It started out as some harmless fun. I didn’t exactly have a lot of time to try and hook up regularly, because I was usually stuck at the office late at night, and would go in early for conference calls with Asian clients, but chat was easy. I could do it from home, no pressure, and if someone got creepy, it was much easier to just close a chat window than kick someone out of your house–or worse, try to extricate yourself from their place.

And there’s a certain freedom to it, too. I mean…well, it’s hard to explain. Out in the world, I’m Marvin Hammens, high powered accountant. But on the internet, I could be whatever handle I chose. I could be anyone. I would lie. Tell guys that I’m married, that I hate my wife, that I fuck around with guys behind her back and tell her about it later. Or I find these young guys, these chasers, and I tell them I’m a daddy, smoke a cigar for them, rub my gut, watch them cum at the sight of me. I mean, I’m not…bad looking, but the way some of those guys look at you. It’s better, and cheaper, than that free gym membership I never use.

I settled into a few personas. That first one, the married guy–that handle is MarriedandHateIt–I’d play him in the garage, shirt unbuttoned, drinking a beer and smoking a cigar, telling guys about the crazy shit I do behind my wife’s back. The daddy, he stays in my suits in my study, sometimes I wear glasses too, telling all the cubs and boys out in the world how much they mean to me. On the weekends, I’ll occasionally let it out, play a bit of a rough daddy, dumb down a bit, find a few other lonely saps for a wank session. It was fun, getting these guys to see me as something different, even just for a little while.

I do still go out on occasion, and it was one of those occasions that everything was ruined for me. There’s a bear group that meets at a leather bear bar downtown that I usually try to go to every month, and this particular time, it happened to line up with the local leather night. I didn’t own a single piece of leather, and so I stuck out like a sore thumb–which isn’t to say I wasn’t having a good time, of course, but I took a smoke break on my own, sometime after one or two in the morning, and there’s this alley between the bar and the next building, and I noticed some smoke hanging over the entrance. Curious, I walked over, looked down, and saw this guy, clad head to toe in leather, sunglasses on in the middle of the night, and yet…and yet, it worked, under the yellow halogens in the alley. There was someone else there too, a younger guy, skimpy leather outfit, a collar on, shivering a bit in the night air, and the leather guy just strutted over, shoved the cub up against the brick and started making out with him.

I watched the entire scene unfold–it couldn’t have lasted more than six or seven minutes. They kissed, the leather man turned the cub around yanked down his leather shorts and probed his ass with a few spit lubed fingers, before he got out his cock and worked that in next. But it wasn’t the sex that I was looking at–it was the top, the guy in the leather, there was something so…authentic in him, in what he did, in how he handled himself…The guys in leather I’d seen, well, they were never quite the real article. The kind who take you home with them, and the first thing you notice is the complete works of Jane Austen on the shelf, you know? They were as fake as the guys I played on chat. But he–he was real. This was no persona, or if it was, it was so complete that no seam showed. This man existed only at night. He fucked in alleys. He smoked cigars. He made cums shot their loads against alley walls and then watched them lick it up without him even ordering them to do so.

I was obsessed. I never met him, because he left down the opposite end of the alley, and I was too terrified to follow him. I bought leather gear. I shaved off my beard, and left myself with a shit imitation of a copstache. I watched videos, I went to bars, I tried to find that space within myself, that persona, but it didn’t exist in me. It wasn’t me. The leather was always just a costume–a good costume. A costume a lot of guys liked, both through a chat window and across the bar, but I could no longer shake the sensation that all of us were merely trading masks across rooms, no one showing their hand, but I’m going to keep trying. I’m going to find him. He has to exist, I can’t have imagined him. I have to find him, and ask him how he does it. How is he even real? How is it that he can be real, and all I can be is fake?

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