I remember the first time I was called Daddy. I was 38, dating a 26-year-old, and gray was appearing in my beard. We stood there in my apartment, kissing. “You’re my daddy,” he said. My dentures fell out. Daddy? Me? It seems as if just yesterday I had my hair in Björk buns and was called a club kid. I wasn't sure how to react, yet stood there trying to suddenly fit the role.
Daddy was an older guy who had a strong personality, wouldn’t take no for an answer, and got on top of you. Daddy never showed doubt or vacillation. For instance, a Daddy would never say, “Does this contain wheat? I have a gluten allergy.” Above all, a daddy always paid for things (even when he was a ranch hand), which, I thought, ruled me out. But this young man I was dating didn’t need me to fulfill all these stereotypes. I was a Daddy, like it or not.
The daddy — or more specifically, the leather daddy — has been around for a while in gay eroticism (where, let’s face it, all sexual fetishes and flexibilities are begat). It’s had a long sadomasochistic fantasy history. For a schooling, check out Joe Gage’s classic “working man trilogy” porn movies from the late seventies, or, also from that decade, Larry Townsend’s novels and Drummer magazine stories that explore leather subculture. If you’re wondering, the old gay hanky code color is hunter green.
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