When people ask me why I got into bootblacking, I pick from a handful of different answers.
It’s an act of service for my Daddy.
It’s an act of service for my community.
It’s preserving history in a very literal sense.
It’s a form of connecting, a chance to meditate with the piece of leather or another person.
And have you ever been on your knees with a hot person in your chair while they smoke a cigar and look down at you?
As a submissive, it works for me in all the worst and best ways.
I came into bootblacking the same way I came into Leather: accidentally.
I made friends with people I liked and admired and they pulled me into this lovely sub-culture that’s been part of my life for years now. Some of these friends are big advocates of sharing Leather history and often begin with talking about bootblacks. The story-keepers. The people who kept their community’s leather in shape, not just because it looks beautiful or lengthens the life of the piece but because that leather is what is between you and the road if your motorcycle takes a spill. It’s what’s between you and a fist. It’s armor during a time when being gay was illegal and cruising became full of subtle signals just to find a safe man to hook up with.
When I lay out all my favorite tins of polish, soap, rags, brushes, q-tips, and pick up Daddy’s boot, I’m connecting to those Leathermen who fought to love the people they loved, to fuck the people they wanted to fuck. Not all bootblacks are Leather, and not all Leatherfolks are bootblacks, but the overlap is there, and it’s where my origins are rooted.
I’ve learned primarily from Leather bootblacks, some titleholders, others simply passionate about it.
I still consider myself a baby bootblack in so many ways, still learning not just technical skills but connecting skills. Having someone in your chair is a moment to connect with someone you may not have otherwise, and it’s a skill to maintain that at the same time you’re cleaning and polishing their leather.
Of course, as with many other things in kink, bootblacking isn’t all serious. Introducing power play into it brings it into a whole other arena. As a bottom, I love being dominated by the person I am taking care of. Letting them grind their boots into my bare chest. Using their laces to pull me close for a kiss. Dictating what to use when. Cigar and ash play. Demanding, I use my tongue to clean their boots and chaps. Introducing elements of worship, humiliation, degradation, sex.
And it goes the other way too.
Tops can absolutely pin bottoms into chairs, secured with the bottom’s own laces. Leather corsets offer all sorts of teasing opportunities. Dictating how to hold their leg just so or position arms to stay out of the way. Humiliation and degradation fit nicely in here too. And is the goal here to have beautifully shining boots or a good, hot time?
So when people ask me what got me into bootblacking, I try to give a short answer rather than a long history lesson topped off with queer feelings. I tell people that the way I got into it will be different than how they get into it. And what they get out of it will be different too.
That’s the beauty of it all.
Make your boots gleam until you can see yourself in them. Gather with other bootblacks at conventions to swap tips and soak up knowledge. Order your sub to grind on your boot while they polish the other one. Take care of the people you love by taking care of their clothing and let your love protect them as they go out into the big bad world.
Calliope of Queer Courtesan
Calliope is a femme Leather boy blogging about power exchange and kink. You can find them at queercourtesan.com or on Twitter or Instagram @QueerCourtesan.
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