Allen (he/him), also known as Weaving Cowboy on Instagram, is the music teacher that all of us would have wanted in school. He teaches his classes in full leather, strives to live his life as authentically as possible, and loves to help people gain more confidence in wearing their gear. WINGS sat down with the junior-high-school teacher from New York State for a fun and uplifting chat on facing your fears and being yourself.
Hi Allen! Let’s start at the very beginning. How long have you been into leather?
“I just turned 52, and I used to be really overweight. I had no interest in leather until 2018. I had lost a lot of weight by that time, and I became intrigued with all these leathermen that I saw on Instagram. Their looks were interesting to me. A friend of mine owned a pair of leather pants. I tried them on and they felt great. I haven’t looked back since.”
Is leather your main fetish? I read in your Instagram bio that you like rubber as well sometimes…
“Honestly, leather has become my everyday clothing. Is it a kink? Yes! Is it a fetish? Not necessarily. A lot of guys tell me (he imitates a butch voice) ‘You can’t be a leatherman if it is not a fetish blablabla.’ There used to be these jerks on Instagram that would get all hostile with me about how a leatherman should and shouldn’t dress, especially the big-time queens. I told them to shut up and leave me alone. I don’t take shit from anyone. There are people who ask me: ‘How can you teach in leather?’ Because it is my regular clothing and the kids don’t mess with me! I even wear my gear to church. The church ladies love it, you know?!”
Do you go to leather bars or events? Is that part of your life?
“No, I don’t. But I would love to go to a big leather event like Folsom Europe. The problem with that is that Folsom is right around the start of our school year in the U.S., which makes it difficult for me to go and visit; it will be more of a retirement thing for me. I don’t have a real desire to go to American events. A lot of people I befriended on Instagram are from the U.K. and Europe. When it comes to gear my mindset is more European. In America they want you to stick to all these rules; in Europe they let you wear what you want to wear, as long as you feel good in it. I will wear my Wescos the way I want to wear them; thank you very much!”
Your Instagram bio states that you like to help people gain more self-confidence in wearing their gear. Why do you feel the need to offer that support?
“Growing up I had zero confidence. I was bullied. I was picked on. I was ostracized big time, especially by other boys. As I got older, and especially when I started wearing leather, that confidence came through. I realized by looking at people’s accounts, and from hearing their personal stories, that there was a need for some form of support. It is less so about wearing gear or leather, but it is much more about being yourself, and I want them to understand that. I started this journey myself in my late forties.”
What advice do you give to people?
“People ask me how I teach in full leather when they are not even able to go to the grocery store dressed in leather. My response to that is universal: take baby steps! So, you have only worn leather at home, or in your bedroom? Choose a piece of gear that you are comfortable with, like a pair of gloves or a vest, and go outside, just for five minutes. Keep doing that, and when it gets easy, wear that same piece of gear to the supermarket to get a gallon of milk – or a litre, which fits more with that European mindset I was talking about before, hahaha. When that gets easy add something new. Pants are a big step. Is it too hard? Then go outside at night, and walk around the block for a bit. Baby steps. Baby steps. Baby steps. Challenge yourself. Never give up on challenging yourself.”
Face your fears is what you are saying!
“Exactly. That is something I am still working on as well. Whether it is the fear of going to a leather bar or an event. That fear is very real. When you visit Folsom Europe, and you are surrounded by 20.000 horny leather guys, it can be intimidating. It is a scary thing. But you can continue to live in fear of doing something, or you can say ‘screw it’ and do it anyway. When we face our fears we often discover that that tiger that we are afraid of is made of paper. If in some small way I can help even just a couple of people to be themselves, then that is a good thing. It is huge!”
When were you comfortable enough to wear leather in public yourself?
“It was pretty sudden with me. At my school teachers are allowed to dress up for Halloween. One of my colleagues suggested we dress up as burglars, so I went in a full black leather outfit including a vest, tie, shirt and pants. The reactions that people gave me were not what I had expected. My female colleagues told me I looked great. Some were even staring at my butt. Hahaha. It made me feel like a piece of meat. It was pretty cool!”
And then you thought: ‘Fuck it. I am going to keep dressing like this!’
“That is exactly what happened!”
How did your students react to your new look?
“They didn’t. Quite the opposite. One day we had a special event at school and I had to wear regular clothing, and the kids were like: ‘Where are your boots? Why aren’t you dressed in leather?’ That was so funny. They basically don’t care.”
In closing, is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
“Life is too short to live in fear; it is too short to not be yourself. At the start of August, I was very ill. I had the same bacterium that causes meningitis. Had I ignored it, I would have been dead. It has given me even more reason to celebrate life each day. Stop limiting yourself in how you act and think, and just be yourself!”
Show Allen some love and follow him on Instagram @weavingcowboy.