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What does the term “Bear” mean to you?
“I am lucky enough to be a part of a generation that had access to the internet from a relatively young age, so after realizing that I was gay but not being at all attracted to the gay stereotypes that were presented in the media I was able to discover the bear world online. Discovering this community enabled me to feel more confident in myself. It allowed me to just be me (stocky and hairy) and not have to worry about trying to be someone I’m not in order to fit in.
I guess the term bear for me also has connotations about getting older. I’ve been labeling myself as a cub for almost 10 years, but more and more I’m being told I’m getting too old/big for that label!”
My only gripe with the term is when people treat it as some sort of exclusive ‘club’ which requires you to possess certain attributes in order to become part of a ‘clique’ – for example, ‘muscle bears’ that will only acknowledge the existence of other guys with a certain amount of muscle is a real turn off.”
What’s your idea of a perfect date?
“The way to my heart is definitely through my stomach, so either cooking/being cooked for or going out for a hearty meal definitely has to be in there somewhere! If staying in this would then be followed by snuggling up with a good movie and a big bowl of popcorn. If heading out I enjoy walking around town hand in hand, maybe catch a show at the theatre and then end the evening with a few drinks. Then depending on energy levels maybe a good dance until the following morning.”
How would you describe your personal design style?
“With regards to clothing I’m very much a t-shirt and jeans kinda guy, I tend to stick to stuff that’s comfortable rather than fashionable. If I find something I REALLY like I’ll buy one in every color available and wear them until they fall apart.
As far as ‘interior’ design style goes, I have absolutely no style at all – I’m happy to leave that to professionals!”
Location: London, UK
Height: 5’ 10”
Hair: Beard – Red, everywhere else – dirty blonde
“I grew up loathing all forms of exercise, and the only thing I ever did to keep remotely fit was walking a few miles a day. 6 months ago I decided it was time for a change and joined my first ever gym. I’ve been going 4-5 times per week since then, and really look forward to every single trip – if you had told me 5 years ago that one day I would be excited about exercise I probably would have keeled over from laughing!
I suffer from really bad tennis elbow meaning any prolonged use of dumbbells or barbells leaves me in agony for days, so I tend to stick to the resistance machines and cables and focus on a couple of body parts each visit, with a bit of cardio thrown in at the beginning (gotta keep the ticker healthy!). I am lucky enough to have 2 very special men in my life who continually push and encourage me in the gym, and they teach me more and more with each visit.
At the moment my general goal is just to increase my size, so I’m currently on a ‘dirty bulk’ diet (which is amazing!), and not too bothered about getting a bit of a belly (one of the major benefits of being part of ‘bear culture’ is that this is widely accepted!). I know I can’t keep this up forever, but I’m enjoying it at the moment, and from comments I’ve received it seems to be working. I’ve also put on about 10kg (22lbs) since joining the gym (purely from mountains of steak & chicken!), and outgrown pretty much all of my favorite clothes.”
Occupation: “Clinical data systems analyst for a large pharmaceutical company.”
Hobbies: “I LOVE going to the Theatre (mainly musicals, but plays also), and have been known to queue for 6 hours from 4am to get front row tickets to shows before – it’s a relatively new passion, but one that I’m really enjoying. I also enjoy: Movies (mainly horror and comedy), Reading, Gym, Xbox, baking, being an uncle, and I’ve recently started learning Spanish.”
I was invited to take part in my first ever photo shoot a couple of weeks ago (some of the photos are being used as part of this post – thanks to Vincent Keith from Mascular Studios for those!) and since then have taken part in a second, so who knows, maybe I might explore modelling further as a new hobby.
I’m also a trained firefighter as a part of my job, which I enjoy a lot!”
Guilty Pleasure Snack: “I’m pretty public about this one, and most of my friends and acquaintances would probably be able to answer on my behalf: JAFFA CAKES. I know a lot of people reading this might never have heard of them (I’m sorry for you) as I think they’re a pretty British thing – they’re basically round discs of orangey heaven covered in chocolate. I can go through a box of them in literally seconds. Oh, and tubs of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food have been known to vanish in a similar amount of time also.”
TV Faves: “American Horror Story (my current number 1!), Looking, Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, Parks & Recreation, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Modern Family, Glee (yeah, I know!), Smash, Lost, The Great British Bake Off.”
Last good movie you saw: “This is probably going to be pretty cliché and completely emasculate me, but I absolutely loved ‘Frozen’ and watched it 3 times in the space of a week. As I’ve mentioned I am a big fan of musicals (and still a big kid at heart), so by reading about how the format and style of the film was close to a West End/Broadway show I knew immediately that I would love it. The animation is beautiful, the music is incredible and a few of my current favorite stars are in it and play their parts perfectly (Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff & Josh Gad). If you’re hesitant and thinking it’s just another kids movie, I’d definitely recommend you give it a go. I’ve also read that the rights to make it into a Broadway show have already been sold – I am waiting with bated breath.
Also, a video of me lip syncing to ‘Love Is an Open Door’ exists but is yet to be published online until I get enough confidence!”
Currently Reading: “I’ve just finished Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. I am a HUGE fan of King and have a whole bookcase dedicated to his work. Really enjoyed this sequel to one of my favorites!”
Turn Ons: “Masculinity, Spontaneity, Modesty, a man who likes his food.”
Turn Offs: “People being rude to service staff is probably my biggest one. For example, if I’m out to dinner and someone is unnecessarily rude to a waiter/waitress it drives me insane. Also arrogance, boasting, cockiness and anyone who practices one-upmanship on a regular basis.”
Photos by Vincent Keith – Mascular Studio