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 way.
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
That Hairy Chest"
reading BENT because my one disabled friend wrote something for
it and I guess without realizing it I've started to look at disabled
guys a little less negatively. Then last week something happened
that surprised me. I was on the streetcar when a guy in a wheelchair
got on. He was about 30, with a hairy chest (a big turn-on for me).
I was standing next to his chair, trying not to drool on that hairy
chest, when he looked up and asked me something about the route.
His speech was slurred a little, so I leaned down to ask him what
he said. It was all I could do not to stroke his chest.
was next and I stood there watching the trolley leave and I kicked
myself for not chatting him up. He could've been gay and he sure
was cute, but I didn't know what to say. How do you cruise a disabled
guy? I was thinking about him later that night (OK, I was jerking
off thinking about him) when I realized that I think part of what
turned me on was hisI don't even like to use the wordhelplessness.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I wanted to do anything bad to
him. It was just some kind of weird attraction.
becoming one of those criphounds? Yowee! What do I do?
is simple. Follow your instincts. And next time follow the man.
On a more serious note, I would have to ask why anyone would need
to question his attraction to a disabled man, especially one who
had other characteristics (such as yummy chest hair) that would
get a rise out of you under any circumstances. Maybe the timing
is what threw you off, coming so soon after reading BENT. But If
that's what led you to look at the man in new light, then I'd say
that BENT has chalked up another success story.
to me like you were looking at a man because of one feature that
always gets your attention and you didn't see his disability as
something that would stop you from going after itand himif
given half a chance. The fact that the encounter happened on public
transportation could make things a little awkward if you were to
try to pursue him. So, your reluctance might have been due to nothing
more than thinking with your head instead of your crotch. And like
you said, he might have been straight.
you're worried that you also turned on to his helplessness. Well,
what straight man hasn't popped a boner for a damsel in distress?
Why should it be different with a gay man? Maybe I'm reading too
much into the situation, but I wonder if his asking for directions
wasn't a way to start a conversation. His perceived "helplessness"
may have been his needing direction combined
with needing his chest tongued. It's hard to say if your turn-on
to his perceived helplessness springs from some crip-attraction
or just the fact that he might have needed you, in more ways than
really say if your brief interlude on the trolley means that you're
now a card-carrying admirer of disabled guys, or if it simply means
that you've broken down one barrier that might have kept your hands
off his wondrous pelt. And what if your worst nightmare comes true
and you find that you are one of
those green-faced, one-eyed creatures known to weird science as
a crip-tripper? Will you have to wear a scarlet "C" on your chest?
Flagellate for five hours before you're burned at the stake? Or
will you ride the Streetcar Named Desire in the hope that your hairy
crip stud will once again be there asking for help? I don't know
about you, but I'd hop on that streetcar any day rather than ride
the guilt train.
not be the first man to have his head turned by a hot-looking disabled
guy, but you might be one of a few who honestly admits that the
disability itself is part of the attraction. I will be kvelling
for days just thinking about what you said about looking at disabled
men in a new way. You couldn't give all of us at BENT a greater
compliment. I would have been happier still if you had said that
you had ridden that trolley into the sunset with your wheelie man.
Yes, I know that it was probably crowded and he might not have been
gay and anyone seeing what was going on might have questioned your
drooling over a man in a chair. But hey, it's your sex life. And
who gives a good clang-clang what the other passengers on the trolley
might be thinking? And while I'm on the subject, forget about what
I said before about being cautious and prudent. I hope the next
time you see a hot crip looking for help you'll lead with your dick
instead of your brain. There is no shame in desiring a disabled
man. The shame is being ashamed of it and not following what your
heart says you want.
attracted to one disabled man does not make you a criphound. It
makes you a little bit more open than most gay guys out there. But
even if you find you are someone who's genuinely attracted to disabled
men it's not the end of the world. It could be the start of a whole
new wonderful one. Wouldn't it have been grand just to stand with
his hand holding yours till the end of the line, just like in the
believe in movie magic coming true. And I do believe in happy endings.
Hey, Terry, go write yours!
© 2001 Max Verga
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.
He began his activism with the West Side Discussion Group, later
became involved with its offshoot theater group, and was one of
the founders of Mainstream, a gay-disabled group. For more about
Max, see his longer biography.