Labels. Ugh.

So I'm a bear. The first time I heard about this in a social context (I had seen the word before on porn sites but had never thought it was something people called each other in real life), I was chatting with a much older friend and his boyfriend about my troubles finding people to date. You see, gay French guys seem to have a LOT of trouble grasping the concept of dating. At least on dating sites, which is the only place I know where to look!

{I wrote some other things if you're interested}

Him: "What site do you use?"

Me: "Er, GayRomeo. I was told it's the most used one if you don't live in Paris. Oh, and Grindr."

Why does Paris get all of the cool gay things? Not fair. When I said Grindr, they chuckled.

Him: "Ha! No wonder you can't find people. You're not in the right places."

Me: "There are other places to be? Where? I'll go to all of the places."

He then proceeded to show me Bearwww on his iPhone: a bear dating site, for "bears, cubs, chasers, and everybody else". Except, of course, that nobody else is on there but the bears, cubs, chasers, and all other manners of wild furry animals, which isn't a bad thing at all since I'm equally into bears than I am into fit greek gods. Plus, they usually tend to be more, er, manly.

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Was that offensive? I mean that, on average, in France at least, there are less feminine bears than there are masculine ones. I mean in physical mannerisms and not in hobbies, though I'm not sure hobbies can be either masculine or feminine. Sounds like a discussion for another blog post.

I signed up, and almost instantly got a hit.

On GayRomeo, from the moment I signed up to the first message I received, two weeks passed. Two.Weeks. And this was instant? Jackpot! I click on the unopened letter icon.

Old dude. Sigh. Ignore.

More old dudes followed, then a young guy did. He was a bear too. We chatted for a bit. We met up. We dated for about a month and it was cool. I did something stupid one night (not cheating, nothing like that). He didn't forgive me. He broke up.

Back on the site.

I guess location does matter, but is it mandatory? I've met a couple of guys on GayRomeo. They never went passed hook ups, mostly because the people I met never made any effort to move it past hook ups, but the outside can't be that important for people looking to date, right? Incidently, Bearwww gave me my first boyfriend. I'm turning 23 in about a month. About time!

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Once, I chatted with a guy and we really hit it off, or at least it felt like it. We talked about fighting games, videogames in general, then tv shows. After what seemed like a fun time getting to know each other, I asked if he'd like to go out for a drink sometimes.

Him: "Sorry, I like our convo but you're not my type."

Me: "Does it matter at this point? We're connecting on some level aren't we?"

Him: "I'm just looking for sex right now, sorry."

We never talked again. I guess it's easier for me to say "THE INSIDE IS WHAT COUNTS" when I'm not slim or toned or muscular, and maybe this will sound like a big fat excuse, but I don't want someone to be interested in me because of my body type. Losing weight is on my to do list, but I'd rather do it after I've met someone special, with motivation from someone special. Or maybe this really is an excuse.

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My friend and his boyfriend, both bears (although I believe one is a panda, which is an asian bear I guess, which is kind of racist I think), told me about a bear bar in town, the only one. It's a nice place. I kind of wish the barmen were a bit more friendly with newcomers because my first and second time going there were super awkward, but it's a cool place. Haven't seen anyone my age yet but I'm not looking to meet people there necessarily. Although that would be nice.

I like the bear logo too. Is being a bear now part of my identity? Has it always been and I just wasn't aware of it? Questions I do not have the answers to right now. I asked my friends if they had suggestions on how to meet people.

Him: "Your problem is you're going in thinking about dating and a boyfriend and the future, when it should just be casual the first time. If it gets serious, it will."

His boyfriend: "Don't go in with expectations, or you'll end up disappointed."

Me: "Fair point, maybe I'm going in with expectations and I shouldn't, but that doesn't address why dates are impossible to go on! Why does it always have to be about sex?"

Him: "Because you're both men."

The great divide right there.

Me: "Oh come on! See what I mean? You don't understand dating either! Sex is for when you get to know the person. First you go to the movies, or to the park, or meet up for a drink. Maybe the night ends with a kiss on the cheek, or a hug, or-"

They started laughing.

Him: "You're not in a movie. Stop thinking sex is something special. It's not."

To be completely honest, all of my knowledge on what dating is supposed to be does come from pop culture, but isn't dating a pop culture phenomenon? Isn't that what people are supposed to do? I know that's what I want to do. I'm sick of hooking up. I haven't exactly hooked up that much, but I don't want to do it anymore.

His boyfriend: "You should join a club. Like an LGBT club."

Maybe I should. A quick Google search later, and without finding a videogame one, I find a Rugby club. "Total beginners are welcome!" says the homepage, along with pictures of players having what looks like fun on the field.

I kind of want to go.