[M/s 365] Owning a bootblack (Throwback Thursday)

(Preholiday craziness has started, meaning we are trying to catch up on sleep. So, I’ll take advantage of #ThrowbackThursday and share this post from Fetlife/Facebook. I wrote this about a year ago. It still rings true today.)

Owning a Bootblack

I have had the privilege of owning a bootblack for some time now, and I thought that I would share a few things that I have learned or experienced. I’m very fortunate to have such a wonderful slave as a personal bootblack, but as that ancient Chinese proverb says “Be careful what you wish for…”

In fact.. writing this may put my leather life in jeopardy… but the truth must be told…

1. You don’t own your leathers anymore.

This is not a joke. My leathers have somehow ended up in the clutches of what seems to resemble a library system.

“I’m wearing my riding boots today…”

“Oh no, those aren’t ready yet.”


“You see, they had to be stripped, then I have to put on the polish, and fix the soles, and the eyelets, they need touching up and …”

(Many words later)

“… but you can wear your old riders.”

And if I do manage to get ahold of some leathers that aren’t undergoing the wonderful care that my bootblack gives them, then I get intense scrutiny on where I’m going and what I’m doing…

“I’m wearing my riding boots today.”

“But… it’s snowing.”


“And there’s salt. You don’t want salt on your boots do you?”


Then there’s the 43 page disclaimer, waiver, rules of leather treatment, awareness and acknowledgement that I understand when to step, where to step, who may also touch my boots, who may NOT touch my boots, who looked at my boots, did anyone say anything…

… and I’m ready to just wear my mukluks.

On the other hand, I do have this wonderful “Master Michael’s Leathers” library card and I’m told that if I wear my leathers without causing bootblack heart-attacks 10 times in a row, I can check out two leathers at the same time.

2. You are not allowed to buy your leathers (independently) anymore.

On one hand, I have the most wonderful resource available to me of good leather, reputable suppliers and a keen eye on what looks good on me.

On the other hand, I now have to clear my purchases…

“I’m buying this vest.”

“Oh… are you SURE… ?”


I now go to websites in the middle of the night to look for new leather gear… I don’t want the bootblack to know what I’m considering buying. I’ll get THAT LOOK of “Oh Sir, you really don’t want that…”

3. Your family just got bigger… a LOT bigger.

The bootblack community is a wonderful group of folks who network, trade information, relate history and teach values in such a connected way almost unmatched by any other subset of the leather/kink community that I’ve seen.

However, that means that when you own a bootblack, you now have 393 “relatives”, all of which will look at all those leathers with just about the same look that your own bootblack gets.

“Master wore the riding boots today.”

(insert a chorus of “What? No! He did? Didn’t he know it was snowing? There’s salt!”)

Religious-based guilt has nothing on the looks that bootblacks get in groups when they are not pleased by the actions of the leather-wearing person.

Adopting bootblacks is a wonderful thing… up until the point where the leather library system now has MANY doing the checking out.


Laura Antoniou wrote in “Killer Wore Leather” a scene where a vanilla-ish detective is questioning a group of bootblacks. At the end of the scene, one of the bootblack remarks “Nobody gets the bootblacks” and the rest nod in chorus.

When you are with your owned bootblack when they are with a group of other bootblacks, you’ll start to understand why she wrote that.

4. Femmes (and bootblacks) are expensive! Now combine the two…

I can’t take credit for the phrase “Femmes are expensive.” as a wonderful International Ms. Bootblack coined that phrase first. However, I can attest that combining femme and bootblack has made sure that my credit card and Paypal account are well used and that my closet is starting to challenge the LA&M in how much sheer cow hide is present in one enclosed area.

And that whole buying my own leathers thing? I used to think I was a frugal and discerning purchaser. I’ve now been taken to the next level. Now on top of ensuring that I get very good leathers, comes all the brushes, cloths, polishes, pens, soaps and other items. And then there’s the case with wheels, the hankies, the fundraisers that we’re going to support for the other family members (see #3) and so on… and I’m considering the fourth mortgage. My banker is starting to know me as well as the guy at the counter at Bootblack Heaven!

And that’s not even close to addressing the femme side of the deal.

So, I own a bootblack. And my life is so much richer for it, as I am honored to be a fully supportive member of a group of folks who carry the torch of tradition and values for the leather community.

I may also be broke, not in control of my own clothes anymore and subjected to the intense scrutiny of 393 individuals… but I’m richer for the bargain.

Published by

Master Michael S

International Master 2014. Member of: Chicago Leather Club, Chicago Leathermen Group, MAsT: Greater Chicago. Longtime leatherman. One of the Four Horsemen.

6 thoughts on “[M/s 365] Owning a bootblack (Throwback Thursday)”

  1. I LOVE this piece of writing! It made me smile, laugh and giggle so much.
    “Nobody gets the bootblacks” – it’s true! Yet, we’ll always try to make them get a glimpse!

    Now imagine your trials and broke bank account… and combine it with another Bootblack!!
    This is why I love that my Syr (SyrMaddog) *IS* a bootblack who owns a Femme Bookblack… we don’t have half of these issues!
    She owns her leathers and does her own boots. I get to touch them if I’m good enough and if she’s in a generous mood.
    Instead of “Are you really going to buy that?” it’s “Hum, is it good quality..? Let’s compare notes.” “Yes?” (feels) “No”.
    Then the hunt is forever going… It takes five times as long to buy the leathers you want then with the single black!
    Oh.. and being a femme bootblack, I must have ALL the products! Where as she can get away with a more basic kit (that I never could. It always makes me smile when she reaches into my kit knowing I have what she needs in there for someone in her chair… it’s like “HA! I win again!”)

    To save costs… sometimes the other saying rings true: If you can’t beat them, join them!


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