Mike A. lives in Long Beach where he works as a computer consultant. He's 43 years old, single at the moment, categorizes himself as heterosexual, and says he's fairly religious; in general, a pretty average guy. Like most folks, Mike likes to start his day with a good breakfast.
He slips into a pair of diapers, puts on a lovely handsewn bib, and sits down on the kitchen floor to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal. After that, he puts on his work clothes and, if he's in the mood, keeps the diapers on underneath his pants.
"It's one of the decisions I make every morning -- 'Do I want to wear a diaper to work?' " says Mike, who does not wear them for any medical reason. "I sleep in my diapers every night. But when I go to work I don't use them, I go to the men's room and use the facilities."
On the drive home, however, Mike will sometimes opt for the particular pleasure of putting his diapers to good use.
"I'll go on the way home, when I'm driving," he continues. "Sometimes number two, yeah. It's kind of fun waddling around with that in there, just feeling like a big kid."
Mike's unique interest in life is infantilism, which Webster's Dictionary defines as, "retention of childish physical, mental or emotional qualities in adult life." Mike will tell you it's all part of being an AB, an Adult Baby, part of being a DL, a DiaperLover.
"This is not something you spring on the second date."
For the last six years he's been a member of the Adult Baby Diaper Club, also known as Diaper Pail Friends, a Web-based organization that's been around for almost 20 years with some 15,000 participants worldwide. The site offers a variety of attractions, from a roster containing thousands of names and addresses to diaper-related stories to a 60-page newsletter published six times yearly.
"It's something that's fairly new in terms of people recognizing others who are into it," offers Mike. "I was 37 years old before I recognized there were others. I was on the Web, and I discovered a human sexuality forum, and they had a section dedicated to adult babies. All of a sudden I realized I wasn't alone. This was a big shame issue with me. I thought I was the only one who was into wearing diapers."
Far from it.
Mike heads the Southern California chapter of the San Francisco-based Diaper Pail Friends (dpf.com -- if you're interested). He communicates regularly with like-minded infantilists, and organizes get-togethers so people can put a face to the online names. They'll do things like eat at Sizzler and go to a movie, happily clad in diapers rustling softly beneath their clothes.
"I've been in contact with ABs from all over the world, from Israel to Hong Kong to England, all occupations, gay and straight, all walks of life, all creeds and faiths," Mike says. "We actually had a Disneyland day a while back, and we had five people from England show up. We met in front of the [Disneyland] fire station. We let our little selves come out but still within the normal guidelines of civilization. We're not walking around with rattles and pacifiers, or nothing like that, just having fun for a day, just letting it loose. I mean, on the ticket you get at Disneyland, it says you can be a kid for a day."
The ghost of Uncle Walt could not be reached for comment.
What makes an adult -- who doesn't have to -- want to wear diapers?
"I think everybody has different reasons. Some were abused, some were loved to death, some of us were bed wetters, some of us were pants wetters," reveals Mike, who was among the latter. He suffered from stress incontinence, where laughing or sneezing causes something of a mess. Cured in his early 20s, Mike was diaper-free for a few years, then got back into them.
"I don't know, it's just part of me," he explains. "They were comfortable, and there's that security. With me there's a bit of a sexual gratification in there, too. Masturbation in the diapers; I started doing that when I was 13 years old. There are a lot of people out there who enjoy doing that. There are some people who will wear diapers in public, just for the fact that they're getting away with something, and there are people who wear them for the nurturing feelings. But in the AB community we're very accepting of each other, which is unique."
Trying to find a romantic relationship as an Adult Baby can also be a unique proposition.
"I know people who are married, and the men are into this thing, and they sneak out on their wives," Mike states. "When they go out on business trips, or something like that, they take their diapers along. They call a DPF member, get together, have dinner, talk.
"With me, I've had relationships in the past, and I always set aside that little part of me, just put it back into the closet," says Mike, who is still holding out for that extra special lady. "I would love to bring a woman into this, as a mommy type or a big sister type. Or a little sister type, just to share the nurturing. But this is not something you spring on the second date."
A common misconception about DLs is that they are involved in pedophilia.
"There is a very, very thick line between this and pedophilia," emphasizes Mike. "If DPF finds out there's a pedophile in the organization, they'll kick them out. We want to have absolutely nothing to do with that. This is just about nurturing your little self; pedophilia is damaging."
Whether your particular kink is model trains or suiting up in extralarge diapers, part of the fun is accessorizing. The Diaper Pail Friends Web site has an online "store," chock-full of everything the dedicated diaper wearer simply must have.
One can purchase hypnosis tapes "developed by one of San Francisco's leading professional hypnotists." The "fully safe" tapes contain "stimulating and exciting imagery, which can be a real turn on. You can customize the process to reduce you to any age of your choice, make you feel like a baby girl or boy, make you suck your thumb or cry real tears."
Beginners might want to look into the Clearing Tape, which "establishes a foundation for success by getting rid of any subconscious negative inhibitions or limitations." Once those pesky bugaboos are out of the way, there are different levels available depending on your needs: Level 8, Bedwetting; Level 7, Uncontrolled 24-Hour Wetting, where one can "enjoy the pleasant sensation of complete and total loss of bladder control"; Level 6, Complete Incontinence.
Then we enter the Solo Baby series, consisting of Level 5, Solo Baby Wets the Bed; Level 4, Solo Baby Is Always Wet; and Level 3, Solo Baby is Wet and Messy. Seasoned pros may want to send for Level 2, Complete Baby is Always Wet, and on to what is surely the black belt of self-soiling, Level 1, Complete Baby Will Always Wet and Mess.
Mike, whose personal staining was confined to his pants, has used the tapes to great effect to enhance his involuntary urination abilities.
"I've worked with hypnosis tapes in the past to help me wet in my sleep," Mike says. "I still have a very active bladder, and I'm a big water drinker."
The store also provides invaluable insider knowledge on how to modify Huggies for adults.
Though these techniques are Huggies-specific, diaper fashion extends far beyond that brand. I ask Mike if Depends, the adult diapers, are a popular item.
"Depends are more clinical," he cautions. "They're kind of green, and they really don't look like baby diapers, where the Attends, which is a Procter and Gamble product, are thicker, they're white, and they have wetness indicators. What I do is I'll stuff a large Pamper in there, so it won't leak when I use it."
Old school purists, however, go for the traditional cloth styles.
"Oh yeah," admits Mike. "I would wear cloth diapers most of the time if I had laundry facilities. They just feel better, and at my age, I was brought up on cloth diapers. But the nice thing about disposables is you can throw them away."
Adult Baby get-togethers are a great way to show off new outfits.
"The last one I went to was more of a fashion show type of thing," Mike says, "where we show off our little outfits. People can spend a lot of money on those things, or they can go an inexpensive route. Some people pick up a sewing machine and make their own clothes. There are men out there who are excellent at designing baby clothes for adults."
Toys are another fun accoutrement.
"Stuffed animals. They come into play, you can just cuddle with a teddy bear, and whatever," explains Mike. "Some of us drink from a baby bottle, and there are some of us who actually drink baby formula, though I would personally find that not very tasty. And some of us eat baby food."
Despite the societal difficulties of being an Adult Baby, Mike maintains it's not something the members of the DPF want to quit; there are no shrink appointments in his future.
"Why would someone want to stop, if they know it's not really hurting anyone, other than maybe guilt or shame or religious condemnation?" he reasons. "I've been studying the Bible for many years, and there's nothing in it against wearing diapers. Jesus wore 'em.
"It doesn't improve who I am or what I do," Mike says. "My job performance is the same whether I wear them or not, and my confidence is the same. I just enjoy wearing them and they're fun. There's nothing harmful about it; it doesn't cause cancer like cigarette smoking, and it doesn't cause liver disease like alcohol. It's relaxing when a couple people are taking about diaper experiences or sitting around showing each other's clothes. It's just fun."