Twelve years old. That’s how old I was when I had a dream that absolutely changed my life.
One night when I went to sleep, I went into my typical dreamscape, but this one was different. It wasn’t the normal superhero antics or my brother and I chasing down the ice cream truck. This time there was a man dressed in a towel and nothing else.
It was John Goodman (Roseanne 270lbs John Goodman, not Big Lebowski 350lbs John Goodman). He was just sitting there, in some sort of steam room. The wall was composed of wood panels while the bench was some sort of porcelain or marble.
He was just sitting there in his towel, sweating, looking at me. Of course in my dream I was an adult, something I had always aspired to be. I couldn’t wait to grow up. And this dream, was my first sexual realization. I was overwhelmed with hormones and feelings. I just stood there, staring at this beautiful man and my entire body felt alive for the first time.
And that was it. That was the dream. Just staring at this big, husky, burly man. And when I awoke I had realized that it wasn’t an innocent dream. It was much, much more. My entire body was affected. I could still feel the endorphins and whatever other hormones that were flowing through my blood.
I felt alive for a few seconds until the guilt reached back and punched me in the stomach. For several months I continued to imagine this dream, but I would tell myself it was wrong to have these feelings. I tried to ignore it. I even tried to look at girls and make myself feel attracted to them.
But I couldn’t. I could only look at the neighbor next door, my high school gym teacher, the principal, any man with a 42″ belt and a receding hairline. It was hard enough realizing I was attracted to men, let alone this certain type of man.
Luckily the internet was around at this time, albeit fairly new and not nearly what it is today. I found search engines such as Yahoo, Alta Vista, and Hotbot.
I searched and searched for “big fat hairy men who like men.” I didn’t even know what gay was. I had heard about homosexuals and the like, but being a somewhat innocent youth, I was soon to be enlightened to a whole world I never knew existed, let alone an entire subculture of men I would soon call my friends and lovers.
After scaling through all of the traditional pornography and user forums, I finally found what I was looking for. According to some websites I had found after quite a bit of searching, I found a vast “zoo” filled with all kinds of types I would soon grow very familiar with.
Apparently in the “gay world,” there WERE men who had facial hair, big round bellies, and a masculine mentality that defied the stereotypes. They were called “bears.”
I became completely entranced in the social battles they had to face: from not being accepted in traditional gay circles, to fighting the societal view of what a gay man really is, to creating their own subculture filled with bear hot spots, their own style sense (not exactly my thing but to each his own), even a language (WOOF!).
Ever since that day, I have lived my life with pride. No matter who I am, or who I date, there are thousands of others just like me. I will never again be ashamed of the big burly men I am attracted to, because I know I am not the only one.