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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thing 132: Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend

So did you hear?  There was this really huge, amazing event in DC this past weekend.

I accompanied David to the MAL expo on Saturday afternoon, the token straight girl among thousands of gay men of every fetish and persuasion.  We wandered the booths filled with finely crafted leather pants, shirts, straps and hats.  I saw impossibly big and strangely shaped dildos, and accessories I'd never have dreamed of.  There were paddles and chains, rubber suits and pornographic DVDs.  But along with some truly jaw-dropping accoutrements, what I mostly saw was an inclusive community of people offering a wide umbrella to those who might otherwise feel ashamed or secretive.  

There is something for everyone at the MAL expo -- rubber and leather, pleasure and pain, doms and subs, slaves and puppies.  There was also an abundance of leather chaps, as well as people dressed in leather straps, butt-less wrestling outfits and army fatigues.  The people-watching to be done in the bar area was amazing.

One thing I took away from the whole experience was how very quickly it all became totally commonplace.  Whereas in the beginning I was a big overwhelmed just by the sheer quantity of butt plugs available on the market, by the end the casual commoditization of sexual fetishes lead to me getting exactly the same feeling as when I've been at a museum too long.  All the art works blend together after a couple hours, and my brain shuts down to new experiences.  Thus, after awhile, my eyes glazed over as they passed rack after rack of leather.  

So, it wasn't really my thing, but I did have a good time and I sure learned a lot.  MAL also consists of numerous parties, events and, er, hotel rooms if you're planning on stopping by next year.  

One year ago: The now-defunct Butterfield 9.