Thursday, July 10, 2008

Of Bears and Men

If you've been paying attention, you know by now that I love reading missed connections on craigslist. One of today's missed connections triggered some thoughts, so let's discuss this (emphasis mine):
R3 Redeye - Cal hat - m4m - 33 (Gladstone)
Reply to: [redacted]
Date: 2008-07-10, 12:36AM EDT

White Tshirt, dark blue cargos, flip-flops, hat, scruffy face, hairy legs.....WOOOOF!! I woofed at you as I let you out, and I think you looked back, but not sure if it was a smile or a "hmm, would I do him?"

email me...
Okay. I'm a hairy gay guy, and perhaps as a result, I am no stranger to bear culture. I love facial hair, I love chest hair, and I love guys who choose not to remove it. I could be classified as a type of bear (an otter, if you're curious). My boyfriend's a bear, too. So is one of my favoritest bloggers. And yes, even some of my best friends are bears, of one type or another. I am one with the transcendental Bear that smiles over us all.

But the one aspect of bear culture I really don't get is woofing. As in actually woofing at guys they find attractive. I mean, bears - the kind that aren't human - don't woof. Dogs do. Why do gay bears woof? Is it to prove they're masculine? I'm not sure that regressing to animal sounds makes you more of a man. Is it just another aspect of the time-honored (and exhausting) bear codes? It's not exactly subtle, which is usually the point of a code. I'd think woofing at the wrong person would get you injured, or even institutionalized. What's so alluring about the woof? WHENCE WOOF?

If some guy woofed at me, I'd probably punch him in the face. Or at least sigh exasperatedly and say, "Really?", before abruptly walking off.

Unless he was hot, of course.

Photo by Flickr user Andrew_N, used under a Creative Commons license


paradigmq said...

praise jeebus, I HATE getting woofed at. let's go out and have ourselves a punchfest.

and why do you HAVE to be a bear if youre hairy? sure, im hairy, have a beard and am chubby, but i don't want to be a bear. or a cub.

although....i do like me some silver fox's!

jawnny said...

That's another good point - bears do tend to claim those who look to be of their kind, irrespective of whether you consider yourself a bear. On the other hand, that inclusiveness is one of the things I like about bear culture, and something that I think sets bears apart from mainstream gays.

circleinasquare said...

If a guy woofs at me, I'll usually reply
"wakka wakka!" or "meow?".
They're great conversation enders.

jawnny said...

I like "meow". It's furry yet approachable, and its feline origin suggests equal parts affection and independence in the meow-er, a particularly attractive combination.