Leather Mask and I sat in the cove behind the stage. He took off his mask and said, "See." He had an untrimmed patch of hair on his chin, like a farmer. In 1942. "Listen," Leather Mask continued, "if I didn't like you, I wouldn't take the time out to talk to you." He told me that his whole family goes to these fetish parties, primarily his uncle, and that the intrigue of the mask is that you don't know if that person is smiling or not. He said the mouth holds more power than the eyes.

Leather Mask's isn't the only family that could hold its reunion at these fetish clubs. But it wasn't always this easy for fetishists to find one another. Most people agree that the local fetish scene grew largely because of the work of Glenn and his fiancé, Donna, owners of a Fort Lauderdale store called the Fetish Factory. There, you can buy high-end latex fashion, vibrators, ball gags, masks, whips — everything a newbie or a seasoned fetishist might desire.

Glenn and Donna, who won't use their last names when being connected to Fetish Factory, have been hosting what's now billed as the longest-running fetish-wear party in the United States, called "Alter Ego." The anniversary, which takes place every Memorial Day weekend, brings in thousands of attendees from upward of 30 countries and includes kink superstars. An entire hotel is taken over. This year, it will be the Fort Lauderdale Marriott North. Over the course of four days, there will be seven parties, including three full-scale fetish balls: the "Beat & Greet" party, the 17th-anniversary "Fetish Ball," and the "Extreme Players Party," all at different venues, as well as a "Pervy Pool Party" at the hotel.

Fetish Factory enjoys its obscurity. "We're the hand up Mona Lisa's skirt,"  says Matt Havoc, left. "We're the reason she's smiling."
Antonio Angelo
Fetish Factory enjoys its obscurity. "We're the hand up Mona Lisa's skirt," says Matt Havoc, left. "We're the reason she's smiling."
Lady Lethe (in mask) makes domination an art form.
Antonio Angelo
Lady Lethe (in mask) makes domination an art form.


A Glossary of "Fetish Terms of Endearment"

Dom: The dominant person, the top, usually the person who yells; can be male or female. It's also the old-school term for a woman in charge, the almighty dominatrix.

Sub: The submissive person, the bottom, the one who wants no fucking control for a bit.

Switch: A kinkster chameleon; someone who enjoys switching from dom to sub, depending on the mood or partner.

Slave: A term some submissives prefer to be called. Typically, these subs want to be treated like actual slaves. Just not like the pre-Lincoln era.

Pet: The antithesis of being a slave while still remaining a sub. The pet is loved. The dom takes good care of his pet.

Rubber: Shiny clothes made out of synthetic plastic polyvinyl chloride, referred to as PVC or vinyl garments; actual rubber (think the Batsuit).

Rubberists: Fetishists who wear such garments.

BDSM: Combines these abbreviations into one catch-all category: B&D (bondage and discipline), D&S (dominance and submission), and S&M (sadism and masochism).

S&M: Can be sadomasochism (the practice in which both parties get off: the one giving pain as well as the one receiving it, usually during sex); or slave and master; or, as Matt Havoc describes it when pertaining to him, "Stand and model."

Glenn and Donna opened the Fort Lauderdale store in 1995 because Glenn loved latex clothing but couldn't find it anywhere in South Florida. Shortly after the store opened, the two flew to London to attend the "Skin Two Rubber Ball," one of the world's premier BDSM/fetish events. Glenn then decided to try to start a fetish scene from scratch.

Around the Fetish Factory, a sexually liberated community has grown. In the second year, the "Alter Ego" parties drew 200 people. By the third year, there were 500 to 600 people. Now, the monthly parties average about 600 to 800, topping 2,000 for the annual Halloween Fetish Ball.

Fetish Factory enforces a dress code. Everyone must don fetish wear. Just dressing goth isn't enough. Think kilts, tutus, fishnets, lingerie, crazy amounts of zippers — anything that would make you feel out of place at a regular club. The majority of attendees have a disposable income: They have to, because latex is expensive. Public officials play here because no outside photography is allowed. Doctors, lawyers, politicians, blue-collar peeps, and strippers — at these parties, everybody is dressed and treated the same. Many people attend the parties because they enjoy the fashion. Others need a change. They get to become who they want to be. Put a whip in an introvert's hand and he turns into a dom.

Other regular fetish parties are more lenient, such as "Submission" and "Electrolust," since they don't require strict fetish wear. Anybody can get in. We call them vanillas. You're a vanilla if you're there solely for the shock-and-awe effect. This glamorous counterculture — being true rubberists — is what makes this lifestyle not feel like a giant web-cam party.

At "Fetish Apocalypse," Leather Mask asked me to help him get back in costume. As I pushed the straps over his head and ears, the oil from his greasy hair coated my fingers. I felt his arm. All of his skin was sticky. He hadn't showered for days.

He grabbed my arm and escorted me for a bathroom break. When I exited the stall, he was there, flirting with another woman in front of the mirror. I passed by quickly. But he grabbed me in the hallway and led me to what he said were booths. It was a three-walled room, complete with scaffolding to hold on to and a spanking/whipping bench. It was all very open.

We moved over to the bench. Without warning, Leather Mask threw my legs in the restraints. He locked my right arm in another. He said not to worry because they don't really work. He showed how it didn't actually lock. He dropped the whip and came closer and spanked my ass with his hands.

He brought me to the back corner of the inside bar, where a wooden bench was attached to the wall. We sat down next to two ladies intensely locking lips. A man in a full-length, leather Renaissance outfit and his two friends stood in front of us drinking and chatting.

Leather Mask never explained his fetish. But we began kissing, and he placed my arm on the shoulder of one of the women on the bench. Suddenly, his eyes lit up.

The Husband, I'll call him, had left his wife in the bathroom. He explained that I wasn't wearing my latex correctly. You're not supposed to lube your body, as I had done, causing bunched panties and uncomfortable stretches. You lube the latex itself, he explained as we stood at the Fetish Factory's New Year's Eve "Extreme Players Party." He fetched his wife's purse from behind the bar so he could improve my situation.

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Patrick Lobo
Patrick Lobo

Awesome stuff..You actually placed right stuff on the table.I hope more users will get the information that i receive from you..florida swingers


one clarification: rubber is rubber! vinyl is just vinyl!


As a woman in the scene, I'm VERY happy with how well written this article is. I know both Matt and Robin and have also gone to the Electrolust parties. A few years ago i would have never thought myself part of this scene/lifestyle, but i am happy that i have found my place.  I too found the love of my life at the Fetish Factory parties and we now go together as a couple. It is so much fun to people watch, dance and play.


well written and fun to boot , held my interest and stirred some old memories and tweaked some new desires . . .

Jack Allen
Jack Allen

Hello.  Is Ms. Huffington here yet??It's okay.  I'm here now.


Was this an internship?