I'll never forget trying to fasten those damn 20-hole boots for the first time... in public. Trying to lean against a wobbly metal fence and keep poise but shaking like a leaf at the same time. What the hell was I doing?
The date was 13 July 2018, the location was Fire nightclub in London. The reason, my first Fetish Week London rubber party. I don't think I'd ever felt so excited or scared, intrigued or turned on. It was like Alice in Wonderland on a gigantic, rubbery scale. What a rush.
Previous to that night, my fetish journey had been here and there, up and down, and relatively tame. Inside though, it was a feeling, a deep desire that I had to explore. It had always been there too, we all know it's there, but I can say that taking the first step was the scariest, freakiest, most liberating moment of my life so far. I stood tall, took a deep breath and walked into the centre of the room. Wow. What a night... I was hooked. Obsessed. Living it.
Returning home, a realisation happened... What if that was it? I'm back in Leeds, am I the only one? Surely, I can't be, but how do I even find out? Is the rubber scene just in London? I'd heard of the Manchester Rubbermen, but somehow that felt too close to home for me too. I mean, I wanted to explore so, so bad, but what if someone spotted me, saw me in the gear and passed word around? It's a small city, Leeds, and suddenly I could have been a laughingstock? I had no idea. My mind ran overtime. I retreated. I went on holiday. The whole time though, my mind wouldn't switch off. I'd tasted it and needed more.
Fast forward to October, I'd been chatting to one or two of the guys from Manchester, regarding a regular rubber event at The Eagle. I knew the Eagle, I'd been several times before (in Lycra, never rubber, somehow that felt tamer, I mean, it's just cycle kit, right??!), and knew it was a safe space to be in. I was still worried that I'd get spotted, but went, knowing that there were a few friendly faces in the crowd. I walked in, fully clad in black rubber, those boots again, and spotted a group of about eight guys dressed the same. Wham!! I went straight over to the corner and immediately introduced myself. It felt like getting a warm hug, it was complimentary, friendly, and totally, totally hot.
For the first few hours, the room was filled with all kinds of guys in gear - rubber, leather, Lycra, skinhead - all of which gelled together so well. Then, as time moved on, the room was opened up to anyone, and my heart sank. Suddenly, we were outnumbered by Adidas T's, Jeans and "muggle wear". Then, the unthinkable happened. There was a truly hot guy in normal gear who had eyed me previously, although I thought in a bad way, came over, and just outright declared, "You look amazing. Hot as fuck. I wish I had the confidence to dress like this. I just can't". My mind was blown. The game had been changed. He was saying that to me.
Next came another event at Eagle - meeting back up with the awesome guys from before - then the legendary Backstreet with the Rubbermen of London, which was a totally different vibe and one of the best nights of last year (lips sealed on this occasion, you fill in the gaps). Suddenly, I was immersed in an incredible, sexy world with people I'd never known existed. People like me.
Then another game changer came my way. I'd been chatting to a guy on Recon, hot as fuck, and his profile pic was in Rubber. He was in my city. He invited me to a gay-friendly club night, in town, in a venue I'd never heard of. He also invited me for pre-drinks in a well-known local bar with some other fetish guys and asked me to wear rubber gear. "I'm sorry. You want me to go out, in my own backyard basically, in fetish gear?? Erm.... No chance, no way, no how!". He assured me I wouldn't get assassinated. Didn't help. "OK, let's stealth it" he said. We did. We also drank a lot of rum. The outer layers came off. It was truly amazing. I was brave, I was in rubber, I was safe. No one looked at us in any other way than admiration or intrigue. And that was that. It was out there. I was out there.
January and February were a mix of different events, mainly in Manchester and Leeds, and I'd also been buying quite a bit more gear... so obviously needed to show it off. Was it so wrong to want a new outfit for each event? Lol. Different combinations of gear were being bought and I was loving the exploration. Friendships were being formed all over, and I'd started to plan the year ahead. Things were going great.
Then it all came crashing down. My mind just gave up on me. Ghosts from the past, worrying too much, keeping my world secret, and a combination of stresses brought on a severe panic attack which shook my world and sent me into a bad place. All I could think about was running away. Selling up. Moving on.
I'd booked a ticket for MRMX, the Rubber weekend in Manchester and also booked a trip to Cologne for their rubber bar crawl. All I wanted to do was cancel. Only my closest rubber friends knew, and this is where, for me, I learned such an incredible lesson. Never give up, never suffer in silence. One by one, my rubber friends worked together to ensure that I didn't give up my dream. Didn't give up my chances. They showed me a love and brotherhood I'd never known in my life before. They rebuilt me.
I did go to MRMX, and to Cologne, and they were the best weekends of my life.
From the first second of MRM, I met up with people and friends I knew already, had chatted with online, and had looked up to in the rubber world. Suddenly, all the people I wanted to be around were there. In one place. Happy and together. And I must say, looking hot as hell. I'd never seen so many hot guys in rubber in one place, every single event flowed perfectly, and we had a total blast from start to finish.
I could write about MRMX for days, but let's do it as stats: Number of events attended: 8. Number of hotel rooms slept in: 4 Number of alcoholic beverages: erm....? Karaoke songs sung in rubber: 1 Number of staircases I fell down: 3 Number of missed trains: 2. Number of lost wallets: 1. Amount of dignity left on Monday: 0.
It was simply the best weekend ever. To the guys who made the weekend possible, who worked so damn hard day after day, it was incredible, thank you.
Cologne followed and I set off with my two best friends for a few days of Rubbermen, German beer, and debauchery. We were not disappointed. It was wild, crazy, and those German boys defo know how to party, in all respects, and all positions. I came home and had booked a return visit within hours. Try it, you'll see why!
Then came Glasgow. A city of industry. A city of heritage. Turns out, also a city of rubber and gunge! And what a night that was... never played in that before, but it defo won't be the last time. The feeling is incredible, horny, and craveable. Instant boner anyone? Anyone wanna wrestle? The Scottish guys, as at every other rubber event, no matter where, are just incredible. Hard to describe. Just incredible. What a truly wild night it was.
Finally, came something that I'm incredibly proud of. Leeds now has a small but growing group of guys called Leeds Fetishmen. All different fetishes, all different types of people. One safe space, one amazing group. I was asked to host and compere the Eurovision night for them. No rubber this time, just head to toe Maskulo, warrior make up and a harness. Everyone wore different gear and together it looked incredible. It felt like home. It felt like I was in the right place. I've been asked to work closely with them in the future, I of course said yes, I want to help in every way I can.
And that's me. I've been writing this whilst travelling down to London for the Recon Party. A night of pure debauchery, but also a night with incredible friends. This time, I'll be more confident, more free, and more me.
Writing this has shown me just how lucky I've been over the last 12 months, to form lifelong friendships and to become stronger and wilder, yet a more caring and settled person. To believe in myself and to trust others. I am truly proud to call myself a Rubberman, something I hope will continue for many, many years to come.
In the future, I definitely intend to keep finding myself, to keep exploring, and to keep helping. I know that if I see someone tonight, struggling to put on boots, I'll definitely give them a hand, 'cause that's what they need on the start of their journey too. However, I assure you that tonight, I'll be wearing trainers.
Go find yourself, be brave, and never be afraid to try new things. I assure you, you'll never look back.
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