What Makes You A Bear?

I love the bear community and consider it my home. Some would even say I’m entrenched in a world of bears and that’s the way I like it. Ever since my first days on the internet when I was discovered that such a world existed, I’ve always liked bears. Clearly the number one thing that bonds us as bears is the type of men we are or are attracted to. Bears value masculinity and a body that is hairy and solid. However there are a lot more commonalities that might go unnoticed to the casual observer. Many bears tend to be cut from a similar cloth and therefore have similar interests. Margaret Cho had an old joke that pointed out if you go to a renaissance fair, a leather bar, and a bear event you’re going to see a lot of the same faces. Similarly I‘ve always said that if you want to start up on conversation at a bear run you should choose one of the three universal bear topics: sci-fi/gaming, technology/computers, or weight lifting/health. If there had to be a fourth universal topic it would be smoking/drinking. Here’s another tip, if you want to find a bear where you work always start your search in the IT department. I recognize much of this is vast generalizations and stereotypes but stereotypes are there for a reason. Conversations about Doctor Who, the maximum pixel count for your camera phone, or the best lifting routine are all as common as a bear in flannel. Other bears have told me that they’ve never noticed these phenomena before.  I guess if you share these interests it’s easy to take it for granted.

I say all this as a sober fashion week loving non-masculine bear who cares nothing about action movies or gym life. I admit that I’ve never really identified with a lot of bear culture. I guess that’s why I’ve never felt it was a large part of my identity. For example when I started this blog it never occurred to me to give it a bear themed name. To be honest I cringe when the word bear is overused especially when its injected into otherwise average words like husbear, celebearity, etc. If you look back over the last four years on this blog you’ll notice a general lack of posts specifically targeting bears. The Bear Pool Party post is probably the most notable exception. Trust me when I say the lack of bear centric article has not been on purpose but rather a natural evolution. I don’t avoid the topic but I usually focus more on general gay themes because that’s what genuinely interests me. Apart from the our shared taste in a physical form I guess I feel like I don’t usually like what other bears like.

With all that said, I still love bears and our community and consider myself a part of it. (Yes I’m a bear) Bears really are the most fun guys you’ll ever meet. True our taste in movies or and our views on masculinity are often different but who gives a shit. People tend to spend too much time focusing on their differences. In the end we’re all just dudes who like dudes and our differences are what makes life fun. Many of my dearest friends have a variety of interests different than mine. They include concert nuts, car buffs and beast mode power lifters and that’s what makes them interesting people. We always try to define bear in very set terms. I like to think of bear as an umbrella term that encompasses  a wide variety of men. In my case my flame might burn a little brighter than most but that’s never hindered me from making friends and having fun amongst bears. I’ve always felt welcomed and accepted despite any perceived differences. There’s no one specific mold you need to fit into. Most people are pretty good at picking up on when a person is trying to be something they’re not. So just relax and have fun.

So when I’m hanging out with a group of bears dressed in their monochromatic clothes talking passionately about whether Ben Affleck will be a good Batman or not I don’t get uncomfortable and leave. Instead I choose to turn the conversation toward topics that I can contribute to such as sex or gossip or gossip about sex.

Today, October 10th, is the 4 year anniversary of The Gay Gasp and I dedicated this post to all the wonderful bears out there that have stopped by to read my ramblings. 

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