Really should be called Early or First Guard Formal, strict etiquette, deliberate training, start as a bottom and learning to be a Top. Old Guard is not some magical perfect way of living. It has both good and bad traits. WWII - For many, it was the first time away from home and in the company of men - masculine sexuality and Military discipline. Even non-military men were exposed to the military attitudes. After the war, some men identified with masculine rather than feminine in terms of their homosexuality. The MC's (motorcycle clubs) formed out of this desire to be with other masculine men. Leather replaced uniforms (and it was practical!). Club insignia, keys (hankies over time) were added to the uniform. Unspoken rules dictated their behavior. Not everyone in the MC's were into SM. The men who were wore more leather than necessary to signify their involvement in SM. And some bikers into SM did not follow the strict rules. There was a type of "buddy sexuality".
INCLUSION VS. EXCLUSION
The rules were meant as a way to keep outsiders OUT. To be included, you had to follow most of the rules. A certain stiffness and formality surrounded these men. After a time, the men into the exotic sexualities separated from the MC's but they retained the paramilitary attitude and the leather RULES About Attire.
- Always wear boots, butch ones, and preferably black.
- Never mix brown leather with black leather.
- Never mix chrome or silver trim with gold or brass trim.
- Long pants only, Levi's or leather, and no shorts.
- Chaps indicate more commitment than Levi's, and leather pants more commitment than chaps, especially when worn consistently.
- Headgear is reserved for Tops or experienced or heavy bottoms only.
- Never touch the bill of a bike cap, including your own.
- Never touch another man's cap (or headgear) unless you are very intimate friends or lovers.
- Leather, other than boots and belt, must be 'earned' through the achievement of successively challenging 'scenes.'
- Always indicate SM preference, only with keys left or right.
- Those who 'switch' are second class players and not to be taken as seriously because they haven't made their minds up. If you must switch, do so in another town.
About Socializing and Cruising:
- Experience in the Scene determines social seniority (Top or bottom), not age, not size, not amount of leather worn, and not offices held in organizations, awards received or titles won.
- Tops and experienced bottoms should be accorded higher respect and deference unless and until they behave rudely--all are expected to observe rules of social courtesy-bad manners are inexcusable and can lower one's status in the Scene (thereby reducing access to the Knowledgeable People for information or play),
- Real Leathermen keep their word: they do not borrow or lend money; they conduct their affairs with honor and integrity-they don't lie.
- Junior Tops defer to Senior Tops and Senior bottoms in social situations.
- Bottoms walk half-a-step behind and to the left of Tops with whom they are involved or playing.
- NEVER over-indulge in drugs or alcohol in public, or otherwise attract scornful attention to one's self--to do so brings dishonor on the men in the Scene,
- None of these rules are taught or explained to anyone except by innuendo, inference, or example.
- Maintain formal and non-committal relationships with those outside the scene; avoid contact with feminine men. Women are not allowed although Senior People may occasionally have intellectual or brief social relationships with the occasional qualified kinky woman, but only in private.