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It thrills me to be able to write this post, especially immediately following my last writeup about volunteering at Femina Potens.

Last night, I once again helped at the art gallery, this time in a completely different capacity.  Last night was the gallery’s quarterly-held benefit, Art of Restraint, and I volunteered to bootblack at the event.  When I got their e-mail about helping out at the benefit, I was surprised and excited to see bootblacking as a potential service, so I replied back with interest.

I could never have anticipated that I’d be working for the entire duration of the show – a solid three and a half hours of cleaning, licking, oiling, rubbing, and buffing shoes.  I could never have imagined the conversations I’d be having with the seven people who sat down at my makeshift station.

I never saw a single performance.  Behind me, I heard the screams, moans, heavy breathing, and cheering as Fivestar, Dylan Ryan, JP, Twisted Monk, Calico, Lochai, and Madison Young performed their respective scenes.  But my chair was never empty.  How can I complain about that?  I thought that I would do perhaps one or two polishes at most.  And instead I had people asking to get their shoes done while I worked, and many others just “enjoyed the show,” according to comments I overheard.

I had entirely too much fun, and while at first I worried that, given the atmosphere and debauchery going on, I’d have to deal with the same boundary issues that I encountered at the last event, I was pleasantly surprised that everyone asked before touching me, and a few people would start stroking my head and then ask if that was okay.  And that is really all I am looking for in these kinds of situations: a little bit of thoughtfulness, respect, and protocol when I am offering a service.

This made it much easier for me to embrace my role and engage more completely with each person.  Some people were content to stroke the top of my head; others gripped more tightly and pushed my mouth more deeply against their boots.

It was, in a word: hot.

So, a brief recap and acknowledgement of each person, and their shoes:

First was C, a café regular I’d gotten to know a little, who helped break the ice and get me started last night.  I was glad to start off with someone I knew, as I was still a little nervous about my bootblacking capabilities.  But things went smoothly, and C visibly appreciated the thorough licking I gave his boots.

Once I’d set up to work on his boots, a couple of women sitting nearby asked if there was a list to get on the chair.  I shook my head, excited that others were showing interest.  They came on next, first the woman named Fox and then her friend S.  Fox was fairly demanding, ordering me to hold her cup of wine when Fivestar’s performance ended so that she could clap along with the crowd.  But she also enjoyed my licking, to the point where she delayed my polishing to have me lick her boots more.  Her compliments and audible enjoyment excited me, drawing me deeper into the service.

The three of us ended up chatting quite a bit, and the two of them really seemed to enjoy having their boots done.  I admit, Fox’s demanding, no-nonsense personality felt a bit like a challenge, so that hearing her contentment translated to victory in my head.  I felt really satisfied after doing her boots.

After Fox and her dancing shoes, and S and her Doc Martens, N, a man who had been sitting and watching the bootblacking nearby, got in the chair with his decade-old harness boots.  While I gave them their deserved attention, N and I chatted, and we discovered we had some friends in common back in the kink scene in New York City (Hi Dov!).

There really is nothing quite like hearing the sighs and groans of pleasure that arise when I start licking a person’s boots.  I was sweating, hot, and my knees were starting to hurt against the hard floor, but my heart swelled each time my buffing cloth revealed a smooth, hard shine (or the boots got a nice thick coat of shoe grease.  Oh my dear lord, the enthralling scent of pine tar…it captures my senses and my memories).

After the lovely interaction with N, I stood up a bit to stretch my legs and enjoy the tail end of Monk and Calico’s performance.  After they finished, I saw another friend, F, eyeing my now-empty chair.  I had caught those glances earlier in the evening, so I asked if he’d like to have his boots done.  He sat down, his girl M close by and watching.  F had these knee-high, smooth smooth smooth harness boots, which were just a pleasure to feel.  He told me he’d taken them to Burning Man and back, and generally took care of them himself.  I was very impressed!

And except for catching myself right before I applied wax polish rather than shoe grease to the leather, the blacking went well, and his girl joined in the licking, so I concentrated just on his right boot while she focused on the left.  At one point, in which I think he was lecturing M on leather service, he punctuated his words with his hand in my hair pressing my mouth harder against his boot.  Yum.

Mmmm…I really liked those boots.  F, along with I think most of the other people who’d sat down to get their shoes done, complimented me on my attention to detail, such as in cleaning the metal pins and rings of oil at the end.  This made me smile inwardly and remember both my first instruction with Max as well as the bootblack intensive I attended afterwards.

After finishing F’s boots, I leaned back to catch my breath and wipe the sweat from my face, only to have yet another gentleman, P, ask to have his boots done.  I nodded, and he sat down to reveal…lizard skin cowboy boots with white and yellow stitching!

Eep.  I blinked.  I felt his boots, under the pretense of rubbing and massaging his feet.  I asked him what material his boots were made of to verify that it was indeed reptile skin leather.

I was in completely foreign territory.  When I asked if he wanted his boots done a specific way (trying to get a hint of what to do at all), he told me to do whatever I thought best.

Oh, great.

Not wanting to back off completely, I decided to at least clean them with saddle soap and give them a good licking.  Wow, it was an incredibly different experience licking reptile leather!  Much drier, and the way it moved under my tongue felt foreign after all the cow-hide I’d been working on.  While I licked, I also ran over my options in my head, and now glad I’d taken the time to buy neutral wax polish before the show, I decided to use that to polish his boots.  I wasn’t sure what shoe grease would do on reptile skin, but I figured a wax buff and polish wouldn’t harm the boots.

Well, if I do say so myself, the boots came out very nice, with a clean shine that did not discolor his beautiful stitching – the one thing I was primarily concerned about.  I sat back, relieved, and thanked him for letting me work on such beautiful boots.

And lastly there was Jiz Lee.  I was pretty exhausted by this point, but I wanted to do this last pair of boots.  She had a well-used pair of black boots with red lacing and a leather buckle/flap that wrapped around the front of the ankle – something else I hadn’t seen before.  I set to work cleaning and then, like the 6 times before, looked at her and asked if she would like her boots licked.  Out of all 7 people, only she said, “Only if you want to.”

Well, of course I wanted to!  This put a grin on my face, and I set my tongue to work.  There was no better reward than for me to hear, from above, “That is so hot.”

I learned that Jiz had done horseback riding and was familiar with leathercare.  I was reminded of Mo, a friend and bootblack who used to frequent the café, who’d also had a history of horseback riding.  This made sense, and I remember all those times I’d accompanied my best friend to her horseback riding lessons with new appreciation.  Jiz and I chatted on and off as I buffed her shoes, and inbetween we were hugged goodbye as people started to leave.

Whew.  By the time I was re-lacing Jiz’s boots, I was seeing double with tiredness.  It was time to go home.  Most everyone else had left by this time, so I cleaned up quickly, said my last remaining goodbyes, and walked out of the gallery, utterly exhausted and utterly ecstatic.

What. A. Night.

Categories: love
  1. seraglioletters
    March 31, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Wow. What a hot post!

    I have so many questions . . . just getting into bootblacking myself, and I’m so impressed by how much you’ve learned so fast.

    1) Is the licking for fun or does it serve a function? Can you explain, uh, HOW to lick boots? (I feel so stupid asking this. It sounds like asking how to kiss.)

    2) Any tips for taking care of harness boots? I know someone’s explained to me before, but this last time I polished Robbie’s boots, I just rubbed some polish under the ring, and it seemed super inadequate.

    3) What does this mean: “cleaning the metal pins and rings of oil at the end”?

    Okay, I probably should just have emailed you. But maybe some other aspiring bootblack will come back to this for reference. 😉

    • March 31, 2010 at 4:27 pm

      Aaaw, thanks sera! I am really an obsessive type, so once something catches my interest, I funnel a lot of energy and time into it. (Having someone like Max is also a great incentive to keep up at it.) I’m glad you’re starting to get into bootblacking too, and I’m happy to answer your questions!

      1) Licking is definitely mostly about the worship and service, and doesn’t do all that much for the boot itself*. I like to scrub the boots thoroughly with saddle soap, wipe off the residue with a slightly damp cloth, and then ask the person if they’d like to have their boots licked. I imagine some people might not, so I figure it’s safer to just ask. And yeah, it’s a bit like asking how to kiss, but that’s a valid question, too. I had no idea how to kiss before I was 19! And it’s almost something of a performance art, since it is sensual and service-oriented.

      I personally like to start by swirling my tongue around the toe of the boot, and then working my way around the boot with long, steady licks. Pressing the tongue down hard while doing this will probably elicit some delightful noises from above 🙂 Jiz told me that my tongue felt as strong as my hands did when I was rubbing her feet through the leather. It’s like a massage! But your mouth will get dry, so it’s okay to build up some spit to lather on the boot. And you can alternate between licking, kissing, and rubbing with your hands to give your tongue a rest.

      (*One exception to licking not doing much for the boot, though, is when you’re ready to start buffing after applying the polish. A little bit of water helps activate the buffing process, so either giving the boot one nice long lick and then buffing, or spraying a little bit of water on the brush, helps with polishing the boots.)

      2) Hmm, not really sure. Do you mean what to do about the straps going around the boot? When I clean and apply the wax (or shoe grease) to the boot, I just make sure to apply it everywhere, including underneath the straps and rings. That also feels good to the boot’s owner, or so I’ve heard. You can’t really buff the area covered by the straps, though. I suppose you could go in with nylon and rub in small circles, which is something I’ve read about and should really try out myself.

      3) Oh, that just meant that I cleaned off the shoe grease that had gotten on the rings and little metal pins on the straps when I rubbed the whole boot with the oil. That way they look a little shinier, too. It’s all about the little details!

      Hope that helps with your questions. Yay bootblacking! I have to admit that I lean a bit more towards the service and sensual side of things versus the technical skill side, but I’m hoping to build proficiency on both sides. There are lots of resources about all different styles of bootcare, which I bookmarked on my stolen laptop (sad), but which I could probably dig up again if you’re interested.

      • Dov
        April 11, 2010 at 8:10 am

        That reply just made me very Hot and flustered this morning

  2. April 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    That was, indeed, a lovely interaction. Glad you enjoyed yourself, and thank you for the excellently done boots! Hopefully we can do it again some time. 🙂

    (me = N)

    • Dov
      April 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      LOL I got a side report about your boots from C at dinner the other day it is indeed a small world

  3. seraglioletters
    April 2, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Thank you sooooo much for the tips. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer all my questions! I’ll drop you a line and we can trade tips. 🙂

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