Are you custom-made, custom-paid, or you just custom-fitted?

Have you ever bought a strap-on harness? I have. A few. There are tons of things to consider, such as material, color, ring size, hardware, support straps, and of course, LOOKS. In the past, I’ve bought a couple from Good Vibrations and Toys In Babeland because they are helpful and convenient, but this is a rant about my experience with the harnesses and the absurd guidelines for caring for them.

Mine are always leather, because leather smells good, it looks good and it is supposed to be durable. Shoes are made of leather. Jackets are made of leather. You can even harness a horse with leather! I naively thought it could last forever!

The Jaguar harness, at roughly $100 each, comes in relatively sparse packaging from Aslan Leather Inc. , located in Canada. Maybe people do buy harnesses only to wear out at Folsom Street Fair, standing far away from any sort of fluid (if that can somehow be achieved), but I bought mine for sexing. Guess what? If things go well, there’s no bloody way that thing is going to stay dry. If things go REALLY well, it will also be impossible to clean without a ton of soap and water. Sometimes I even get in the shower (OMG) with the harness, and do you know what happens in showers, Aslan Leather? Water comes out of the sky just like in a magical rain forest and the whole point is to NOT avoid the water! Do leather shoes or jackets come with a warning to avoid water?! No!

Good Vibes, god bless them, recommends:

Care and Cleaning: Keep your harness as clean as you would any other item of intimate apparel. Hand wash your harness with mild soap and water, and let it dry thoroughly before putting it away.

aslan1Okaaaaaaaaaaay. First, all of my “intimate apparel” goes in the fucking washing machine and then into an industrial-strength dryer. Not exactly the right treatment for leather and metal. Second, define “thoroughly” because if I towel dry my person and harness, how can I be sure that all moisture is removed?? Hint: You can’t! The rivets and buckles – the supposedly “industrial-grade stainless steel” rivets and buckles – will rust. RUST!! Do you want rust near your junk? I don’t! Does mild soap get rid of rust?? Another generous hint: IT DOES NOT! WTF am I supposed to do with a rusty harness? (Last hint, I swear: Expect two rusted harnesses in the mail next week, Aslan! I am holding you to your lifetime warranty.)

So! While this international gaffe plays out with Aslan, the wife and I headed to Mr. S Leather / Madame S Boutique in San Francisco’s SOMA district. These guys are serious. They understand leather and they understand sex, and they have probably subjected their products to all sorts of things I can’t even imagine! At first I was underwhelmed with their selection of harnesses, there were only two each in both the Mr. and Madame sections, whereas they had at least 10 different types of gas masks, hundreds of leather restraints and several swing-cage-things throughout the entire space. I tried on a few styles and sizes and then talked to the salespeople.

I said:

“Look, I don’t want these steel rivets, why can’t they be more like the fag harness that has black hardware?”

“Oh, we can do that,” they said breezily, “If you just want to change the rivets, we can do that for you today.” Genius! But then I looked at the huge buckles and wondered if they could change those out for snaps, instead. “Hm…yes, we can do that. Can you show me how you want them to look?”

BRILLIANT! Apparently, S&M Santa works well into the New Year, and he has nimble little elves in PVC chaps and chains working behind thick leather curtains in the back of Mr. S! There’s even a full-time person named Skeeter who works there solely to help you design and realize your own unique harness dreams.

Thus, my custom harness should be ready in the next week or so! Now I am super excited about my custom-designed harness because if feels even better than going to a tailor for a suit. It’s like having cake AND pie, even though pie is vastly superior. They also will replace any hardware at any time if it rusts, for free! And, because my requests were so minimal, they charged me the same amount for a ready-made harness, nothing more. Amazing. I hope they use my model and name it after me.

*Contributed by The Dashing M*