My friend Miss Natasha Enquist invited me to join her at Berlin Cigar Men, a cigar lounge night at a wonderfully cosy bar called The Pussycat.
The Pussycat is a warm, snug lesbian bar that once a month welcomes a celebration of classic leatherman culture. This evening included head shaving, with a proper razor, and bootblacking.
I could smell the cigar smoke all the way down the block from the Ku’Damm.
I knocked on the door and Miss Natasha peered through the speakeasy peephole and let me in out of the cold.
Wow, what an amazing group of great-looking old-school (and young) leathermen and wow so much smoke! I love the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke. I smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day from age 13 to age 24, and people smoking freely is one of the things I love about Europe.
And yet even for me it was a lot of smoke! I actually got a tiny bit nauseous from it, like when Tom and Joe and Huck smoke corn-cob pipes on the island.
I had a fabulous time, and everyone was super friendly and nice.
The crowd was international and relaxed. It was like travelling back in time to the Chelsea of my childhood, the Chelsea and Christopher St of the ’70s and ’80s, and I felt very much at home.
I didn’t know much about bootblack fetish and culture until I worked at Wicked Grounds kink coffee shop in San Francisco in the Oughts. We had a young woman bootblack there who came in to do boot nights, and I saw the passion that people have for boot care and wear. So I was delighted to get a chance to draw Andrew the Bootshiner, above. Sadly, I missed the headshaving this time!
Check out the bottle of Tom of Finland Organic Vodka in the top pic- it has a Tom drawing on the bottle and a percentage of the profit from sales is donated to the wonderful Tom of Finland Foundation!
The Berlin Cigar Men event is produced by Olaf Hartmannsgruber. He is the same gentleman who puts on the MaleSpace main stage at Folsom Europe, which was wonderfully diverse and inclusive despite the name. I am looking forward to the next event!
Drawings from Folsom Europe here and here. It’s the monthly financial support of my Patrons on Patreon that makes it possible for me to document gay life in Berlin and publicly share it. You can help, for a dollar or less than a euro a month!