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7 min

A kinky romp on Davie street

They talked loud and drew a crowd

OUR KINKY CREW: Benoit and Ryan's wardrobes by Priape. Shay's wardrobe by The Kiss Store Credit: James Loewen photo

The assignment was simple: follow a group of attractive young people who are dressed in fetish wear as they spend a Friday night barhopping down Davie St; observe how fetish wear alters their behaviour and the behaviours of other bar patrons and report back to Xtra West. If nothing else, it sounded fun, so I took the job.

I considered dressing up in leather myself, but decided to approach the event more like Jane Goodall and the chimps–I didn’t want to lose myself in the story.

I arrive at our photographer’s studio where our lab rats are already decked-out in their assigned fetish outfits and posing for the first of many group shots for this issue’s cover.

Some of the models are noticeably more comfortable in their fetish duds. In particular, Benjamin Palmer, who recently won the International Mr Bootblack title, is relaxed in his leather vest and boots.

Take a video peek behind the scenes of our Sep 22 cover shoot for The Leather and Kink Issue.

Shay Kingston simply commands attention in her black leather bustier and hot pink rubber skirt. She’s completely at ease in her poses, and boasts of her recreational experience as a dom when she asks to use a flogger as a prop.

Similarly, Benoit Vaudry, another fetish enthusiast, is an utter natural decked-out head-to-toe in leather. All appearances to the contrary, he assures me that his lace-up chaps and vest are so comfortable they feel “like a second skin.”

Noticeably less comfortable are Steve Lee, wearing a chain mail vest and shorts and a leather thong; and Ryan Hoy, posing in leather short-shorts and vest with handcuffs. But the experts are quick to initiate the leather debutants, as when Benoit grinds his crotch into Ryan’s back, grabs his neck, and slobbers a big open-mouthed kiss on his forehead.

“Should my pose be happy or scared?” Ryan asks the photographer. Benjamin yanks on his handcuffs in response. The light play energizes the group.

Steve, whose posture was once stiff and closed, suddenly starts improvising poses with his mouth on Benoit’s jock, and then grinds himself into Benoit’s crotch.

“I’m curious about this sort of fetish wear, but I’ve never tried it,” Steve tells me when he sits next to me during a break. “It’s too expensive. This outfit I’m wearing cost over $1,000.”

When he gets up from the plush armchair, I notice the chain mail has left tiny oval impressions in the green velvet. “Does it leave those marks on your skin?” I ask.

“Yeah, a little,” he says, as he makes his way back in front of the camera for a solo shot.

Meanwhile, Benjamin and Shay take the opportunity to trade notes on how to best lubricate a rubber costume–fetish wear is more work than I thought. (Apparently, the best way is to use a latex-based powder that mixes with your own sweat to create a thin coating of lubricant.)

As the photoshoot winds down, and Ryan and Benjamin have to leave for work at the Odyssey and the PumpJack respectively, the group boasts that they’re looking forward to dirtying up Davie St.

“You can wear clothes like this on the streets in Amsterdam,” Benoit says. He works in the travel industry and enjoys the opportunities his work gives him to visit his favourite cities. He decries the lack of a strong leather scene in Vancouver. It’s not like Toronto or Montreal, he says, where there are dedicated leather bars.

It’s when we begin our way down Davie St that I really start to feel for Steve. That chain mail outfit doesn’t provide much protection from the cold late-September night.

1181 is already busy in the early evening and we have to push through a crowd to get to the bar. I’m not surprised that heads turn, stares follow, and chuckles and pointing trail not far behind. But the leather posse just takes it in stride.

“I’m educating them about leather,” Shay cackles, sipping a lime cocktail. “People come up asking, ‘What are you wearing?’ and I tell them we’re trying to get young, sexy people to know about how fun latex and leather is.” I notice she’s still carrying her riding crop and she waves it to and fro to accentuate her points–quite effectively, I might add.

True, the leather scene in Vancouver tends to skew older, focused around leather nights at PumpJack and Numbers. The younger crowd tends to shy away.

But here at 1181, among the young professionals in their designer jeans and trendy blazers, fetish wear is turning out to be a surprise hit. In the back lounge, Shay and Steve catch the attention of one patron who approaches them with a camera.

“I have to take a picture of you guys!” he shouts. Soon a little fad starts, as couples lounging on the couches ask to pose for pictures with the posse.

Steve’s chain mail gladiator outfit elicits the most curiosity. People ask about how much it cost, how warm it is, and how you wash it. Everyone seems dumbfounded at the price tag and everyone takes a feel of the shirt material, fondling it like a precious object. Steve and Shay eat up the attention.

As soon as I turn around to find the others, Benoit asks if he can borrow the pen I’m taking notes with. He then hands it to another patron and bends over, so the patron can write on his exposed ass.

Benoit offers the pen back to me. Fortunately I brought extras, so I let him keep it, and he goes off to find Shay and Steve to ask them what was written on his butt.

I’m curious about the signer, who introduces himself to me as Randall Oness. He tells me he appreciates the look and feel of leather.

“It’s individuality to perfection. It just feels so good to touch,” Randall says, adding, “He got my number.

“I’d feel completely comfortable wearing leatherwear out in public, but I’m very open minded,” he continues.

When I track down the crew again, they’re at the front of the bar, and Benoit is again collecting phone numbers on his bare ass. He’s up to eight numbers when we decide to make our next stop.

Venturing out onto Davie St again, the odd thing is that the fetish outfits are no longer the object of attention of passers-by. Now, people are pointing to the writing on Benoit’s bare ass, and asking if they can sign it. We are waiting outside the bar while people sign his ass, when Randall shows up again and proudly boasts, “I signed on it, too!” Then he pushes past another signer to grab Benoit by the waist and plant a big wet raspberry kiss on his butt.

When we enter PumpJack, it’s clear we’re in a completely new environment. PumpJack hosts leather nights and caters to a crowd that is active in fetish parties and events. And although it’s not a fetish night, some other clients are sporting leather or military wear.

One is Stefan Rombach, a 25-year-old German who just moved to Vancouver for a six-month internship, and is on his first night out in his new city. His shaved head, tight black shirt and jeans, leather boots and chest strap cut an impressive figure, but he stands out every bit as much as our group. He says he was active in the leather community in Germany, and he hopes to find a good scene in Vancouver.

“It’s a very good feeling,” he says. “It makes you look like a man. I think I compare myself to pictures of other men in leather.”

The crowd really takes a shine to our group. Patrons whom Steve and Shay are hanging out with get into the spirit of our experiment by stripping off their shirts to get just a little more naked.

Meanwhile, Benoit collects so many numbers on his ass that they’ve begun overlapping and become unreadable. We’ve lost count by the time we cross the street to our next location, Numbers.

At 11:15 pm it’s still early for Numbers, so we head upstairs where about a dozen patrons are playing pool, and order drinks. The bartender, Matt Andruff, who routinely wears a leather harness to work, is pleased to serve a group of leather enthusiasts.

“Whenever you dress up, it adds an element to take the party to the next level,” he tells me. “It’s like you’re not yourself, you’re somebody else.”

When I return to our group, Benoit, Shay, and Steve are whispering conspiratorially, and Shay breaks to wave me over.

“What’s up?” I ask.

No words, she grabs my wrists and leads me over to the bar where she bends me over the dishwasher. I guess I should have seen this coming, but I was not prepared to be dominated. In the name of research, I decide to grit my teeth and bear it. Or take it.

Shay starts by running the end of her riding crop up and down the length of my inner thighs, then slapping it gently back and forth against them. Then she continues along the backs of my thighs, my buttocks, and up the length of my spine, still working gently.

“This isn’t so bad,” I think to myself. Suddenly the first of what would be many hard cracks of the riding crop land on my ass. A little taken by surprise, I decide to keep my eyes closed and just wait for it to be done.

Another crack lands, and then I feel a hand at my crotch and hear Matt’s voice. “That’s not how you do it,” he says, as he unbuttons my fly and pulls down my pants. Shay tries to pull down my boxers too, but I stop her at that.

“That’s okay,” she says. “Everyone has their comfort zones. Get back in position.”

I do as I’m ordered and Shay continues to whip me with the crop, alternating hard and soft cracks with slaps and gentle caresses.

Now not to say that I was aroused sexually by the experience–I wasn’t–but I will admit it was interesting. Done by an experienced dom like Shay, the alternating of hard and soft punishment were relaxing like a good massage.

Of course, done by an enthusiastic but inexperienced dom, as when Shay passed the crop to other patrons to have a try, it can just feel like punishment.

As Shay picks up the crop again and resumes slapping me, I wonder how much longer this is going to go on. Am I allowed to ask questions like that? I have no idea, but finally Shay whispers into my ear, “Pull up your pants, honey. You look ridiculous.”

As I button up and turn around, I find our little group laughing at my embarrassment. I am told my punishment went on for half an hour.

A few drinks later, we decide to call it a night. It has been quite an educational experience. First, the whole project was great fun. Playing dress-up certainly brings out a more ostentatious and outgoing aspect of one’s personality. And even the spanking was a fun way to kill a half-hour.

But the biggest lesson was gleaned from the general clientele at each bar. Every crowd was receptive to our leather guinea pigs, and there simply wasn’t any judg mental or hostile reaction.

If you’ve ever wanted to don your leatherwear for a night on the town, Vancouver is certainly a welcoming place to do it–at any age.