BENT's own Bear
Everybody knows what bears do
in the woodsthey sit around telling each other their life's
stories and giving one another advice. What else would those big,
hairy beasts do when they get together for their Teddy Bear Picnics?
Inspired by the wisdom of my fellow
growlers, I'm here to give advice, when asked. So, if any of you
have questions you'd like answered by someone who's been around
the block a couple of times, please send them to Bear@bentvoices.org.
And in case you're worried that
you might have to censor your thoughts, please remember that my
walks around the block were often done while dressed in kinkwear
and with a thought or two about who I might encounter along the
So let me know what's on your
mind. If it's a Big Unanswered Question (or even a little one),
let me have
a crack at it. It is, after
all, what bears do best.
Rice? When Did Dating Become a Buffet?"
Finally I've found a wise man willing to share his infinite wisdom.
I am a 44-year old professional, retired because of Parkinson's
Disease, lupus, and a few other goodies mixed in for good measure.
These generally are not a day-to-day problem for me. My biggest
dilemma lies elsewhere: I am a white man who seeks a chance to meet
an Asian man for something lasting, meaningful, something for when
the hormones kick in or the Prozac wears off.
question to you: how can I do this? I have tried going out since
becoming ill, only to be ignored completely. I've "grazed" some
of the finest "restaurants" in these parts, but the line at the
"buffet" always closes just as I get to the entree. Okay. Okay!
To be honest, I haven't had a meaningful conversation with any Asian
man since my retirement, and I do believehonestly, I dothat
I am making a conscious effort.
you help me? Any pearls of wisdom for a man on the verge of a self-declared
I ever tell you how much I appreciate a man who talks in food metaphors?
Of course, any talk of a hunger strike depresses me immediately.
I would much rather hear that everyone is feasting as much as possible,
especially on all of the carnal delicacies on the menu. I'll admit
that I am concerned when I hear that you're choosing only from Column
A and not Column A, B, and right through the alphabet. I do understand,
however, your wanting one particular dish that you might have discovered
appeals to your palate more than the others.
too, have my personal favorites, but I've always been experimental
when it comes to what I choose to eat. So, the first thing that
I have to ask is whether you are insisting on sampling only dishes
from the Far East, or if you will settle for something less exotic
and possibly more readily available. I'm not suggesting fast food,
or anything that might give you heartburn. But I am recommending
that you think about some of the characteristics of your preferred
food and contemplate searching out ingredients that are similar
in overall size and shape but easier to grab off the shelves at
your local supermarket.
said, I will now move on to the other part of your question, which
is where to find the Asian man that you hunger for. I can offer
up the usual possibilities, with the Internet at the top of the
list. You might consider entering (or even starting, if you're feeling
ambitious) a chat room featuring Asian men, particularly those looking
for non-Asian partners. Most likely there are a number of Websites
where you can answer ads placed by Asian men or where you can place
your own ad.
for local bars and other traditional gay meeting places, well, I
don't think that the odds are really in your favor, considering
the usual racial makeup of those places. I don't know what city
you live in and that, of course, will have a great impact on how
likely you are to meet men of your preference. You stand a much
better chance in a large urban area than in a smaller city, but
you know that already.
course, you could consider a move to Hawaii, which has a number
of advantages in addition to a larger-than-usual Asian population.
If you choose that route, please invite me to visit for a week or
two. But seriously (yes, I can be serious), your search is not an
easy one. In the affairs of the heart (and loins) success seems
to creep up on you when you are not actively looking for someone.
I'm convinced this is doubly true when your search is for someone
of a specific race.
all means continue to look for your ideal meal. But please, don't
overlook other culinary possibilities. Having disabilities and searching
for a partner is difficult enough; being so specific only makes
things more difficult. I know that this is probably not the kind
of advice you want. But other than offering you up the man of your
dreams on a silver platter, I would hope that you would vary your
tastes long enough to give some of the other dishes on the menu
a chance. Who knows, you might end up salivating over curry or knishes
or soul food or all-American meat loaf and apple pie. Whatever you
choose, Bon Appetit!
© 2004 Max Verga
Let us know what you think
of this BENT feature.
VERGA has been
an activist ever since getting a call from a friend reporting that
he'd been in a riot at the Stonewall Bar only hours before. His
work is featured in "Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their
Stories," edited by Bob Guter and John R. Killacky (Harrington
Park Press, 2003). For
more about Max, see his longer biography.