Being IML - June 2003

Photo of John, March 2003
Photo credit: Dave Harris

Thank you for over five hundred kind messages I've received since May 26th. I don't know which was a bigger surprise: winning the "International Mr Leather 2003" title or arriving home to find that for the first time in years, "real" emails out-numbered offers of free viagra! Thanks also to the Hoist London for sponsoring me and to all the IML staff and other contestants for making the contest such an experience this year, even if I was too sleep-deprived to know what was going on most of the time. A special award has to go to the contestant in the room next to me who got more sex than I did during the weekend, thus removing my need for an alarm clock. (You know who you are...)

A high point of the trip to Chicago was ordering a plate of "English muffins" in a diner. Dave and I were very intrigued, as we don't have "English muffins" in England. A low point would be making myself a cup of "English tea" backstage at one of the events. Fortunately we don't have anything like that in England either.

I've been granted a sabbatical from work and will be taking unpaid leave from July 11th so that I can spend the year travelling and meeting as many of you as possible. If you've contacted me already and I haven't replied please be patient. I hope to respond to as many messages as I can eventually. To help you get my attention, here are some things I'll be looking for during the year:

The IML contest is run extremely professionally by two members of staff and hundreds of well co-ordinated volunteers. Without the work of the American leather community IML would not have grown to be the size it is, and that must be acknowledged. However, here are some things that leather communities outside the U.S. can do to help make the event even more international:

Finally, there was one question at the IML press conference that I was unable to answer: "You've heard a lot of messages from previous IML winners to help you in this 25th anniversary year. Imagine you're at IML's 50th anniversary - what message would you give to the contestants?" It's taken me a few days to think of something but my message would be:

"Welcome to the 50th International Mr Leather in (insert name of country here). We've waited a long time but it's great that the contest is finally being held outside America!"

Thanks again for your support. Hope to see you soon.

Yours in leather,

John Pendal
International Mr Leather 2003

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