When I’m With My Boots

Posted: November 3, 2010 in bootblacking

Last night I did something that, oddly enough, has become rare in my life.  I spent a quiet night at home working on my boots and my Master’s boots.  I know, crazy thing for a bootblack to do, right?  Still, this year, I have mainly been just touching up our boots and leathers as needed, but never really sitting down and spending time with them.  There just hasn’t been the time.

Last night…I made that time.

I sat down in the middle of the living room, the lights dimmed just a bit, in the midst of our moving boxes for our upcoming move and opened up my kit, pawing through to see which polishes had cracked on me and what I needed to order more of.  I slowly slipped into a zen like space, silently working on first his boots, remembering all the good memories of scenes done with him in them, places they had taken him, and my love of them.  He wears engineer boots, like James Dean once did…very masculine.  While you may see women’s harness boots, you hardly ever see a woman’s engineer boot and I think it is because they have a kind of male energy to them.  His boots are worn from riding his motorcycle.  As I clean them, I see where the heel has worn down at an angle from the hard asphalt and the way the toe has been scuffed and cut from shifting.

I love that his boots are worn this way, uniquely his with each gouge and cut.  They couldn’t belong to anyone else.

I drift away from my world of projects at work and emails that need to be answered and travel plans as I carefully rub in the Chelsea’s, my fingers staining black.  Then, I turn my attention to a pair of boots that belong to a member of the Leather club Master and I are pledging.  These are boots that were handed down to him, harness boots that, unfortunately, someone thought it was a good idea to polish.  I strip these, the alcohol burning my nose, carefully rubbing off layers of polish holding these boots back from what they were meant to be.  I think of their owner, a older Leatherman with an infectious smile and a generous spirit who walked next to me in the local Pride parade.  I wonder at who might have owned the boots before him and I wonder at what bootblack might have been still learning and accidentally polished them.  It takes me back to when I was just learning and how one of the toughest things to learn was how to tell the different types of leather apart.  I finish stripping his boots and set them aside to dry, promising them a thorough conditioning tomorrow or when they are dry.

I pick up my own boots.

This pair of boots are my stage boots, the boots I wore when I won ICBB and the boots I most like to play in.  They were also my first piece of gifted, not earned leather, given to me by my Master.  I remember opening the Doc Marten’s box and seeing them there, all 20 eyelets of gleaming, high shine leather.  I remember painstakingly adding thin later of polish after thin layer of polish in the weeks before I left for San Francisco last summer, slowly building up layers of black and blue to give them a hard, cold shine.  I remember how I feel when I wear them.  In them, I feel powerful, feral, and catlike.  I walk differently in them, more stalking and feline than my normal bouncy gait.  Carefully, I clean them and then add a couple layers of blue and black again.  These boots have always seemed to like Lincoln polish where most boots I handle do not.  Perhaps they think they are as tough as marine’s boots?  Finally, I can see my face in the toes and I set them aside, sighing contentedly, at peace.

This is how it all began, before I even started bootblacking in public or even with someone in the boots.  It all began with just me, spending quality time with the object of my fetish and the symbol of my journey.

Quality time indeed.

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