Saturday, August 2

Bear Meets Bear - Drew perhaps does a better job of cultural analysis when he sticks to what he really knows. In the case of his current Salon piece, it's those gentle giants of the great gay forest, bears. (Available through a free day pass if you will read a short ad.)

I would contend with several points, however, in making my own generalization about the subspecies. To the extent traditional masculinity is bound up in an subconscious aversion to being "too close" to your buddies, or being too sensitive or in-touch with your feelings, bears clearly aren't that masculine. (Ask any burly biker -- outwardly a bear -- what he thinks.) Conversely, many bears share more in common with their gay male brethren that Drew allows, chiefly a randiness and casual attitude towards sex that would make most straight men blush. Finally, while bears may seem laid-back and attitude-free, I dare say the group can be quite insular and rejecting of other gays who don't fit the type, just like the circuit boys do. Just because bears flirt with you Drew, while the circuit boys don't, doesn't mean they practice equal opportunity.

While Sullivan makes some good points on a topic he clearly relishes (how nice to get paid for writing!) the most entertaining commentary was his quotation from Camille Paglia:

In their defiant hirsutism, gay bears are more virile than the generic bubble-butt junior stud, since body hair is stimulated by testosterone. But the bears' fatness resembles not the warlike Viking mass of a Hell's angel but the capacious bosom of the earth mother. The gay Bear is simultaneously animalistic and nurturing, a romp in the wild followed by nap time on a comfy cushion.