Leather Life: Fun Face Masks, Serious Voting by Steve Lenius


Photo courtesy of BigStock/lakshmi Prasad

I have not yet gotten sick from the coronavirus, and I am doing everything I can to make sure I don’t. But I have gotten very sick of the coronavirus. It seems like the virus has taken over so many aspects of daily life that it has crowded out of conversation many other things that also need to be talked about and acted upon. (We’ll talk about some of these issues in a bit).

I am not suggesting that we pretend the virus doesn’t exist (as some folks do), or that we minimize the threat the pandemic poses (as some folks do). I am not saying we throw caution to the winds here—let’s keep masking up (see below), social-distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene.

By now we all know that’s what we need to be doing. We all know how important it is to take care of ourselves and others. So let’s just do it.

And, while we’re doing it, let’s add an element of creativity, fun, and sexiness to it. To give just one example: Consider how members of the leather/BDSM/fetish community have applied their creativity to the timely topic of face masks. It’s a shame the wearing, or not wearing, of face masks during the current pandemic has become a political statement. I am pleased to note that some members of the leather/BDSM/fetish community appear not only to have adopted face masks, but to have kinked them in the process.

An online search for “leather face mask” will show you all kinds of interesting pictures of, well, leather face masks. Black leather. Black leather with silver studs. Leather-pride-flag masks, or rainbow or bi or trans or almost any other fetish flag you can think of—proudly emblazoned on a face mask.

And even before the pandemic, folks into puppy play were accustomed to wearing puppy masks and headgear, so it’s a no-brainer to adapt puppy masks for the Age of COVID-19. Search for “puppy play face mask” and see the creativity—and the cuteness—on display.

What about folks into sports gear? Has anyone made a face mask that looks like a jockstrap? Why, yes—and it doesn’t just look like a jockstrap, it is a jockstrap. Actor Emerson Collins has made a video of a way to wear a jockstrap as a face mask—no sewing necessary (search for “jockstrap face mask”). If you use an athletic supporter with a pocket for a cup, you can even add a filtration layer in the pocket. Ingenious!

Thinking about this topic, I had a few other ideas for creatively kinky face masks: How about a face mask with a built-in ball gag? (Someone has already created one.) Or maybe, for age-players, a mask with a built-in pacifier? (Not yet created, at least not that I could find. There are pacifier face masks for actual infants, however.)

These masks are our newest additions to our fetishwear wardrobe, adding a welcome bit of fun and style to a current daily necessity. I wish we could come up with similar creative solutions to some of these other current and continuing issues:

• Many people, including many members of the leather/BDSM/fetish community, have been hurt by the continuing economic downturn and massive unemployment, making longstanding economic inequalities even worse.

• This country’s healthcare system continues to be stressed by the pandemic, and many of its citizens are further stressed by threats of massive loss of healthcare coverage—at the worst possible time, in the middle of a pandemic.

• Then there are the continuing street protests and other consciousness-raising displays about the effects of systemic racism—and backlash, both politically and physically violent, against these protests.

• All of this is happening against a backdrop of mounting environmental disasters: massive wildfires on the west coast, unprecedentedly powerful hurricanes and flooding in the south, and even a rare and disastrous derecho in Iowa.

This is where we find ourselves right before a major election. Let’s talk about what we as kinky people can do and are doing about these issues and this election. Some of us are out there joining the protests in the streets. Some of us are helping to register voters for the upcoming election. I hope all of us are making a plan to vote and will stick to that plan.

Even though the presidential part of this year’s election has the highest profile, remember that the election is about much more. There are Senate and House seats, as well as state senate and state house seats and perhaps other local offices to be voted on. Make a plan to vote, but also be an informed voter. Investigating the candidates, and knowing for whom you want to vote —and for whom you don’t want to vote—might help strengthen your resolve to actually cast your vote.

Something has to change or else, as someone said, “there will be a continuation.” I, for one, don’t want a “continuation” of the last eight months or the last four years—for the next four years.

On Feb. 5, 2008, Senator Barack Obama (not yet President Barack Obama) said the following:

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Twelve years later, I think these words still apply—perhaps even more now than when Obama originally said them. Let’s get going.

Wear a face mask. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Get involved. Vote. Be part of the solution.

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