Who Wins?

Who Will Win the Bear vs. Twink War?

sufjansidebysideMaybe you’ve heard of Guerrilla Queer Bar, the loosely-affiliated social movement wherein gays and lesbians “take over” straight bars to jam the culture and get LGBT people out of their comfort zones.

Well, last week, the San Francisco chapter decided that it was high time that they stopped bridging the gay-straight divide and took the event to where the real fight is: In that perpetual war of the rrrrosas between bears and twinks. Guerrilla Queer Bar launched a surprise “Guerrilla Bear Bar attack” on Badlands on 18th Street in the Castro, best known as a bastion den of Twinkdom.

At long last the Bears vs. Twinks cold war has heated up! But who will win this existential battle for the soul of the gay community? More importantly, who would win in a fight? The Twink or the Bear? Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Fight Why the Bears Will Win Why the Twinks Will Win Winner
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Fashion Throwdown
If there’s one thing the bear community knows, it’s how to maintain a dress code. Of course, if you’re not into jeans or leather, you’re S.O.L. While many a twink is a fashion whore, wearing the latest labels, the longer they’re out at night, the more likely they are to be running around shirtless. Twinks win on creativity, bears win on raw style. Draw.
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Drinking Contest
Bears and beer go hand in hand. Not so good for the waistline, but definitely the right choice when it comes to pacing yourself. Long Island Iced Teas, cosmos, vodka whatever– Twinks are so excited to finally be over 21 that they’ll drink just about anything. They’re the alcoholic version of goats, in that regard. Twinks, hands down. Youthful metabolism and a lack of judgment pay off big time.
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All Out Brawl
Bears are big boys. They’ve had years at the gym. Those wrestling team t-shirts and leather harnesses aren’t there just for show right? Right? Twinks, like velociraptors, move incredibly fast. All that late night dancing builds up stamina. Plus, they move in packs. The bears take it without ever having to draw a fist; their display of raw power would shut down the nerviest of twinks.
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Good Citizen Awards
Bear organizations raise money for HIV/AIDS. They have a vast network of social events over the course of the year and they march in Pride parades. While individual twinks might donate time at their local LGBT Center, most are too busy putting their lives together or Facebooking for Obama to really be a part of any community. If the lesbians weren’t already running things so well, we’d be calling for a Den of Bears to rule over us all.
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Blind Date
If you like being butch, you’ll love bears. That said, if you decide to throw on some cologne before the date, get ready for a long speech on how scents are for women, blah, blah, blah. If you can keep up with them, a twink can be a lot of fun. They’re open to new experiences, so long as the new experience winds up at a dance club or in somebody’s bed. That’s right, we just said that twinks are whores. The twinks win. Not because they’re hotter, but because they’re easier.

Oh no! We seem to have a tie! Won’t you help us break it by telling us which will really win– The Tom Colicchio loving bear community or the Zac Effronesque World of Twinks. Let the war begin.

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76 Comments

  • Tyler

    I do appreciate the Sufjan v. Sufjan graphic.

  • Kalanw

    Don’t forget twinks become bears after about 15 years.

  • Jeff

    I also appreciate the Sufjan v. Sufjan graphic.

    The rest of the post. Meh

  • Mark

    Supposedly twinks bite.

    Everything I know about bears, I learned from Kids in the Hall.

  • John

    I like variety – so a draw is perfect!

  • CaM

    Awww… it’s not a Sufjan post. I got all excited seeing his pic.

  • suffy

    Sufjan is 100 percent gay and people in his inner circle know that, but Jesus came along and really ruined things for him….now…..he’s “confused”

  • Japhy Grant

    @CaM: As soon as he does something newsworthy, we’ll be on it. Unfortunately, Sufjan likes to toy with us.

  • Greetings from Michigan

    Aww, that’s a shame Sufjan is closeted. I was hoping to potentially meet him in Brooklyn one day and have an in-depth conversation about living in upper Michigan, eventually wooing him into my bedroom. Damn Jesus.

    Oh, and Bears totally FTW. Looks aside, they’re so much easier to get along with.

  • Al

    Hahaha, as someone undergoing the transformation from twink to bear, this cracked me up… Oh I will so miss being a whore!

  • rogue dandelion

    @suffy: oh no! jesus! he ruins everything.
    that is the saddest thing i have heard in a while.

  • Jason

    This is a serious comment on a lighthearted thread, but what about the rest of us? I live in San Francisco so I’m aware of this split as much as anyone–I’m not thin (but too thin for the bears), still under 30 and with boyish features, but in general too old or masculine for the twinks. I don’t really fit in either group.

    This is coming off far more “wahhh poor me” than I honestly intend, but it does feel everything is increasingly targeted at one or the other. I don’t really care that much beyond that I always feel out of place in one way or another at every gay bar, and wind up just heading over towards the Mission instead.

    IMHO, I find the bears to be even more exclusive/judgmental than the twinks, which is saying a lot. I also find their scene to be more hypersexualized, not less. That’s on the macro level, though; I have tons of friends from either side of the divide so I’m speaking more about how it feels at those bars than about how specific individuals think or feel.

  • GranDiva

    Well, considering that — at least in America — every bear is connected to every other bear by a chain of no more than two blowjobs, I’m not sure that the “twinks are easier” assertion holds much water.

  • Alec

    @Jason: What divide? Is this seriously an issue in SF? One that involves more than ten people? These are porn categories, not lifestyle models.

  • Mark

    @Jason:

    I think you’re considered an “otter?”

  • badlydrawnbear

    @No12 Jason … I have often heard from “non bears” similar complaints. However, I would argue that two things are happening.

    One, you are seeing the forest and not the trees. When guys start complaining about how no one is into them and everyone seems to know each other and it’s hard to meet people I try to point out that at every bear bar or event I have ever gone to there are plenty of guys that I find really hot that are not interested in giving me the time of day. Meeting people is always hard when you are new to a social scene and it is something even “bears” like myself need to work at.

    Two, you are experiencing life as a bear outside a bear bar/event. In a world where back hair jokes are an easy and regular punch line and size does matter a bear bar/event is one of the few places that what is hot gets turned on it’s head. No longer is being the thinnest smoothest guy in the room considered hot. This is probably a new experience for many and they interpret the lack of attention as the bears being standoffish or judgmental.

    I would suggest that, like a bear at Badlands, you are going to have to put a little extra effort into meeting people and moving them past your appearance and see the person inside.

  • Brian

    Go Bears!

  • ryan

    I miss the Badlands of 10 years ago.

  • Booth

    Mark, thanks for identifying what the rest of us are… otters, lol. But don’t otters spend a lot of time on their backs? Hmmm…

    But on the serious, do people really classify gay men in one of the two catergories?

  • atdleft

    Where do I fit? I’m too much of a lady to be a bear, but too big & hairy to be a twink. Oh yes, and I’ve dated both. My twinky boyfriends were sensual and outgoing while my bear boyfriends were big and strong and very caring.

    I guess I may be more attracted to bears, but I’m awfully too twinky myself to diss the twinks.

  • Mr SoCal Bear 2007

    @Jason: I have to agree with you 100% that the bear community has turned into exactly what they set out NOT to be. It has become exclusive!!!! I did the California AIDS Lifecycle and got shit for losing weight..not congrats for putting the bear community forward in an event that ususally doesn’t attract the bears. I for one love that the “Twinks” invaded the bar. It’s time for us to come together as a community and ditch the labels.

  • JonDorian

    But @Booth: haven’t we been doing that to the lesbians all this time? Before this past election, (which gave us BullD*kes with lipstick) lesbians have been categorized as “L-Word Hot” or “John Goodman look-alike”. And I’m not saying it’s right, but I would respectfully ask you to think about how it’s easy to classify in extremes. If you want to really classify the guys I guess you could throw in Jocks, Geeks, Emo guys (who are just confusing), retro-junkies, hipsters and so on. But that’s how it is in all aspects of life; Jocks and nerds, rich and poor, hot or not, it goes on.

    Of course I can show you a drop dead gorgeous, skinny lesbian woman who can set camp before sundown, and build a fire with nothing but rocks and mud, but it’s just easier to classify the extremes. But showing the obvious and clashing those that are most different provides a lot more [entertaining] writing material than going through all the gradients. While I didn’t particularly find this to be an article of substance, I very much appreciated the observational humor behind it. At the end of the day, we need to step back and realize, we don’t classify ourselves because we’re gay, we classify ourselves because we’re human.

    And for the record, my favorite kind of guy is in the middle of the spectrum. As I get older (I turn 25 on Sunday) I notice that my ideal man is always 5-10 years my senior – whatever the type. I don’t question it, I don’t analyze. Like kids and their apple jacks, I eat what I like; and I’m happy with it.

  • allstarecho

    Bears are big boys. They’ve had years at the gym.

    Yeah, if they are muscle bears. The bears I know, myself included, wouldn’t touch a gym unless that’s how he spelled his name.

  • [email protected]

    Getting back to the original question (how to break the tie). Though I am more a bear myself (albeit a relatively smooth one, which makes me…what?), I am more partial to the twinks.

    That said, in the drinking contest, I would have to award it to the bears. What twinks have in gusto (who else would drink AMFs and Jaeger bombs?), they lack in stamina. Two cocktails could make an inexperienced 140-pound twink pass out, while so many bears I know can spend 6 hours at a beer bust without appearing even intoxicated. Bears have both the body mass and the years of conditioning to out-drink a twink.

    I’d give the fashion throw-down to the twinks, but even so it gives the bears a 3:2 edge.

    Ok, that was a way too reasoned response for a decidedly silly topic — but what the hell, it’s Friday.

  • Slider

    Ok..who the heck is Sufjan and what does he have to do with this very cool article?

    Um, next time get a better picture of a bear (the “bear” just looks like a “twink” with sideburns and somewhat of a beard and the “twink” looks like a jock and not a “twink”

    but enough of me stereotyping…shame on me..but really who is Sufjan..help the uneducated…please..LOL

  • Aaron J.

    Sufjan is the bear and the twink.

  • J-Boogie

    Sufyan Stevens is the bear AND the twink in the picture… and he’s DREAMY in both!

  • Dazed & Confused

    Sufjan is the bear and the twink.

    Which one is which? The more hairy one, which is bearish, is in a boy scout uniform, which seems more twinky.

  • 7SnowyNights

    There’s a bastion of Twinkdom? Why don’t they teach this to us in school?

    Now I know where I’ll be heading after college.

  • Aaron J.

    @Dazed & Confused: Serious? They’re the same person.

    Oh, and this muscular, non-shaved, but not hairy non-bear likes twinks. Go twinks!

  • jeffrey bryan

    The debate to end all debates… but you missed one key category which is music. Bear bars have the best music, hands down. I’m physically a bear, but I don’t associate at all with bear culture. Yet still, I’ll go to Bear Bar or Bear Kamp in Long Beach (Cali) just to hear the good music.

  • gurlene

    Excuse me but isn’t there such a thing as a beartwink.

    Think about it for a minute. I see a lot of chubby little teenage/twentyish boys in the village/gym who are young and cute. Why are they ignored?

  • Hernan

    And the winner is… Sufjan Stevens!

  • Aaron

    this makes me hate gay people and I am one

  • 7SnowyNights

    @Aaron: Why do you hate gay people for this?

    It’s just like straight guys being labeled as jocks or nerds, only this is cuter and not intentionally demeaning.

  • rogue dandelion

    @Hernan: he wins my heart!
    seriously sufjan wins any comparison, even if it is against himself.

  • mb00

    I think both “bears” and “twinks” are jokes.
    Bears cause there really take themselves so seriously, super narcissistic. I think it’s funny that they spend so much time putting together their “just right” casual look.

    And twinks, what can I say? They’re just as bad. Having the very lasted fashion has to be exhausting. Snorting speed and going out all nights, that has to be be a killer for the system. I feel like a need a shower just thinking about it.

    So, where does that leave the rest of us?

  • alan brickman

    i would sleep with both…just to be equal of course…

  • 7SnowyNights

    @mb00: The way I use the terms, they’re more physical descriptions than lifestyle.

    Hairy, larger, balding, OR, a large, Alpha Gay-type = bear

    Skinny, smooth (cuz “hairless” just sounds weird), young, cute = twink

    The whole “Bears are narcissistic queens and twinks are drugged-up whores” thing, though I know it can be accurate in many cases, isn’t law for the gay community. Physically, I’m a twink. Lifestyle-wise, I’m practically a monk (then again, there are reasons for that, but let’s not go there…).

  • EveryoneKnewHimAsNancy

    Wait a minute! What about us queens?

  • Puck

    I resent the word whore, I do not accept payment or goods in exchange for fucking. I prefer slighty slutty twinkie boy if your going throw names arond

  • 7SnowyNights

    @Puck: How about romantically relaxed athletic youth, if you wanna be all PC.

  • Frank in Miami

    Twinks grow out of it; bears don’t.

  • Phoenix (Say Hallo To My Leetle Friend!)

    I think I’m a “Goth/Punk Anime/Manga Fan-Boy Geek”. Which is hairier than twink, but not as hairy as a bear.

    Geek Otter?

  • rogue dandelion

    how reductionist of queerty

  • Mister C

    BEARS RULE! But the scene is becoming to commercialized!

  • Mark

    @Jason:

    Jason, you are an otter.

  • ian

    how come there was not an image of a bear anywhere in this post… obviously the twinks still win on queerty as you wont even put a real bear in a post about bears… AND… when was the last time you had ANYONE with more than 3% body fat in one of your photo links…

    just sayin… it seems queerty has a major hard on for the twinks over the bears…

  • JonDorian

    @Frank in Miami: Actually, I think twinks grow out of it and bears grow into it.

  • 7SnowyNights

    @ian: That’s because a smooth twink is a lot less…well, “threatening” isn’t the right word, but it’s the first one that comes to mind.

    A skinny muscle boi offends less than a big hairy bear.

  • Chicago Bear

    @Jason: No. 12 Jason, us bears are the guys who danced with the ugly girls in school (before we came out), and who usually were the butt of jokes for the “cool people” who always thought we were dumpy, fat and unstylish, weird, uncouth, geeky, and anti-social. We created our own little corner of gaydom because we were tired of being turned away from the figurative door into the party, and we’re quite happy with our own party now, thankyouverymuch…it’s not that we’re “exclusive” or “judgmental” (although the self-proclaimed “A-List Bears” think they are), it’s that we’ve been marginalized too much of our lives, and we’re not about to be marginalized out of our own bear sub-culture by the “wannabe trendy” gate-crashers…so you’ve got to prove that you “get” what we’re all about.

    As for being hypersexual, we’re MEN who love MEN and who accept that we’re men…so what do you expect when you get so much testosterone in one space? A discussion on Akira’s makeup palette and a group exercise on toning our inner thighs? If you’re part of a culture defined by its sexuality and sexual orientation, there’s nothing wrong with embracing your sexuality and orientation, anything less is a cop-out…and really, straight America considers swishy queens to be jokes, parodies, and generally inoffensive and safe; straight American men worry and sweat when they discover that guys more manly than they are really are the cocksuckers and buttfuckers, and we’ll kick their butts if they give us any crap! Grrrrr….

  • Distingué Traces

    Bear Sufjan is kind of only bear-y in comparison to Twink Sufjan, though?

  • Chicago Bear

    @Distingué Traces: Indeed. Twink Sufjan probably plucks his pubes (along with his eyebrows), so there’s a looooong way to go up on the bear scale for Twink Sufjan. “Bear” Sufjan is about as “bear-y” as a straight frat boy who’s had his masculinity questioned and puts two days effort into trying to grow a mustache….

  • Chicago Bear

    @7SnowyNights: Perhaps you mean skinny twink bois are less threatening to straight folk than bearmen are, a la #52?

  • Joe

    @Kalanw:

    As they say: Demography – and gravity – is destiny.

  • 7SnowyNights

    @Chicago Bear: Well, to straight folk, and to the average queen/queer. In all honesty, a bear appeals to a smaller selection of [this site’s] daily traffic than an A&F model does.

    For every 50 comments on a twinky Morning Goods, you’ll probably get…10 comments ragging on how skinny and hairless the kid is. I think that a bear would get somewhere close to 25-30 negative comments, whereas an otter might get 5-10.

    This is all random numbers in my head, not some scientific hypothesis.

  • Bear-ly Legal

    I think it would have been much more fun had the twink-ish gorilla gay bar crowd assaulted the decidedly bear-habitat: the Lonestar in SOMA. Except their cotton summer scarves would have gotten all hung up in the fur and chaos would have surely ensued.

  • rogue dandelion

    @Bear-ly Legal: guerilla not gorilla- unless that is a vegetarian bear haha, although i think panda would be more appropriate.

  • 7SnowyNights

    @rogue dandelion: And pandas definitely have more than 3% body fat, so that’s out.

  • SocietyToWipeOutCliches

    Inside every bear is a troll insulated by years of overeating. And inside every twink is a drag queen missing her falsies and lipstick. The main loser here is realness. The real winners are the ones building hospices and fighting discrimination.

  • Bear-ly Legal

    Some say banana, some say boner. Its all dick to me.

  • Mike

    I disagree with lesbians being better “good citizens” than gay men. Gay men have a disproportionate presence in the humanitarian and economic/social development field and in NGOs. I have not seen many lesbians there

  • Bear-ly Legal

    I’m with you, Mike. I’m all for feeding the Bears, but I never pander to the lesbians.

  • 7SnowyNights

    The thing about lesbians is that…

    Well, vaginas scare me, and the people that have vaginas annoy me, which I guess makes me somewhat of a misogynist. So the concept of a woman falling in love with another woman probably confuses me as much as the concept of a man falling in love with another man must confuse a heterosexual.

    I have no problem with lesbians, it’s just that the mechanics of it perplex me.

  • Bear-ly Legal

    Well, “A week in Buffalo” — aka: “7snowynights,” I have no problem with the mechanics of sex, period. Though my lower lumbar region may lodge a protest or 50. I just have a problem with lionizing any particular group as though they are somehow superior to any other group. With the following exceptions: ethnic groups of any kind and their cuisine. Cuisine is sacrosanct. So I guess Lesbians and some vaginal dish may be off limits for criticism, and as far as that goes, I’m groovy with it.

  • jake

    If I was heterosexual and I read this post, I’d make fun of gay people for being such simple minded, self-critical, self-eroding people. If I was heterosexual and didn’t like gay people, this post would make me happy. Making themselves look like idiots!

  • Sarah

    It seems some of you have forgotten lesbians and bisexual women visit this site as well, hence the far left of the Queerty. It’s LGBT, not G.

    banner.@7SnowyNights: Trust me, if you came to where I live, I’d be one of the few people who didn’t annoy you. (I happen to live in Idaho. Land of potatoes and Mormons)

  • rogue dandelion

    @Sarah: these fags need to put their dicks away, lesbians are the most prominent LGBT people, even a gay guy has to admit that. Ellen any one? the only LGBT prime minister- in iceland? i don’t know what they do in the bedroom, but they are tearing it for all of us.

  • Sarah

    @rogue dandelion: I think we need to recognize everyone, personally. Many groups of people are giving us support, while we argue over who does the most? Face it – lesbians, gays, BISEXUALS, TRANS, and straights contribute. I capitalized Bis and Trans for a reason – both groups are generally forgotten nowadays. But anyway, its an LGBTIQS movement and we need to acknowledge this.

  • 7SnowyNights

    @Sarah: I think I need to clarify what I said…stupid fingers type without asking my brain for permission.

    I have friends that are girls, and I’ve had girlfriends (I’m not bi, just new to the party). Being in a relationship with a girl is probably one of the most taxing things I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never liked a girl for more than two weeks after becoming romantically involved.

    Where misogyny came from is an irrational generalization, because the specific is too stupid to explain: Don’t like girls after I start dating them but it doesn’t happen anymore because I’m gay but still… See, stupid.

    Also, LGBTIQS? I think I missed the I and the S…

  • TANK

    This has all of the punchy in your face wit and premise complexity of MTV programming combined with the solipsistic superficiality of the circuit/club scene! I can’t make up my mind…at one polarity, I’m drawn to the snobbish intellectualism of the twinks with, for example, debates about the role of metaphor in late nineteenth century continental philosophy, and how it was a reaction to the comparatively dry prose of german idealism…on the other hand, I do enjoy keg stands with the bears… decisions decisions…bikes!

  • Sarah

    @7SnowyNights: Ah, I see. I haven’t dated at all in either gender, so I can’t say I know how that goes.

    I = intersexed – born with mixed genitalia
    S = straight – I know plenty of straight people fighting for our rights

  • Catherine

    First off, I’d like to thank Sarah for pointing out that women visit the site too.

    Anyway, as a bisexual woman, I prefer twinks, but that probably stems from my love of “emo” music (I just call it alternative and move on), which tends to feature twink-y guys.

    – Catherine

  • Mark

    I guess I look like a twink because I’m skinny and not hairy, although my personality is a lot different then how most people describe twinks. Most of my friends are bears though so I’m not really gonna pick sides lol

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