Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » May 2005 » Teddy Bear Musings...

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05/14/2005: Teddy Bear Musings...

Andrew Sullivan (Daily Dish) has posted several Teddy Bear commentaries and e-mails that are * interesting* (to say the least - but not for the prudish or faint of heart on "body issues").

”Are you straight guys as irritated as I am by the metrosexual craze? Please please please don't remove a single hair from your body. Ignore Queer Eye. We homos aren't all crazed, plucked product queens. Here's a visual, animated manifesto for the anti-feminization movement. Good for Levi's for making it.”

And there is Andrew’s friend, Oliver, who posts his Teddy Bear of the Week pictures and stories. (Tho’ I won’t post his URL since he complains he’s gotten enough traffic and “weirdos” visiting his site. But this stuff is out there to be found for the interested net-surfers- to be sure.)

And from a heterosexual woman’s point of view, Andrew posts this piece. Somewhat "over the top" in her *descriptive* use of language - but worth a read. (Tho’ again – not if yer a prude on these topics.)

I do take exception to one of her comments -- a very peculiar description of getting “razor burn” from a body part I’ve NEVER seen having "hair to be removed" -EVER!

Click on the “more” button to read a few further comments he posted on this.

“FROM HAIR TO ETERNITY: The great debate continues:
I agree with the author in that I love men in their more natural state, sans wax. I just wonder if she, like me, spends thousands each year on the depilatories, eyebrow "sculpting," ordering Nad's green goo off late night teevee to shape her privates into a racing stripe, heart, clover, diamond, some sort of perverse lucky charm.

I once told a friend it'd be easier to be under a burqa than to be up on all fours while a large German house frau pours hot wax into every orifice to rip out all of the evidence of the passage puberty (except breasts, those should be bigger and resist all signs of gravity).

I don't think it's about the feminization of men, because we girls aren't meant to have smooth legs and pits and crotches, either. I think it's about extreme youth obsession. It's about having a body like a 12-year old, free from fat, curves, and the evil body hair. If it were about looking like a girl, there'd be a surge in Adam's apple removal surgery. Don't get me started on the no-curves heroin chic look that plagued my sex throughout the late 90s.

It's a weird sort of equality. More men suffering eating disorders, battling body demons with stackers and nautilus. It's not what I wanted, not what I wished for my brothers, for I love them and want them to be healthy, not subjected to the weird prepubescent obsession we women have oddly agreed to subject ourselves to for the last 40 years or so.

Forty years or so? I'd say it's a lot longer than that. Women have always done all sorts of things to their bodies - corsets, anyone? - to appeal to men. Men, on the other hand, have no excuse for "manscaping":

I read the opus from the man with the hairy back and was moved: I am among his number. As a gay man, it has been especially difficult. For years, I waxed, shaved, hid.

Sure, the Bear Movement has helped and I've grown less sensitive and found lots of people that are attracted to my hirsuteness, but at 43 years old I still struggle whenever I take off my shirt in public.

But I think I came into my own to a large extent at the San Francisco Bear Rendezvous a few years back. I stood across the street from the Starbuck's on 18th Street in the Castro and looked at the picture before me. The sidewalks were bulging over with gloriously hairy men, many shirtless. Great tufts of hair were spilling over the collars of those in shirts. I was finally part of a mass where I was in the majority and those smoother boys were all wannabes. The roles were reversed. It was liberating.

And the shop standing immediately next door to Starbucks? A laser hair removal place, the lonely female tech staring out balefully from beneath a sign reading: Don't Be Embarrassed Anymore. I took it as a divine message.

Bears of faith: we have a new category.

And this one:

EMAIL OF THE DAY: Here's a sad tale:
"I've been reading your blog daily for a couple of years now and I must say, though I admired you for your bravery and intelligence, my admiration for you recently reached a new level. I must make a confession. I've lately been feeling like a societal outcast. On the social fringes. Sure, there are times when I'm comfortable around other people. In restaurants, churches, theaters. But then there are times when my shell closes around me. I'm afraid to peek my head out to see and experience the world. How I long for the smell of the ocean. Or a sun tan.

According to our culture, I've been struck with an affliction that is unacceptable. In certain places I'm seen as freakish, uncouth, unacceptable. Snickers and jeers follow me. Second and third glances follow my every step. I feel like a second class citizen – like someone who belongs in a carnie freak show – similar to the lobster boy or the 22-inch high woman.

Yes Andrew, I have, and this is difficult for me to admit, a hairy back.

A very hairy back.

Like Robin Williams’ arm hair hairy. You would think, when I take my shirt off in public that I have a tattoo of say, I dunno, President Bush jerking off a horse. There. I've said it. I've admitted it. The weight is off my shoulders, though the follicles remain. I feel much better. Knowing there are people out there like you, people who support folks with back hair almost makes life worth living again. I say almost because I do have a couple of other hurdles to clear. Like biting my fingernails rather than a manicure. And I like red meat and regular beer. But then, recovery is a process, right?"

I might add that we now have scientific evidence that pheromones - intensified by body hair - have a big effect on sexual attractiveness. I knew that already. I just cannot understand why men decide that it's less sexy to be more male”

Karen on 05.14.05 @ 06:35 AM CST

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