Gus says, "BEwARe! Groans ahead..."
In case you've been under a rock, or would sooner jump in the (polar) bear enclosure at the Central Park Zoo then keep up with the ongoing Bear hair-steria (which - if that IS YOUR case - you likely won't want read further), this weekend is Urban Bear Weekend here in New York City. For complete event details, visit the official website here.
Not only is it Bear Weekend here, but the Bears are modeling in San Francisco (Walter Van Beirendonck shows in San Fran, original post courtesy of BUTT. More clips of the show here.), opening their comfy and plaid home and base for their successful fashion line (Costello Tagliapietra) in Carroll Gardens (that's my 'hood, yo!) and just generally throwing their weight around (I know! I know!? I'm sorry...I couldn't resist.) seemingly everywhere you look!
It's PANDA-moan-ium! (See what I did there? Do you see?)
While we're on the subject...though neither Rod nor I self-identify as Bears, we're often lumped in the Bear category, or a Bear sub-category (Otter, Cub, Wolf, Ferret, etc.) by default (I assume it's the beards), which can be a bit sticky (Oh god! I can't stop!) - at least for me - at times. Sticky primarily in a cognitively dissonant kind of way as I'm trapped between appreciating the flattery implicit in, say...a "woof"; or between welcoming the friendship and affection of a self-identifying Bear, while - at the same time - holding generally negative beliefs about cliques, conformity and a mob mentality that (largely) inform my view of Bears (or any gay clique) as a group.
Even as I say that, I fully recognize we have to use some method, or criteria, for choosing our friends, so why begrudge those who choose based on shared anatomical characteristics?? Besides, interpreting the fact that a mass of guys have chosen friends and lovers based on similar girth and hirsuteness as a personal affront is a bit self-aggrandizing, isn't it? It really has nothing to do with me/you (e.g. - They weren't thinking, "Let's create a social circle that expressly excludes Duane.".).
In the end (no pun...THIS time.), individuals who either self-identify as Bears, or who fall into the Bear category anatomically make up some of my best friends, while others in that same group inspire within me the greatest lust/attraction I've ever known.