From Issue 2.5 - March/April 1996

The Coach You Always Wanted

BOOK: The Leather Contest Guide (Daedalus Publishing, 1993)
BY: Guy Baldwin

Review by Drew Campbell

Billed as the "truly complete guide to the leather contest," this succinct and informative handbook serves the needs of event organizers and participants alike. Guy Baldwin, International Mr. Leather 1989, Mr. National Leather Association 1989, and author of Ties That Bind, discusses contests from the earliest planning stages through the actual event, and on to the responsibilities of titleholders.

While focusing on the national contests for men and women (International Mr. Leather, Mr. Drummer International, International Ms. Leather), Baldwin delivers sound advice that applies to even the most modest event. From financing to selecting the date and venue to publicity, Baldwin takes would-be event promoters through the production process step by step. Of special interest are the checklists, which provide a time frame to keep organizers on track. He also includes an excellent section on the judging process and etiquette.

Baldwin is refreshingly forthright about the reality of competing for a title. Some of his comments are more applicable to men's contests than to women's ("skin" categories aren't a feature of any women's contests I'm aware of), but his discussion of interviews, speeches, and fantasy design will be helpful to all. Especially useful are Baldwin's general tips, which show a remarkable measure of that uncommon commodity, common sense: "If you are a bottom, be a bottom. Don't pretend to be a top." "Cologne or after shave can be offensive." "Remember to smile."

Finally, Baldwin looks at what happens after a contest, especially for the winner. Keeping in mind both the large picture ("A Meditation About Glory") and the details (tips on frequent flyer programs and a checklist of things to pack -- eye drops, business cards, a small flashlight), Baldwin remains practical without sacrificing discussions of ethics and just plain good manners. The Leather Contest Guide comes out a winner.

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Last updated: 24 March 1996