Life After IML - March 2009

John and Chuck laughing at the camera. John is wearing a t-shirt that says 'I have issues'

Fri 30th Jan 2009 - with Chuck Windemuth (MCL 1991) at the Mr Chicago Leather meet and greet
Photo credit: Chuck Goes

A few weeks ago I flew to America to host the Mr Chicago Leather contest at Touché for a sixth consecutive year. It's a fun bar and the standard of contestants is always very high. This year the theme was "Celebrating the Misters", and we invited some of the men who've won Mr Chicago Leather to explain the community work they've been involved in since winning their title. Their efforts include raising money for people living with HIV, helping to educate potential contestants about the contest system, and fighting for equal rights in law for same-sex couples. This year's winner has a lot to live up to.

Collared Relationships

I'm fascinated by the unique things our leather community has created, proving that we are a distinct entity with our own culture. One area of particular interest for me is that of "collared relationships". There are as many different kinds of collared relationships as there are people in them: some people are married to their collared partner, whereas others keep a strict separation between romantic and SM relationships. Some people find they can only maintain one collared relationship at a time, others have more than one 'Sir' or a family of collared submissives. Some people wear a collar part-time, others have a formal written contract drawn up or a permanent mark added to their body. Some people think collared relationships provide "opportunities for obedience" ... and some of us think obedience is best attempted by other people.

In the absence of a committee setting worldwide standards for our community (thank goodness) each of us is left to find our own path. But sometimes hearing other people's stories can be helpful, so here are replies from six volunteers who answered the question: "What does being collared mean to you?" I gave no guidelines for the answers and allowed each contributor to take their response in whichever direction they desired.

Have fun, look after yourselves and the people you play with.

Best wishes,

John Pendal
International Mr Leather 2003

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