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Pop-Op – Adventures at Folsom

For the second time in my life I went to the infamous Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. My traveling companions for the trip were three couples- so I was expected to be the slutty one. I knew the weekend would be filled with chaps, jockstraps and leather harnesses and I had to ask myself if we would end up seeing more of each other than we had ever bargained for. The right wing is so fond of making fun of San Francisco values it got me to thinking, on weekends like this are we really liberated or a liability?

I know my straight friends never have to deal with things like this.

Not That Uncommon
Half the fun of any trip is shopping for new outfits to wear- and the same is true when it comes to the Folsom Street Fair (those X harnesses are just so dated, everyone knows the new “must have” harnesses are Bulldog). My friends and I decided to make a day of it and headed to Los Angeles for some shopping. Of course, I had the day all planned out from leather to dessert!

After a whirlwind tour of West Hollywood, Century City and Beverly Hills we made our way to the car and my friend Brian said, "How many people can say they went shopping at 665 Leather, got new swimsuits at LASC, hit the Pink Taco for lunch and happy-hour and then went to Sprinkles Cupcakes for dessert?"

I held up the 4-pack of cupcakes I bought for later. “More than you would probably think, although I think most of them would have skipped the sprinkles.”

Hello Dolly
I most certainly wasn’t going to attempt explaining the reason for my trip to San Francisco at the office. I simply told my manager that I was going to be in the Bay area for a weekend with friends and would be back in the office on Tuesday.

"Oh what hotel are you staying at?” my manager asked with an extra dose of perky curiosity. “My mom is going to be up there for a doll collectors’ convention this weekend!" Knowing full well that no hotel would ever book a doll convention the same weekend as a leather festival I said, “The Marriott.”

"That's where she's staying too!" my manager exclaimed. Apparently someone at the Marriott had a sense of humor.

On the Subject of Waiting so it Means Something
We flew into San Francisco, had lunch and then did a little last minute shopping at Mr. S Leather. My friends needed more leather, and because my Gun Oil bottle exceeded the 3oz homeland security restrictions I needed more lube. Afterward we found ourselves parched and standing outside the Powerhouse Bar, ready for a drink, but a debate broke out about whether this was the bar for us. While inside Mr. S a guy had caught my eye and when I spotted him- I made the decision for us.

"I am the single one, and there is something in this bar that I forgot to pick up at Mr. S," I proclaimed as I walked through door.

After a smile from the object of my obsession I decided to move in and say hi. I quickly learned his name was Nick, that he was also traveling with three couples and that we both had the same birthday. The chemistry between us was instant. Nick also mentioned that he might be able to get us tickets to Real Bad, the hottest and hardest party to get into Folsom weekend. This caught Alex’s attention and he quickly pulled me aside to inform me of a very important fact.

"You can't fuck him until he gets us tickets for Real Bad."

(HOT) Man on the Street
"I want a picture with him," I said to my friend Cole eyeing a sexy blond guy wearing a leather vest and jeans.

Under normal circumstances such a request might seem odd, but at the Folsom Street Fair it is almost expected that if you are showing some skin someone will want to take a picture of you. His name was Marcel, he was Dutch, and he wasn't shy about having his picture taken with me. Although he quickly put his arm around me to pose for the photo- I could tell he wasn't playing for my team.

"Thanks for being such a good sport about this," I said with a smile.

"Are you kidding? I love this," Marcel said to me. "I wish straight people were this liberated. I am trying to find a freaky girl here!"

Despite Alex's opinions on what Nick and I should or should not do, we reunited at the Folsom Street Fair in our leather gear. On the dance floor we made a bit of a scene, which one of Nick's friends caught on film (unfortunately we can’t publish those pictures on sdgln.com). Just like any new couple smitten with each other, we walked back to the hotel with my hand firmly grasping the leash from Nick’s collar.
"It got cold today," Nick noted.

I put my arm around him and said, "It's not that cold.”

"You're not the one in chaps with your ass hanging out," he responded.

Tying it all Together
Walking together on 4th towards Market, it struck me that on Folsom weekend San Franciscans probably expect to see a guy on the street in chaps, when normally it would be a surprise or a treat.

Which brings me back to my original point, on weekends like this are we really liberated or a liability? I believe that by being liberated we remove the liability. Let’s face it, everyone has something that they are collecting in their closet whether it's dolls or leather (yes, Senator David Vitter, I am assuming you keep your diapers in the closet too) It's just not that uncommon.

The great thing about being gay is that we talk about and do things that everyone else is either doing in secret or wanting to try. In the end we put it out there and we own it. Our enemies might try to use it against us but it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as when we expose their hypocrisy.