EagleBear's Den/Aerie

Bears

What is a Bear?

Toronto Pride '96
Toronto Pride '96
(35K file)

Bear Link Page

What is a bear? Well, first and foremost, being a bear is a state of mind. If you believe you are a bear, you probably are. It helps to easily identify a guy as a bear if he is furry, bearded and large, but most gay bears are just ordinary guys who like ordinary guys -- often ones who look like Richard Karn (Al on "Home Improvement").

The "Bear Movement" is a counter-culture within the gay community. In some places, it grew out of the Leather Clubs, and some Bear Clubs have a good deal of overlap with that community (i.e. "Leather Bears"). In other places, it was a reaction against Leather Clubs and their rigid structures and rules. And in other places, Clubs have started after exposure to other Bear Clubs. The bears who formed these clubs did not see themselves represented in the media's depictions of gay men. Self-identifying Bears usually don't fit the stereotype of under 25, thin, hairless, brainless and swishy (often called a "twinkie" by those who have been hurt by the stereotype). Clubs for bears and their not-necessarily furry admirers (arctophiles) have sprung up world wide.

Bears do have their own stereotypes. Not every bear is Grizzly Adams, but overall furriness, beardedness and a tendency to roundness are noted. Bears are generally very friendly, fond of creature comforts, computer literate, fond of pawing and prone to take an analogy as far as possible (pawing, den, fur). We also tend to collect "Bear-aphanalia", any representation of bears. Lurch, the very large emcee of several Orlando Bear Busts has named us "the Nerds of the Gay World," which didn't sit well with some bears. But I have usually found his generalization true that "when you go into a bear's place, the VCR isn't blinking '12:00' at you. We know how to set our VCR's."

While some bears classify other bear's body types (see below) under it all, we are all just bears.

Bear Classification and Glossary

Glover.com GIF

Also see Jeffrey Glover's Pages No self-respecting cyber-bear hasn't.

The "Scientific Method" - the NBCS (The Natural Bears Classification System)



Definitions: Warning! Meanings differ from place to place, club ot club, person to person and may evolve over time.

Bear
Any generally furry regular guy or like-minded individual.
Cub
A smaller, younger or less-experienced bear, sometimes all of the above. (This can cause confusion.)
Otter
A very thin, usually furry creature. (Often more agile than your average bear.)
Grizzly
An older, sometimes wiser, sometimes wizened bear. (The chronological counterpart to a cub.)
Daddy Bear
A more experienced bear, often called "Sir". (The other counterpart to a cub.)
Behr
A hairless bear; not very furry, but with the right attitude.
Polar Bear
A white-haired, therefore usually older bear
Bear Roulette
Bear Roulette

GIF by Jeffrey Glover
Natural Bears Classification System
NBCS Code B2-3 f++ w+ d g+(++) k- sv r-
Teddy Bear Picnic '96
Teddy Bear Picnic '96

(45K file)

I belong to 3 Bear Clubs. First of all, there was Bear Buddies Toronto in, (imagine this) Toronto. It's about 2 hours from London to Toronto, so I usually go for the weekend. The photo above is from the Teddy Bear Picnic '96. There are 59 bears in the pool. Can you beat that?

In November of '97, I helped start the Forest City Bears, (originally Bear Buddies London). In November '98, we held "Bear Prowl" on our anniversary weekend, and had 46 attendees. The tradition continues this year.

I also joined the Motor City Bears of Detroit in January '99. That's where Ethan, one of my boyfriends lives. (The otheris Kevyn.) The MCB is planning their first run for August of 2000.

Also see My Friends Page Lots of bears

Bear Links Page

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SPIRITUALITY
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Questions? Comments? E-mail: EagleBear
Last Updated: September 1, 1999
Links Checked: April 1, 1999
1997, 1998, 1999 Kevin Peckham

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