1. Donald says

    Bucky – Was that comment necessary? I don’t understand the twink culture and think it is strange to be so waifish but I do not comment on it when there are post about it.

  2. greg says

    Well, the “bear culture” is strange if you take it at all seriously. I’m in this video, the interviewer, like most people, started by taking the whole taxonomy thing way WAY too far – which I think he got by showing the answers of meercat, groomer, and racoon.

    It’s basically about guys who like facial hair and who don’t see the need to spend a lot of time primping and plucking and shaving to hang out with friendly people who feel the same way.

  3. andrew says

    A quote from one of the guys in the Time Out New York Urban Bear Weekend feature pretty much sums it up: that being a bear is pretty much about beer, food, and lots of really horrible puns.

  4. bucky says

    Well, I figure that’s kinda why these things are posted, right? To engage conversation? I didn’t mean to offend and I don’t think I was clear in what I meant. I don’t find the “look” of bears to be strange or those attracted to bears to be strange. People are attracted to what they’re attracted to. What I do find strange is this group of guys that all kinda look the same and act the same and, for all intents and purposes, are just as gay as the rest of us, think they’re somehow more masculine because they say “woof” and have a gut. I guess I just find it odd that the gay community self-segregates so much. I could make the same argument about gym bunnies, twinks or whatever else.

    But who am I? Whatever makes people happy, right?

  5. dean morris says

    for Bucky and those not getting it, or not wanting to get it, or not realizing bears don’t care if non-bears get it:


    it’s not to be exclusive or inclusive or political or phobic. if you don’t think construction workers, cowboys, truckdrivers, lumberjacks, or an individual’s natural bodyhair suits your taste, then that’s fine, but it’s central to bearishness. beyond that, bears come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. i might be wrong, but i think the most maniacally pro-bear bears are the spanish! btw, don’t be afraid if you hear the word “daddy”, it’s as innocuous as “baby”. and saying “woof” is as visceral and celebratory as a fratboy saying “whoo!”

  6. dego says

    You are right the gay community does self segregate too much. IMHO especially with regards to men from women.

    In fact, though some folks may say I am wrong, in my experience the Gay-Bear subculture grew out of the exclusion and snubbing that heavier, hairier men felt amongst the twink-centric and clone-centric gay focus of the 70’s and 80’s. Which was perpetuated into the 90s when gay culture morphed into gym-bunnies.

    I can recount the many times I’ve seen other gay men respond to a bearish guy as though being heavy or hairy is a character failing.

    However as America’s median age has risen, so has the ranks of the bear movement (many of us do tend to gain weight and grow hair in new places as we age). And so now, you will find segments of the bear-culture that’ve started to snub the less bearish in some places.

    But I have to say: by and large, they are less snubby and exclusive by a large factor than the other subcultures (twinks, gym-bunnies, A-gays et al).

    In the vast majority of cases, a twink, gym-bunny or preppy-fag will be made much more welcome at a bear event than a truly bearish man will ever be made welcome at a twink-centric (most mainstream gay dance bars) or Gym-centric (circuit party) gay place or event.

    The sad possible exception to this is drag queens, it seems that some bears are hyper-sensitive to their own perceived masculinity and so shy away from gender bending.

  7. says

    There are a lot of “Micro-Climates” in the gay community.

    “Birds of a Feather…” blah-blah-blah.

    And within all of those groups are even more sub-groups.

    We need like a Gay Dewey Decimal system to catalog us all… and I don’t mean like with colored bandanas in your back pocket!

    Like, I can’t believe I, like, said “Like” so many times in one, like, Post!

    Like Wow!

  8. says

    I travel in the bear community and am considered, I suppose, an otter myself, but I have a big (no pun intended) issue with the pronouncement that bears like men that are more “masculine.” WTF does that mean? I know plenty of bears who prance and mince with the best of them and love it. Just because you don’t shave your hairy back does not make you more “masculine.”

    More masculine, puh-lease.

  9. Keith says

    I love bearish men, but to a certain extent the bear scene is a support group for overweight guys who assure each other that it’s good to be fat. It’s been heavily commercialized over the years with a growing list of events like this one, plus websites, magazines, bars, etc. There’s even “bear” shampoo!

  10. dego says


    There are HEAPS of black bears (its a natural term after all!) and IMHO they are some of the hottest… :)

    but as I mentioned above.. Drag is a little less represented than in most gay circles I’ve been to. and if it is there.. its often HIGH CAMP drag.

  11. dean morris says

    you have a taste for bear or you don’t. you can belong to a group, just date one, or just troll bears on the interwebs. you can self-actualize, claim non-bear status or be indifferent.
    oh, and you’re NEVER TOO OLD to be a bear. i swear, the grayer my beard got, the more looks i got from guys who never noticed me skinny and reddish-brown!

  12. Automotive enthusiast says

    What I find strange…Is how in this so called gay community gays put out all these labels and shit.It is stupid,shows arrogance,and shows that gay people are NO different from the homophobic bigoted jackasses who make life hard for ALL gays everyday.
    Whats with the
    Bear labels

    Im a young 22 year old gay man who is NO different from any other guy

    Im masculine and Im into things that any average masc guy would be into.It just so happens that Im gay.I dont do or say anything to make myself stand out from anyone.For most people its hard to tell that I am gay,unless Im in a gay environment.Just because Im young and slim does NOT make me a twink,I am NO different from a young 22 year old str8 guy.I just happen to be attracted to men.When Im in my 40s and I happen to grow alittle hair in certain areas where there was no hair before,does NOT make me a bear.It just makes me like any other natural middle aged man.

    The one thing I cant stand about some gay people is how they feel it necessary to label their peers into childish bullshit groups.I always drop the bomb on guys who label me as frat or twink.You address me as any other person you either call me by my name,you address me as young man or sir.In fact when Im at a social event like a club,bar,or party,most guys just see me as are those “no class” guys who will refer to me by those stupid labels,but of course they walk away feeling stupid once I tell em’ whats up.

    My point is that,some gay men really need to take a good long hard look in the mirror if they intend on using labels to describe their peers.Yea some gay like being labeled and,I know for many these groups are like a community within a community,ok Ill buy that.However Im not one of them and I refuse to be affiliated with a label.When a guy is to approach and address me,they are to address me with respect.Otherwise hit the bricks.I prefer men with class,self-respect,respect for others,and actually has a brain between his ears and isnt a walking hollow skull.

  13. Derrick from Phillly says

    It’s good, DEGO & DEAN & GREG.

    Be around folks who appreciate you for who you are. Nobody should go through life feeling bad about yourself…unless you want to.

    Everybody doesn’t have to hot wax their arschenhaller.

  14. gordo says

    I coughed at the “more masculine” part too, but he really was referring to masculine physical traits, not to acting one way or the other. There are certainly no shortage of fairy bears or bears with a strong “gay voice” or bears who read _Bears Life_ because it’s Martha Stewart with guys who look like them.

    The other thing that isn’t talked about is that for the most part, bears are furry nerds. Lack of sports ability, often socially inept, but the possibility of lots of silly fun, lots of beer, and lots of good food.

    WRT drag, there are a lot of people (me included) who wonder why drag is so much a default in gay circles, not why there’s less of it around bears. I love a good drag queen but really, *everywhere*? and usually not funny or entertaining?

  15. Derrick from Phillly says

    “….one thing I cant stand about some gay people is how they feel it necessary to label their peers into childish bullshit groups”

    Hey, chill out, Automotive Enthusiastic Asphyxiation:

    Everybody wants to be part of something…feel special, you know? Everybody’s got a gimmick, Auto….

    ….if you wanna’ shake it, twinkle while you shake it

    if you wanna’ grind it, wait to you’ve refined it

    if you wanna’ bump it, bump it with a trumpet

    Now, get yourself a gimmick and you….too,…can be staaaaaar!

    Say, whatchu’ think of the group labeled “Broadway Show Tune Queens”, Automotive?

  16. says

    “I’m masculine and Im into things that any average masc guy would be into.It just so happens that Im gay”

    Right. So you’ve already bought into what society tells you is “masculinity,” which usually excludes a whole lot of things — bears, opera queens, drag queens, sissies, etc.

    Some of us have no problem with people being whoever they want to be. Some of us even like different types. I find bears hot, though I don’t qualify. And I agree that it’s much more likely for bears to accept different types than, say, twinks or the guys here who are always carping that [insert celebrity name] looks fat in that pic.

  17. bucky says

    Differences are appreciated, definitely. Once inside the bear community though, everybody continues to all look the same and play into the same personality. WOOF!

  18. woodroad34 says

    As I recall from the 70’s, a bear was a masculine, hairy, muscular gay man. It was later to be claimed by over weight guys–and then the sub-categories started happening. I remember Armisted Maupin once complaining about it. Speaking of nelly bear cubs, I always envision the Leonard and Larry cartoon by Tim Barella when a young bear cub comes onto Larry by baking cookies and wearing a cap that looks like a bear head. That kinda summed it up for me.

  19. paul c says

    Nothing says “masculine” like a bunch of men playing with hula hoops in the park.

    A lot of bears are hot, but let’s be real, some people just use that label to justify binge eating, right?

    @Automotive Enthusiast – I have a label for you that you really won’t like…it refers more to a body part than a “type”…and I’ll give you a hint – everybody’s got one and some are hairy and they usually stink.

  20. Wild Gift says

    Bucky, I completely agree with you. I look very much like a stereotypical bear but do not connect on any level with bear culture. I am subject to frequent assumptions that I am a bear and am often told that I am in denial and unwilling to accept my bear-hood. To be very honest, I find the scene and many of the people who identify as bears to be bland, boring and totally devoid of any creativity or self whatsoever.

  21. Robert says

    I think that its natural for humans to segregate differing cultures into sub-groups, no matter how idealistic we would love to be. The idea of bears and the bear culture fascinates me, considering I love bears and am currently dating one. Being able to blend into all three of the major “types” of gay men (twinks, jocks, bears), I do find that bears are much more inclusive than other sub groups. And down here in Fresno, most of the drag shows occur mainly at our bear bar “The Den”, so from my experience there isn’t much of a stigma between drags and bears.

  22. Wild Gift says

    Robert, I’ve actually had very different experience. One of my best friends is a transgender woman. She is not made to feel at all welcome at the local bear bar, nor are many of my more effeminate gay male friends. One evening, in fact, she and I were asked by a bartender to sit at the far end of the bar, away from all of the other customers. The bear community is terribly exclusive and not welcoming to anyone who might make them question whether they really are the ultra-masculine, regular-guy types they’re trying so desperately to be.

  23. Realness says

    I think a lot of these comments show a lot of typical queer self-loathing: either through issues of our own gender identification or body image. It is always brought up with bears.

    If someone is overweight, doesn’t mind it, and actually thinks its attractive in their sexual and romantic partners, who is anyone to judge that, or to dismiss a group of people who want to socialize with each other? Maybe it’s because all you ever obsess about it is your own body. Must be tiring.

    I will say that I am put off by the ‘masculine’ front of a lot of bear guys, but it’s not an exclusive claim, and I know just as many nelly queen bears with no friction between the two.

    Groups always serve a purpose of affiliation, but groups always definie only parts of yourself. The trick is to not judge other people for their different groups, and to not completely identify with one group because we always so much more.

  24. eagledancer says

    What do call a big, smooth, hairless guy who is part of the bear community? A Nair. I would also suggest both the Bear and the Muscle Marys (as my friends in England call them) were influenced by the AIDS experience in the late 1980s, when AIDS was the “skinny” disease (what it was called in Africa), and being heavy or being well muscled was a statement you weren’t HIV positive. Needless to say, HIV status happens to all groups and sizes, but this was an earlier time when people were trying to adjust to the epidemic, and to adjust to the tremendous loss that was happening at the time.
    BTW, as a former resident of Seattle, I always enjoyed watching the Visqueens perform–talented drag performers who didn’t shave what would identify most of them at Bears when they weren’t painted and powdered up.

  25. says

    Hey A.E. as you get older you’ll learn to appreciate what Derrick was quoting, and since I’m pretty sure you won’t know where his quote came from here’s the link.

    Take a look and enjoy. Also, trust me, everybody who has ever mattered has had a “gimmick” and you will have one too. It might even be the “smart, outraged, new type of Gay” one.

  26. Anthony in Nashville says

    I’d like to get more acquainted with bears, since they present themselves as being more down to earth than mainstream gay culture. But I have found that they have their own set of standards for appearance and behavior and also can be as racist as any group of twinks.

  27. Jeff In Boston says

    LOL @ crispy’s first comment.

    I once went on the bar crawl with a gay rugby team. At the beginning they were all “it’s about the sport, not the cruising!” and “camaraderie!” and “the only real men play rugby!” After a few drinks they were all “girl” this and “Mary” that, and were catting about, and salivating over, one another and trying to pick up one another’s boyfriends. But they were, by and large, mos def very hot.

  28. A. Beaverhausen says

    I’m starting a group for men 40+ who don’t like hair growing in those “new places” but would never go for electrolysis or waxing. I think we’ll call ourselves “Tweezers”.

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