Let’s take a moment to introduce you to all three of this year’s current International Bootblacks. There are three in all, International Mr. Bootblack (IMBB), International Ms Bootblack (IMsBB), and International Community Bootblack (ICBB). In this three part series the bootblacks were each asked a series of questions as well as some questions asked of their predecessors.
Our first article was about Pup Pawlish, International Mr Bootblack 2017. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at boy Patrick, International Community Bootblack 2016. The ICBB contest has something for everyone and is open to all genders. The contest encourages, inspires and challenges our contestants’ not just to be the best, but also to find the best within themselves. The first ICBB winner was boi Gwen Hardy in 2003. We have had 14 ICBB winners in all, with boy Patrick being the most recent.
Before we get to boy Patrick, I asked his predecessor Briar Wood a few questions about him:
When and where did you see boy Patrick bootblack for the first time? What stood out?
I saw Patrick black the first time at the Dallas Eagle. He was being mentored by Irish so she was overseeing his technique. He was so cute and shy back then.
If you could give boy Patrick one piece of advice for the remainder of their title year, what would it be?
I would only suggest him continue to reach out to the babies and encourage growth. Before stepping down, review his year and if there was still something you didn’t get to do, do it.
When I say boy Patrick what’s the first thing that pops into your head?
My favorite Otter!
Now let’s see what boy Patrick has to say about his year as ICBB:
Who was the first person you remember watching bootblack someone’s gear?
The first time I ever saw someone bootblacking was at the Dallas Eagle. I was just barely legal and kind of exploring the place. I don’t really recall who was doing the work or who was getting their boots done. I just remember seeing in the space. It wasn’t until I got heavy into leather that I started to really focus on bootblacking and what it could be.
What drew you into bootblacking?
Service. My first Sir wanted me to learn how to care for his leathers. It was something I loved. Making sure he looked good. Making sure he knew how much I cared. Putting my love and energy into his gear so he could always feel my love around him. That was a huge catalyst for me. It’s always been about service. It has definitely morphed over the years to include sex/foreplay/scenes and restores other as well as myself, but the main motivator is service.
What sense is most important for you personally in regards to blacking?
Touch. I work with a lot of tools if I need to, but most of it is my hands. I like cleaning boots with my hands. I apply polish with my fingers and palms. I know when I’ve applied just enough polish or when my spit shine has a rough patch just through touch alone. I think part of that has to do with working in dark spaces, but I’ve always been a tactile person. I’m a kinesthetic learner. My preferred method of showing affection is touch. So, touch is my biggest thing. I can feel when leather is dry. I love feeling hides that have that sort of buttery smooth feeling in your hands. Feeling the folds on the surface of the leather. All that!
Send a pic of your kit right now, not perfected as is. An in-the-moment picture, please.
What is your favorite tool?
My brush. I’ve been using the same brush that was gifted to me when I first started my apprenticeship with IrishGrrl. She gifted me a bigger brush for my hands, and I have used it ever since. It always goes with me. It has been to every event that I’ve blacked at.
If you had to build a started kit for a new Bootblack what would it include?
Glycerin Soap. Small spray bottle with water. Soap dauber brush. A can of Lincoln polish in black and neutral. A can of Angelus polish in black and neutral. Edge dressing. A lighter. A burnishing spoon. Q tips. Cotton balls. A polish buff brush. A conditioner buff brush. Cream polish. Obenuafs LP and oil. Huberds. Welt brush. Microfiber cloths. Hand sanitizer. Alcohol. T shirt strips. Black model paint. Scissors. Knife. Paintbrush. That’s probably more than you need for just a standard bar night, but that’s a pretty good starter kit.
Who have you been most excited to have sit in your chair?
Oh gosh. There have been so many incredible people who have sat in my chair. To be honest, anyone that sits for me is exciting. You’re trusting me to take care of something that you love, be it the boots you work in everyday or your title vest or whatever. That kind of trust is always exciting, no matter who it is.
If you could have any other imbb/imsbb/icbb sit in your chair who would it be and what one question would you ask them?
I’ve been lucky enough to have so many incredible bootblacks sit for me, international title or not. Honestly, I’d be OK with any of them sitting for me. I just love to take care of anyone who will let me take care of them. One of my favorite things to ask titleholders is, “What were some of your most memorable moments of your year?” I like hearing stories about whatever happened to people. A random event. A great scene. A conversation that happened spontaneously and lasted until 5:00 a.m. during an event weekend. I think we have all had those kind of moments. For me those are the most relatable. I want to know about the stuff that people don’t always ask about. The things that aren’t in someone’s bio.
If you could pass on one thing to the next person to take your title, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Always be open and authentic. That’s the stuff that people can relate to. That’s the stuff that people want to know about. The real you. Not a facade. You’re going to grow and you’re going to change, that’s totally OK. Don’t forget who you are, what you stand for, and who your people are. They’ll always support you and love you. No matter what happens.
It was fascinating to get boy Patrick’s insight on his year as the ICBB. One of the things that is so amazing about the ICBB contest is that it doesn’t matter who you are, you are welcome to enter this contest. Up next we will hear from Elisa Vegas, IMsBB 2017 and her predecessor Meghan Bootblack, IMsBB 2016.