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, “than a guy like me making a guy like him lick my cum 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.—Dan
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 United States 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.—Johnny Boy
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’s 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.—Dan
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.
So, where can I buy them, and how fast can they be shipped?
—Dyke for Trimming Bush
You hit the nail on the head, DFTB: Spotting an ITMFA button, bumper sticker, or lapel pin will serve as a morale booster for folks who are despondent at the prospect of three more years of Bush—and those folks, recent polling shows, amount to 67 percent of the country. Hell, I know for a fact that it will be a morale booster: I gave a speech last week at the University of Missouri, and folks showed up wearing ITMFA shirts and buttons that they had made themselves, which boosted my morale.
So where can you get your ITMFA gear, DFTB? Well, like the kids I met at the University of Missouri, you can make your own. Or you can go to www.impeachthemotherfuckeralready.com. (To the cyber squatter sitting on www.itmfa.com: Be a decent sort, and let me have that URL, please.) At www.impeachthemotherfuckeralready.com, you’ll find out how you can order ITMFA buttons, tasteful lapel pins, and other gear (profits go to the American Civil Liberties Union), and I’ll be posting letters about ITMFA there (to prevent the column from being swamped), along with pictures of people wearing ITMFA merch (official or DIY).
With the “santorum” campaign, I set a goal: forcing Senator Rick Santorum to wrap his tiny mind around the disgusting new definition of his name. And we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams—not only has Santorum been forced to discuss santorum, the term has entered the sexual lexicon. Similarly, I want to set a goal for ITMFA. It’s not a word for the ages, it’s just a slogan, like WIN, or “Whip Inflation Now” (ask your parents), for this political moment. So here’s our goal: I not only want to see ITMFA spread all over the country, I want to see a sitting member of the U.S. House or Senate wearing one of my tasteful ITMFA lapel pins on C-SPAN or a Sunday-morning political show.
Guess what? Some folks felt my advice for the Good Son, the man whose mother fucked him when he was 15 years old, was, like, complete and utter crap. Lots of responses are up at www.thestranger.com/savage/TGS.—Dan Savage
Dan Savage’s new book, The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family, is on sale now. Send your Savage Love questions to email@example.com.