed that those copyrighted by Suze Randall stood out. I looked at her website. It turned out she had been a porn star when a bit younger, but had changed sides of the lens a few years back and now had the nicest set of models and studio set-up of anyone taking shots like these. Clearly, these were extremely sophisticated and well-designed shots that made liberal use of cosmetologists. The make-up was stunning.
Anyway, I ended up subscribing to her site. This was the first porn site I’d ever paid for.
In the early years of her site (SuzeRandall.net) she had a “resources” page. It listed some of her sources for the latex the models wore: WhipLash in Los Angeles. It also listed the owner’s name: Connie. It also had a calendar for kinky events.
One of the events was in Houston: The Texas Latex Party. I called Connie and asked about it. She explained that Klaus ran it, was very friendly, and to call him up and say she sent me.
I called Klaus. As it happened, the huge TLP was only two weeks away–second weekend in March. I asked a bit about it and he encouraged us to come. On a whim, I asked him, “About how many outfit changes to the ladies make per day?” “Oh,” he said, “I suppose 4-6.”
I told him that we were not prepared this year to come, but would attend in 2001. He understood, but invited us to Houston to a formal dinner he was giving in a few months that included most of the TLP board of directors. “But, we don’t have that level of latex, yet.” I protested. “No matter, just wear a tuxedo.”
Tuxedos were not a problem. Gowns for Renee were not a problem. We had a fantastic time.
But, to get back…
When we attended that dinner in early May, Klaus asked how I’d heard of TLP. I said “Through Connie, why?” He replied that most people find him through Ambrosio’s website, as he keeps the Texas kink calendar.
Ambrosio? Kink calendar?
After we got back to Austin, I looked up Ambrosio’s (extremely interesting) site, found the calendar and quite a bit more. Ambrosio keeps a kind of wiki of extremely good BDSM orientation, safety, and techniques articles. This was all great news to me. I was 52 years old. Totally new concept, BDSM. Never crossed my mind. Not the kind of porn images I’d been seeing.
On the calendar, I discovered that in about a week there would be a meeting of something called: “NLA-Austin.” Seemed as good as anything, and the timing was off for going to the GWNN munch. As I didn’t know anything about either group, the decision to go to NLA-Austin was purely coincidental.
(The photo is of Elorin and me. Renee and I entered the kink world through high-end latex. I'm in my Captain's jacket and Elorin is wearing my Tails. You can see more of Elorin as we release more of my erotic and fetish art images.)