What’s in a Name?

20111123-145133.jpg

What is a bear?

Do a quick Internet search and you’ll find a number of definitions. Which one is right? Ais there a definition? Should there even be one?

Wikipedia will tell you that a bear is a heavyset man with body hair who projects an image of rugged masculinity in his grooming. Is that it; is it as simple as a particular body type?

Richard Bulger coined the term ‘bear’ in the 80s with the advent of Bear magazine, a publication dedicated to the men who didn’t fit the previously ubiquitous bill of the gay man – thin, smooth, and young.

This must have been a great time for all those husky and furry men out there who didn’t want to subscribe to being outcast by the larger gay community.

But the bear community was – and is – about more than just a preference for beefy, hairy men. The original bear movement was a haven for men who felt different to their heterosexual counterparts only in sexual preference. Up until this point, there was no formalised way for ‘outcast’ to meet ‘outcast’. The bear of the past was tall, short, fat, stocky, muscular, hairy, thin and hairy – whatever. The unifying feature of a bear was that he felt different to other gay men – he was masculine, and grass-roots humble.

In a lot of ways, this is still true today. There is more disparity in the community – muscle bears versus chubs? – but by and large it is still a culture of acceptance and love. The love of fur and masculinity.

To me, a bear doesn’t have to be a particular shape, though I’m completely turned on by the thicker men, both muscular and otherwise. What means more to me is the masculinity – not forced and contrived, but genuine. A bear is kind and accepting, but rugged. He’s a real man, and he doesn’t need to prove how ‘manly’ he is.

What’s a bear to you?

Cub. Xo.

Un-Bear-Able

20111015-004219.jpg

Original site for these images.

Most men have a physical type that attracts them sexually. I understand the same is true for women, but there is no denying that an emotional connection is what they really find sexy. There is also no denying that this is true for some men.

What I find interesting about the gay world is the interplay between how we perceive ourselves, how we want to be, and who we find attractive. For many gay men, their ideal man (physically) is someone they want to be, and it follows that he is also someone they want to be with.

Personally, I don’t really have a type. I love all men, from tall to short, pale and tan, sexy to sweet. Instead of a type, I do have preferences. For me, thin and hairless doesn’t grab my attention, nor does it inspire lust. Perfectly muscled with a chiseled jaw also does nothing for me. I believe the beauty of a man lies in his imperfections.

Over the years I have discovered that men with dark hair draw me in most effectively. Ditto a round face, straight and thick eyebrows, and at least some semblance of facial hair. I do like masculine, but not the faux hyper-masculinity the gay world seems obsessed with. I like my men gay, not ‘straight-acting’.

Boys with a solid build definitely catch my eye. Think muscular with a thin layer of fat on it to soften the edges and you’re getting warmer. Add some body hair, because to me it seems natural for a man to have some fur.

Aside from physicality, I like the strong and silent type, but to me that means confident, positive, and comfortable with silence.

Cubby has a lot of these qualities, but not all. The truth is, I don’t need a man who ticks all these boxes. There is a section of the criteria that isn’t definable, and whatever it is, Cubby has it.

Though I have body image issues, none of them are huge. On the whole, I feel blessed to have what I have. I would (and do) find it attractive in another man, but for myself I’d like to make some improvements.

What I find the most interesting is the gay man who identifies with a physical sub-culture that he doesn’t belong to. For example, consider an effeminate young man, slender with little body hair. I have nothin against these men personally, but there is a large proportion of the gay world that shuns them. Imagine if his ideal man was a bear. Transgendered men and women have worked hard to lessen the stigma attached to them through awareness, but can the same be said for the bear trapped in a twink’s body, or the twink trapped in a bear’s body?

Imagine that he himself feels like a bear on the inside. Imagine how hard that would be. How unbearable.

All of you are beautiful, and I love you.

Cub. Xo.

20111015-004650.jpg

iCub

This is just unashamed Apple fanboyism and total geekery, but I don’t care.  The Cubhouse is on the iPad!

If you want to view my blog in an even more beautiful way than the very beauty WordPress offers, load up my URL and in Safari click ‘add to home screen’, which will add an app button on your iPad.

When you load it up, it looks like a journal, and you even have to swipe it open to view the posts.  The above image is what you’ll see when you load it up, and the image below is after you swipe the blog open.

For those of you with an iPad, I’m now making it mandatory that you read me from your iPad! 

That is all!

I love you all.
Cub. xo.

Thunder

Original site for this image.

The first thing I heard was the thunder, gentle in the distance.  A lazy, soft rain fell on the trees outside the open window, tapping and rustling the leaves.  Slowly, I knew where I was, and smiled.

Saturday morning, in bed with Cubby.

When I opened my eyes, the light was flat and grey.  It was early – 6am or so – and the storm was keeping things dark.  Cubby was lying on his back staring out the window, and the cat was for once not destroying something, and was curled up tightly by our feet.

It was a nice way to wake up.

The rest of the morning was spent lying in bed smoking and watching the storm as it intensified.  We talked, and did things that didn’t require talking.  It was our first free weekend in months, and it was nice to enjoy it.

After leaving the bed sometime in the afternoon, Cubby and I grabbed a late lunch and decided to drive up a mountain, which was particularly hair-raising at night, and with Cubby’s desire to corner at 80km/hr.  We survived, though, and we had fun.  How sad is that?

Now I’m looking out the window at work, and there’s another storm.  Only this one isn’t beautiful, and it certainly isn’t convenient.  You see, I’ve finished work, but my car is several kilometres away.  Oh well, I guess I stay put for now and listen to the thunder.  Ride out the storm, so I can go home to my Cubby.

I love you all. 
Cub. xo.

Pendulum

Original site for this image.

Oh, bloody hell!  I swear I never heard of the Cubby House before I named my blog!  In any case, it’s a bloody good read, so you should definitely check it out.

I’ve been thinking lately about how far I’ve come as a person over the last ten years, and I’m proud of it, as we all should be of our personal growth.  What I’m extremely proud of is how far I’ve come as a gay man.

When I was a kid, 16 years old, I made the decision in my mind to stay in the closet forever.  I didn’t know if it was possible, but I knew it was what I wanted.  I even went so far as to plan my life – I would marry some faceless woman, have some children; a semblence of a normal (read: heterosexual) life, and I would sleep with men on the side.

Now, obviously there is a lot wrong with this, and I regret ever thinking it, even despite my age at the time.  But what interests me now about it is that I never made provisions for emotional relationships with men – just sex. 

When I got older, I thought I had accepted myself as homosexual, and in a small way I had.  But I was suppressing so much about myself.  I was so effectively keeping my secret that I had succeeding in hiding a large portion of it from myself.  Yes, I knew I was gay, but until I came out, I had no real sexuality, just a sexual orientation.  Only when I finally did come out, did the flood gates opened.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

During my earlier years at university, I had begun to develop deeper insecurities and poor self-image.  Though low self-esteem wasn’t new to me, it did begin to take on a more substantial shape.  And why?  I had no idea.  I began to suspect that mentally, I was not completely in control any more.

One night, when out with friends, the paranoia that was becoming a permanent fixture of my personality forced me to actually tell my friends to go home and leave me alone.  When they obliged, I left the nightclub we were in and started walking toward a gay bar I knew of.  For some reason, I knew that some of the openly gay guys from my class would be there, and I wanted to be ‘found out’.  Sure enough, there were some familiar faces in the crowd.

In the months preceeding that night, I had noticed that my moods were becoming incredibly unstable.  I knew I was depressed; I would cry for no reason.  I would avoid social situations, and some days it was so hard to arrange the muscles of my face into a smile that the effort of it would make me cry. What was harder to identify were those times when I was so contented and happy.  Those days made me feel like I had a grip on things, and that just maybe my attitude today was better than yesterday.  But slowly, I began to realise that I was too happy, and for no obvious reason.  I would become effusive, energetic, and I stopped sleeping as much.  Sometimes, the stream of thought in my mind was not gently narrating to me, it was screaming at me.  But then without warning, somebody would look at me the wrong way, or they would say something with a particular inflection, and my mood came tumbling down.

I was diagnosed with cyclothymia, which I like to call ‘bipolar lite’.  It is a similar mood disorder, but less severe in its symptoms.  Normal mood does not sit static on the neutral line, with occasional dips up or down.  A normal mood is like a pendulum that constantly swings from elevated to depressed, passing through the neutral range each time it oscillates.  The only difference between a normal mood and cyclothymia is just how far or hard the pendulum swings each time it moves.  In short, the highs are high, but the lows are very low.

I’ll admit there were even times that I felt like I wanted to commit suicide.

The day after I went to the gay bar, I came out to my immediate family.  I told friends, roommates, anyone that played a role in my life, starring or cameo.  It was a tour-de-force, and in a few short days, the bandaid had been effectively torn off.  Of course, nobody cared that I was gay, and for a few brief moments I regretted waiting so long.

The interesting thing is that shortly after coming out, my moods stabilised.  I had attended talk therapy briefly, but had never been started on medication.  Without being conscious of it, my mind had finally discovered the corrupt file that was threatening it’s whole system, and had simply removed it.

When I came out, my mind was assaulted by all thoughts homosexual.  I really find it hard to describe, this phonomenon of gay preoccupation.  I feel as though I must have been suppressing so much of myself even to the extent that I didn’t allow myself to think about men and sex in any deeper context than passing thought, and whatever barriers I had created to protect myself from these thoughts came crashing down the minute I uttered my first “I’m gay”.

This post is getting extremely large, so I will save the rest for another. 

The important thing is this: If you feel as though there is something wrong with your moods, trust you instincts.  Seek help earlier than I did.  Don’t wait until your mind takes you to consider suicide before being proactive.

I love you all.

Cub. xo