Kevin checked in with his friend (nick)named Apollo to see if we could stop by his room to pick up some passes that he'd gotten for us, which allowed us to enter the Leather Market (in the hotel underground area, and which cost $10 to get in), and which allowed us to ride the shuttle bus between the Hyatt and the bars in Boystown for free.
Apollo turned out to be a very, very interesting person to me, in particular due to a phenomenon in his language that I observed.
He's way into what's known by a couple of different terms: animal role play, pup-play, and pet play, to name a few. This is not bestiality, but when a person acts like a pup. It's explained in the pup play section of the animal role play Wikipedia entry, of which this is the gist: "Pup play or dog play is sometimes (though not always) associated with leather culture. At least one of the participants acts out canine mannerisms and behaviors, or simply imagines such behaviors or identities, and attempts to assume the mental state of a dog."
What was so interesting about his language to me was when he was talking about the role-playing, what he said was in the context of role-playing, which was all good. But then after being quiet for a while, he'd start talking again and he'd say something still in that context, when I had no idea he was still in it. I'm trying to remember an example of this. It happened two or three times, until I found myself thinking, "Wow. The language of that discourse community is his default. That's kind of amazing."
Oh! I remember an example! When we picked up our passes from him, Kevin and I asked him if he had a recommendation for a place to get a quick bite to eat, and instead of telling us he showed us a place he'd eaten at earlier.
We ordered sandwiches in the deli part of the little grocery store, and we sat and ate them at some tables at the entranceway, and then he said, "I learned something new today."
I said, "Oh yeah? What's that?"
And he replied, "You walk on the left."
I wasn't sure if he meant on the sidewalk, or on the road, or what, and Kevin seeing that I wasn't really following said, "He means as a pup."
"Yeah, of course," he answered, not at all in a condescending way or anything; it was just how it was. And as I said, it happened two or three times, and from a language and communication perspective, I just found it fascinating.
Before leaving Bockwinkle's, I bought a fifth of Maker's Mark and a fifth of Canadian Club, along with a 12-pack of Diet Coke and some peanuts for munchies. No more $9.99 drinks for me.
After lunch, we went down to the Leather Vendor Market in the underground of the hotel, and boy oh boy. Some of the things in that place! Most of the guys selling stuff wore either a jock strap, or an apron with nothing on under it, or chaps with no jeans or underwear under them. You get the picture.
Apollo was looking at this contraption that you strap around your head, which you actually grasp with your teeth in the front—and I would imagine you could get it with a ball to gag your mouth if you wanted to do that—and it had an extension rod of about three inches extending out from your mouth to which you can attach different things, as you're near someone on all fours as a pup of course! Get it in context, why don't you!
The attachments included things like a bathroom scouring brush, a boot brush, an ashtray just the thought of that makes me gag—an astray that close to your mouth, and most likely with this crowd it would be receiving cigar ashes), and a drink holder—complete with a rubber coaster. There was also a long, black rubber penis that you could attach to it, which I at first thought was an umbrella.
And this stuff was not cheap. The neck part alone was $133, and then all of the accessories were separate, and at least $30 or $40 themselves.
There was an area in the mart with several tables on which different people were lying, having various things done to them with various devices, straps, and floggers, just to name a few.
One guy was tied up, basically in a sling position hands up and spread above his head, and legs spread) and someone was rubbing a vibrating device all up and down his body, which pretty much only had a leather pouch over his crotch. I cringed when they rubbed it on the underside of his feet. I would be up and outta there with that.
On a nearby table a guy was bent over, face down, with only a jock strap on, and a lady was paddling his ass. His cheeks were so chafed or welted and red that it looked the blood was just about to burst from under his skin.
In another area, a guy got in a full leather body bag, which cost in the three-hundreds of dollars, which he got into totally naked and they zipped right up to his junk which was left hanging out. He had a cock ring on, and his junk looked kind of purple.
In all of these instances, gadgets and accoutrement were for sale. I mean they weren't just getting naked and doing these things for show. They were demoing products that they were trying to get people to pay big bucks for.
There was all kinds of fetish gear for sale, including but not limited to: military clothes; face masks, including rubber gas masks; collars; ropes; chains; dog masks (for the pups!); sports uniforms, such as football and soccer uniforms and wrestling singlets; dildos; butt plugs; slings; dungeon beds; cock rings; bracelets; and rings. You name it; it could probably be found there.
We're going to "revisit" the Leather Vendor Market tomorrow, and I'm going to post some pictures that you'll have a chance not to view if you don't want to. If you're interested in seeing some of the things they were selling, follow some of the links to the vendors' websites and click on their product list. Needless to say, many of said products will be NSFW viewing.
My friend Glenn from Raleigh was at IML, and he had an adjoining room to the suite that his friends John and Jay had. John and Jay are friends of his who live in Ft. Lauderdale, and they're pretty much "regulars" at IML. They had a "Muscle Meet" from 4:30 - 6:30, which Kevin and I attended.
John and Jay's suite was pretty cool, with a queen-sized bed that closed up into one wall to make room to entertain, which they did in a grand way. They had a nice bar set up for mixed drinks, and I was surprised and pleased to find that the whiskey choice was, once again, Canadian Club.
Two guys who are a couple that John, Jay, and Glenn met on their February RSVP Cruise, own a restaurant in Chicago and they provided the food, which was delicious.
There was another couple there (any time I say couple for the rest of this weekend, I mean two guys) whose home had been selected to be on HGTV's My House is Worth What? and they shared an amazing, and at times hysterical, description of how that went. The people from HGTV came in there and made them make all kinds of changes to make their place look "presentable" on TV—including swapping out the artwork on their walls. Incredible.
At one point during the party, I went to use the restroom in John and Jay's suite, and I found that the shower had been converted into a cooler:
It was great to see Glenn, and I had a fun time at their party, which ended up going past 6:30, until just a little after 7:00. Good food. Good alcohol. Good stories. Good people. Thanks, my friend, for inviting me!
I left the hotel at a little after 9:00 and used that free shuttle pass up to Boystown to go dancing at Charlie's. I had a fun, fun, fun night there, in spite of only doing three line-dances, two of which were the same one, but to different songs, one later in the night than the other. That was the Tush-Push. I also did Chill Factor, which is such a fun dance, and I was thrilled that they did it to the same song that we do it to, and the exact same way. You never know when you're traveling, although this particular dance's name is the same as its song, which tends to increased its chances of not being substituted out.
After they offered free tequila shots to everyone in the bar when the song Jose Cuervo came on, I took advantage of the liquid courage to ask a guy standing next to me if he wanted to two-step.
"The song's half over. Do you still want to dance?" he asked.
"Sure," I said, thinking that if we didn't "click," it'd be over more quickly.
We negotiated the lead and follow—as we could each do either—by my asking him to lead if he would.
I thought he was surprised that I could actually dance, which is what I think most people think about me because of the way I dress when I go dancing. Which is to say, I don't wear any of the cowboy regalia. It's just me, in my shorts and t-shirt, like I always am. He actually admitted later, "Yeah, I was surprised that you could dance. I really thought you were just there to watch."
I danced several times with him, and also with a guy named Fernando, who was from California, who also lead.
I had such a great time there, and at 2:00, when the country dancing stopped, the place instantly turned into a "dance bar." As if what we were doing wasn't dancing. But they put out little platforms for the twinks to dance on, put on some techno music, and shot fog out onto the stage. The cowboys evaporated into the night.
The guy I'd danced with the most was named Larry, and when I mentioned that I had to go to the nearest shuttle stop, he offered to give me a ride back to the Hyatt, which I totally appreciated. We had a nice talk on the way. Turns out he was married for 19 years, had no kids, just came out in 2006, and is still friends with his ex-wife. Not terribly unlike my story.
Back at the hotel, at around 2:30, the party was still going strong. This is what the lobby bar area looks like up until it opens at 2:00 in the afternoon:
And this is what it looks like at 3:00 in the morning:
I hung out in this area for about an hour, where I watched a very muscular guy get tied up in rope by a very obese man, and then met a guy named Joseph from San Francisco. He had just finished a drink (bourbon, no less), and was about to go buy another one, when I said, "How about I save you 10 bucks on that? I'm going to run up to my room and refill mine, and I'm happy to refill yours while I'm at it."
When I came back down and handed it to him, I said, "I hope Maker's Mark's okay." It was.
I think I finally made it up to the room by about 3:30, and Kevin still wasn't "home." He beat me again.