By Eris Chase  

So, what does it look like when a virgin, also known as the girl who writes filthy  things for money, me, goes to International Mr. Leather (IML) and The Grabby  Awards with the Sexy Underwear King himself, Andrew Christian? Well since it’s  us, we do a whole lot of allllll of it! Cheers to two people can fit a metric ton of  good times into five days. Sit back and read up, here is a virgin’s guide to  visiting IML and The Grabby Awards in Chicago! Enjoy!!!  


Day 1….. started with a hilariously ill timed arrival into Chicago at 5 PM. Which  made my first experience one of very sexy rush-hour traffic AND even sexier  game traffic as the Cubs were playing. Off to an epic start. 10 out of 10 can  definitely suggest you should not try it! Luckily, this was the only fail of the trip,  so got it out of the way early!!  

Checked in and met up with Andrew for dinner, drinks, and dancing. Hit Ping Pong for dinner with my co-passenger princess for the trip and Andrew’s BFF,  Sorel. We had amazing food and even better conversation. Then it was off to Sidetracks for a few drinks and some dancing! Sidetracks didn’t disappoint, the  vibe for the long weekend was already high. All of us were still ready to stay  out, so we walked to Charlie’s. Taking in their sexy go-go dancers shadow  dancing sets. It’s not be missed if you’re “What’s really going on behind the  curtain” curious!  

Day 2… Thursday had us up early and being angelic as we started with time at  Lakeview Athletic Club. Balancing all that debauched lifestyle with some  sweaty working out. Stopped by Wrigley Field because it’s required by law  when you stay in Chicago. Went to MCA where we had just 20 minutes to get  our art fix in. Ran up the stairs to the third floor and casually hot lapped down.  Lunch was at Ralph Lauren for one of the most lovely lunches I can ever  remember having. Walked in and audibly full on gasped. Gorgeous space!! 

The evening was spent getting into IML and Grabby party headspace! We met  Sorel and started at the IML kick off party hosted by Andrew at Cram  Boutique. Free drinks poured by Trophy Boys in Andrew Christian undies,  personal styling by the staff and major give aways of AC products all evening.  Let it be said, Marc, the owner of Cram, knows how to throw an incredible  party, and Andrew is a natural host. It was too much fun! Full of friendly locals  and people in town for the events. Of course, I found a sweater to buy too…!  The shop is hand curated to make sure all product is on point.  

We had dinner at Angelina with Marc and and his husband, Stephane. I told  Chef Phil I couldn’t eat anything, especially not pasta, because I had to fit  myself into corsets for the parties. But he made me a dish anyway… something  special from his kitchen just for me! I mean… swoon!!! Who says no to that??  Plus, Lord, it was divine. Needless to say, Andrew had to break a few ribs to tie  me into my outfits, but, worth it!  

Thursday night will live on forever in the highlight reel of my life!! Sorel,  Andrew and I went to LUBE WRESTLING hosted by my most favorite Canadian  adult content star. The super extra, Oh my God, filthy hot, Skyy Knox, at  Hydrate. He was there as part of the Skintrade party celebrating 25 years of the  Grabby’s with Chi Chi La Rue spinning. We got there and Andrew decided that  it would be really nice to add in a $250 Andrew Christian gift card to the  winner’s prize package because, let’s be honest, 1,000,000% of the crowd was  there to watch guys in jock straps roll around all shiny covered in lube and the  winner should be able to swath himself in fresh Andrew Christian garments!  

Logan Aarons, an up and coming adult creator and Go-Go dancer, was one of  the wrestlers and, Ma’am, they got the memo! Thicc ass out, legs spread, rolling  all around slick with lube… he brought the show you came to see. Another  match saw, rising adult star, Boe Jack Ryan put on a gorgeous show. He and his  competitor played little rougher, but still extra hot hot!! Boe was the eventual  overall winner, but, truly, the winners were us. The spectators who risked lube  stains on their shoes to get up close and personal with the inflatable pool of  wet limbed boys. 

Day three…. found us a little bit…. you know… what’s the word for it? Hung  the ever living fuck over… but that’s OK, we earned it. And, by we, I mean me.  Andrew was fine, up and in the gym. Sorel was at work. And I was cocooned in  a blanket fort praying for coffee to summon itself into my still lube covered  hand… why was that still there…? I couldn’t wallow long though, because  today was IML Market day!!!  

We took a quick river walk first, then met Stephane at 3 Arts Cafe for a bomb  lunch in a stunning setting. Dessert was affogato - ice cream floating in  espresso!! We all got one, because life is too short to share an affogato!  

Now, for the good stuff, The IML Market!! Could not have been easier or  more welcoming. Volunteers are all over the place ready to help you out. The  vibe was really really high just walking through the lobby. You don’t have to be  dressed from head to toe in leather to share in the community. They say  inclusive, and mean it.  

Since I was looking for a flogger, Andrew and I started with his longtime friends  at the unreal Rough Trade booth. They had the equivalent of a department  store worth of all things leather and leather related on display. Just wandering  around looking, smelling and talking to the staff was it’s own IML Market  experience. Everybody was unbelievably helpful. And, the RT clients outfits…  LORD! So stunning. Men in custom fitted leather will NEVER be disappointing.  Never.  

I ended up meeting up with one of their sales associates, Ido. I told him I  wanted to buy a flogger, but I wasn’t really sure how exactly you went about  picking the right one. He took me through everything I could possibly need to  know while we found the right one for me. Then, before checking out, he told  me about the materials, how to take care of it, how to hold it properly, showed  me why it was the right length and why it would work with my hand. I felt like I  got absolute all star service and all star attention.  

After my purchase, we wandered around the rest of the show. Going through  each of the three levels. It was unreal. We saw so many new products, things you’ve never seen, things you’ve never heard of, and things you didn’t know  you needed! Each booth had a rad vibe full of people who are psyched to be  there sharing their passions.  

A few of my favorite things at the market were the fully mechanical sex toys.  Like the all in one fuck machine packaged inside a dildo. Smooth piston quality  action with vibration speeds included. Or, the butt plugs that not only vibrated,  but also had rotating beads in the base that would rub around your rim.  Technological advances at their finest!  

One of my other favorites booths was Emma Alamo, who made stunning  harnesses. They had the ultimate size and gender identity inclusivity that we  saw at the show. Kudos to them on being for everyone! Plus, they have the  most amaze shade of green available too!  

But, my total favorite, had to be the Dungeon Beds. They knew their target  audience. I walked up and it was like sister, I have the bed for you. And, they  were correct! With everything the beds can become, it is highly easy to justify  4k in price. Just have to talk my husband into it… !  

If you ever get a chance go to the leather market even if you don’t get to  attend any of the other events, GO!! It’s so welcoming, it’s great people  watching and you will learn a ton of information on all things leather lifestyle.  

With the market finished, we had to get a wiggle on to meet our friends,  Jordan Starr and his husband Brian, at Bar 360 in downtown. This is the spot to  go. Yes, it’s touristy. But, sometimes touristy things are amazing, and 360 is  amazing! The views over the lake, all the buildings stem to stern…. you see the  entire city. Well worth it, especially with such solid company!  

After we finished a drink with Jordan and Brian, we met Sorel at Obelix. Oh my  God!! Friends, we ate the house down! We had duck on duck on duck on duck.  It was the most phenomenal meal I think I’ve ever had in my life!  

Dinner finished, we needed to burn off some of the everything that we just  shoveled into our mouths. We went to Sidetracks to the Meet the Men of Carnal party, and then to Hydrate dancing our feet off. The music was  incredible. The vibe, the crowds, all the gorgeous porn stars and leather  daddies out and about… energy for days. Didn’t want the night to end!  

Day Four….! This was our fancy day! High Tea at the Langham during the  afternoon and The Grabby Awards at night.  

High tea with Sorel and Andrew was the perfect afternoon. Just a stunning  service of beautiful little small bites and crafted teas… the conversation floated  effortlessly as we tasted specialty themed confections and drank ice cold champagne. Highly suggest trying it out if you’d like to do something more  unusual when you’re in for the awards and contest.  

Time to dress for the show!! Andrew, looked mad fit as always! Like he’s a  fashion designer or something?? Lol! Perfectly styled in a tailored suit to  present Best Cock. I mean, talk about a perfect pairing, nobody can make a  dick look better covered than Andrew! Sorel was in HtT Tom Ford and I was in a  black corset jacket, liquid latex pants and my tall boots. We got the style  memo!  

We got to the Grabby’s and went right to the step and repeat saying “Hi!” to  the show creator and Grab magazine publisher, Stacy Bridges. Stacy, who, I’m  pretty sure is the nicest human being I’ve ever spent time with, put on a  fabulous show and weekend of parties. Hosted, as always, by Chi Chi LaRue.  She was joined by Honey West and Sister Roma. It was way too much fun. We  have highlights for days, but will share some of our personal favorites from the  award show.  

Favorite Show Moments…. Lawson James had my all-time favorite outfit for  the night. Leather on leather on leather. He was serving a leather kilt look that  had us gasping “Daddy!” at the sight of him. Sir Peter was a very close second.  He looked every bit the most fuckable Bond villain of all time in a flawlessly  fitted suit. The super sweet on and off screen, Southwest College Boys, brought  their parents as dates. Awwww! Beau Butler is getting a mention here just for  being Beau Butler. He looked a snack. 

We LOVED the best movie clips sprinkled through the show… seriously. Do not  ever not have them. Andrew brought up the energy in the room presenting  Best Cock to a very deserving Legrande Wolf. Dom King’s Best Newcomer  speech was as Dom King as a Dom King could Dom King. This means nothing, I  just like typing his name and he seems like a proper fun time. Jordan Starr won  for Best Bottom, and looked so genuinely shocked it made us love him even  more. Overdrive won a pile of awards, which is good, because I have watched  the life out of the Derek Kage and Paul Wagner flip fuck car scene from that  movie.  

The Lifetime Achievement award was given to Dominic Ford of Just for Fans.  He’s put so much into his site and supporting the adult entertainer community.  He hires former and current sex workers to run his entire company so they  know what they’re doing. Dominic is an unbelievably kind person and, also,  plays a killer piano when he’s down in PV.  

We finished The Grabby’s, and it was time to go to the after party at Charlie’s!!  It was too much! You couldn’t move without tripping over an adult content  creator and star. It was, in my cocktail-ed opinion, taking too long for the dance  floor to get going, so I coaxed a willing Logan Aarons out to get it open with  me. Bruh is a party and a half. Cheers to his infectious happy! It felt like the  whole city was out and rolling after that. Even caught Howard Andrew grooving  by the entrance in his lit jacket! After Charlie’s, we went to Sidetracks where it  was packed to perfection on all three floors and in all 72 different rooms… it’s  bananas good. We spotted Drake Von across the dance floor fresh off his Best  Twink win and hosting gig. The dancing and good vibes went till dawn.  

Day 5… how is this all one weekend!? Capping our time, we started at brunch  at Drew’s on Halsted. Sorel had to work, so Andrew and I were joined by Kam  Stone and Marco Napoli. In adorableness, Kam at one point said, “Yeah, I just  turned 21.” I choked on my champagne, Marco and Andrew both snort  laughed at me… I mean, I thought he was at least 23… but anyway, he’s a good  shout and very on his way. 

We had time for one last dinner, so we rejoined Sorel and decided to go back  and see our friend, Chef Phil, at Angelina. He’s such a sweet soul and of course  he makes spectacular food, so we went out with a bang of champagne,  cocktails, calamari, risotto, ravioli and desserts. No regrets!  

Last event, we made it!!! We went to dance to Honey motherfucking Dijon at  the IML Queen party at Metro thanks to gifted tickets from Allan at The Men’s  Room on Halsted! Was unreal. I’ve never seen a crowd with better style!! The  explosion of bounce as soon as she came out was surreal. It was the absolute perfect ending to our entire five day experience.  

I went right from the dance floor to my flight. Yeah, I looked as amazing as you  can imagine in an airport at 4am. No worries. Greasy hair for days. Definitely  got pulled into secondary, but, made it to my flight.  

Home….. My pants don’t fit but my flogger does!! Meow! Made so many new  friends, it’s crazy. Thank you times a million to Andrew Christian for giving me  the absolute most wild five day experience my life. Till I see you there next year,  babes.

May 29, 2024 — Andrew Christian
Tags: Gay Culture