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Grizzly Men

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Mr. MetroCub went to a five-five guy named Louis. There was no award category for otters, for whom many bears seem to evince little interest (committed to their subculture, they can be just as petty and dismissive as any buff, well-coiffed man at Beige).

“Every group has to fetishize itself,” says John Waters. “This one caught on because most people look like this. My generation has to eroticize everything.”

Which doesn’t stop the otters from trying. As one friend of mine—whose blond, Bruce Weber–model looks belie an interest in older, hairier, heftier Bruce Weber–like men—wrote to me, “At its heart, I think it’s an aesthetic of age, of finding men who look older (hence, facial hair) attractive.” His gay friends have always been a little scandalized by his taste. But as he points out, “This has been a part of gay culture since the Symposium. Gay culture has its own denial issues.”

Still, with an increasingly out gay population, what gay looks like, smells like, and labels itself as will continue to diversify. “I’m for [bears] because they have a sense of humor,” Waters says. “They’re not muscle Marys. They’re faux–blue collar. Their fag hags are called ‘goldilocks.’ ”

“Every group has to fetishize itself,” he adds. “This one caught on because most people look like this. My generation has to eroticize everything. There’ll be back rooms at old-age homes.”


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