My Life as a Bear

They say that the loneliest place in the world is in a crowd full of people who don’t understand you at all, who don’t care to understand you at all.

Lazybear Weekend is not the event you want to attend if you have no interest at all in sex. Which is me, for the most part, these days. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve decided to accept the fact and ride it out (so to speak). Even that aside, it has been a very long time since tricking was much fun for me, as it always seems to leave me wanting something more than just friction with another body.

None of the Ladybear Weekend folks know this, and yet because I am hairy, and because I have extra poundage on my frame, everyone assumes I am toeing the line on expected behaviors. It might also be the simple fact that I am attending such an event which would lead to the assumptions, but a) I am here to spend time-away with friends and b) these same assumptions come into play wherever I am wherever there are bears.

Because I do not have an internet connection here in Guerneville, no one will see these words until long after the fact, creating a bit of a safe-zone for me to vent freely.

Ostensibly, the Bear Movement (hey, stop snickering) began as a reaction to the Castro Clone look in the 1970s, bifurcating the gay population into Haves and Have-Nots insofar as muscly bodies go.

In the Have-Not’s, I’m assuming, that there was another bifurcation, into those who wanted to be Have’s and those who chose to expend their energies into reacting to the prevailing attitudes.

Those became the bears—or rather, the Bears—and turned that reaction into a force to be reckoned with, possessing gravity, if not gravitas, and long-tonnage, if not a longer-term view.

And like all movements which lack vision, it remained a simple reaction, even as it grew until it took on the worst in those it opposed. Lookism is what I’m talking about (yes, I’ve been a Northern Californian for 10+ years now, can you tell?), and if you’re not a bear, you’re not part of the club. There are loopholes for this, which wear the labels ‘cub’ and ‘otter’ and even ‘wolf’, a whole pantheon of critters to flesh out the umbrella bear movement, but those are satellite designations.

If you look like a bear, you’re in. Done. Nothing else need be explored. You have your E-Ticket. If you’re not a bear, you have the choice of a secondary designation (see pantheon, above) or you’re just an outsider.

The behavioral monoculture is confluent within the looks-imposed walls of beardom, and here’s where the lonely-in-a-crowd part comes in. The Primary Assumption of bear culture is simply this: If you look like one of us, then you act like one of us.

There is no first-blush. There is no Beginner’s Mind. There is no “get to know me”. There is only the package deal that comes with the Beard, Belly & Beyond.

The Primary Sin of bear culture: thou shalt not behave contrarily.