Bootblacking is an act I have developed a love affair with. Though it started simply as a service to take care of a Leatherman, it has grown to be something I find both relaxing and quite hypnotizing. It has a way of letting the time slip by unchecked. So, I wanted to learn more about the history of bootblacking.
You see, I am what Master calls a “Curious sort.” I ask the most random of questions, seemingly out of nowhere, and am constantly researching. When I started caring for Master’s boots, I researched the best oils, polishes, and cleaning techniques. However, I didn’t take the time to learn the backstory.
This interest bloomed for two reasons. The first was that Master is a Leatherman and I felt it was my duty to make sure his leathers were properly cared for. It reflected on both Him and my service to Him.
The second was slightly less than savory. My core attended a kink conference early last year. It was the first time I had ever seen bootblacking in person, as it is far from common in our area outside of equine needs. The boy working on his boots was friendly and wonderful enough to give me advise on proper care. But, when he finished, Master’s boots were dull and lifeless. We were told that because his boots were oil tanned, there was little that could be done for them. We tipped the bootblack for his time and left it at that.
I was dissatisfied.
So, at the end of our weekend away, I started looking into what steps I could take to make his boots shine. As it turns out, oil tanning does affect the amount of shine you can achieve. I will never be able to “spit shine” his boots, but I can make them look cared for with a bit of reflection.
Now, whenever I’m stressed or whenever they need it, I sit down, meticulously pull out my box, lay out my tools, and get to work.
I’m going to be realistic with you. As erotic as it is to shine his boots while he wears them, I function in the real world. In our world, our schedules don’t meet up three times a week, twice a week is days off (filled with doctor’s appointments, chores, errands, and family), and other two days are hit and miss. When life is hectic, but my work needs done, I do it. Sometimes he’s found me sprawled across the kitchen floor, surrounded by polish and water and laces and cloths, working on his boots. Sometimes, they get done while he sleeps because insomnia has taken hold and I cannot sleep.
But, when we are able, I sit at his feet, his foot moving between the brass rest and my knee, as I wash and shine his boots until I am satisfied. Because, to be honest, my view of “perfect” is far more critical than his.
Besides, between you and me, if you were into Boot Worship (and humiliation with those same boots), you’d have high standards too.
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Now that I have given you my backstory, lets get into the real history. Sit back my peeps, its story time. Don’t worry, its short and sweet. Unfortunately, the bootblacking community seems quiet in their work and passes much of its history verbally.
According to Merriam-Webster, the term bootblack was first used in 1817 and simply meant “one who shines shoes”.
I find the dictionary doesn’t come anywhere close to explaining everything that comes with the word bootblack. It does describe the most basic functions.
It is very difficult to find information on bootblacking. There is no reason given for why it separated from general leather care. I did manage to find a picture from Paris, 1838, showing a very blurring picture of someone having their shoes shined on the sidewalk.
Bootblacking is most closely tied to Leather Culture. In fact, I would consider it an integral part of the community since it revolves around the care of leather. From my understanding, while bootblacking refers to the care of boots, many bootblacks expand their care of leather to other items, such as chaps, vests, hats, and collars. This list is by no means comprehensive and I am positive that if something is made from leather, someone is there taking care of it.
There is very little information regarding bootblacking, outside of how-to instructions and the competitions held—the first of which was in 1953. To put this in perspective, the bootblack pride flag, designed by Jesse “Spanky” Penley, did not make its debut until 2005. That is a 52-year gap where the community had grown and developed before it adopted its symbol.
In my own experience, I have found it hard to meet others in a situation like mine. While bootblacking is not gender defined, it is heavily dominated by men. This was not unexpected since bootblacking, as we know it now, is so heavily tied to the gay leather community. But, finding another female who bootblacks for a male Master, and does so generally without sexual intentions, is harder to find.
It is my hope that the more involved I get and the more people I connect with, I can experience the diversity that is not so apparent to the outside world, but makes up the vast community who love leather (and its care) as much as I do.
Like many things in the kink lifestyle, bootblacking is an individual experience. We each have our own reasons for why we do what we do. Whether it is a spiritual, service-oriented, or sexual experience, we find what we need in bootblacking.
Before I let you go, I figured I’d leave you with a glimpse at my reasons.
I have a deep respect for those who work their craft for strangers. Currently, I do not have the patience for such a task. I also view bootblacking as a service. I find my fulfillment in providing that service to Master. With His blessing, I also extend that offer to those within our family.
Bootblacking is a highly personal experience to me. Not only am I caring for Master, I am able to lose myself in the fantasies and memories of our play. Those boots have been pressed against my cheek to press my face to the floor. They have been used against my chest to bend me backwards. They have been used to move me into positions and correct my posture. They have been polished with both my tongue and my body. They are often the first and only thing I see when play begins.
Beyond all of that, they mark my shift from sub-space to reality. Because, at the very end of every session, when I’m sweating, and panting, and coming down from the high of sub-space, I kiss each boot, thank my Master for his time and care, and press my forehead to the cool surface of his boots.
For me, there is no greater pleasure, than that moment of silence, that connects Master and myself as one.
About the Author
My name is Joji. I am 29 years old currently and I have been in and around the kink community about 15 years.I am a collared submissive to Magick42. I am also a Daddy to a wonderful babygirl, and have been for more than three years now and I find it very fulfilling. I am being mentored in and being taught electroplay. I am a masochist at heart and thoroughly love impact play, especially caning. I enjoy reading anything I can get my hands on and am a die hard Harry Potter and Doctor Who fan. I am also the secretary for a group in Idaho called Moscow S.P.A.R.K.E (Simply Providing Another Route to Kink Education). It is our mission to teach safe practices to those new to the community and give them a safe haven to ask questions and learn without judgement. We accept all kinks and all we ask in return is respect between all our members.