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My parentals were out at a restauarnat and two waiters (Xavier and Mathis) were flirting quite heavily with my dad which led to a discussion with my sister where she told him about the whole bear thing. I delineate:
Yep, the bear community is sort of a reaction against the musclebound, hairless guys found out there (I guess that’d be me and Ron) it’s a celebration of ‘real men’s bodies’ similar to the enthusiasm straight men have around women with curves or straight women that love a real “blue-collar” man’s body. That sitcom that had John Goodman portrayed him as a bear. Part of it too is a love of an abundant body type: everybody knows that fat guys don’t have AIDS. Bears are more likely to be drunk at the Cubs game or enjoying darts and pizza than dressing to be seen and going out to be popular. They even have their own flag (it’s gotta a big paw print on it). Bears went nuts when I was growing out a beard because they thought that I was a ‘cub’ – a young bear-in-training – that was when the guy went up to be and simply said: ‘woof’. Our buddy Christopher, who is a massive giant of a man, looks very forbidding when you see him across the street – but then he opens his mouth and he’s a big warm teddy bear (albeit with a huge tattoo covering his entire back). He’s the one that told this hilarious story about finding out he was a 22 in a prom dress.
A blog post on bears from conservative Catholic gay blogger Andrew Sullivan.