By the time you are reading this column, I’m hopefully wiser than I am at the point of writing it. This year, I’m going to Darklands, and it will be the first time that I’m attending a real fetish event instead of just a one-night party. After making the decision, a friend asked: “What are you gonna wear?” I completely blanked. When I see all you kinksters out there, it seems that you really know what you want and what gets you going. And sometimes, I’m intimidated by that. I have nothing to wear, and I don’t have a clue about what I should wear (maybe butt-naked will be my Plan B). Am I into rubber, leather, lycra or sportswear? Help! What is my style?
When I went to Wasteland Summerfest last year, I wore a combination of a black leather harness, a black mesh cropped bolero, a patent leather skirt, fishnet stockings, Mister B URBAN briefs, and a pair of black boots. I felt sexy, but I was still afraid that I didn’t meet the scene standards. I think it’s safe to say I like wearing black – it’s hot, dark, mysterious and goes well with everything. Besides that, I love to fuck with gender and expectations and mix up ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ elements into my looks. However, there still is a part of me that says I should go for a specific look or material, whether it’s leather, rubber, neoprene, textile, or whatever comes to mind, and stick to that choice.
While struggling to find the outfit for Darklands, I realised something important about myself. This quest for the perfect outfit has been a toxic pattern throughout my life so far. When I was growing up, and especially when I found out about my gayness, I always wore what I thought was appropriate for a guy my age and for a guy with my lifestyle. But, by doing that – following the so-called norm – I sadly ignored myself. I really valued the opinion of others so much; it was downright ridiculous. I was always so scared to look a certain way if I dressed in something that was not considered ‘normal’. I was just wearing my clothes to get appropriate responses from the outside world for fitting in. But in fact, I was just wearing the same boring shit, week in and week out.
I honestly thought I got rid of this pattern years ago by Marie Kondo-ing the crap out of my closet, but apparently, I forgot to Marie Kondo my mind as well. For a quick second, getting ready for Darklands brought me back to the ‘old’ me, the guy who was willing to comply with everything that the world sees as normal and acceptable. Luckily, I was smart enough to remind myself about the beauty of this scene, our scene; all is good, and everything is possible and accepted. There is not one way of being a rubber man, or one way of being a leather man. Truth be told, I can do whatever the fuck I want and wear whatever I want, in whatever combination works for me. And if I want to mix it all up and mess around with expectations and predominant standards, I will do just that!
The options for being kinky and enjoying all the fetishes out there are endless, and I love that. Writing this column has been a reminder for myself, and hopefully for anyone that needs to hear it, that there are no set rules. Do I need to wear one specific style or material to be considered a worthy kinkster? No. Making your own rules is fun, even if you are the only one in the whole wide world living by them. But believe me, I’d bet my big hairy ass on it, you are not the only one who likes to deviate from the norm. I’m glad I’ve had this conversation with myself and that I’m wiser already, long before this column has reached you. I will NOT worry about the perfect outfit anymore. It’s my party and I will wear what I want to! So, if you see me at Darklands, don’t be surprised to see me in two or three completely different outfits during the weekend. That’s just me.
Matthijs is a 31-year-old Dutch writer living in Amsterdam. He is queer, proud, and new to the fetish and kink scene. Next to content editing, he loves nothing more than writing openly about his sexuality, even if the topics are shameful or taboo. Follow his adventures on Instagram @matthijsvanels.