By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
I'm a 22-year-old gay male. I'm thin and "traditionally" good-looking enough to have done some modeling. So what's the problem? I like bears. Big, hairy men with beards. I live in New York, and this city is full of cute, skinny, boyish guys, but there are some places to meet bears. The thing is, I don't really fit in, and I've been told just that. A lot of bears seem to be primarily into other bears. And I'm not really one of them.
I'm familiar enough with your writing to know that you're not a huge devotee of the bear scene, but do you have any suggestions for me?
Wants Into The Den
A lot of fags work hard at being the type they're into—and why not? It's often a successful strategy. A guy into muscular guys puts on some muscle and starts pulling muscle guys; a guy into tattooed punks gets some tattoos and starts pulling punks; a guy into bears grows himself a gut and a beard and starts pulling bears.
But not every gay man can be the type he finds attractive, WITD. No matter how hard they work out, some guys can't put on muscle; some guys are too angelic to pull off punk; and some wannabe bears can't keep the weight on or are cursed with naturally hairless backs. Luckily for these guys, WITD, not all gay men are attracted to their body doubles. A lot of guys are into their polar opposites: Some muscular guys are into heavy guys; some punk fags dig corporate types; and some bears live to maul twinks.
On my recent book tour I met one of these guys: Mark, a skinny, tattooed, punk-rocker type. He's been with William, a clean-cut, corporate-lawyer type, for four years. Opposites attracted, but at the beginning Mark's punk friends gave him grief about his being with a clean-cut guy like William. "What could be more punk," Mark told his friends, "then a guy like me making a guy like him lick my come up off the floor?" Only one thing, Mark: sending a guy like me some videotape.
So if some bears are into skinny guys, WITD, how come you've been made to feel unwelcome at bear venues? Because bear culture—a phrase I'm using under duress—has shown itself to be just as susceptible to the body-image fascism that its earliest adherents claimed to be rebelling against. Bear culture quickly moved from rejecting the notion that there should be one standard of gay male beauty—hairless, flat-tummied twinks—to enforcing its own monolithic standard of gay male beauty—fat-bellied, hair-covered bears. At best, the bears who go out of their way to make you feel unwelcome are mildly hypocritical; at worst, they're so insecure that they feel threatened by your skinny, hairless presence.
So what do you do? You go to bear bars anyway, WITD, and shrug off whatever grief you get. Then you remind yourself that until bear bars came along, the big, hairy guys you like got tons of grief from the twink crowd that dominates most gay bars.
I'm sure you'll receive an avalanche of e-mail supporting ITMFA [Impeach the Motherfucker Already] lapel pins, T-shirts, and bumper stickers. While the prospect of seeing ITMFA popping up here and there is indeed heartwarming, I must pan this project. The popularity of "santorum" may lead you to believe that ITMFA will succeed, but even if the entire population of the U.S. were exposed daily to ITMFA merch, it would not lead to the impeachment of the MFPOTUS—which, as you know, would at the very least require a majority of Democrats with backbones in both houses of Congress, something not bound to happen anytime soon. So all the ITMFA signs are bound to ultimately become depressing reminders of the actual impossibility of the motherfucker getting impeached already. I, for one, do not relish being reminded daily that Bush is still in power.
The mail has been overwhelmingly pro-ITMFA, but I have no illusions. It's unlikely that ITMFA will be as successful as santorum, and I don't expect that it will result in Bush being impeached. The Republicans who currently control Congress have demonstrated repeatedly that they put party before country, and I sincerely doubt that the Democrats have the ability or the guts to take the House or Senate—but I'm writing 'em checks just the same.
And I'm going to push ITMFA anyway. With or without ITMFA lapel pins, JB, we are reminded every day that Bush is still the motherfucking president. His image and his voice are unavoidable, and the results of political incompetence are on display everywhere.
You asked if your readers would wear ITMFA buttons and lapel pins. I would!
I work as a scientist at a large university, and I see firsthand every day the frustration of faculty, staff, and students with our current gun-totin' (but apparently not gun-aimin') administration. ITMFA would give us a unified outlet for the expression of our frustrations, and maybe, just maybe, it would give some sense of solidarity—especially necessary considering we have three more whiskey-soaked years until we finally get another fucking vote.