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Bears on the Net: A guide from one who knows

Wed 11 Jan 2006 In: Community

Bears and cubs (and their chasers) can feel a bit hard done by here in Kiwiland; for all our supposed macho culture, the bear concept is not something that comes too easily in our neck of the woods. Perhaps it's the climate... Urge bar in K Rd, Auckland (Thursdays through Sundays) does its best, but the cold hard truth is there just aren't that many bears to go around down under. At Urge's recent underwear do, among the big crowd (it was packed! and yes, everyone was in pristine white underwear!), myself, spunky dj Mauri and the guy on the door were the only bear types present. (Ooops - see note below) Even overseas, bears and cubs are only a small part of the gay scene - what they call a sub-culture (ooh, sounds like yoghurt). But for some of us, bears and cubs are the scene we're most interested in. Fortunately, PI (post internet) we have a smorgasbord of beary delights at our fingertips as we merrily tap away at our keyboards, our hairy knuckles glinting in the moonlight. And even if most of the chunky, hirsuit hunks are overseas, well, that's why god invented aeroplanes, so bears could fly! And if we can't afford to fly to them, hell, we can lure them here with tales of gay-friendly, green kiwiland, desperate for bear immigrunts! Big Muscle Bears is the cream of the bear sites crop. Entirely free, with molto spunky men flashing their muscles at you (yes, that muscle, too), the site is run by a couple called Bill and Andy. All the members make sure to thank Bill and Andy, and they deserve those thanks as the site is remarkably uncommercial. They do link to bear events, though, and occasionally run their own. So, I guess the advertising pays the site fees. I have caught a glimpse or two of four or five kiwi bears on the site! and occasional web stars like Mack or Titpig turn up, but by and large it seems to be a genuine group of bears and their chasers. They all provide contact details and usually screeds about themselves, except for the terse types who say things like 'I don't know what to write here'. Mmmm, don't you just love a tongue-tied bear? Bear Pics comes across as one of the true big bear successes on the web. Run from Toronto by Forrest ( a forest of hair maybe?), it has evolved into a combination of free to view and pay per view. That is, Forrest lets you see preview photos (usually a generous number of these) but if you want to see more (and there are films too) then prices vary from $13.95 for 30 days to $53.95 for 180 days. I guess these are US dollars ... I'm sure Forrest will let you know. The most interesting thing, here, is that the photos and movies are amateur - they are made by real bear guys, just like you and me, often photographed by Forrest himself, and there is no sexism or ageism involved, just real beary men. Bondage, it seems to me, is often involved, not something I'm sooo very interested in (I like my men to move for gosh sakes!), but if that's your cup of tea, go to it. Forrest has always been truly interested in the bear scene (in internet years, the site has been around for ever), as proven by his chatty bloglike postings in among the latest photos. Yes, at the moment you can read about and see lots of pics (free!) of his recent Jamaica and Bahamas cruise with 500 men. Drool! I confess, it's been a while since I visited bear-pics as Forrest posted a negative review of my bear cartoons way back when, but... he was right, they stunk. And talking of gaytoons, Adam and Andy are a pair of likeable hunks. They have a new toon up each week - at the mo, they're coping with the delights of entering into a civil union. Sound familiar? Free access is also the attraction to Bear Networks. No nekkid pics here though, just one-off pics of hundreds and hundreds of bears and cubs looking for 'ltr's or 'hook-ups' or even 'just friendship'. Awww. And there's a good daily astrology guide onsite, too. Oops, just had a look at Urge's website and the underwear party pics prove me a liar! There were more bears there than I noticed or can remember... well now, what the heck was I on?     John Curry - 11th January 2006

Credit: John Curry

First published: Wednesday, 11th January 2006 - 12:00pm

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