A good number of the photos that follow are from Photos by Cali's collection of photos from that evening's festivities. She is a superb "Event" photographer, while I'm more of a documentarian.PART ONE: WHAT IT'S ABOUT
For the last two years of FMSD's existence, there has been a constant, ongoing barrage of hundreds of new events in San Diego, with different themes, locations and leaders, each of whom have different ideas. It may seem confusing to anyone who is paying attention, but the over-arching purpose remains the same:
To build more and more Tribe for gay FetishMen.
Our numbers are going up (amazingly rapidly, with new members every single day), our events are always amiable, welcoming and pleasant, and our diversity has accelerated. We haven't done this by repeating old ideas - We've been taking risks on a constant basis. Not every event has worked out, but we have always gotten back up and tried something even MORE "out there".
Why experiment at all? What's the point of all of this? Why not play it safe?
We have clung to the old, moldy ways, and they don't work any more. The world has moved on. Now, we have to try messy, unpredictable and out-of-control new ideas, that can pay off really big if they succeed. The payoff will be huge and exciting new traditions that will serve to unite us even more over the long run.
PART TWO: WHAT HAPPENED
Our Community Representatives showed up early, worked hard to make everyone feel welcome, and left late. New, surprising stars on the team used this opportunity to show the rest of us how effective they could be, now that they had a chance to shine. From age 22 on into the mid-60's, every volunteer gladly brought Tribe to everyone who showed up.
He showed up, and immediately relaxed. His high spirits, sweet nature and passionate ways immediately charmed the whole crowd. He was asked to give a demo of what he likes best, once the big BELT party started: tickling!
The BELT party was 22-year-old Mikey's first event as part of the leather community. He bought his first harness in order to be ready for Gear Night. He had a wonderful time - He spent the whole evening absorbing information from the flood of interpersonal interactions going on all around him. As I told him beforehand - "The first time, your job is to step back and observe. At the next event, you will OWN it!"
CLUMPING. You'll notice how physically close everybody is. That is by choice. The Blue Room was where the Gear Only section of the party was held. It was not 100% full, despite appearances. There was a clear area by the bathrooms, but the rest of the place was jammed up tight. Pople were there for social intimacy, and they got it. No isolated, shy guys marooned out on their own.
TOUCHING. Look closely - very few people are not actually touching somebody else in some way... Hugging, kissing, standing close and liking it. I'm a big fan of sexual intimacy, but I think that there is a whole lot to be said for social intimacy, too.
Oh, and cruising for sexual partners, too! Yay!
Look at the diversity - Every body-style, age, color and experience-level, all blended together in a complete lack of stress. Expect more of this, and more often. This is what 2012 looks like. It's very, very different from any earlier time in our community's history, and that is a very good thing.
PART THREE: LESSONS TO LEARN - WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I could easily pontificate about what my own conclusions are, but I want to leave this part wide-open. What are your thoughts? Complaints? Praise? Ideas? Send them along to me at papatony@ mac.com and I will make sure that the right folks get your feedback.