I have long considered myself a Cub. To be honest, I never consciously chose or sought to become a Cub. It was a label bestowed upon me as a term of some affection as I became involved with the Bear community.
It was a label I took to wearing with some pride.
While the question of what ‘Cub’ actually meant was thrown at me often, I generally ignored it as redundant. It was a thing that simply was. A concept that could be visualised, if you really thought about it, but where the specific details were vague. Much like trying to remember a good night out.
I was in a bleary state one recent Sunday morning when this question was brought crashing to my attention. As the discussion veered towards my upcoming birthday, it happened:
“I guess after your 24th birthday you will only have one year left of being a Cub.”
It was as if a red light started flashing on my palm. Surely there could not be such an arbitrary cut-off age. Nevertheless, if this were true, if I would shortly no longer be able to call myself a Cub, would I be expected to somehow renew myself?
A quick search of the internet brought up a number of definitions for ‘Cub’. While these started with simply a younger, hairy and husky man, I quickly accumulated a long checklist. It turns out not only was I already not a card-carrying Cub, but the scene was rampant with pseudo-Cubs.
Further research showed this was not just isolated to the term Cub and was tied into the quantity of Bear slang. With ease many have the chance of being called Bear, Cub, Daddy Bear, Chub, Polar Bear, Leather Bear, Chaser, Otter, Red Panda, Red Bear, Wolfman, Admirer, Muscle Bear or even a Pocket Bear.
While the automatic assumption from this would be that we care too much about cliques, participating in a Bear-run event reveals the opposite. The reason for so much terminology and so many definitions is because everyone is welcome. So many words are needed because so many different physical types are encouraged to participate, and it’s not about the rules but about the attitude.
So you know what? Fuck it. I am a Cub. And maybe you are too.
info: Hang with the Cubs from 9pm this Saturday night at Chunky, Clarence Hotel, Petersham.

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