Kiss of Fetish Magazine Team Creator and Editor: Shadow Kyss Photography: Shadow Kyss Website: Dark Wolf
Contributors This Issue: Cherielle GrrlBear MoltenWhisper Shadow Kyss
This magazine is intended for those 18 years of age or older and is not suitable for all readers. If you are not into kink, fetish or BDSM, this magazine is not for you. This is not for the faint of heart. Consider yourself warned. ÂŠ 2012 Kiss of Fetish. All rights reserved.
May 11, 2012 : This edition is going to be huge. I had the honor and privilege of hearing from the ladies that competed in the Southwest Leather Bootblack competition. May 19, 2012 : I have added a new section to the magazine. It is called the Water Cooler. I have not yet decided whether or not it will be as a substitute for Stories and Poems from readers, or if it will be in addition. Either way I hope you enjoy hearing what others in the community have to say. June 15, 2012 : This issue appears smaller because I had a huge interview with contestants at the Bootblack competition. I wanted to highlight these ladies for their hard work and thank them for all they do.
SouthWest Leather Bootblack Competition The Water Cooler
Interview conducted by Shadow Kyss
An in-depth interview with the contestants of the 2012 Competition. For images from the event or images, please check them out here.
Can you tell us why you decided to participate this year? Grrl Bear: I decided to participate this year because I was approached by the producer of The International Ms. Leather Conference and asked if I would be willing to compete this year instead of waiting a year because they needed more bootblacks in the competition. Normally I would've had a whole year to prepare for that event. I did it mostly because I've always been a big fan of saying yes when someone asks me if I'm willing, especially if it involves helping a member of my community. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time and I have no regrets!
Cherielle: I decided to run for several reasons. One, if I were to return to bootblacking, I was going to do it big and prepare myself for competition. There had not been any contestants the year before and I didnâ€™t want that to happen in 2012. Some of the other reasons for competing were: the experience of competing, the opportunities that would open up for me as a bootblack, and to represent my region.
Moltenwhisper: I competed early this year for Southwest Bootblack, which is a regional competition held every January at the Southwest Leather Conference. The Southwest region for this conference, and the Titles bestowed (Southwest Master/slave and Southwest Bootblack) includes Arizona, California, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. There are two Bootblack titles for the Southwest Region - one being the Southwest Bootblack and the other being Southwest Community Bootblack. The Community Bootblack title represents Arizona and New Mexico, and while both titles carry forward the same general principles of outreach and education, each differs slightly in focus - Southwest Bootblack is a bit more about the spirituality of the leather path, and Southwest Community Bootblack is more about the joy and sex of leather. I decided to compete for several reasons. First and foremost was a chance to be in the middle of all the action. I am a big fan of cultural immersion - the best way to learn is by doing. So I jumped right in. The fact that I had the confidence to do so is very much credited to the amazing family I have - my mentors, my family, our local community.... it was such an outpouring of encouragement and excitement! Another reason I wanted to compete was to have a chance to meet other bootblacks - this was a big deal for me. At a conference like this, very well respected bootblacks from all over the country attend, join, judge, share and just raise the roof in general. I was very much hoping to be an active part of that. It was an opportunity that couldn't be passed up. But the biggest reason I competed was for the experience - to see what this contest was all about, to see if I could do it, push myself and my limits. To learn from it all.
What were some of the categories in the Competition? Care to share a little about them?
Grrl Bear: In the International Ms. Bootblack competition there are the categories Speech, Bootblack Image and Pop Question, Technical Knowledge and Skill, Personal Interview, Heart & Soul and Popular Vote. The speech was given on stage in front of everyone and could only be two minutes, this is not easy. Try to tell someone who you are and what you believe in two minutes. Bootblack Image is about choosing an outfit that best shows the judges who you are as a bootblack and The Pop Question is a randomly selected question usually written either by the emcee or the judges. It is usually humorous and meant to see how quickly you can think on your feet. The question I was given was "Your favorite boots are stolen at an event, what are they and how do you go about replacing them?" I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea. My answer, "Well, my favorite boots at an event are usually on someone else, they're yours (gestures to the crowd) so I suppose I'd just have to run 'em down and tackle 'em. (big smile)" The Technical Knowledge and Skill portion is all about how you handle shining boots and challenges that they represent, the judges are watching you while you work on boots in your bootblack chair and they also base this on your technical boot. The technical boot is a pair of high shine boots that have been lovingly distressed and in need of some bootblack love. Every competitor brings a pair and they are selected at random to give to the competitors to bring back to a high shine by the end of the allotted time. I actually got my own pair of boots back and had over 24 hours to work on them. Which in reality is only a couple of hours at a time late at night when you finally get a chance to get your hands on them between all the other duties. The Personal Interview is just that, an interview in front of the panel of judges where they ask you questions about your technical knowledge, community contribution, bootblack history, personal history and possibly anything else they can think of in the allotted time, the questions vary and are really about the judges getting to know you as a person and bootblack. Heart & Soul is about how you interact with the general public and how you present yourself. It's about how you interact with your customers and how you make bootblacking unique and interesting. The judges observe you all throughout the competition for this. The Popular Vote is exactly what it sounds like... How many votes can you get from the attendees and the other contestants.
Cherielle: Technical shine – You have one hour to take one boot from trashed to high shine. This includes any repairs needed to accomplish your task. Interview – It is just you and the judges, and they can ask you any question they want. The questions range from bootblack technique, bootblack and leather history, personal history,…basically anything they want to know about you in order to help them make a decision. Interpersonal skills – the judges watch you as you black in the lounge. They are looking to see how you get along with other contestants, people sitting in your chair, themselves. They watch you all weekend, and looking to see what kind of attitude you have. Formal wear – This is whatever you choose, as long as it is what you would wear to a Formal leather event. Does not have to be leather. They are looking to see how comfortable you are dressed up, how you present yourself. Speech/pop question – The speech is a timed speech, on any topic of your choice. They are wanting to see how you deliver your message, how well you can speak in front of others. The pop question is probably the hardest part of the entire
competition as there is not preparing for it. The question can be serious, funny, pertain to bootblacking or not. They are looking to see how well you think on your feet. Can you speak spontaneously and get your point across? Cherielle’s speech: “Good evening esteemed judges, friends and my Leather Family. ‘Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.’ This quote from the philosopher Albert Schweitzer captures the essence of how I come to stand before you tonight. Join me on a journey that began almost a year ago at South Plains Leather Fest. It was the Women’s Cruise, and I was approached by someone that I deeply respect and told to ‘get off my ass and get back to bootblacking.’ Within the space of one week, three different people (who had no idea about the first message) came to me and delivered the same message ‘get back to bootblacking.’ I listened. Short pause I opened my kit. Short pause I picked up a brush and my heart soared! The reason I had laid my brush down was long forgotten, but the feel of the brush in my hand, the smell of the polish rocked my soul and jumped started something deep inside of me. The desire and passion came back stronger. This weekend is not all about winning. It is about honoring those that came before me, and paving a path for those that follow in the future. If there is something you want to do, If there is something you want to learn….find your courage….ASK someone in your family, in your community to help you find your heart as I have found mine. My leather heart, my bootblack heart…it’s here within my chest, waiting and thumping to the rhythm of the leather, calling my name, my heart and my hand to its care. Thank you”
MoltenWhisper: The competition categories included things like Technical skills, Speech and Formal Wear, a Judges' Interview, Interpersonal Skills and an onstage pop question. This competition is about more than an ability to do a good boot; it is about how you interact with the people in your chair, your fellow bootblacks, and the public at large. It is about your ability to represent the Bootblack community as a whole, educate and reach out, it is about letting your integrity, your honor and your approachability shine. It is about being adaptable and remaining positive in situations that require flexibility or are stressful. Overall, your ability to be a positive public figure and role model, especially when the environment around you gets hectic.
How long did you take to prepare for the SWL bootblacking competition? Grrl Bear: This is an interesting question that has two answers really. I've been in the community for many years doing various volunteer work at conferences and in the community in general. I feel that just by being in the community and growing as a Leatherwoman I was preparing for that competition, it is so much more than just about who you are as a bootblack. It's about showing your heart and soul, about being a Leatherperson. Even though I'd only been bootblacking since October, so less than four months, when I went to Southwest Leather to compete I'd already had many years of experience building my Leather Heart.
Cherielle: I started preparing for the competition in March, 2011 and the contest was held the end of January, 2012.
MoltenWhisper: How long do you take to prepare for anything? Especially a new experience? Sometimes you just have to jump in and start experiencing. But there was a lot of boot shopping involved ;)
What was one of the hardest aspects of preparing for the competition?
Grrl Bear: For the Southwest Leather Bootblacking competition the hardest part for me was just getting all of the technical knowledge in and getting the practical experience of having live bodies in my chair. I'm normally a very shy bear, so learning to get past that shyness and really engage with the people that sit in my chair was the hardest part. There was also the many hours spent with hands on boots, just learning the technical ins and outs of figuring out what kinds of leather the boots are and then using the proper techniques to shine them. I still think the hardest aspect was preparing myself mentally for the unknown. I'd never competed in a Leather competition before, so I really didn't have any idea what was expected other than what I'd been told. It's a lot of time spent psyching yourself out and then mentally talking yourself down. I don't know what I would've done without the support of my mentors Boi Moe and Tami and my fellow competitor Moltenwhisper.
Cherielle: Not having someone local to go to with questions about technical aspects of bootblacking, as well as general questions regarding the actual competition. Two of the local bootblacks that I would normally have gone to were either judging or managing the competition, and ethically, we had to sever that type of relationship until after the competition.
MoltenWhisper: The hardest aspect for me was not knowing what to expect. The boot, sure, I knew what to expect there. I was excited about the technical part of the contest, I knew I had skills and would bring them. It was the event weekend itself that got me wound up. I think I moved my entire house into the hotel room for the weekend, just to be prepared for anything! A lot of time was spent meditating on the fact that I was opening myself up to strangers in a way that I never had before, and that doing so was a fine thing. Keeping the excitement in check, staying focused and organized.
During the competition, was there any particular question or action that made you pause? Would you care to share what it was and how you overcame? Grrl Bear: You know, I really can't think of anything in particular that made me pause during the SW competition. I was surprised at how relaxed I was during the whole thing. I had made myself the promise ahead of time that I was going to have fun no matter what. My reasoning was that if I wasn't having fun what was the point of being there. I think that attitude helped me to stay relaxed and face any adversity with a smile. It's amazing what one can do with the right attitude.
Cherielle: At the end of the technical section, I knew that my boot was not to my standard. I ran out of time and I was completely unhappy with my work. At that point, I was ready to quit the entire competition. I set the boots aside for the judges to pick up, and dropped my head into my hands ready to cry. I felt that I had let my Master, my mentor, all those that had supported me, as well as myself down. My Master had watched me for the entire hour, and when it was over, he came over and put his arms around me not saying a word. He just held me, then suddenly I felt something sharp dragging across my shoulders. It was a slave friend with talons. Silently, he ran those talons across my shoulders as Master held me. Between the two of them, I was able to re-center, take a deep breath, gather my stuff and move back to my stand and continue with the competition.
MoltenWhisper: I had to answer for missing an important bootblacking activity during the weekend. I was honest. I had made a prior commitment to someone that weekend, before I even knew I was going to participate in the bootblacking contest. I wasn't there because I was honoring that other commitment, knowing that it might make me look bad or even cost me the title. I
don't regret making the decision to keep my promise...it isn't always easy to do the right thing. But I certainly have no regrets.
Was there something that you learned from the competition that you hadn't known previously? Grrl Bear: Wow, I learned that I have far more support from my community than I ever imagined and that I have an inner strength that I had only seen glimpses of in the past. It's amazing all the love and support I received that weekend and have continued to receive today. I've always just strived to do my part in the community and have never expected anything in return. It's wonderful when you realize that all your efforts have been seen and are appreciated.
Cherielle: I learned who I could count on when the going got tough, who would be there for me no matter the outcome. I think the most important thing I learned is that I am stronger that I ever thought.
MoltenWhisper: I learned that bootblacks across the country share such a strong family bond, open, welcoming, sharing...it was overwhelming, really. A family within a family. It was a very humbling and liberating experience to be so openly accepted, supported, and cheered on during the contest.
What did you learn most about you from the competition? Grrl Bear: I learned that when I put my mind to it and have the support of friends, family and community that I can accomplish goals that may seem farfetched at first. I learned that my Leather Heart and Spirit shine through when I'm doing something that I'm passionate about and that others can see it. I also learned that I can pull a speech out of thin air on a momentâ€™s notice and pull it off without a hitch. I'd always suspected this, but the competition was the first time I'd had to do it in front of hundreds of people.
Cherielle: I think the most important thing I learned about me is that I can share my heart and spirit with others, in such a way as to remain true to the path that I have chosen to walk.
MoltenWhisper: I learned a lot about perception. My perceptions can differ greatly from the perception of others. Others' perceptions of me and my actions can be completely different from my intent. I learned a lot about how someone who may not know me, might view something I say or do completely differently than someone who knows me well. I am not always the most selfaware person....so this was a terrific experience for me. It was an opportunity for self growth in awareness, in being in the now, and projecting my intent in such a way that it is understandable to many, not a few.
How close was the final tally of the competition? Grrl Bear: I'm not privy to the scores of any of the competitors and I never asked. There are always rumors about how close a competition was or wasn't. I choose to just let it be what it was. In the end, what difference does it make? Am I any less the titleholder if it was by 5 points or by 50 points? I can tell you from my IMsL experience that it doesn't really matter. When I didn't get the title of IMsBootblack it was more about the experience being an enriching one and having the guts to get up
there in the limelight and compete. I could've lost by a point or two and it didn't matter. In the end it went the way that it was meant to be. I will strive to learn from my mistakes and do better next time.
Cherielle: They have not given us the exact tally, but I was told that the scores had to be recounted three different times. It was very close.
MoltenWhisper: No idea...what is a tally? It's a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper. I have no idea what my “score” was. I have plenty of feedback on my performance from those who sat in my chair, bootblacked beside me, and offered me support, constructive criticism, suggestions, encouragement. What I took from the PEOPLE was so much more than I could ever take from a tally.
When the competition concluded, what was the first thought that went through your mind? Grrl Bear: Honestly, the first thought was "Oh my god, did I just win?" Which was followed by, "You must've won, they are handing you the patch and the box." It really took a few seconds to sink in. I wasn't expecting to win at all, as far as I knew it could've been anyone. It's funny though, it wasn't until the next morning that it really sunk in and I realized just what I'd gotten myself into. That right there is an overwhelming feeling, when you realize the responsibility and honor that has been bestowed upon you... then you know your are really in for it.
Cherielle: I honestly don’t remember. Probably something along the lines of …’How fast can I get off this stage so I can cry?’. My first coherent thought was along the lines that no matter what the scores said, I knew that I accomplished what I set out to do, show people that I have grown over the years, and that I am a damn good bootblack.
MoltenWhisper: THANK GOD. Image taken by Janet Hardy at IMsL 2012
If you could go back and change one thing in your prep for the competition, what would it be and why? Grrl Bear: For Southwest Leather I wouldn't change a thing, for International Ms. Bootblack... if I could change one thing about my prep for that, I would go back and do more research. I don't feel that I was properly prepared for the interview portion of the competition. Of course, if I'd had more time... oh the whole year I was supposed to originally have for instance, I probably would've been more prepared with the information that I was lacking.
Cherielle: More practice for the technical portion, practice time management. Other than that, I was pretty well prepared.
MoltenWhisper: I would have practiced speaking in front of people more. I was complacent about public speaking: I do it for my job, no big deal, etc. I had NO idea when I stepped on that stage that I would be blinded by the lights. I am so used to seeing my audience that this really threw me off and my entire speech leaked out my ears. Made a total ass out of myself (laughing) I can laugh about it now, but I think it was the one singular thing that truly upset me. I was SO much more capable than that! Excellent experience to learn from. Not easy to live through.
What did you learn most about the community around you at the competition? Grrl Bear: I think that the most amazing thing that I learned about this community around me is that they have so much support to give and that it comes in so many different forms. Sometimes all one needs is a good hug to carry on. The cheers that I heard when I was on stage were almost overwhelming. I had no idea that I had so many people behind me. I knew that my Leather Family was there. How could you miss The Dragon Clan's clamor in the corner during my speech, but it was the rest of the audience that floored me. Learning later that people were standing on their seats to see me get down on the stage and lick the emcee's boots, that was wonderful. I actually felt like I was part of this huge Leather Tribe and it felt like coming home.
Cherielle: This is a hard question to answer. The most surprising thing I learned was that people have been watching me, and they did notice the growth that I have experienced. I thought that I was invisible for a long time, but apparently, by just taking one step at a time, and working on me paid off.
MoltenWhisper: I learned that I am loved and supported far more than I ever would have guessed. I learned that people who live in this particular community are so giving of the heart and spirit.. I may not be perfect, but they love me anyway. I learned that folks who see you struggle will hold you up and carry you forward until you find your feet. I learned that what you put out comes back to you tenfold.
Will you be competing next year? If yes, what are you doing now to prepare? Grrl Bear: I'm still not sure if I'm going to be competing next year for a title. I think I still have time to make that decision. I think the most important thing for me to focus on this year is doing the best I can to represent the Southwest Bootblack title and to make my region proud. I'm still figuring out who I am as a bootblack and I'm looking forward to the personal growth that that entails. I've still got a lot of things to learn and a lot of experiences to have that will only serve to enrich who I am and therefore make me a better candidate for the next time I decide to step up and face the challenge of being a contestant.
Cherielle: I am competing again in 2013, not only for SW Bootblack, but am already planning on competing for International Ms Bootblack, no matter what happens at SW. This year, I will be focusing on time management practice, getting more involved with community service, more teaching, more public speaking. OH, also fundraising as the International competition is not cheap.
Who knows what the next year will bring? I know that if I don't directly compete, I will be actively involved in the contest at SWLC in some capacity.... I know that I will continue to be active in my community. I will seek opportunities to travel, to share, to teach and learn, to volunteer, to fundraise. I am Southwest Community Bootblack 2012. I am walking my leather path, sharing my enthusiasm and passion and learning as I go. I will be 80 and still learning!
What word of advice would you give others that may think of competing? Grrl Bear: Hmmm... I think the best advice is that if you are thinking about it, do it. It's worth the experience; even if you don't win it is a grand experience. Don't do it if it's not something you are passionate about. You have to have that passion. Do it because your heart tells you to do it, don't do it if it's not for your heart. If you do get out there and sign up... remember to relax, breathe and most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Cherielle: Make damn sure that you are doing it for the right reason. Competition is hard, hard physically, emotionally, mentally. It is hard on relationships. If your heart is in the right place, then DO IT! As I said in my speech, it’s not about the winning. It is about stepping up to the plate, doing the best job you can do and most importantly HAVE FUN!!! That weekend was probably the most fun I have ever had at a conference.
MoltenWhisper: DO IT! It's the best kind of insanity you could ever hope for. It's more fun that you would ever dream. And it's one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you don't want to miss. Don't overthink it, just get in there and experience it for the joyful chaos that it truly is. The knowledge you will gain about yourself, the growth you will experience, and the friendships that you will gain are priceless gifts. Don't short yourself, and don't deny yourself.
Ok, now I would love to learn a little more about you as a person…. What kinks are you into? Which is your favorite? Why? Grrl Bear: Oh wow... I could write a novel here. I'm into so many things, too many to list in one place. I've been called a heavy bottom and an edge player. I just like intense sensations and tend to enjoy things that make me bleed. On the other hand, I really enjoy sensations in general. I like to think of myself as a hedonist really, if it feels good do it. I just sometimes have a strange idea of what feels good because I'm wired a little funny. If I have to pick a favorite kink for today, it would be trampling. There's nothing I like better than the experience of groveling on the floor in a primal state while special someone kicks, stomps and abrades my body with their boots. I just love the sensations that are possible with a boot pressed to my flesh. Of course, licking the boot afterward is also up there on the list. Being able to show the honor and respect I have for that person's boot, which is the representative of their "walk in life" is a wonderful ending to a great scene.
Cherielle: Geez, it’s easier to say what I’m not into. If it causes pain, it’s a favorite. Also, I absolutely adore consensual/nonconsensual play as it allows me to completely let go and be free. But if I must choose a favorite kink, it would be knives because they can range from sensual to painful. They are just HOT!!!
Mmmm... I am into 'yes'. I love to explore. I'm a sensualist â€“ anything that attacks the senses. I love needles and artistic cutting, whips, impact play, mind fuckery, shenanigans, laughing during scenes, extreme edge play, bleeding, fire, boot worship, sensory deprivation, short scenes, long scenes, public scenes..secret naughty scenes....cutting and needleplay are a couple of my favorites. During heavy play I have a tendency to go primal and it's probably a good idea if you either tie me up good or stay out of my kicking radius. And I love people who laugh and hit harder when I try to kick them. I love being made into art. And I love it when the bruises last for weeks. But I love it the best when the scene starts long before the players take the stage. My brain is a huge erogenous zone.
How long have you been in the lifestyle? Grrl Bear: I've been in the lifestyle for 14 years.
Cherielle: All my life!!!! My earliest memories are of laying in bed at night when I was around 11 or 12 yrs old, fantasizing about being kidnapped, tied up, beaten and raped. I actually acted on those fantasies during my first marriage (1983-1992) then when I got my first computer I started searching for what I was dreaming about. I met my first kinky person in 1997, and the rest is history.
MoltenWhisper: I have been openly active in the Phoenix community for about 4 years now. Prior to that I lived in a small town that had no BDSM community to speak of, so most of my interactions were online or when I traveled to larger towns on the other side of the mountains, which was infrequent.
When did you become active? Grrl Bear: I became an active member of the local community in October of 2004.
Cherielle: March 1997 I made the drive to Dallas from Stillwater, OK to visit a couple I had met on ICQ. I would not recommend doing it the way I did it, no one had any idea where I was that weekend. Fortunately, it turned out ok and we are still dear friends today. I jumped in with both feet, and have never left.
MoltenWhisper: oh...sometime around 2007 maybe? My mental timeline is not good. And I danced the fringe for YEARS before I found my One, and my freedom.
What are some other things that you are active in the Fetish community? Grrl Bear: I don't consider myself active in the Fetish community, but in the Leather community I do a lot of volunteer work at the local club, Arizona Power EXchange. I enjoy DMing for parties. I also am the facilitator for the GLBTQ Special Interest Group that meets at APEX once a month. I've been doing a lot of outreach lately trying to get to know the Leathermen and Leather boys/bois in Phoenix, also working on getting to know our current TNG folks. I think it's important to "bridge the gaps" in our community. Outreach plays an important part in bringing us all together.
Cherielle: I am a member of the Bootblack Brigade, Women in Leather International, Arizona girls of Leather, MAsT-Phoenix, APEX, Arizona Amazons, Get Your Black On and Desert Dominion. I am the Education Director for Desert Dominion, and the Southwest Champion for Get Your Black On.
MoltenWhisper: I'm all over the place – I go where I am called. I'm active at our local dungeon, APEX, active in several groups, and as part of the LeatherSir/leatherboy title family I am much more active with the boys and Men of Leather groups than I have been in the past. I have the honor of participating in a couple of great projects that are in the works, some new groups and events coming to town, and it is very much a community effort. Some great things in store this year!
How is bootblacking a kink? Grrl Bear: Is bootblacking a kink? Yes, I think it is. It is so much more than just shining a pair of boots or conditioning some leathers. It's about the interaction between me and the person in my chair. If I'm working on someone's boots I want them to feel me. Its about an energy exchange with the person who's wearing the leather. There is a playful thing that can happen if the person is willing. I want them to feel me through the leathers. When I'm rubbing Hubards on your leather, you will feel it... my love for the leather will shine through. We can have a dance of sensations, if I'm doing it right and you are willing we will come out of the experience with more energy than when we went in. Muscles will be massaged and relaxed, temperatures will rise and endorphins will be released... Does this sound like a scene to you? Yes, it is. Even if not a shred of clothing is removed, there will be an eroticism in the careful and methodical way that I put my bootblacking love into your leathers.
Cherielle: Bootblacking is not a kink for everyone. For those that consider it a kink, they get satisfaction…both sexual and emotional, from bootblacking. For me, though, it is a spiritual endeavor. It is how I provide service to my community, to my Club, to my Master. Yes, there are parts of it that I find sexy, and I can gain sexual satisfaction from my endeavors, but most of the time I get off on seeing a pair of boots go from looking like hell, to a thing of beauty…shining so much that I can see myself in the shine.
MoltenWhisper: The same way other kinks are kinks. It makes me fucking hot, and a lot of the time I make other people fucking hot when I do it. Kinkalicious.
How did you discover bootblacking? Grrl Bear: I don't think that there was one defining moment that I discovered bootblacking. I had heard about it and was interested from a shoe shining point of view. I'd always had a thing for feet and for a beautiful shine on a hard shine boot. It wasn't until I met BootPig that I learned what a bootblack was and then it wasn't until I went to Southwest Leather and got to watch the bootblacks do their thing in the lounge that I really understood what it was all about.
Cherielle: I was first introduced to shining shoes in high school when I joined NJROTC. I came home with a pair of Coraframs, and my dad who was a Marine had a fit. He took me out and bought a pair of military dress shoes, some polish and a brush and taught me to shine those shoes to pass his inspection. I discovered that I could lose myself while working on those shoes. Fast forward to my entry into the lifestyle and was taught how to shine boots when I lived in Dallas. Then, when I moved to Phoenix I met Bootpig. In watching her work, I realized that I wanted to do what she was doing…not just making the boots look good, but she was making love to the boots. So, I asked her to teach me, and the rest is history.
What was your first experience like? Grrl Bear: My first private experience was not bad. It was doing Boi Moe's boots in Boi Moe's chair in her house. I was a little nervous, but knew that I was in good hands. My first public experience was quite different. I wasn't expecting it. I was at EPIC a fetish event in Phoenix last year and wasn't really ready to call myself a bootblack yet. I was hanging around the bootblacks there just trying to soak in what it is that they do and hope that one day I could be just as good when things got slow and one of the bootblacks looked at me and said, "Do my boots." Just like that and I was bootblacking at an event. I was so nervous it took me a while just to get my bearings. I hardly knew what to do, I knew how to take care of the boots, but dealing with someone in the boots is quite different than just having a pair of empty boots in front of you. You actually have to, gasp, TALK to someone. I did fine and gave her a great massage through the leather of the boots. It was funny to have people coming up and cheering me on, making comments and picking on me while I was working. I barely remember what was said I was concentrating on the boots so hard. In the end, I had a satisfied customer and my first tip in pocket, but most importantly I had the experience of doing my first pair of boots as a bootblack.
Cherielle: It was the most amazing thing in the world. It was the SW Boot Camp, 2009 held at Desert Dominion, in Tucson. I was in the dungeon, listening to the instructors go over how to shine a boot, and then they had us do it. I could feel my Ownerâ€™s energy in the boots, and I just sat there pouring my love into those boots. Once I finished his boots, I sat there holding them and watching an erotic leather care scene going on, and it hit me. There was so much more to this than just making boots look good. My heart soared and I knew I was hooked.
Do you have a trademark or symbol that you specifically use in your bootblacking? Care to share with us what it is and how it came to be? Grrl Bear: I don't have a trademark or symbol. I don't see the need to "brand" myself. I am me. I am a bootblack. I am a bear. I do have people that bring me bears that reminds them of me, but it is not something that I do deliberately. I also have a mascot that lives in my bootblack kit, but it is by no means a trademark. I have a little wooden bear that I've painted wearing a pair of Doc Marten's. He goes with me everywhere as a good luck totem, it was a gift from a friend at Epic that night that was my first experience as an official bootblack. That's why he's so special to me, but no... no trademark.
Cherielle: The Butterboot. I wanted something that when people saw it, they automatically thought of me. Butterflies are my totem, so I wanted to incorporate the butterfly. The butterfly symbolizes transformation, and through the years my life had
undergone a major transformation. Within the realm of bootblacking, I had gone from someone who knew how to shine a boot into a Bootblack.
MoltenWhisper: I don't have a trademark or symbol per se. I have been referred to, more than once, as “the girl with the red box” But I'm not necessarily trying to brand myself. Having said that, my business cards have a really hot pair of lips on them, because my name is Moltenwhisper.
Can you tell us one bad experience (excluding names) and what you took from it? Grrl Bear: I can't say as though I've had any bad experiences in my chair as of yet. Fortunately for me, I've been very lucky. Give me time though and I'm sure that I'll have stories to tell. I tend to be an optimist and find the positive in every experience that comes my way.
Cherielle I was scheduled to black in a bootblack lounge at a major conference. I was exhausted, and did not feel well. I really did not want to go to the lounge and work, but was told by my owners that I made a promise and I had to keep it. So off I went, very resentful. I did not do a good job, hell, it wasn’t even adequate. And apparently, my mouth ran away from me and I said some things that were absolutely inappropriate. Because of my behavior, a relationship I treasured ended. Because of this, I was told some very harsh things, things at the time I did not want to hear, and did not believe. Now, I know that I was in the wrong, and the words spoken to me were said for my own good. What I learned from this is that if I don’t have anything good to say, just stay quiet. And most especially, I learned that if my heart is not clean and pure, DO NOT TOUCH A PAIR OF BOOTS!!! This is how I came up with the first lesson I teach ….CLEAN HANDS + CLEAN HEART = SHINY BOOTS!
MoltenWhisper: Every experience, good or bad, has helped shape me into who I am today. So I guess something I've taken from every bad experience is growth. Sometimes that growth is shockingly and painfully instant, sometimes it's growth at the pace of a glacier. I suspect I may, even now, be growing. Wear clean socks, use your seatbelt, and always pee before you take the stage.
What is it like to be in the midst of an erotic bootblacking experience? Anything that you can share to help us understand a little more of your experience? Grrl Bear: Ooh, good question! In the midst of an erotic bootblacking experience there is an energy. It's almost palpable beyond the leather. I can barely describe the experience of having my hands, face and other body parts covered in Hubbard’s and rubbing all over someone's leathers. There is the taste of the leather and Hubbard’s as I lick my way up and down the leathers. Then there's the smell of it all, pine tar and bees wax... leather... the musk, ungh, it's incredible! All of the senses are in play here. The sounds of someone grunting or groaning in desire, the feel of the conditioned leather on my skin, the heat of their body under and through the leather. It's one of those things that you have to experience to truly understand. There's the love and respect and the reverence shared between us as I honor that person and their leather. Not only is it a great way to get the leathers cleaned and conditioned, but it is an experience in and of itself. The end product is someone that not only looks good, but who has been pampered (and possibly molested in a good way). As a bootblack it feeds me and I hope that it feeds those that come to me too.
Cherielle: An erotic bootblack experience is like making love with someone very special. It is just me, the person wearing the leathers, and the leather. Nothing between me and the leathers except the conditioner. I make love to the leather. For me, it is a very spiritual experience. Leather was a living, breathing organism, and my care honors the life that it had. There is a connection forged between myself and the other person that will always be special, even after the scene. It is really hard to explain, you have to experience it to completely understand just how special it is.
MoltenWhisper: Do you ever have the type of scene where everything is in hyperfocus, there's only you, the other person, and the bubble around you? The entire room disappears and the energy starts to build, build, burn, consume, create, spin, dance. Slick, hot, slow, touch, sigh. Smile, say words with only the eyes, finish each other's thoughts, anticipate. Strike. Bow, beg, shiver, stroke, cum? Please? Cum? Now add bacon.
How did you become interested in Bootblacking? Care to share a little of how you started? Grrl Bear: I told this story as my speech at Southwest Leather. I was helping at an event with my slave sister and we came to a point where we had some free time to relax between duties. She pulled a pair of boots out of her bag and some shoe shining supplies, polish, saddle soap, etc. I watched as she washed the boots, then struggled with how to polish them... mumbling to herself the whole time. I'd learned how to shine a pair of boots from my father, who was in the military. So I offered to help. She happily shoved the boots my direction and put me in charge of making them shiney. As I was working on the boots, carefully applying the polish as I'd been taught to do, then buffing it out with a wet brush... then buffing with the cloth, I suddenly realized what I had in my hands. I had just finished polishing my Sir's boots, not just any boots, but the boots that he wore while in the military, in Viet Nam. I was polishing Sir's jungle boots. I was in awe. I knew the honor and privilege that that represented. I couldn't believe that I had just polished something so important to my Sir. When it came time to give them to him. I didn't know what to say, I was so nervous that I hadn't done them the way that they deserved to be done. Sir took one look at them and a big proud Daddy smile spread across his face! He put them on right away and spent the rest of the weekend stomping around in them, proudly beaming and telling everyone what "his bear" had done! It was my first taste of what bootblacking was all about and it stuck with me.
Cherielle: Well, if you heard my speech from the SW Bootblack Contest in January, you would have heard me say that I was approached by someone and told to get off my ass and get back to it. Master had also been after me to open my kit back up and start blacking, so between Master and Jayson DaBoi, I got back to it.
MoltenWhisper: The first time I sat down with a boot, and was lovingly guided through a strip, dye and shine, I saw what I had done with my own two hands, felt how grounding it was for me, and knew I was discovering something about myself. There was affirmation there, and encouragement, bonding, love, friendship. It was a beginning, and I knew there was no stopping.
What is the most important lesson that you have learned about yourself in this lifestyle? Grrl Bear: I have learned that I am a powerful being. That I have so much to give and there are people out there that appreciate all the glorious gifts that I have to offer. It was a difficult lesson to learn. I've always struggled with self esteem and self worth issues. This lifestyle has helped me to re-value who I am and to realize that I have great worth.
Cherielle: I have learned that the most important thing in life is being true to yourself, no matter how it may appear to others. As long as I am true to my heart, the rest will work out.
MoltenWhisper: To live authentically, be open, laugh at myself, remember my manners, to know the place and time for levity, and for protocol. That I get what I give.
What was one of your hardest obstacles to overcome? Why? Grrl Bear: My shyness and I'm still working on it in a lot of ways. I'm an introvert by nature, so it has been very hard to learn to come out of my shell and share of myself. I had to realize that the only way that I was going to get my needs and wants met was to put myself out there and learn to ask for what I need. Not easy when it's in your nature to stay in the cave where you feel comfortable and safe.
Cherielle: Oh geez, there are several that were extremely hard for me, but I think the one that has made the biggest difference over the last year would be the fear of approaching people I have admired from afar. Since returning to bootblacking, and working hard on myself, I no longer am absolutely terrified to walk up to someone and start a conversation. And because I was able to get over that fear, doors are opening for me.
MoltenWhisper: Myself. I can be my own worst critic. But truly, the only one who limits me...is me.
What is the basic equipment needed for a new person beginning in bootblacking? Grrl Bear: First there is the desire and passion that's needed. Then you need to go out and get yourself some saddle soap, clean rags, spray bottles for water is good, some brushes for cleaning boots, some Hubards is a must for oiltans and clothing, at least one can of black polish (Angelus or Lincoln is recommended, stay away from Kiwi, it's too soft), there are also some polish brushes that can be used. It all depends on what you are doing and how you want to put a polish on. There are different techniques and I've found that each bootblack is different in how they work. I'd say that the most important thing is to find a bootblack that you resonate with and ask them to teach you. It's important to have that resource when learning, it's hard to learn on your own. Anyone can shine a boot, but it takes a special passion to be a bootblack.
Cherielle: For someone just starting out, I would recommend just a few items. Saddle soap or glycering soap Dauber for applying soap Wax Polish â€“ make sure there is no silicone in it Horsehair brush Spray bottle for water Clean, lint free rags Clean, old stockings
MoltenWhisper: Your hands and your desire. The rest you can get at the store.
What is one of the biggest no-no's in working a pair of boots? Grrl Bear: Don't try to put polish on oiltans... it happens far more than you would think. It's also important to know your products and what they do to leather. We see far too many boots that have to be stripped because someone put the wrong thing on them. If in doubt, ask... there are plenty of experienced bootblacks out there. I tend to ask those that I know have been doing this the longest and they've always seemed to enjoy educating me on the finer points.
Cherielle: There are several, but I think two of the most important ones are not cleaning your hands, and attempting to do something that is not within your scope of ability. OH, and not honoring the request of the owner of the boots.
MoltenWhisper: To start working without knowing the wishes of the wearer. Not everyone wants perfection. Many, especially those in the biker crowds or those who follow the more traditional Leather Path, prefer their boots to tell a story. Never, NEVER assume that you know what someone wants. And Mop n Glo. Bootblacks will kick your ass silly if they ever find out you use Mop n Glo on your boots ;)
Would you care to share some information about your bootblacking box and the equipment that you use? Grrl Bear: It's a little chaotic in there, hehe. I haven't really settled into one technique over another yet, so I keep a lot of stuff on hand just in case. I have a Stanley toolbox, the kind that has the toolbox on top and a large compartment on the bottom. It is wheeled with a handle that extends out for ease of travel. I use both Angelus and Lincoln polishes and I've become quite fond of my Meltonian Leather Conditioner for vinyl’s and patent leather. I carry Fiebings Saddle Soap, both the solid and the liquid. There are enough rags in there to choke a horse. There's just so many things in there. I like to do repairs and restorations, so there are some advanced things in there that I wouldn't recommend to the beginner. I even carry a small butane torch in there. It just keeps growing all the time. I'd be happy to have a show and tell sometime, if you see me, just ask. Shoot, it's gotten to the point where even I am not sure what I'll find in there. It's kind of scary.
Cherielle: My kit has probably quadrupled in size over the last year. I started in a small tool box, and now have a Stanley FatMax tool box. Master got it for me for Christmas. I have a good variety of supplies, brushes for different color wax polishes, as well as one for grease. I have different color dyes, different type of conditioners, different color and brands of wax polish. I have cream polish, hand cleaner, liquid saddle soap, solid saddle soap, glycerin soap, toothbrushes, sand paper, emery boards, first aid kit, and condoms. Sir Cougar, of Houston, called me a Bootblack Supply Whore, and I take that as a compliment. At SW Bootblack Contest, I heard someone say, ‘Ask Cherielle, she has everything in her kit.’ Funny thing is, I did not have that particular item in my kit at the time, but do now.
MoltenWhisper: My box was found in a garage. I cleaned it up and painted it red and filled it with all sorts of delicious smelling things. Brushes, squirt bottles, rags, polish, china markers, a flashlight, a churchkey, a knife, laces, a toothbrush, toothpicks and qtips, a little dish, leather dust, superglue, a couple of different greases and conditioners....I keep adding to it. I find nifty little things to try and right now things are Tetris'ed into my box so tightly it makes me laugh. I've found that I don't need half of what I have...but I can't bring myself to get rid of my red box. It was found in Master's garage, you see.
What was one of the hardest pairs of boots you have ever cared for? Why? Grrl Bear: I was given a pair of work boots from a friend one time that were so nasty and beaten up that I wasn't sure how I was going
to get them back in shape. They were covered in dry wall dust and paint, gouged on who knows what and they were so dry that they had cracked in the corners where the toe bends. It was a labor of love to get those back into shape. Holes were filled, the boots were stripped and dyed... had to wash them three times to get all the dust and grime off. It was worth every minute when he saw them and his eyes lighted up. He hardly recognized them as the same pair he gave me to begin with.
Cherielle: The hardest pair of boots were a pair of Demonia’s. Not only did they have a horrid finish on them that make getting a shine almost next to impossible, they were knee high and covered in buckles. To this day, I do not like Demonia’s, and despise buckles.
MoltenWhisper: I am working on restoring a pair of circa 1890 Ladies' Victorian Boots. The leather is like parchment, and so cracked and dried. It's like an archaeological dig – delicate and fascinating work. And I'm so excited to see how far I can take the restoration! They will never be wearable again...but they are so fun to work on and I love the delicacy and intricacy of the work. It is a very intimate process for me.
What is your favorite piece of equipment and why? Grrl Bear: Huberds! Hands down it is the bestest stuff on Earth! The smell, the taste... the gooey goodness that it is and because it does wonders to condition even the oldest most dried out husks of leather!
Cherielle: Wow, I don’ t know that I have one favorite piece of equipment. If I had to choose, it would most likely be the horsehair brush that Master purchased for me from Elegant. It is purple with a bootprint on it. It is well loved, and I would have to say it’s my favorite because it is the first piece of equipment that He purchased for me, and he got it just because I fell in love with it and asked very nicely.
MoltenWhisper: My hands. Come find out.
Any upcoming projects or seminars that you would love to share with the readers? Grrl Bear: I'm currently working on putting together presentations on boot worshipping and trampling that I'd love to present everywhere. There's going to be a Boot Camp at APEX in November! I've also got some Boot Camps coming up elsewhere and demos. I will be sure to be posting everything on FetLife, look for my schedule there on my profile page, GrrlBear is my profile name. I can be found out and about bootblacking at various events all over.
Cherielle: Well, Get Your Black On is always looking for donations of new and gently used bootblack supplies/equipment. Desert Dominion will be hosting ‘Tea Tyme’ June 30-July 1, this is a chance to learn all about teas, proper way to prepare and serve tea, and then actually attend a Formal Tea Party on Sunday. We have a national presenter coming in from TN for this. I will be teaching at North West Leather Celebration in May, and doing a Bootblack Intensive at Threshold in LA in July.
MoltenWhisper: I (try to) keep a calendar on my Fetlife page, my Facebook page and share the calendar with the Southwest LeatherSir/Leatherboy/Community Bootblack website. Locally, I will be appearing at Flagstaff Pride the weekend of June
14, there will be a major fundraiser the weekend of June 22 in Phoenix, a bootblacking intensive in Hollywood on July14, and I will be in San Francisco to enjoy and compete at ILSb/ICBB the weekend of July 27. In between all of that, I can be found bootblacking at APEX, Apollo's, PALS and other house parties, and a few other spots around town. I'm usually busy every weekend, and try to give shouts out when I know where I'm landing.
Anything that you felt I have missed and would like to share? Grrl Bear: I think you got it, if there's anything else you need just let me know. I'm sorry that it took me so long to get to you. It's been crazy busy here. Thank you for the interest and if there's anything else I can do for you just let me know. Thank you again! In Leather Heart and Spirit, Bear Southwest Bootblack 2012
Cherielle: I am always open to discussing leather, leather care, bootblacking and other lifestyle topics with anyone that is interested. I am also open to accepting apprentices for bootblacking if anyone is interested in learning the art.
MoltenWhisper: My boot size is 9
For more information and images, please feel free to check out the main site found here
How long have you been in this community? 8 years ~Gryphon_AZ Probably started learning about it/exploring around 10 years ago? ~BlackroseBobby I was brought in, privately, in 1980, and had my first meeting with public bdsm in 1991 or 1992 at a Society of Janus party in SF, at which I talked to a lot of people, saw some eye-popping scenes, and didn't play. ~Anon Almost one year ~YO13
Your number one advice to someone new? Question, question, question. ~Gryphon_AZ Discuss things with your partner ahead of time and use a Safe word ~BlackroseBobby All this is "number one": (1) Read everything, but you will know nothing until you actually have some experience. (2) There is no "One True Way to be a passionate person and never let selfappointed authorities tell you that there is. (3) Other people's kinks and play may alarm you, bruises, welts, and blood may squick you, but don't negatively judge what other people consent to. They like it. (4) Bdsm and sex are two different things although they usually go together. (5) If you have never done any bdsm activities, you have no idea what your limits are. Be open-minded. (6) There is nothing wrong with having limits. Doms have them as well as subs. (7) Limits change over time. So do desires and kinks. (8) This is not an Olympic sport. You don't have be "extreme," whatever that may be, to have a completely fulfilling bdsm experience. Don't compare yourself to others. (0) Everything is optional, including safewords. (Public clubs, however, will usually insist on safewords, but if you don't like the whole idea if safewords (and many submissives don't), don't use them.) (10) If you're a total neophyte, dom or sub: Find an experienced person of the opposite orientation who inspires your trust to introduce you to bdsm, or hang
out at a bdsm club to listen and learn from everyone before diving in. Or, if you're a bdsm virgin and your eager partner is, too, and you're private people who don't care to share your initial experiences in public: start low, grow slow, and invent it all for yourself. That's how everyone did SM before public clubs became increasingly popular. (11) There is no "standard operating procedure" for doing any of this, and again, don't let anyone tell you that there is. (12) Whether you're a dom or a sub: care for your partner, and pay attention to your partner's responses. The way you and your partner evolve bdsm is the right way -- for you. ("Bdsm" is a relatively recently invented word. This was called SM before that.)I'd give additional pieces of advice later. ~Anon Go with your gut instincts and be open minded and friendly to everyone you meet without prejudice or judgement. ~YO13
Do you have a toy bag? Yes ~Gryphon_AZ Yea huh ~BlackroseBobby Of course. ~Anon Yes (and i'm a sub - go figure). ~YO13
What do you keep in your toy bag? floggers, canes, crops, and other assorted items. ~Gryphon_AZ Depends, I have a lockbox at home for personal toys that I would only use with lovers. A toy bag I would 'take out' would probably just be my riding crop, my high impact cane, my electric swatter, and my spreader bar. ~BlackroseBobby Impact implements of many kinds, a few restraint items, a few clamps, and a Violet Wand. ~Anon Condoms, clothespins, Rope, Floggers, chains, carabiners, nipple clamps, wrist restraints, paddle, and a Wartensburg Wheel. ~YO13
What is your favorite toy? That's a tough one since I like to scale through each one. ~Gryphon_AZ To use on others or myself? Myself is probably a vibrating egg because it’s small and can go wherever I'm in the mood for. Others is definitely my Electric swatter. While the cane/crop have great impacts, the swatter doesn't need to give away the impact with a hard swing before delivering a burst of pain ~BlackroseBobby It's a toss-up between a fine riding crop I found in London, or a wooden paddle I made. ~Anon Six-tail Fleather flogger made by Firebird Floggers. ~YO13
What would be your recommendation for a "first toy" for someone new? Soft flogger ~Gryphon_AZ Handcuffs, the children’s metal variety you find for about 5$. Yes, laugh all you want but it’s a great starting bondage item that allows someone to get used to being bound but have a sense of safety as they explore. ~BlackroseBobby This is an impossible question, because everyone has different fetishes, secret desires, fantasies. ~Anon Whatever calls to you first. Everyone is different. Look around and try different things. ~YO13
If you had to pick only one thing out of your bag, what would it be and why? See #5 ~Gryphon_AZ Trick question, but probably my Soft rope. I could use it for basic bondage and as a blindfold, or if needed I could whip someone with it in a pinch (not recommended). For such a simple item, it's very versatile. ~BlackroseBobby The crop, for its classic SM resonance. ~Anon Six tail Flogger, because it's my favorite. ~YO13
If you could only name one fetish/kink as your favorite, what would it be and why? Dunno ~Gryphon_AZ Sensory Deprivation, because it adds a major dose of excitement and doesn't allow someone to prepare for anything. ~BlackroseBobby I couldn't. For one thing, they blend together. ~Anon Flogging, because it's my favorite. ~YO13
What role do you identify with most and why? Sadist/service top ~Gryphon_AZ While in general I'm a switch, overall I identify as a Domme primarily. My submissive streak is a mostly 'in the bedroom' kind of thing while I'm a bossy bitch (Joking, mostly) all the time. Seriously though I try to understand both sides of myself, and I'm more comfortable on the average in the dominant role. ~BlackroseBobby I'm a dominant; it's the way my personality and sensitivity has evolved. ~Anon If you are asking what role do i identify myself as with most, i would say i am a bottom, because i like to receive pain from Tops, although i have a strong independent personality. ~YO13
What was your first experience in the community like? (no names if it was negative) I was exposed to the community at DD through Tiffany and it was like finding a family. ~Gryphon_AZ Desert Dominion Munch was probably my first 'community' experience, not talking about just individuals. I had a blast; everyone was nice and friendly and got to meet an online friend I had been chatting with forever. ~BlackroseBobby At science fiction convention ChiCon IV in Chicago in 1980, an experienced submissive picked me up. I didn't know she was a sub until we began having sex. She introduced me to myself in a way I would never have otherwise been able to -- entirely without pain play, restraint, toys, safewords, etc. Purely the headspace of dominance and submission expressed in sex that lasted for 3 days. A positive, life-transforming experience. ~Anon It was wonderful. i met a Master who pointed me to APEX and also became a mentor, and i have been mesmerized by BDSM ever since. Of course when I was 13, i pierced my own ears, therefore technically i discovered BDSM then, but did not yet it at the time. ~YO13
I just want to take a moment and give a special thanks to all those that participated in the Water Cooler. If you wish to get to know these individuals more, please be respectful when contacting them. If you contributed and I missed your opinion, I apologize.
Photography by Shadow Kyss
I am always looking for models and couples willing to be in front of the camera. As you can see, I am really good at concealing the identity without losing the power of the image. I am currently working on a series specifically for the magazine and some for a series that will be a bit more public. Any interested parties please contact me directly at Shadow_Kyss@yahoo.com. All body shapes and sizes are more than welcome to inquire.