(From the two weeks January 16 - 30, 1998)
(From the week January 9 - 16, 1998)
HOW DOES TOM FEEL ABOUT WES TAKING ON A LEATHER BOY?
Plus, a week of sobbing and laughing (not related to the above)
Spilling our guts across the information superhighway...
First off, for regular visitors, there will be no weekly update Friday the 23rd. My leather boy david will be in town for 8 days and I will be spending Quality Time with him.
(If you are a first-time visitor and the statement above has you scratching your head a little, check out THE BIG NEWS, WHAT ABOUT THIS THIRD? and WHAT'S A LEATHER DADDY/boy RELATIONSHIP?)
This has been an exhausting week with lots of stuff going on. As a result, there's so much here for this update I created an index for you:
- MY MOTHER VOICES HER CONCERN that I am making the mistake of a lifetime by bringing in a third. Two lady friends chime in with different opinions.
- KATHIE ASKS HOW TOM FEELS about the new triad
- TOM RESPONDS to Kathie's question
- KATHIE SHEDS INSIGHT into differences between different types of relationships
- DEATH OF A FRIEND, Mike Geinzer
- DEATH OF A COMPUTER, and good riddance
- I HELP BIRTH AN ONLINE AIDS TREATMENT INFORMATION NEWSLETTER!
- MORE ABOUT MY NEUROPATHY and how my drug changes to make it better are going
MY MOTHER VOICES HER CONCERN
That I am making the mistake of a lifetime by bringing in a third.
Two lady friends chime in with different opinions.
I try to call my mom every Saturday. This Saturday when I called, I had just gone and picked up a 20"*30" poster print of Tom in leather and me in uniform. When she asked what I was doing, I told her. She said "You always did look so handsome in your leather." So, while we were on the subject of leather, I decided to break the news. I reminded Mother that I like to practice rigorous honesty in my relationships -- and that includes her. Then I told her that Tom and I had taken on a third member of the family. She asked what I meant. I said "We've taken on a leather boy and I'm going to be his Leather Daddy. She asked what that meant. I said "Without getting into specifics, he's going to be my running bud." But then she got very specific: "Is the relationship sexual?" "Yes." "I don't like that at all. I've been so proud of you and Tom having a monogamous relationship." (That is a misconception because our open sex life was none of her business, given that Tom and I have a committed relationship.) I explained that Tom and I had talked about this at length and he was okay with it.
Someone came to her door and she needed to close for then, but she called back and voiced some thoughts:
- You're punishing Tom for going to school.
- Putting it on the Internet is humiliating and dreadful.
- When you're living that close with someone they never tell you all the truth. It must make him feel jealous. If it were the other way around, you'd be jealous. I don't think you could accept Tom being that close to someone else. Your relationship with Tom has been perfect and I hate to see you put it at risk. Heterosexual relationships don't handle that kind of stress. It seems fun at first, but then the parties break up.
Lunch with a lady friend:
I talked about this over lunch with my college pal Cyndi. She asked if there were any truth in the "punishing Tom" aspect. I said that I really feel no, that I think I really just want lots of attention. That was okay with her. But she also explained Mother's position a little to me: "When I first realized that you and Tom had an open relationship, I thought that it would never last as a result. Over time, I've come to realize that doesn't seem to be the case."
More conversation with Mother:
I realized yesterday that the main problem in Mother understanding the addition to our family is that she thought Tom and I were sexually monogamous previously. So, to help her understand david's addition in the context of the relationship she thought that Tom and I have/had, for today I told her that my relationship with david is non-sexual.
She was relieved about that. She pointed out that if I'd had sex with david (which I haven't) (and if Tom had been expecting a monogamous relationship) that the (hurt) partner's relationship dynamic would be:
She was, of course, exactly correct for the scenario she described. But she has never had a relationship with the level of trust Tom and I have developed, where we have a lifelong commitment to the other yet the relationship is sexually open.
- too hurt to even talk about it.
- then when they realize someone they love and trust has hurt them, they want to get even. "And that would be a very bad thing."
As part of her talk with me, she said "I think you may be taking Tom for granted." I assured her that was not the case. But, she started listing some of Tom's good qualities, which I share here for you:
- faithfulness to me
- takes good care of me
- wonderful cook
- contributes financially
- high morals
- I respect him
Then she went on to say "If there's anything you can do to rectify hurting his feelings, do so. If he didn't tell you his feelings were hurt, they had to be. When you bring another person into the relationship, he can no longer trust you." She would have been right -- IF I had been dishonest.
Another friend had a very different take on the situation:
I think it's wonderful that Tom obviously cares enough about you and your needs to not allow that evil green giant of jealousy to make an entrance.
The issue of fidelity vs. monogamy was discussed some months ago between my dearest and I. His feelings were that fidelity is by far more important - monogamy is none other than a record of chattel.
I felt I understood what she was saying, but I looked up the definitions just to make sure:
- fidelity -- faithfulness to obligations, duties or observances
- monogamy -- (1) the custom or condition of being married to only one person at a time (2) the condition of having one mate for life
- chattel -- (1) an article of personal, moveable property, (2) a slave
KATHIE ASKS HOW TOM FEELS
Thank you very much for your concise explanation about the leather Daddy/boy relationship. You cleared up a lot of things that I was very fuzzy on. I had been wondering about the bear thing for some time.
I wonder if males in general tend to have leather Daddy dispositions. A lot of heterosexual men I know would like to treat pretty near all women the way Wes describes his wishes to his leather boy. Hardly any heterosexual women I know wish to be treated that way, though. I am sure that such a relationship can be very satisfying if both parties are happy with their roles. You, Wes, are very lucky to have found someone in Dave, who is compatible with your wishes and needs, and to have found someone in Tom, who is tolerant and considerate of those wishes and needs.
I would very much like to hear Tom's insights and feelings about the new sub-relationship several weeks down the line. Please accept my humble suggestion for a future posting without prejudice. I know how gruelling an MBA program can be. It might even be a healthy learning experience for the both of you to do a mutual posting at a later date.
This is Tom. I'm happy you've been interested in the Web site offerings. They are largely, if not entirely Wes' product; however, he shares my full support and admiration for his efforts.
In regards to your request on my feelings, I thought I should take care of this as soon as possible since school starts next week.
Without going into a long discourse which could be boring for you and tedious also, my feelings regarding the new addition to our partnership can be said in a relatively few words.
Wes and I have been partners for over 6 years at this point and have made it known to each other that this is a life-long commitment. That's not to say that getting to this point has been without its bumps. We started out our relationship in a Daddy/boy style relationship and for several reasons, it didn't work for us. However, that did not alter the fact that we loved each other very much and wanted to make a commitment to the other. It would have to be accomplished in another fashion. We modified our relationship to a that of "traditional" male couple. We continued with our practice of Dominant and submissive in our intimate encounters, but not during everyday activities.
After being together for an extended period, as with many couples, there is a decline in sexual activity from the standpoint of there is limited opportunity for something new or different. That, along with other factors had become our case, but definitely no decrease in our level of love and commitment to the other.
Even though our relationship as a Daddy/boy did not work in the beginning, I understood Wes' desire to have such a structured exchange with someone other than during our intimate moments. With my return to school and work on my MBA, I have spent a great deal of time studying and more is to come with the graduate courses. I realized that a significant portion of my time will be directed towards my studies for the next few years. Knowing Wes' desires for a more structured leather relationship and my upcoming school obligations, the idea of an individual to enter into such a Daddy/boy relationship with Wes would be good for him since there are still several unknowns about the quantity of time that will be required for my studies. This will give him an outlet for companionship, attention and interaction with someone else when I might not be available or otherwise occupied with school activities. It was not a decision entered into lightly, but one made with a knowledge of trust and understanding that ours is a life-long commitment.
I do not feel threatened or insecure with this new arrangement. Had I had doubts about it destabilizing our relationship, I would have spoken up and those concerns would have been addressed before pursuing it to its present state.
In our relationship, we have seen many changes. From the initial Daddy/boy interaction to that of a life-long commitment, and from what seemed would be only a few years together, at most, changing to having good health for the foreseeable future, which we had never comprehended as little as 3 years ago. In such situations, one has to be flexible, which I think we are, but secure in the simple, but complex fact that we love each other deeply and are commited to that love and will do all that is necessary to nurture and continue this relationship. It is our primary focus and all other permutations and/or tangents are in addition to or in support of the primary relationship.
I am secure in our decision. Things change over the course of time, and I'm sure modifications will occur with all involved, but I am confident that we are all mature adults and have the presence of mind to achieve what is best for all involved.
I hope this may shed some light on your question about my feelings concerning our "addition." I hope all is well and that this finds you happy and well.
KATHIE SHEDS INSIGHT
into differences between different types of relationships
Thanks very much for responding so quickly to my interest in your feelings and insights into the newest developments at your end. I am afraid I am plagued by an insatiable thirst for knowledge and information on things outside my sphere of experiences. Please feel free to tell me to just shut up and leave you alone if my questions and comments get on your nerves. I had a very dear gay friend here in Germany, with whom I discussed many aspects of "straight" life and "gay" life. (I hope there is nothing derogatory about these labels, I certainly don't mean anything like that, its just easier typing gay and straight than homosexual and heterosexual.) I can only assume that he came from the "old school" (he was well over 70 by the time I met him) because aspects which seem to be standard in your lives never came up in our conversation. He was a young man during the rise and fall of Hitler. I can relate some of the things he told me about Nazi persecution of gays and being a gay prisoner in Russian prisoner of war camps, if you are at all interested. They are fascinating and frightening at the same time.
After reading your letter, I realized that I made the mistake of comparing your relationship with Wes to my own relationship with my lover of 7 years, as well as those of many other straight couples in my circle of friends. Now I see that this is somewhat akin to comparing oranges and tangerines. They have some things in common, but also some things that are quite different.
I have come to the conclusion, that gay couples differentiate between love, commitment, mutual trust and understanding on the one hand and sex on the other hand. I think most straight couples equate love with sex, or at least most of the female partners do. Oh boy, talk about rash generalizations. OK, I am a little at a loss as to how I should put my thoughts on this to (electronic) paper, but you probably get my drift. I would be willing to bet that 95% of the straight couples I know would go to pieces, if the male partner asked the female partner if he could have a "little bit of fluff" on the side. You could argue that this shouldn't be a problem if the core relationship is based on trust and understanding as well as a life-long commitment. But it is a problem, a BIG problem. I don't completely understand why, myself, but it is a fact that a lot of seemingly strong and healthy straight relationships end or are almost destroyed, when one partner has an "affair" with a third party.
After reading Wes' explanation of the new relationship this weekend, I posed myself the hypothetical question "How would you react, if this were to come up in your own relationship?" After giving this some thought, I don't think I would mind my friend having a little leather girl. She would have to help with the ironing, though. I plan to ask some of my female acquaintances this same hypothetical question and see what kind of reactions they come up with.
I saw a documentary on TV recently about "love triangles". They portrayed several instances of one man living with two women, or one woman living with two men (these were all heterosexuals). These "triples" (for lack of a better term) all seemed on the whole happy and harmonious, with one exception. One woman, whose husband moved his girlfriend into their spare bedroom, really seemed to suffer in the three-way relationship. She was unhappy and felt unduly wronged by her husband. I asked myself at the time, what kind of relationship could they have had before the girlfriend came into the picture? Why would the husband move his girlfriend into their house, when he could see that his wife was unhappy with the situation? On the other hand, if the wife was unhappy with the situation and the husband was unwilling to change it, why would she stay on and remain miserable?
I am very happy for the two of you, that you have such a strong commitment to each other and that your relationship is really based on mutual trust and understanding. I am sure that you will weather any storms that may come in this newest phase of your relationship.
Tom, thank you so much for sharing your feelings with me. In this age of mistrust and impersonalization, it is a rare thing indeed to find people like you and Wes, who are so open and honest and willing to share their experiences and feelings so freely. If you ever get bored with studying or need some mental distraction, drop me a line and we can chat. I hope Wes will keep your reading public posted on your progress in the MBA program. Oh yeah, three cheers for your calculus success! I really enjoyed calculus, but differential equations was my all-time favorite in the math department.
Please stay healthy and happy.
DEATH OF A FRIEND
My friend Mike Geinzer died this week. He had been diagnosed with bone cancer just THREE MONTHS AGO. His quick death was a reminder that life is fleeting -- live it while you can!
Mike was president of the National Leather Assocation:Houston ("NLA:Houston") chapter for the last three years -- and an all-around good man. When he first got sick, I started an e-mail list for his online leather friends. Here is what I sent those friends this week:
Dear leather friends of Mike,
Mike passed away yesterday, on Monday, January 12, 1998.
Services for all of Mike's friends (meaning his work friends and such will also be there, so this is not the time to fetish dress as Mike would otherwise get a big kick out of! ) will be tomorrow evening as follows:
At Mike's request, I did not keep you better apprised when his diagnosis was shortened "to weeks" around the time I visited with him on Tuesday, December 30. Mike was in pretty good spirits. (He was showing off the "Cigar Afficionado" magazine mock-up a friend had made for him, which had his beaming mug on the cover with a big stogie hanging out of his mouth. He was also getting a big kick out of the wonderful Domination/submission picture of him and neil [in reversed roles, "the sole picture of me on my knees"] taken in front of the Texas Governor's Mansion for NLA: Austin's 1998 Calendar.) But Mike also understood that his time was short. He did not have much energy, and asked that I not do a general mailing because he and neil -- and the gathered/gathering family -- needed quiet time to themselves.
Mike was blessed with many, many friends. I will not be at his memorial service for the general public tomorrow -- where Mike's leather friends (in vanilla attire) are welcome -- as there will be plenty of people there to show and give the family support and respect. Mike's mom Barb said there will be a later gathering solely for his leather friends. (Details are unknown at this time.) I will wait for that gathering: If spirits really do hang around a while, I want to be in my HPD uniform when I next see Mike, as that will give him a kick.
Hugs from me,
DEATH OF A COMPUTER
The place where I volunteer, Center for AIDS, had a Compaq 486/33i computer die this week. Temporarily resolving that in itself was not too tiring. But mapping out the computer specs for three new computers really drained me. (Primarily because I did it during one of my hard-to-sleep nights, mentioned further below, and I was up all night. And day.) But I have to say it: Compaq always seems to stick some little proprietary thing in their computers. That's okay when they're working, but when they're not it makes them AWFUL to work on. Good riddance to that piece of [ahem].
I HELP BIRTH AN ONLINE AIDS TREATMENT INFORMATION NEWSLETTER
The November and December issues of RITA! online (Research Initiative/Treatment Action!) are up!
MORE ABOUT MY NEUROPATHY,
and how my drug changes to make it better are going
The neuropathy in my toes has largely been better since the drug changes I made two weeks ago. (For newcomers, details are in THE SAGA OF THE TOES.) But Thursday it was back with a vengeance. And at my revered nap time of all indignities! My body was hard-cold from my toes to my ass. I was tired, but I could not fall asleep. I felt really, really pitiful. So, I did what I could: I got back up from bed and made lunch.
Later, when Tom got home from getting books for graduate school, we both laid down to nap. I was still cold. He lay in bed bare, his body right next to mine to warm me up. (This is in addition to me being under the top sheet, an electric blanket over that, having an electric heating pad under the fitted sheet to warm just my feet, there being a quilt on top of the electric blanket, and another blanket doubled up over that.)
My body shook in tiny seizures as the cold drained out of me and I warmed up. (Tom remembered the seizures from years ago when I first started AZT. My recent drug change was to drop neuropathy-causing d4T and replace it with AZT.)
There's no getting around it: I felt like a feeble old man. (I'm 34.) I started sobbing in great, heaving convulsions.
Tom held me, gently saying "I know it's not fun. But it has gotten better. This is just a bad day."
His reassurance, my body warming back up, AND the tranquilizer1 I'd taken right before re-attempting the nap, started calming me down. It was a tender moment.
1 clonazepam (Klonopin) .5mg
I started laughing: Crying is so cathartic. I had really needed those sobs. It had been a hard-ass week. But crying is also funny to me: It makes my face all goofy looking. And, in the middle of a cry, I have to stop to blow my nose. It's like a director yelling "Cut!" All crying stops for a moment while I get the snot out. Though I do find this very amusing, I also recall that when I originally started AZT that I felt like crap AND had wild mood swings for SIX WEEKS. Oh joy.
The sobbing moment was also probably coached on by the problems I've had sleeping this week. Monday night I went to bed at 11:00pm and then woke up at 2:30am wide awake. With the exception of my daily nap, I was up from then until I went to sleep Tuesday night. Then it happened again Wednesday: I went to bed at 11:30pm and woke up at 4:30am wide awake.
This also reminded me of when I first started AZT: My sleep was royally screwed up. But, I do have a pharmaceutical combination that seems to help me, and I share it here for anyone else with the same problem. Two hours before bed, I take:
- clonazepam (Klonopin) 1.0 mg
- estazolam (Prosom) 2 mg
WHAT CAN I SAY? I'M POOPED!
WHAT ABOUT THIS THIRD?
We got lots of e-mail asking about the addition to our relationship mentioned last week. One bold reader from Denmark (thanks Kathie!) wrote:
In your latest update, you mention the new addition to your relationship. I am curious as to just what a "leather Daddy/boy" relationship is. How does such a relationship with a third person effect your nuclear relationship? ... I somehow feel that I am missing something just beneath the surface.
I appreciate the honest inquisitiveness of the questions. Here I try to put into words what has come from years of being a leatherman, years of reading, years of cameraderie, years of introspection. An analysis of who I am as a person, as a man, as a leatherman and what it takes to successfully relate to me in a Leather Daddy/leather boy relationship.
First off, some brief definitions:
- Leather Daddy -- a dominant man into what's generally considered "kinky." Likes being a father figure for his leather play buddy(ies).
- leather boy -- a submissive man wanting a Leather Daddy father figure. The word "boy" in this sense has nothing to do with biological age. It is a mindset.
Now, what a Leather Daddy/boy relationship means to me:
A Leather Daddy/boy relationship is a commitment between a Leather Top and an SM bottom. That commitment signifies a desire to be served and a desire to serve. In the everyday, my boy is Dad's right-hand man. In the playroom, the relationship is an adventure in ultimate trust as we explore our erotic fantasies together.
What it takes for the two of us to be compatible:
A good working knowledge of what I'm like, what the other person should be like, and what is expected.
What I'm like:
I am extroverted, self-centered, exhibitionistic, demanding, trustworthy, honest, communicative, enthusiastic, loving, supportive, nurturing, aggressive, fun.
Attributes my leather boy should have / what's expected:
Respect, Dedication, Trust
I am your Leather Daddy. you are my boy. I am your number one priority. Address me as Sir, Dad, or Daddy. Following directions is a combination of respect, dedication and trust. My orders are not questioned. (Clarification may be requested if appropriate.) In bar situations, stand at attention beside me and do not leave my sight without letting me know where you are going.
Absolute at all times. This will maximize our understanding of each other. Avoid passive-aggressive behavoir at all costs as it combines at least two very unattractive traits: dishonesty and unwillingness to communicate directly.
State "the assumed" to help avoid misunderstandings. Keep me updated on the status of things that have been assigned to you. Speak what's on your mind at an appropriate time (which often is the soonest possible time). Quick feedback tends to lessen problems. My boy follows modified protocol in written communications to me. (Normally a submissive would lowercase any reference to himself and uppercase any reference to his Top. "Modified protocol" to me means that my boy opens the communication with a capitalized Sir / Dad / Daddy in the first sentence, closes with a lowercase name or generic "boy" in the last sentence, and does not hassle with altering capitalization in the body of the message.)
Fun time is good time for all involved. A lot of hard work goes into being a good leather Daddy. When you notice I've been working on something for you, speak up and tell me you appreciate it.
Nothing comes between us.
Keep your body fit for my use.
In body and mind unless you've obtained my approval.
I am your leather Daddy, not your sugar daddy.
In yourself and our home.
My personal quirks that my leather boy needs to be aware of:
Rules of the household:
I am committed to a life-long partnership with my lover Tom. That relationship is primary. Anything you can do to support that relationship will support the longevity of our Daddy/boy relationship.
There it isThat's what I mean when I say that Tom and I have taken on a third in a Leather Daddy / leather boy relationship.
(From the week January 2 - 9, 1998)
THE BIG NEWS
Tom and I decided to take on a third person in our relationship.
I asked Tom if he would mind if I took on a leather boy in a Leather Daddy/boy relationship. He thought it was a good way for me to get my needs met. (Tom may also be taking on a leather boy to have a diversion from school.) Through another of life's exquisite coincidences, we mentioned this to a leather friend over Thanksgiving and he expressed interest in the position. The relationship was formalized December 22nd.
World, welcome to Wes & Tom & david.
THE SAGA OF THE TOES
As readers of our sixth annual Christmas letter know, I've been having cold toes. Now, to some people this may sound minor. Heck, it even sounds pretty minor to me. But in actual practice, I have to say it has been really quite annoying.
This all started on Wednesday, November 19, when it was really cold and blustery outside. My toes were cold even inside the house. That made sense to me. The next day my toes were still cold. I just thought it must still be freezing outside. But at 4pm I went outside to feed the cat and found it was a warm day. "That's odd" I thought, and filed it away. On Friday, though, my hand brushed against my toes while putting my socks on and I realized: It's neuropathy! (My hand had registered the contact normally but my toes had only partially noticed it -- much as if they had been loaded with novocaine.)
It's pretty much easy enough to ignore the cold feet while I'm awake. But it really sucks when I want to sleep because I simply can't drift off when my feet feel like they're freezing. This is a Problem, since I really value my rest. So, we began the hunt for help.
Here is what we tried:
In short, none of these worked consistently or enough.
- Insulation under the house
- Thermal socks
- Insulated socks (nifty "Thermastat©" socks by Fox River Mills, Inc. Though technologically neat in wicking moisture away from the foot, these were too tight to work for my neuropathy.)
- Big boots (handsome 11" Chippewa oiled engineer boots)
- Massage (feet/legs)
- Heating pad under feet in bed (in addition to the electric blanket)
About this same time, our pal Suz sent us some information she had looked up for another friend with neuropathy: One PWA's happy tales of using NeurontinTM; plus Project Inform's Sensory Neuropathy Fact Sheet.
Informed from our own trial and error at trying to manage the neuropathy, and from reading the above, Tom and I both went into my doctor appointment December 30th. She quickly ruled out two other possibilities we had to consider (1circulatory problems -- ruled out because the pulses in my feet were good; and 2a pinched nerve -- ruled out because the neuropathy was affecting both feet), confirming what we suspected: My neuropathy was a drug side-effect caused by d4T / ZeritTM (stavudine).
My doctor did not hesitate: "We've got to drop d4T to stop the neuropathy from progressing further." (She also suggested using NeurontinTM to help with the neuropathy in the meantime.) But this fact presented us with a problem:
So, we're only changing one drug: Dropping d4T/ZeritTM/stavudine and adding AZT/RetrovirTM/zidovudine.
- My current 3-drug "cocktail" (1d4T/ZeritTM/stavudine + 23TC/EpivirTM/lamivudine + 3nevirapine/ViramuneTM) had been keeping my viral load down to undetectible levels.
- Current theory is that when changing drugs, a person should change to two new ones at a time.
- There aren't two new drugs for me to change to, as you can see from this chart of my antiretroviral history:
- AZT alone (1/92 - 6/92)
- AZT+ddC (7/92-12/92)
- AZT+ddI (1/93 - 8/95)
- AZT+ddI+3TC (9/95-6/96)
- AZT(two 100mg TID)+d4T+3TC+Crixivan (indinavir) (6/96)
- AZT+d4T+3TC+Crixivan (7/96-1/97)
- AZT+d4T+3TC+nevaripine (2/97-3/97)
- d4T+3TC+nevaripine (4/97-present)
We'll be keeping a close eye on this though to make sure my viral load doesn't rebound. The drug change was that evening (the 30th) and we'll do a viral load test at the 3-week mark on January 21st. More when I know myself...
COOL STUFF FROM EUROPE
The beautiful Virgin Net site profiled Wes & Tom's Cool Site in the HIV and AIDS section of their Health channel for World AIDS Day in "Against the odds: personal testimonies."
(We were so impressed with this handsome site that we added it to our Health Links).
We passed 21,000 unique visitors December 17th, then 22,000 later in the month.
In case you missed the news coverage of President Clinton's address to the Human Rights Campaign on November 8, here is my favorite excerpt:
Fifty years ago, President Truman stood at a new frontier in our defining struggle on civil rights. Slavery had ended a long time before, but segregation remained. Harry Truman stood before the Lincoln Memorial and said, 'It is more important today than ever to ensure that all Americans enjoy the rights [of freedom and equality]. When I say all Americans, I mean all Americans.'
Well, my friends, all Americans still means all Americans.
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