Where the Bears Are

gaybear.gif gay bear image by grampstenis

Dear Ms. Mix & Bitch,

I’m a young gay man who is just 18-years-old, and I come from a very small town, Crosby, North Dakota.  I don’t know any gay men at all.  My problem is that I’m really into Bears, but I can’t quite tell which of the men in my town are Bears and which are just straight guys. I don’t want to make a mistake and get the shit kicked out of me if I hit on someone who is not gay. But I’m lonely and horny as hell and I’m tired of living online. What should I do?

Signed, Otter Ted

Dear Otter,

Well, I certainly feel for you Otter. I looked up Crosby, North Dakota online and discovered not only does your town have only 1,200 inhabitants, but it’s tag line reads “Terrorist Free for 102 Years.” That’s quite a claim there, and says a mouthful now don’t it?

For those of you reading this and have no idea what a “Bear” or an “Otter” is (and whom obviously did not see the latest episode of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List  where she hosts a Bear Cub Convention in San Francisco, CA), there’s a subculture in the gay community where hairy, beefy guys call themselves “bears.” They adopt this moniker not only because many of them physically resemble bears, but also to employ a more masculine, working class image of sexuality in direct defiance against the “tweaker” hairless, muscular youth obsessed look of mainstream gay culture (yeah, those assholes whom influence women’s fashion so we also look like young gay hairless men). Ahem.

2006 Bear Men Calendar (Gay)

(Is it just me, or does this guy remind anyone of catching your dad coming out of the bedroom, and you screaming through the house, “Ahh!!! My eyes!!!! They burn! THEY BUUURRRNNN!!!)

Here are some of the Bear Community’s most common terminology (thank you, Wikipedia):

  • Admirer - a term that refers to someone who is sexually or romantically attracted to Bears (this term is often used in various communities to describe an outsider who has sexual attraction to people within that community). Also often referred to as a Chaser. Admirers/Chasers can be of any weight, hairy or hairless and any age.
  • Bear – a hairy man with a stocky or heavyset build and facial hair. Can be clean shaven and of any age.
  • Bear run – a gathering or circuit party for Bear/Cub types and their Admirers.
  • Cub - a younger (or younger looking) version of a Bear, typically but not always with a smaller frame. The term is sometimes used to imply the passive partner in a relationship. Can be hairy or hairless.
  • Daddy bear – is an older guy sometimes looking for a daddy/son relationship with either a younger Bear, Cub, Otter, Wolf or Chaser.
  • Goldilocks - A female, often heterosexual, who is often in the company of bears (a bear’s fag hag).
  • Leatherbear – A bear with a leather fetish.
  • Muscle bear – a muscular version of a Bear. A muscle cub is a younger or smaller, yet muscular, version. Can be hairy or hairless and of any age.
  • Otter - a man who is hairy, but is not large or stocky – typically thinner, or with lean muscle. Slimmer version of a Bear with little pockets of fat like love handles or a tiny gut, but not as lean as a Wolf.
  • Panda bear – a bear of Asian ethnicity. A panda cub is younger version. Usually hairless.
  • Polar bear – a silver- or white-haired Bear.
  • Red bear – a red-headed bear.
  • Wolf - A lean, masculine gay man who is attracted to bears and involved in the bear scene.
  • Woof - A greeting often used when a Bear spots another Bear in public and wants to express physical attraction. He might make a growling noise (“Grrr!”) or say “Woof!”

Okay, education time’s over and it’s time to give your car or truck a tune up ’cause you’re going on a road trip.

If you’re commited to staying where you are, then in order to meet some real wildlife, you are going to have to drive 3 hours to Bismarck.  It’s the closest large city to you, I think…and where there are lots of people, the gays will be found. I also think you need to check out Planet Bear, BearParty Magazine, or 100% Beef, the sources for finding out what’s happening in the bear den, so to speak. If you can’t take the chance of having the magazines come to your home, then get a PO Box. Or simply use your online research skills to find out when and where’s the latest bear run.  You’re going to have to go outside your comfort zone and get out to meet your people. 

Ideally, I’d like to see you living in a place where you can live who you are without having to look over your shoulder all the time. Everyone deserves to live and love freely, kid. Good luck!

PS – Sorry no mix tonight, luv…bone tired. Mama needs her rest ;-)

13 responses to “Where the Bears Are

  1. Come to Minneapolis! It’s a gay mecca and there are bears aplenty….I know many a North Dakotan who moved here to find their people.

  2. Wow, I love the lesson… I have never heard of any of these terms! Man, I feel so out of the loop on all this stuff!

    Get your rest mamacita!

  3. Great post, Ms. Mix & Bitch! Otter Ted, I’m not sure if there’s a bear bar in North Dakota, but if you find one let me know. It’s funny, but there’s a bear bar in Valencia, Spain which goes by the name North Dakota, so at least there’s international support for the concept of bears in your area. :)

  4. Thanks for the responses, boys. And if you need a cute goldilocks to host your next convention, I’m available.

  5. Whom whom whom whom. They don’t whom, they who. If you don’t know how to use the word, just leave off the M and nobody will think less of you for it.

    I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be such a picky little shit, but misuse of “whom” really bugs me.

  6. While I usually understand the idiosyncratic annoyances of poor grammar usage, note here that I wrote this WAY late at night – and therefore earn a pass on such matters.

    Welcome to MTT – but if strict grammar rules are your thing – and we all have them – this ain’t the site for you brother…’cause you will find typos and grammar fuck ups every so often and that’s just the way it is ’round here.

  7. You have a new and devoted fan.

    Lovin’ this site.

  8. So glad! You know for every fan I get, Satan lets me out of a year on my lifer contract ;-)

  9. I’d send folks your way, but I have a vested self-interest to make sure Hell stays entertaining and irreverent.

    You’re wickedly blessed.

  10. Sorry about that. I know it was rude of me to get picky over your grammar. I’m working on keeping that sort of thing to myself.

  11. No worries Lucas…I really do get the grammar thing. However, you’ll find my worst offense in my addictive use of …………………..these things.

    They’re like the grammatical version of pills. And mama just luvs her pills.

    No, really.

  12. Pingback: Bush Bear? « Mix Tape Therapy: You bitch. I mix. Problem solved.

  13. There are gay couples in crosby as well as gay men and women, just quiet about it.

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