Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Yes, I wrote the last few years about volunteering at this Cleveland pre-IML event. I don't do it for the men or leather, I do it because they raise and donate money to local gay and AIDS organizations. Last year alone, they cut a check to the Cleveland LGBTIQ-MNOP Center for $20,000.
That was just one of about 50 donations to other organizations, though the others were probably lesser value.
That's not chump change.
So, why give it up? Well, I can't say it is my 'scene'. Most of the men are nice. Most of the men are actually harmless (I think). Some of the men are creepy. But the event is a lot of work.
I'm sure for the participants of the event it is fun. But like the last four years, I've never done a session, a dinner, a party or even had a beer. It's work. And g-d love the guys who make it happen, none of them do sessions either. They run around coordinating a huge event making sure everything runs smoothly. .....though I dare say that they participate in after hour activities.
The mornings are a sight to see - everyone dragging their sorry ass downstairs to do their volunteer shift after a very very late night. Except for the vendors - they're all bright-eyed, as this is big business for them. Booths and booths of stuff you'd almost never buy. Or, I wouldn't.
Ok. That's a lie. I bought a............t-shirt. I'll have to show it to you sometime. It's cute, but not sexual like most of them have something about Top, Bottom, Swallows.....you get the idea. Mine I can actually wear in public.
I get guys wanting to buy leather - and I did meet the two coolest lesbians selling kilts: Juju and Ginger. They played only Prince on their sound system, so that was fun. If you sang your favourite Prince song, they'd give you 10% off.
But $900 for a pair of boots? Je think not. A steampunk top hat? Or an eye mask that had sharp pointy things sticking out of it, so you couldn't get within 6" of another human being without them needing a tetanus shot? Where's the market for this? AND they had to pack it and transport it to and fro.
This last year was just chaos. Freezing one day, boiling the next - and this was inside. The powers that be split the vendor mart and education sessions into two different hotels, which meant people had to take shuttles. The volunteer room (free food and drinks) was at one hotel, meaning the volunteers at the other hotel got squat.
And isn't it a little sad when you run out of XXL t-shirts first? And isn't it super sad when the twink boys want XXS t-shirts and then pout when you tell them none were ever ordered and that even if there were, they could never fit into them anyways. Gurl, just turn on your heels and stomp away, cuz you know you want to.
Another reason to step away is that I'm no longer phased by anything that I see. That can't be a good sign. It's not that I agree with what I see (that stupid Pup faction), but now I just roll my eyes and move on. Or ignore. Or both.
I did however get to meet Judy Tenuta.
I know, right? Yes, she's still around and loving the gays. Though I have to say, I have to believe she's ever so pissed that Kathy Griffin pretty much stole her gig with the homos. She is a wee thing with what I couldn't tell was a wig or not.
I got to talk to her a few times and took a picture for her and a guy in all latex. So......there's that. She asked me to. For anyone else who wanted their pic with her, I think she charged like $5, but all the money went to charity, so I can't be too put out. Though I secretly snapped this so not to pay....because I'm cheap. And I donated all my time. Anyway, she was personable and funny. She did a show for the 'boys' too, but as I said, I've never done a social thing at these events.
On the plus side - if you want to call it that - I got hit on. Which never happens, at least here. Four years in and I'm still an outsider to these folks. And that's ok.
Take the title image guy. He has a Stevie B quality to him, no? Though I've never seen Stevie B in a union suit. ....at least that I know of. But this is a man who hit on me. I dare say he was out of my league, but I think that was the union suit talking. The next day in regular clothes, he was just a hirsute borderline Pillsbury Doughboy. I regret nothing. Though he could have been hitting on me (and everybody) as a sales tactic. Yes, I'm that cynical.
Another man, WAY out of my league, hit on me too. Now, mind you, in my heart - and just my heart - I've lusted after this man for the last four years. He is on the CLAW board, and while I've done work for them these last four, I don't think he's ever looked my way, let alone knew my name.
Clearly, I was wrong.
Oh don't worry - it didn't go anywhere. I might have received a kiss, but that was enough. Actually, that he acknowledged my presence was enough.
Speaking of out of the league - a guy who volunteered in my area was telling me he was purposefully hitting on guys out of his league. He was amongst folks he didn't know and went for it. According to him, it worked 100% of the time. Every guy he hit on, he got lucky with them.
Suffice to say, he did not hit on me. I guess I was in - or below - his league.
Sobering....and a little sad.
Maybe that's why I might never go back.
Song by: Elton John