Barry El Beardo talks rubber!
I found myself in Switzerland for the weekend after being invited to a rubber pool party by the handsome and welcoming founders of the social group ‘Swiss Rubbermen’. I have only been getting into rubber since the beginning of this year, so I felt extremely lucky to be invited to a private event in a community in which I felt totally and utterly clueless.
We arrived by bus, walking together in a large group – like a pack of fetish freaks – up the hill into the forest where the party was. With the sweat dripping off my shaved head, I could hear the music thumping as were getting closer. We were met with a big welcoming hug by the hosts and entered to the pool area where there was already around 50 guys in rubber chatting and drinking. We made our way to the changing area to suit up into rubber, which was where it was pointed out to me that there was a hole in the back of my suit. I was horrified!
As one of the hosts were made aware of my predicament, he whisked me away to repair the problem. I inadvertently made things worse by causing a huge tear across the back of my suit. Not only was I mortified in front of such a well-regarded member of the rubber community, but I knew it would be impossible to fix. Being in such generous hands, he took me down to his vast collection of rubber and pulled out a suit for me to wear. As he helped me into the suit and fitted it to my stocky body, my skin began to tremble, and my knees weaken.
I returned to the party in the semi-transparent suit, at least another 50 guys had arrived, and I could feel head’s turning in my direction as I made my way back to my friends. Any reservations and nerves this gave me were soon dispersed when my friends told me how good I looked. My body was being encompassed, my furry chest and shoulders on display and I started to feel desirable.
A couple of drinks and some BBQ’d food later, I started to feel more at ease. I looked around in amazement at the many guys (it was amazing that there were almost 200 guys in total, but no clashed outfits!), all different shapes and sizes, who were clearly having a fantastic time. Upon making new friends, it donned on me that people were coming around the world to this event – the UK, Paris, Germany, the US and even Australia!
Despite everyone at the party wearing rubber, it didn’t stop anyone from getting in the pool. My friends encouraged me to jump in and despite fears of looking like a twat, I did so. The water felt refreshing on my warm body, especially in the rubber. It was a peculiar sensation but felt totally normal after a few moments.
The rest of the day just got better and better, delighting me after starting off like a stressed hot mess. Listening to so many stories about how rubber was a part of people’s lives made me feel part of the community – even though I felt like a novice with only a torn suit to my name. With music playing, drinks swigging and the annual Mr Rubber Pool Party competition crowning its winner, I couldn’t help but smile at the array of different people that all share this common interest.
At the end of the day, I realised that even when you might feel like you don’t belong amongst people who, no matter what age or build or ethnicity they were, spend so much of their time and money into something they truly love – that they will embrace you with friendship, care and love, and you feel accepted despite the flaws you put onto yourself. Because it isn’t about how much gear you own or how many events you go to. Sometimes it’s just about showing up and being yourself.
Follow Barry on Instagram @barryelbeardo85