Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Cub above

Last Fourth of July a man by the name of John Caldera held a contest at The Lone Star Saloon in San Francisco. This contest was called "The Bay Area Cub" Contest. (For the heterosexual followers of my blog I touch upon the Bear and Cub subset of Gay culture in my previous blog, but it's pretty common knowledge as to who they are within the Gay Community to the other Gays) There were only three contestants in this contest. There was an earnest beefy blond white twenty something with enormous blue eyes and there was a friendly gracious soft spoken Peruvian man -and yours truly.

Why did I enter the contest? prove a point. There were a lot of other youngsters out there who thought that a cub couldn't possibly be over 30. Yes -I am turning into THAT guy. The one who runs a marathon at 50 because he was tired of people saying, "Well you are older now and you can't do the things you used to." My Dad's midlife crisis was a beaut and I watch my older brothers and search in vain for those tell tale familiar signs of "I-don't-give-a-shit-what-anyone-thinks,-I-am-going-to-go-ahead-and-do-it anyway." Even though they are a decade or so older than me, it seems I am the one to follow in my Dad's uncompromising footsteps first when it comes to midlife crisis. I guess I do have a problem with people thinking I don't have what it takes to do something. My boss has been using it as effective management tool on me for 2 years now. She'll sigh, after I explain I hadn't gotten around to doing something, and say that she'll guess she can do it faster and that's when I snatch the file from her saying, "No -Don't worry I can handle it." Chicken McFly?

I arrived early after talking briefly to Mr.Caldera. We were acquaintances from roughly 15 or 20 years ago at the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus. I was aware that garnering the title meant some significant fund raising would be part of my responsibilities. Not exactly a piece of cake, but definitely something I thought would be within my capabilities, since I had done like 8 fundraisers for Theater Rhinoceros and few to produce my own show as well. It was all the other qualities that I was concerned about. I mean -was I perceived as a cub by other bears and cubs? Would the judges think so? Was I breaking rule by calling myself a cub at my advanced age? Where the hell IS the definitive Bear, Cub and their den Manual? (Most of the info is right here at The Complete Bear by the way, but I didn't know that then. All I knew was that a group of guys who frequented the Lone Star were considered the Bear population of San Francisco. Beyond that, I needed a little education. Luckily I had read and heard from reliable sources that the Bear population kind of defies any specific definition, but there were some obvious visual common denominators. Furry and Masculine with a wide variety of sizes seemed to be the essential ingredients. Also a friendly open attitude about sex was important. I thought I could muster that-despite my queeney tendencies. Anyway -it was all for a lark anyway.I was dead sure the kid was going to win.

My competitors seemed to have the appropriate qualities , but I was indeed a little furrier than the both of them. I wore a flight mechanic's jump suit -that when strategically zipped gave a nice focal point of my "treasure trail". I thought somehow the judge's panel would like that. I answered my questions salaciously and made the wonky wire in the mic stay put so all my answers could be heard. All the while during the competition I was banking on the twenty something to win. The mellow Peruvian and I were about the same age. After my competitors and I had sold a round or two of raffle tickets, I felt significantly enlightened. I learned about the role of the Bucket Bitch. This is a role that my best friend Drew was groomed for! The Bucket Bitch ( in our case a Bag Bitch because we didn't have Buckets) is the person who is in charge of ripping the raffle tickets and making change while the Raffle sales person is carefully measuring the length of the inseam of the purchaser. They ran quite a deal at this Raffle. It was a mere five dollars for tickets that were the length of the inseam, or the circumference of the chest, or the waist. So essentially I felt all these men up and Drew collected the money...The amount of money we made I believe was only 10 percent of the score -or was it 30? I don't really recall because I saw that the kid had gone wayyyyy ahead and had a full bag of SOLD tickets. Luckily my Bucket Bitch is a Drag Queen. He wasn't in Drag that particular day, but he is hugely successful at taking the littlest activities and imbuing them with an importance one would NEVER think possible. He once stole the show at Josie's Juice Joint by simply changing the set -in full drag mind you but all he was doing was changing the set. He even got mentioned in the freakin review of the play!

So Drew is chattering away like an entertaining little magpie and I am jamming my thumb and forefinger waaaaaay up the inseams of these men. My fingers would linger at the crotch and their eyes would sparkle in appreciation at me. I actually got to sell tickets to a couple of former Bay Area Cubs. Kevin-got the experience of me rubbing my forehead up against his crotch -kind of like he was tea bagging me while the family jewels were still in the jeans. Well ...he WAS one of the judges after all. What did you expect me to give him -a kiss on the cheek? Rolando (the reigning cub 2009) was polite and perfunctory. He didn't need me to go through the rigmarole of tickling his nether regions. Together we guesstemated the length of his inseam I'm pretty sure he thought I was going to lose and took pity on me and my Bucket Bitch. We were the only ones brave, and or stupid enough to go in the bar and harass the patrons trying to avoid the contest all together. He wished me luck though. He raised a lot of dough biking down to LA and back for the AIDS Ride.

I was also informed by Rolando that my "husbear" Orlando, would be a Sash Widow. I highly doubt that Orlando would opt for watching a basketball game on TV when he could be partying with a bunch of other Bears. It's pretty funny that they use the term Sash Widow, because you don't get a sash when you win these things you get a vest. You don't get the vest right away either. I'll get it in 2010-I think that's what John told me anyway. Rolando was disappointed in the design they chose for his 2009 vest. He had hoped for more creative input. I didn't think I would complain. It would've been cool to sport a sash or vest when Orlando and I go to Lazy Bear in Guerneville this year but maybe I can get a T-shirt put together with a Decal saying, P.A. Cooley Bay Area Cub 2010-He's not your Daddy's little Bear Cub!...or maybe not.. Maybe I'll make stickers saying, "P.A. Cooley -wait till he gets his paws on you!" oh Dear ...

So we sold all our tickets and we are all up on stage and John Caldera announces that I won the freakin contest. In some of the pics you can clearly see my slightly frozen smile and my eyes broadcasting my fear at what I had gotten myself into. Now I REALLY needed a crash course in all things Bear. It had to be more than flannel and Woof and Grrrr...or did it? Didn't they tell me that this title was essentially what ever I decided to do with it-as long as I raised money for the community in the form of two fund raisers? Well here he comes folks. Mr. P.A. Cooley - a whole new breed of Cub, older, wiser and sexier...ok ok so there's plenty of sexier cubs out there but not ones with my kind of moxie and exhibitionism dammit.

The ideas are flowing freely now and I am excited to take my reign. I wanna assault every bear at Lazy bear with some hardcore flirtations so they KNOW who the Bay Area Cub 2010 is! I have been carefully restructuring my wardrobe for that Perfect Leather outfit, that Perfect flannel and jeans number, and the endless selection of Cargo shorts. Help! Someone get me a bear stylist who specializes in Cub gear! I breezed over to Mr. S Leather with visions of chrome studded leather jock straps, a pair of chaps that looked like a second skin and a vest that looked like it took HOURS to get into...then I looked at the prices ....then I ran to Worn Out West in the Castro -used leather will have to do.

I have been plotting and planning feverishly ( events, clothes, stand up comedy, a Cub-aret!) and Orlando(husbear), looks at me and marvels."Wow are taking this Cub thing seriously, aren't you?"

" Hell yes!" I piped back at him "Taught you something Loverbear! You CAN be over 40 and be a Cub!" My beloved unfortunately was one of the non-believers -and no-I did NOT do this contest because he and I were having a disagreement.

I did it because I AM a Cub...welcome to my world...stay tuned!

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