Originally Posted on August 7, 2005
Way back in the late 1990’s, as with most people during that time, I was on quite a few e-mail lists. What amazed me about these lists were the strings that permeated these forums. Once someone posts a message, 50 people reply to the post for days to try to say something edgewise. Half of the people agree; half of the people don't.
Sometime around 1997/98, I recalled in one of the bear lists I received where a guy from Berkeley, California wrote about how in the gay community big men normally are not attracted to other big men, "or, worse, purposely avoid them."
There were several responses to this post. One response in particular, another subscriber from New York, stated that a new group just formed in that area for big men who like big men. I thought it was a great idea, but many others felt it would subdivide the community even further. The issue was simply that a few people in the chubby/chaser community questioned the invisibility of chub/chub couples. Let alone the attraction one big gay male has for another similarly sized man.
When I came out in 1991, I knew I was different from the rest of the gay community. At my first support group at Cal State Hayward, I was not the only "bear" there. For one, I did not know what bears were in 1991. As it turns out, this particular colleague was in my major. After many rejections and a breakup of a college relationship, I sought out places where I can simply be myself. Labels were thrown at me: chubby, bear, big guy, etc. I went to Girth & Mirth in San Francisco, answered ads in Big Ad and finally meandered towards the bear community.
Yes, I'm 6'1-1/2" and weigh 300#. Yes, I prefer my men with more than a few pounds beyond normal weight. Yet, even today I am constantly bombarded with "community standards" that looks like a form of internalized and reversed "sizeism." Has it become that my desires must take precedence over the simple act of connecting with other guys who are in the same boat?
After 14 years of being “out,” I’m still puzzled by other people’s attractions. I am also puzzled by other people’s behaviors over attraction and rejection. Did we throw out the idea of “normality” back at AOL version 3.0? Or, did we forget our manners at the door of the Blazing Saddles in Des Moines?
There are too many questions to ponder! All I know is that I’m over 40 and the old ideas of attraction and desire aren’t the same as it once was 10 years ago. Deep down inside, I know I’m still a strong human being at 41 and age is not going to slow me down or prevent me from asking for what I want This also goes from saying that I have no desire to be with those I am not attracted to.
But, first, I need to check my shyness at the door…