As I neared the Hilton Hotel, I noticed a large group of people congregated outside. I soon realized that they were largely clad in full-on leatherman apparel. (For those of you unfamiliar with the leather subculture, I don't suggest you google it. Try this Wikipedia page instead, but don't say I didn't warn you.) A sign on the sidewalk read:
Welcome to International Mr. Leather 2009
The hotel has been reserved for a private event, and will be closed to the public until May 26th.
So, apparently the leather convention booked the entire hotel so that the attendees could wander the halls at will in their, ahem, apparel. It makes sense that they probably wouldn't want to offend the sensibilities of unsuspecting families of tourists. However, since the hotel is smoke-free, the creatively-attired leather enthusiasts were pouring out onto the sidewalk for a cigarette break. I was faced with the decision of swimming upstream against the hordes of runners on the other side of the street, and working my way through the crowd of scantily clad burly men. I opted for the leathermen, mostly because I didn't want to cross the street an extra two times, but it was incredibly awkward, and difficult not to stare. Nevertheless, it's times like this when I love living in the city. Eccentric new facets are always revealing themselves. Anything can happen...
The next day, I was on my way home from work, and whilst avoiding eye contact on the El, I was staring at the legs of the man sitting across from me. Gradually, I noticed that he had paired his chinos with black combat boots. Glancing up, I saw a further unorthodox pairing of a black leather motorcycle jacket and a black leather skullcap. When he got up to leave, his jacket fell open, revealing his shirtless chest, with a harness-like contraption connected with a metal o-ring. Clearly, he was on his way to the leather convention. I can only conclude that the chinos were a cover-up for something more scandalous lurking underneath.