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This Late-Night Glove Salesman Masturbating Story Is Very Weird But Also True

For years there has been an urban legend in Canada about "Glove Guy", who would pick up drunk young men and ask them to try on his gloves.

by Mack Lamoureux and MJ Banias
31 August 2019, 10:30am

This article originally appeared on VICE CA.

It was 3AM in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the dead of winter – typical glove-wearing weather.

Andrew Blackbird had just finished a bartending shift and his wife, who was meant to drive him home but had presumably fallen asleep, wasn’t answering his calls. Then his phone died. With all the cabs taken up, he started the 25-kilometre walk home.

It wasn’t long until a black SUV rolled up alongside him and a man who looked like Max Headroom asked if he wanted a ride. Desperate and freezing, Blackbird accepted. After Blackbird turned down the man’s request to “party,” the night took a disturbing turn.

According to Blackbird, the man told him, “Drive my jeep and wear my gloves."

Blackbird had no idea how often this strange request has been made to stranded Halifax men after a long night. He just thought it was one of those “weird random freak things.” In fact, it wasn’t until Blackbird saw an incredibly popular Reddit post (which eventually got turned into a podcast and a CBC story) describing an eerily similar experience that he learned the truth: there was an urban legend of a man who scouted the streets of Halifax looking for desperate men to try on his gloves.

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Two images from a YouTube channel connected to the Glove Guy. The video is entitled "Leather Glove Fetish" and shows a man making fists while wearing leather gloves and then sniffing them.

“He gives me a pair of leather gloves which are extremely tight to fit on my hands… He then prompts me to pull the glove right on and thread my fingers together to stretch it on properly, and shows me how to stretch the glove by pulling on it and making a fist,” says the 2017 post, the all-time most popular on the Halifax subreddit. “I turn back to the guy and he has a ‘better fitting’ pair of gloves for me to try on. This time it becomes extremely obvious that he has a fetish for young men wearing leather gloves and this is how he gets off.”

According to several comments (the post has 683 of them), Glove Guy cruises the streets in a black SUV after the bars close, picking up young, often drunk, men, and offering them rides home. Along the way, he gives them a business card and has them try on pairs of excruciatingly tight gloves, assuring them it's for his glove-sales business, “Love the Gloves.”

While many of his alleged actions are in dispute, one thing is clear: Glove Guy is real.

Blackbird acquiesced to Glove Guy’s requests and got behind the wheel. The two of them drove up and down the same patch of road while Blackbird tried on a selection of tight-fitting gloves—gloves he admitted were “really well-made.” Like the Reddit poster, Glove Guy had Blackbird make a “fist a few times to work them in.”

"The whole time I was doing that he's, like, looking at me and, like, fucking rubbing his leg and shit. He's like, 'How do they feel? How do they feel?' and breathing really hard," Blackbird told VICE.

"In my head I was like, 'Jesus Christ,' but I just told him, 'They feel good.'"

There have been enough glove-foisting incidents for the authorities to get involved: Halifax police have received reports and information regarding “a man offering rides to male pedestrians and asking them to try on gloves,” Cst. John MacLeod said in an email to VICE.

One case even resulted in a police charge. Shawn DeWolfe told VICE he was picked up by Glove Guy in 2016. He says that while he was made to try on several pairs of gloves, Glove Guy started to masturbate in the driver's seat. DeWolfe says he fled the vehicle as quickly as possible.

Most people “just think it’s funny,” DeWolfe previously told the CBC. "[But] for other men who had more serious encounters, I just believe that they're too embarrassed or too afraid to maybe even come out and talk because they're afraid that what other people might think of them."

DeWolfe reported the incident, and in May 2016, officers charged Murray Russell James, 50 years old at the time, with one count of committing an indecent act. James pleaded guilty and in January 2017 received a 30-day conditional sentence. According to court documents, he was ordered not to leave his home from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. He was also given a $100 fine and told to have no contact with DeWolfe. James told the CBC he denied masturbating next to DeWolfe and only pleaded guilty to avoid a harsher punishment.

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A portion of the court documents regarding James masturbating.

In a Facebook post dated August 1, he wrote that his "biggest mistake" was trying to promote his "glove business between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m." and "providing those with my business card first then showing them my awesome ultrathins [gloves] next." James denied any "inappropriate behaviour" to the CBC, but did admit that sometimes he would offer drives at night.

The post continues: "I will say along the way I did get a little pushy to get people/ guy's [sic] to see and try on my gloves because I was so damn proud [of] my products that it creeped some of you out and that was never my intent and am so sorry you felt that way!"

Recently, in a separate incident, James was charged with impaired driving and suspended from driving for 90 days. According to Halifax police, he was arrested on July 29 at 2:30 a.m. on Carmichael St., a street off the city's main bar drag, and was alone at the time. In an email to VICE, James denied this was him, but Halifax police confirmed it was the same Murray James who pleaded guilty in 2016.

James told VICE in another email that the rumours spread by Reddit and the CBC were "fake news,” and he was "not interested in getting involved in most of these lies.” He added, "I would ask you to leave me alone or I will be sueing [sic] you for fake news!"

In another email, James said, “Mark my words you don’t want to fuck with me! I will come after you in every way possible.” He ended the correspondence by emailing the VICE reporter's headshot back to him.

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The homepage of the Love the Gloves website. The website is only accessible through the internet archive.

But that's only part of the story. To get the whole picture, which somehow involves allegations of cybersquatting, we first have to take to—yeah, you guessed it—a podcast. Jordan Bonaparte, the host of the true crimes Nighttime Podcast, decided to investigate the legend of Glove Guy after seeing the many Reddit posts. He interviewed four men with Glove Guy tales for two podcast episodes that aired in May 2019.

As one man explained on the show, “The first thing he does after I buckled my seatbelt is open the glove compartment, at which point, God knows how many pairs of gloves spilled onto my lap...and he almost frantically starts requesting that I start trying them on.”

Soon after the interviews aired, James registered "The Nighttime Podcast" as his own business with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies (NS RJSC). He also purchased a website URL and created a Facebook page with a near-identical name to Bonaparte’s website and podcast (James added "The"). In his email exchange with VICE, James said he would "make it worse on Jordan [Bonaparte]” if the story was published.

In an all-caps Facebook post on The Nighttime Podcast Facebook page, James expressed his displeasure with Bonaparte and stated that there are “two sides" to every story. He admitted to picking up the men and having them try on the gloves but was adamant it was a marketing ploy.

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Screenshot from the Aug. 4 post.

A large part of James’ glove-related activities are tied to Love the Gloves. VICE could not authenticate if the company is still operational, but it does have a YouTube channel and previously had a website (it’s still accessible by the Wayback Machine).

One YouTube video, "Leather Driving Gloves," shows a man trying on several pairs of very tight leather gloves standing in front of the company banner. It goes on for seven minutes and not a word is spoken. VICE sent images of the man in the video to Blackbird, who confirmed it was the same guy who picked him up.

Another video, called “Leather Glove Fetish,” shows the torso of a man putting on gloves, making fists, and sniffing the leather. Bonaparte declined to comment to VICE for this story. But in an interview with the CBC, Bonaparte said he still retains ownership of his podcast since it is a trademarked product, and the business operates under his personal name. However, he is frustrated that the NS RJSC allowed the business name to be registered without doing research or requiring proof of the applicant’s ownership.

Bonaparte told the CBC he thinks the registrations were done to "squat on [his] work" as a form of retaliation for his podcast.

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A page from the Love the Gloves website. The website is only accessible through the internet archive.

DeWolfe told VICE he was contacted by James on social media and also threatened, even after the court order. According to DeWolfe, police told him to block James on social media and let them know if he attempted to contact him again.

MacLeod stated that each report is taken seriously and criminal activity should always be reported to local authorities. “We appreciate that this behaviour may be disconcerting, and encourage anyone who has been approached in this manner to contact police so we can investigate the matter,” MacLeod said.

As to where the tale of the Glove Guy ends, well, it’s an ongoing saga. It’s unknown if the man is still out there picking up male Haligonians and asking them to try on his “very well-made” gloves, but the idea of Glove Guy is no longer just a legend that drunk Maritimers tell in a south Halifax bar.

Blackbird sums up his Glove Guy encounter as a strange, uncomfortable experience. “Really, besides the unsettling feeling, he didn't do anything. I didn't really feel threatened," Blackbird said.

“I like to joke about the situation but I imagine if it happened to an 18-year-old university student it would be quite traumatic."

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