Labor Day at the Rubber Oasis
Just when I thought I’d been to the strangest place on earth and through the most surreal of experiences, I discovered Palm Springs and the West Coast Rubber contest. Gay boys wearing rubber during 103 degree heat with palm trees sprinkled along golf course perfect lawns in the middle of an otherwise inhospitable landscape. What more could an alabaster pale girl from the Pacific Northwest want in a Labor Day weekend away from home?
I love to play dress up and although I don’t currently own any fashion items made from rubber, when I was initially recruited as a judge for the contest I envisioned myself decked out daily in an assortment of delights from my vinyl dress collection. I wanted to show solidarity while simultaneously dazzling everyone with my incredible sense of naughty femme style. Fortunately, calmer heads than mine prevailed and a quick review of the anticipated temperatures for that god-awful hot September weekend completely removed any notion I had of me and my vinyl ensemble making our debut at The Villa Resort.
I’m not necessarily averse to perspiration, but I admit that I consider it to be one of the down sides to hot weather. There were a lot of both during that weekend – all endured with amazing grace by profusely sweating men slathered deliciously in shiny, slippery, lickable, touchable rubber that fit like a membrane. Rubber shirts, rubber vests, rubber thongs, rubber shorts, rubber chaps, rubber pants, and even rubber boots, rubber gas masks, and rubber aprons. I confess a personal sick fascination with the aprons and the gas masks – and always an affection for those fabulous shirts. As I watched the torrents of precious bodily fluids run out of their jocks or get poured out of their footwear, I breathed a sigh of relief that I had left the vinyl at home and pretended to be a civilian for a while.
The break, if judging a rubberman contest can be called a “break” when you’re a professional sex writer, was not just welcome, it was vital. The nearly drug-like freakiness that is Palm Springs, combined with the reality check that was 24-hour televised coverage of the devastation that once was New Orleans, made it easier for me to relax and enjoy the good fortune that was a dry heat, the luxury of a resort room with a huge shower, the pampering of local friends who appreciate fine things, paddling topless in a swimming pool with a gorgeous gay porn star, and drinking in the excellent company of the contest’s organizers, volunteers, audience members, and other judges. I ate, I drank, I made merry, and I refused to be overly stressed as I continued to hear that I was increasingly becoming infamous, post Ms. World Leather.
The crisp, colorful twilights that bless Palm Springs each early morning and evening beautifully highlight the liberating sense of unreality that only a carefully landscaped city on the edge of nowhere can symbolize. Every place is strange during the first visit, whether it’s a chaotic internal landscape or an orderly oasis in the desert. The glory of an unfamiliar environment is how it provides the opportunity to return to center and work out again. Watching beautiful gay boys sweat and shine under the holiday sun was the perfect opportunity for me to reconnect with myself not as a former title holder or as a title contender or as an activist or even as a kinky person, but as a person — and a rather creative one, at that… a fact I would learn more about when I visited San Francisco later during what proved to be the very sexy month of September.
— Originally published in Playtime Magazine —