Of Human Bondage (and Caramelized Bacon): Breaking Code at the ‘Toilet Paper’ Party

  • “This is interesting,” said a man to his friends. He wore leather pants with a harness over his bare chest. He was looking around at all the people at the Toilet Paper magazine issue launch party on the roof deck of the Eagle Bar, a leather daddy hot spot, last night. A waiter walked by with a small plate of hors d’oeuvres.

    “Why?” we asked.

    “It’s so refined,” he told Gallerist. “They were serving caramelized bacon before. Why would they want to have this party here? If they weren’t here, you would see a man in a horse mask being led around on a leash. But I guess it is being thrown by Paper magazine.”

    Toilet Paper magazine,” we said correcting him. He slapped us hard on the shoulder and let out a guffaw. We walked away confused.

    Thursday is “Code” night at Eagle, voted the best leather bar in New York City by New York magazine. The suggested dress code is pants of “leather, rubber, uniform, jeans, S/M, jock, fetish.” Torsos were to have been decked in “harnesses, vests, armbands, collars, wristbands, or nothing.” Not permitted were “cologne, sneakers, sandals, dress shoes, dress shirts, dress pants, khakis, suits, shorts (other than leather).” Welcome accessories include “braces, caps, belts, tattoos, piercing.”

    Most of the guests at the Toilet Paper party were on the roof deck, and breaking the code. While the second floor had a club with a disco ball spinning slowly over a sweaty crowd of dancing men, the third floor roof deck was very brightly lit and had no discernible music playing, though there were plenty of men dressed according to “code” and toilets decorated with tousled toilet paper rolls propped on the deck.

    “Interesting choice of venue for a magazine party,” said Sam, who is a writer for an art publication. “What do you think those are for?” he said pointing to the leather harnesses worn by three men who were standing on the deck under a tree.

    “Those are real daddies,” said Brett, another friend who walked up. He seemed sympathetic with the men in leather. Brett was breaking code with his dress jacket, but he was also winning points with some type of S&M silver hoop ornament that was dangling from his collar in place of a tie.

    “It’s like this,” he said pointing to the silver hoop around his neck. “I could hang myself from this if I wanted to.”

    We contemplated his neck hoop. “But you wouldn’t,” we said. “Yours is just aesthetic.”

    “Yeah,” said Sam. “Theirs look functional.”

    Brett walked away and Sam and Gallerist walked closer to the three leather daddies. After 10 minutes, the three men had their arms around each other’s waists.

    “I was at Family Business this afternoon,” said Sam referring to Mr. Cattelan’s gallery in Chelsea, “trying out for the part of a female Polish artist in a film—just one aspect of her personality.”

    We looked around the third floor for more people breaking “code.” Every here and there the sea of leather daddies would part and we’d see a couple of women in dresses or men in jackets. But it was hard to make contact. So we just stood around trying to feel comfortable as one of the men next to us began to kiss the pierced nipple of another man while a third rubbed his shoulder.

    “The billboard went up today,” we said referring to the Toilet Paper billboard that had just been unveiled by the High Line park.

    “Was it butts?” said Sam, referring to our blog post of a couple of days ago where we guessed what the billboard would be, posting a picture of three female backsides in 70’s-style short shorts.

    “No. It was hands.”

    “Hands?”

    “Hands.”

    The nipple-kissing session nearby was getting more heated.

    “Is he doing a line of coke?” Sam said looking up. Above us was a Toilet Paper poster of a beaver or other semi-aquatic rodent on a desk next to a line of white powder.

    We saw a young man breaking code in a dress jacket and dress shirt and recognized him. We walked over he requested illegal drugs. We said we didn’t have any. The conversation ended quickly.

    We looked for Maurizio Cattelan but did not see him anywhere.

    Walking toward the door, we accidentally got into a photo-op of a woman posing playfully on a toilet bowl.

    “Watch out,” said a tall burly man to Gallerist. We had almost knocked over a drag queen on crutches. Having decided it was time to leave, we grabbed a tote bag, a parting gift from Toilet Paper, which bore the image of the semi-aquatic rodent doing coke. In the bag was a magazine wrapped in cheap pink plastic, like a feminine hygiene product. It was an old issue of Toilet Paper—from February—with pictures we’d seen in Vice months ago. There was also a small bottle of Disaronno on the front of which was an image of the semi-aquatic rodent doing coke.

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

  • (Courtesy Kevin Tachman)

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