Being IML - December 2003

Photo of John and Dave in Reykjavik, August 2003
In Reykjavik with my partner Dave, August 2003
Photo credit: Bob Freese

I'm over half way through my year now and hopefully I've reassured all those Americans who thought that a European winner wouldn't visit the USA very much! In 2003 I've managed to appear in Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Inferno, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Omaha, Palm Springs, St Petersburg and San Francisco, as well as seven European cities. 2004 is shaping up to be just as busy (if you're interested click here to see my travel calendar).

Before winning IML I thought I was fairly fluent in American (as opposed to English) because I've worked for an American company and have an American brother-in-law. I knew the basic differences, such as that the item we call a "waistcoat" in the UK is called a "vest" in the US, what we call a "vest" Americans call a "tank top", and what Brits call a "tank top" Americans call a "sleeveless sweater". I realised I'd need a translator in Europe but the last few months has also taught me to say "two weeks" in America instead of "fortnight", "line" instead of "queue" and "peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the peanut butter" instead of "jam roll".

This has set me thinking about the cultural differences between countries. It's not just language that keeps us apart: one country's national holiday (and well-scheduled leather event) is another country's day at work, whether that's Burns Night, Christopher Street Day, Labor Day or Koninginnedag.

Some countries have a tradition of making New Year Resolutions, which are changes in your behaviour that you promise to start on January 1st and are nearly always broken by January 5th. What would happen if we tried to make collective New Year Resolutions as a leather community? What would they be? Here are three of my suggestions, which I hope might last beyond January 5th:

If you have other suggestions for resolutions please email them to me. If enough people send good ideas I'll print them in January's column and that will save me the effort of having to write something for next month!

In the meantime I hope that you all have a peaceful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year.

Yours in leather,

John Pendal
International Mr Leather 2003

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