Never again will I have to stand on stage wearing only a jockstrap and answer a funny question! You cannot imagine my relief at this realization. And, I've met some really wonderful people, friendships that I'm sure will endure a lifetime. And, Second Runner Up Anthony Rollar, Mr. San Diego Leather, will be a judge in the Mr. Palm Springs Leather Contest this November!
What a night. What an amazing night.
It really is all very well planned out. I didn't make the Top Twenty, which was a disappointment. Disappointing only because I got on board this train last November, when Charlie the bartender at the Tool Shed said, "So Drew, we've got the Mr. Tool Shed Contest coming up. Will you be a contestant?" For the previous two years, I had pretty much used the Tool Shed as my living room. I met my Handsome Cowboy at the Tool Shed. I learned how to shoot pool without embarrassing myself at the Tool Shed. Just about all the people I knew in Palm Springs I knew from going to the Tool Shed. How could I say to that.
So I boarded the train, not thinking too much of the eventual destination. I've been having such a great ride that I just didn't feel myself ready to get off. But that said, there was no one among the semi-finalists to whom I would say, "Hey! Outta my seat!"
My biggest concern was disappointing all the folks back in Palm Springs who were cheering me on. For them, and not a bit for myself, did I want to bring home the Gold. I did my best at every turn, and I hope I did them proud.
Eric Gutierrez, with whom I sung an acapella version of Le Marsailles has been voted International Mr. Leather 2011. Eric is Mr. Europe and is a wonderful man. He's the kind of guy who you know has just entered the room even though your back is to the door, that kind of energy. D. Pamplin, Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2011 is the First Runner Up. And, as mentioned, Anthony Rollar (on whom I am totally crushed out), is the Second Runner Up.
And what now?
Well, I just ordered Filet Mignon from room service. I am starving. Then, I'm going to head down to the lobby, enjoy a cigar, and get my fill of eye candy.
Tomorrow at Noon I'll have the opportunity to pick up my scores from the judges. I'm ambivalent about that. Kind of like getting your report card when you know you didn't do very well during the past semester. I probably wouldn't, except for the fact that starting in November, I will be a mentor to Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2012, whoever that will be, and it would be good for him to have the benefit of my experience.
And, of course, I am still Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2011. (And with that year at the end of my title, I always will be.) And that means I have work to do. What would I like to do? Nothing too spectacular. I want to create a way that folks from the leather community in Palm Springs can gather informally to meet and talk. I would like there to be a way for people to become connected. Something very low-threshhold and informal. There exist opportunities for play and sex, and Palm Springs is lucky to have several very good bars, but few opportunities to meet and socialize. And in a tourist town, that can be problematic. Of course it could very well be that there will be no interest at all in something like that, and that's fine with me. But I sure would like to try.
I think at the next fundraising opportunity, I'll auction off the jockstrap I wore on-stage at IML. I sure won't be needing that again.