As gay fetish progresses through the 21st century diversifying from the home leather tribe into rubbermen, puppies, sportswear, superheroes, bears etc there are many discussions about where the leather world is heading and how to respect our past origins. In a couple of features Alphatribe decided to consult one of the most authorative voices in the ‘Old Guard or New Guard debate the wonderful Haus Mein Gott team that we are excited to be partnering with. HMG is well known around the gay fetish scene. Based out of their North East Italian base and home of depravity a few 100 kms from Venice they run one of the most interesting sites devoted to the Old Guard together with some of the sleaziest home produced fetish porn you could wish for at WWW.HAUSMEINGOTT.COM. The HMG team of Leathermen is a poliamorous family made up of Sir Lupus aka LeatherBigWolf, Sir Daniel, Sköll and the long suffering Slave Argo. So let’s start with the basic question –
WHAT IS OLD GUARD AND IT’S HISTORY?
Old Guard Leather Culture takes its name from the last small artillery detachment left in place after the Revolution in 1784 and as a result of the Treaty of Paris;
After World War II, as men came out of the war, the Army rewarded them with motorcycles. So as men went back to the civilian life after war time, they could not fit in easily anymore, and needed to still have a space where to live as brothers, united by the same Values, Hierarchies, Code of conduct and inner rules. They missed the camaraderie and the strict way of life of the Army, so that’s how they started forming specific Motorcycle Clubs, which were truly where the Old Guard Leather culture and lifestyle was born. Of course at the time the standard protective item for bikers was Leather wear, and Leather Motorcycle Boots. That’s why Leather Garments and Motorcycles (and the whole visual image of the Leatherman as we have it) resembles the specific look and items of the late 40’s / mid 60’s
Many people use the term ‘Old Guard’ and in the vaste majority of cases they have little clue what they’re really talking about. With little guidance and with lots of the older members of the community who survived the HIV epidemic who are giving misleading information for their own personal sexual Agenda, many men have found a quick and easy solution when being confronted with opinions about their questionable interpretation of Leather lifestyle. It appears nowadays that all that is needed to be a Leatherman, is to buy some Leather gear.
I suggest reading “The Leatherman Protocol Handbook” By John D. Weal to get notions on the historical aspects of the version of Old Guard he had experienced. Many people have started a witch hunt against the man, but I believe they don’t get the reason on why the book is important and needs respect. I have personally known John, and I can state that even if we don’t think alike on many things, I still believe his book is a gem to treasure. Why? Because he has reported his direct experience, what was passed on onto him by his Mentor, and that is exactly what Old Guard is about, and that has to be valued and respected. Another book I suggest is “Urban Aboriginals” by Gheoff Mains.
Some men nowadays think that the difference between Old Guard and “standard” leather life is being part of BLUF or not being part of BLUF. That’s wrong as well. BLUF is a community which literally stands for “Breeches and Leather Uniforms Fanclub”; it’s a place, community and group that have a strong Fetish for Uniforms and Leather. While respect for the tradition of Leather, Boots and Uniforms are an important part of Old Guard Culture, they’re not the foundation of it. You can be a great fetishists for these symbols, but that doesn’t qualify you as an Old Guard Leatherman.
Another part of the scene is made of senior people who decided to completely Newguard-wash Old Guard history for their own benefit. Old Guard is about Integrity, Tradition, Discipline, a strong set of core values, introspection, growth and Strictness. It’s not an easy lifestyle, and until you’ve completed a learning curve that needs you to drop a lot of Ego and self assumption, you won’t be able to appreciate it. Of course, that means that it’s difficult to make friends or fuck buddies in this modern society where everything needs to be ready-made, easily accessible, and based only on 3 things basically: Popularity, Chemsex and Partying. This is exactly the core reason why some of these senior people are pretending Old Guard never existed. In the current gay scene it is difficult to get laid if you don’t look like a muscle model and you’re not within your 40s; imagine how hard would it be to feel validated through sex and not feeling rejected if you also expected integrity and a sense of honor from your partners. So, many “Daddies” nowadays live like teenagers, as this is more convenient to their needs. The need of not being rejected or ignored.
One important thing to say is that there is not “one” absolute Old Guard; there wasn’t some saint or fool that spoke the rules for all the Leathermen in the world; there were few, which became many, and while the main values stayed the same, every “house” or tribe or pack had their differences, which were passed on through Rituals, Ceremonies and direct Mentoring.
Old Guard today is kept alive by a very small group of people, but we still do exist. And we are here to help men who are looking for a deeper meaning, a cause to live by, a Real Brotherhood to be part of, to find their home.
SELF PROCLAIMED ‘MASTERS
‘From its birth to its evolution till the HIV Epidemic in the 80’s and 90’s, Old Guard Leather was an all-rounding way of life that was handed down generation through generation, by Master to their boys who would have then become Daddies or Masters themselves, keeping alive and spreading this Creed forming a strong community circling around the same core values, although with slight differences across America and the world. With the arrival of the internet, we all got to hook up faster, easier and our concept of building relationships was revolutionized. With this wow factor, though, also came danger.
All of a sudden you had these self proclaimed masters starting to pop up everywhere. As the image of BDSM and Domination and submission became diffused, everyone wanted to be a part of it, and while in the Old Days you had to walk into a club or bar and EARN that status, now all you needed was a camera, a few hot pictures emulating some porn or god forbid Tom of Finland (More on that in a later feature), an internet connection, and being a top. You didn’t have to go through the training, the experience, and understanding what submission is all about. These “men” wanted to be spoilt and serviced “just because”, while a true Leatherman knows that the submission of the man in front of you comes as a result of the good work you’re doing as a Leader. This is also why, in our vision, FinDom is not in any way associable to real Domination and submission, not to mention a Master and slave dynamic.
As a result, the lack of that training which was all about Strictness, Discipline and a Doctrine to learn, follow and live by, brought to a systemic degrading of the value and nobility of this lifestyle, bringing many subs to be endangered (physically, emotionally and psychologically) by these self proclaimed Masters, but also many good Doms to be emotionally destroyed by fake subs who simply used and consumed the Doms self esteem. This is why nowadays you get so many people shrugging shoulders saying “at the end, the slave is the real Master / is the sub who’s in control”, thinking that they are saying something smart and wise. Truly, they are simply testifying the standardization of the degrading of the real lifestyle that Old Guard brought on, and the real face of modern gay Leather: a role play.
The Old Guard way of life circles around 3 core elements: Strictness, which gives the Structure, which in the end gives the Stability; the three S’s of Old Guard.
THE THREE S’s OF OLD GUARD.
As said, Strictness is fundamental to provide a Structure, the base of any lifestyle built on Honor, Creed and Commitment. Strictness has to do with Discipline. Old Guard lifestyle comes straight from Military life; it is about an energy flow that is part of mankind since the Ancient Greeks and way before; men always in history learnt to live through spending time with other men, Older Men, who would have taught them about Philosophy, Combat, and also Sex. This all has to do with one single core value that is so much lacking nowadays in society, and in the specific in the modern gay society: Education and Respect. Education is strictly linked to Respect and Structuring of personality and what defines a man as such.
Strictness is about teaching to the young a set of rigid rules, which all have a strong meaning and have been set in place through history because, through a trial and error process, men have figured out that some things in life are customizable and linked to personal opinion, but some others require a set of rules, a path to follow, to lead to a greater goal, which is the structure. Young men are chaotic by nature; while chaos is an important element in the balance of the Universe, as without chaos there is no life nor evolution, at the same time chaos is linked to destruction. Since we mankind have a strong difference from animals in our capability of processing thought into action through intention and project, we need to channel that chaos into a structure, in order to build anything. Now, because with society we have given an order to things (be it names, descriptions, social orders and such), we need a system to encode hierarchy.
The concept of Hierarchy we’re talking about of course comes, like Old Guard, from Military life. But is it really something made by men? Take a look at how any Mammal living in packs behave. Wolves, Deers, Monkeys, Lions, even Dogs. They all live by a Hierarchy made of an Alpha, Leader of the pack, who has earned that title, and a set of other members lined in a hierarchy down to the Omega. These packs have an horizontal Hierarchy; everybody is important and needed, but also everybody has their own roles and missions to keep the pack alive and functional. So, because we are nothing but evolved mammals, we have encoded this nature into a set of definitions that work for human life.
Strictness is fundamental to create an encoded path to follow. Wether you live in mere chaos, or wether you need a Structure to live by to give your life meaning, purpose and goals. What are the goals you live by? Why do you wear your Leather? What defines you as a Leatherman as a life choice, and what does it give back to you? 90% of the modern “leathermen” will stutter and get confused when prompted with these sort of questions (or attack you), as the modern lack of structure behind the Leather lifestyle has made these symbols completely sterile and empty; it’s a fetish, it’s my sexual freedom, they’ll say;
Through Strictness and Discipline, you create a set of rules and values, which create a Structure, a Framework that is needed to build a hierarchy where everybody is taken care of, a horizontal distribution of roles and power, in which everybody has their specific part to play and role to live for, giving serenity, peace and a sense of “home” to all the parties included. You can’t achieve this without structure. Let’s compare it to the way an adolescent lives and how a grown man lives.
An adolescent is pervaded by chaos and the need to explore, conquer and achieve experience on his own; he will rebel against his parents, he will despise their teachings, and that’s part of nature as well, as the adolescent needs to learn by himself that without strictness (education, values, belief and commitment) there is no structure (they struggle at finding a meaning for their existence, and usually this ends up in drugs abuse or other unhealthy coping mechanisms), and without structure (where a structure has of course to make sense for them,) there is no stability. They will grow up as unstable adults, still locked in their adolescent part of development, keeping on living in chaos which is their way of not thinking about reality, where the reality is a constant sense of loneliness, lack of purpose and lack of satisfaction in whatever they do. Ever felt that way?
We are not saying here that Old Guard Leather is the only way of having Structure, Discipline and a happier life. We are saying that Old Guard is founded on these principles.
As said, Strictness is needed to provide a Structure. With no strictness, the natural resistance of the undisciplined to structure, will make it impossible for the structure to be maintained. That structure, of whichever kind, is what humans need to live happy & well. We are all different, and some people might enjoy a life without any rule or structure, in complete chaos and anarchy. I won’t judge a person’s individual needs and choices, but then you don’t belong to Old Guard Leather. There would be a whole chapter about “Renegades” in the Old Guard scene here, but this article would become too long, and the whole Renegade scene had to do with a specific historical time. It really doesn’t apply nowadays, not in the same means. Leather lifestyle is a very specific thing, it’s not something you can take and make yours just because you want to. But what happens when there is no solid structure, while there only is a pale imitation of it (eg. most of nowadays leather relationships)? There is no stability.
These relationships or stories based on the desire to live in a BDSM relationship fail often, they last a few months (most of the times only a weekend, the span of an event etc) and then they crumble. One says he’s your Master and then 3 days later he wants to be a slave. One says he is your boy for life and when you’ve almost bought a new house to live together he’ll tell you he changed is mind. One says he is an expert bullwhip Master and a superb Bondage guy; next thing you know you have a corpse on the floor tangled in ropes. This is of course a dramatization of the possibilities but it happens so amny times.
What is needed to make any core belief to work, especially a Relationship based on these concepts in the long run? It is needed that both parties (or all of the parties, when talking about a larger group) even before loving each other greatly, they are solid and grounded in what they believe in, more than in everything else. As I always tell my boys: first you must fall in love with what I’m teaching you. You must love leather lifestyle for yourself first; and then, when you can’t live without it because you’ve finally understood its whole architecture and balance, you can freely choose every day to submit to me with your whole heart, as being your Master I am the beacon and holder of the Strictness, which gives you the Structure you need, and in return we all have a solid Stability. This is what a Master also is.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DISCIPLINE
But why is Discipline so important? . In one short sentence, the answer is : because we need it.
Let’s expand a little bit on why we need it with an example. Most gay people go to the gym, obsessed with their bodies in order to acquire validation from this modern concept of entitlement linked to a homologation of what looks “good”..
When you go to the gym for changing your looks, you generally have one goal: wether it’s to become leaner, or to build muscle mass. In both cases, you’re going to find out very early on something that is discouraging to most. It’s very difficult; it requires constant striving, and it doesn’t end in the workout area; to reach your goals, you have to make sacrifices. You have to adjust the way you eat, you have to change your plans for the free time because to build a body takes dedication and constant work, and even after you do all this, results don’t come out in a week, and neither in a month. It takes a long long time to build the body you want to have (especially if you don’t cheat with steroids and other bullshit like that).
In one word, a true bodybuilder knows that their lifestyle is about Discipline. Without that drive to discipline to keep working hard, to keep in their minds the words “no pain, no gain”, they will easily drop out of the gym within one week or one month. This is exactly the same thing with any other lifestyle based on strength. In fact, it requires a great deal of strength to stay by the values you have chosen to live by.
So why is Discipline enforcement and teaching needed? Because we all need discipline. It’s extremely difficult to maintain discipline and that’s why there are rules and orders to which you can’t freely say “I’m into it” or “not now”. Orders and rules must be respected at all times and promptly exactly because they are the structure needed for things to work. Of course, rules and orders should accordingly be set thoughtfully, and not just randomly.
NEW GUARD – WASHING
Running back to contemporary times, what do we have? What kind of message does the modern gay scene promote? A very confused one. On one side, stemming from extremely positive and agreeable concepts, there is the promotion of total individual freedom. On the other side, a very sad and overwhelming sense of individualism, a horrible situation nobody seems to want to deal with including Chemsex, partying and how strongly things are diffused and considered “normal”, together with a lack of responsibility. It appears that the only important things, imported straight from the brain-wash that the 90’s did to pop culture, are the following: popularity, validation through fitting into homologation, followers, and how many loads one can carry in their butt after one hour in Gran Canaria. At least, once there was a fetish behind the idea of taking stranger loads in your ass. I am dead sure these bottoms have a devastating sense of unfulfillment even after taking 10 loads. And guess what? That’s because they have the feeling that those loads did not come from the “real” tops they desired. And this, comes from the fact that we all have the same roots inside of us, and most men, especially submissives, have the same needs to serve a real Leader, and not a drugged up random kid at a party.
Earlier I have stated that chaos when not channeled leads to destruction, and indeed all of this partying without a real aim, with the constant aim of finding a purpose, leads to a deep sense of frustration and even anger. That anger, is constantly pointed towards those who have found a pattern, a reason to live, an integrity and a stability. They hate it, and they hate it because it reminds them of how much they miss it, but at the same time how much they think they can’t achieve it. The New Guard have cannibalized every single symbol they could find, they have made everything their’s in this incredibile hunger for something “new”, and sadly they have become the oppressors inside of their own community.
It’s almost as if a part of this new guard world is scared about being left behind if people start loving a structured lifestyle based on honor. And hence, their New Guard Washing. The last fashion, is to state that Old Guard never existed.
THE OLD GUARD NEVER EXISTED
I have collected several tweet screenshots & posts over time from several “Mr Leather” and modern spokesmen of the scene who publicly claimed that Old Guard never existed. To rebuff, if any proof was ever needed regarding the existence of Old Guard Community and Values, since John Weal is not considered a reliable source by so many, Guy Baldwin (A Regular AT contributor) has talked extensively of it on in article on Leatherati online and it makes for very interesting reading.
The point, is not wether to determine if Guy Baldwin is better than John Weal who is better than LeatherBigWolf who is better than many other personalities in Leather; we are all, simply contributors to the discussion. The point is to aknowledge that, in its many variations, Old Guard not only existed, but still lives. And saying the opposite just not to establish that there’s something else other than what you think you can validate with your direct experience is problematic..
OLD GUARD LIVES.
By now it should be pretty clear that the Old Guard existed in my view, and therefore exists now in those who carry its values on. But let’s pretend for a second that it didn’t, shall we?
It exists now. There are people who believe in it, there are people who live by this code with all their heart and with a dedication that is uncorruptible. It is a Creed, it is a way of life, and just because it’s not accessible to the most because of their lack of dedication or modern day MTV 3 minute attention span, it doesn’t mean it’s dead or non existent.
I exist. My boy exists. My slave exists. My Mentors existed. My Brothers they exist. The other boys I have mentored exist. We are all here. Those who like to say that the Old Guard doesn’t exist should think very hard about what they’re doing, because suppressing and denying the existence of those who are different and denying our tribes history, trailblazers and where we have come from is not a great look.
ALPATRIBE – If you have thoughts,comments or different viewpoints please let us know as we would love to hear from you online etc whether you are Old Guard, New Guard or don’t belief in barriers and differences. firstname.lastname@example.org