Can someone tell me when the general masses figured out what bears were (the subculture of obese hairy gay dudes) and when they became a thing? Bears are my thing. There used to be a time when I had to feel embarrassed by liking burly men with beards, and would have to tell my friends when I was dating a young John Goodman, that his personality transcends the fact that he came to the restaurant already eating a donut. There was a time when I had to join random Yahoo groups because I couldn’t readily find smut to my preference on mainstream sites. Now, if I show my straight friends a picture of whoever I’m going out with, their eyes light up and they gleefully inquire: “you like beeeeeeeaaaaarrrrssss?” I’ll tell you why this makes life harder for me.
Now, I’m not mad at any of my friends for being not only pro-gay but pro-weird-dating-choices. It’s not their fault that when I was young and dumb I was ashamed of anyone I was dating; that was my damage. What is also my damage is that I grew up without a father, probably felt some strange sense of comfort when a burly, barrel-chested swim instructor cradled me in his hairy arms as he taught me to float (#imagery), and I have been trying to recreate that feeling all these years later. I have no immediate, logical explanation for why I am attracted to bears, but it’s my cross to … bear. The only damage I have now is with this subculture I’m participating in. They can be some messy-ass bitches. If you’re trying to feel safe and accepted for being the way you are… you’re not in the bear world. On top of that, I do not get my pick of the crop, when I’m actually kind of decent looking.
For starters… everyone’s still trying to prove something like any other scene. Usually if you spend your whole life feeling like the outcast because of your appearance, you’ve got such an inferiority complex that you let skinny boys walk all over you, move in with you, and then relent to an open relationship because they’ve got “so much love to give, and baby so do you.” Gross. Those are the bears who got so big because they eat their feelings, don’t respect themselves, and are aware that they can be replaced at the drop of a hat, so they buckle under the demands of their twinks. What’s even #grosser is when these slobs have the perfect amount of facial hair, and their BMI looks perfect in plaid. These guys- the model bears- they’re the living worst. If you think the razor sharp stare of an anorexic go-go dancer at Mickey’s, is bad, just WAIT to see what happens when you hit on a bear who thinks his stock is more valuable than the likes of you… or better yet, if he’s bear for bear. It’s a mix of the condescending “nice try” look and the equally brutal “you’re not welcome here” glare.
It’s all one big mess. All my friends think it’s like being the gay couple in Modern Family: that the gender roles are amplified, and the bear is either some kind of a wuvable oaf that nephews and nieces like to hug, or they’re big rugged brawny men who want nothing but a new buck knife and homemade beard wax. Maybe the hotter-than-thou bears are acting like assholes to make up for how shitty everyone was to them in grade school, when we’d ask what those garish marks stretching up and down their bellies and backs were in the gym dressing room. Why can’t we just get rid of the clubhouse mentality? Gay people are supposed to have it better in that we’re not obligated to do things the way straight people do- we don’t have to be bitchy at clubs… we don’t have to be demure or awkward about things. So why is it that an even smaller community has to play into the awful mind games created by our gay and straight forefathers?
It goes this way because that’s just the way boys- and bears- are. I react the way I do because of my upbringing and all the things my subconscious forces me to do, and they’re acting their turdy way because of their equally weird backgrounds. The bear scene is not cute like on some NBC sitcom where the fat beast always messes things up by being an aloof pig, but then saves the day because he’s got a heart of gold. No. These guys are just as fickle and taciturn if not more so than any fag hag’s boyfriend du jour. It’s just as brutal as it is for everyone else: if the guy knows he’s “hot” by someone else’s standards, he’s gonna be a dick to those unworthy. To bring it back to my point of why I’m mad that they’ve become popularized: this small ghetto has been empowered, and now I have to also deal with straight dudes dressing more like atypical bears because their girlfriends saw some shit on tumblr and they want to be proud that their chubby-chasing tendencies are finally being rewarded. But, I need to look on the bright side. When they make a Sex and the City adaptation of my life, no one will balk when I say I want that guy from The Guy Code to play my Mr. Big.