Bear It All! (3)Reading Time: 13 minutes
No Fun For You
Since I don’t currently live alone, I had these grand ideas that during my downtime, I’d fire up Grindr and Scruff and find myself some company. The truth is, I barely touched social media and messages and I didn’t fire up the hookup apps once.
By this stage I’ve run and rerun over every damn thing in my head, I’ve been to very late events in the past 2 nights, run around like a mad man trying to ensure I’ve got every single thing that I need for the shows. Then I’m still dealing with anxiety and fear about how I’ll do, how the interview will go, what people will think or say.
There is no energy to be spared. I’m exhausted. I’ve still got one night left to go.
People sent me messages that I’ve still not replied to. Time or energy for a random hookup? I ain’t got either.
I didn’t even have the energy to find a decent breakfast so I sucked it up and went to the hotel buffet. It was crap. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, it was just another hotel buffet breakfast. If you’ve had one, you’ve had them all.
I praise any of the competitors that made time to have a wank at the very least. I left the hotel once to find a burger, and then floated in the pool. I didn’t touch the apps because I thought if I do, I’m going to expel energy I simply don’t have.
On the anxious bit, that’s a good enough segue in to the next part.
Not Everyone’s Happy, and it Stings
Now, firstly, I don’t want to presume how my fellow competitors felt. I also don’t want to reveal anything specific because that’s personal to everyone that competed. What I will say, is that we didn’t all come out of this without receiving some sort of negativity from people.
I know I certainly got a bit of it. I’m not going to share any more than that as I don’t believe those involved in this deserve a platform.
What I will say is this. Not everyone will be happy for you. Not everyone will think you deserve to compete in this competition. You are putting yourself out on stage in front of a very large community and basically making yourself a minor LGBTI+ Perth celebrity for a moment.
You may find people who you thought were friends, are not. You may find people who you’ve slighted on Grindr/Scruff (or any of ‘The Apps’) have held whatever minor trivial shit you’ve done against you with a passion. You’ll probably find randoms who you’ve never met, who have taken one look at you and decided you are not beary enough, masculine enough, your hair is funny, your genitals are wrong, your eye colour is weird, you wore the wrong shoes. I mean, people will pick shit for no valid reason other than to be a cunt.
Now, what I’m about to say will go straight out the window for most of you competing in the future. Why? Because being in the competition and being in the spotlight makes you feel vulnerable and every single shitty thing that anyone else says or does gets amplified in your head. That said, I still want to say this in hopes that if you do compete, and you do feel it is too much, you will remember the words.
You deserve to be there, you have the right to be there, the people that throw you hate are insignificant and not worth spending any energy on. You need to breathe, you need to tune it out. It is only getting to you because of the heightened anxiety that comes with doing the competition.
Arseholes are loud. They are the minority, but they are loud. For every 1 asshole, you will have 100 or more supporters. The competition supports (Rene and Scott in this case) are there to help, there to watch you have a tremendous dramatic breakdown and there to pick you up and damnit they certainly did for me.
Also remember, once you’re on stage, you won’t hear the assholes. The haters. The anything. The only noise that you can hear on stage from the crowd is the cheers and the love and the clapping. The thing about the haters is they’re not willing to pay the price of admission to the event to be a hater. Hate has a credit limit.
Please don’t feel bad about crying, about being angry, about wanting to go on the dark web and hire someone to break the legs of your enemies… actually don’t do the last one.
Just remember that the club, your true friends and your family will all be so fucking proud of you for doing this. Surround yourself with good people, don’t be afraid to tell them when something is upsetting you and don’t be afraid to want comfort or to want reassurance.
If you’re a friend of someone competing, well, support them, tell them they’re awesome, that you love them. Make them feel great!
Please don’t let this put you off. Because despite the hate, despite the anxiety, despite how absolutely shit scared I was getting on stage in front of so many people. This was truly a rewarding experience and not something that I’ll ever regret doing.
We all meet at Connections as it is time to get the interviews done and to do our practice runs. I bring all of my stuff over, and wait patiently. Some of the other contestants do quick runthroughs on stage and I’m about ready to have breakdown # 2,134.
I just didn’t feel that my act for my fantasy was up to scratch. Workwear was fine, I mean, who doesn’t like work boots and fluro gear. Underwear I was super proud of my idea. Decided to go with some Tradie brand trunks that I had velcro sewed to so I could tear them off stripper style, to reveal assless briefs.
But my fantasy? Well, it was cobbled together at the last minute due to my assistant pulling out. But I couldn’t worry about that for now. It was time for the interview.
The interview panel consisted of the 5 judges, 1 who’s a club committee member and 2 previous sashbearers, plus another couple of people with close ties to the club. I won’t reveal the questions that were asked but it is in effect “why do you think you’d make a great representative for the club”.
You can read my reasons in one of my previous blog posts. But I also touched on bullying that goes on within the community and wanting to make our little community a safe space for anyone who wants to be there. This was especially hard to speak on given that I and the other contestants had experienced this along the way.
So in addition to blabbering on during the interview, the last part where I began to touch on bullying, well, I thought I was OK, I thought I could get it out, and I blubbered and cried. Nothing was gonna stop the emotions coming up.
I really don’t know how I did in this segment. I mean, I like to think that beyond the blabbering, that I touched on what the judges feel a representative of the club should be. Not for selfish reasons, I just, actually genuinely feel that they were important things for a club like Bears Perth to focus on. The way the people in the committee have treated me certainly makes me think they hold similar values to what I was representing.
Interview over. I watch some more acts, lets add some more anxiety. Aaron was coming to help me out with mine and every time I went to reply to his messages I’m just frozen. No idea what to say to him. Or anyone for that matter. Dodger comes and tells me his experience from the Australian pup competition. About how it doesn’t need to be flashy or entertaining, that it is more important to be genuine to yourself.
Rene takes me outside and we talk again. He showed his support and explained the same as Dodger did. Again, Rene has, like many others, been extremely kind throughout this entire process. I’m a friggin hot mess and he still does his absolute best to get me over the line.
I go back up, I talk to Aaron, I get my shit together and I decide that if I’m gonna do this, I wanna wing it entirely. No practice, just fucking nail it on stage tonight and whatever happens, happens. Probably not the best decision from a competitive standpoint but knowing myself, it was probably the best strategy for handling my own anxiety.
I can barely remember who was with us for dinner. Pretty sure it was Hien, Nick, Tim, Robert and myself. I think. Honestly it could have been Daniel Craig with his cock flopped out and it’d still be a blur to me. I’m running on fumes.
By this time, I think we were all running on fumes. Nick was reinforcing that we had limited time to eat and get back and at this stage I’m thinking in my head “shut up, I’m getting a fucking steak and I don’t care if it takes them an hour to search for the cow”.
We ate, I felt sticky and gross and decided that I’d rather be late and go have a shower and change of jocks before the show.
Honestly, the advice I could give here is keep some snacks with you throughout this entire event. Something to keep your blood sugar up. Easy to carry, lots of them, and just eat when you feel hangry. Also, take breathers for yourself. Put some space between finishing something and the deadline to be somewhere. Have a shower, get away from people. Take the moments for yourself.
This is also pretty blurry. Arrived at Connections ready to go. Actually, that’s a lie. I arrived at Connections. Ready? Probably not. Just breathe! You can do this. It is all about to happen then it is all over!
Slowly, a few of my friends turn up to support me. I’m so damn glad that they came, but I feel kinda bad as so much was going on, I had forgotten about most of who was there. Only really got to see one who spent her entire time at the front of the stage. My rock! My wifie! Thanks Nat!
Just waiting for the music to stop, waiting for Pete and Barbie to get on stage and introduce us. Holy shit, will they hurry up? This gear is hot and heavy.
The first segment was everyday bear. So workwear, or casual wear. Hien is up first. But I’m completely calm. Least, I think I was. Compared to everything else. Hien finishes, then Barbie asks a question. What sexual thing would you do with a coworker? Least that’s what I remember it being. Damnit, I wish I got that question, I had a perfect answer.
It’s my turn. Since I work at a logistics company, I went with my work jacket, boots and carried out a small carton. I strutted down the stage towards the judges, pull a tiny pink dildo out of the box and I deliver that thing to Mitch. I chose Mitch because out of all the judges, I actually knew he’d take it the right way and have a laugh.
Time for my first question, what’s the strangest thing I’ve used to get myself off. Damnit, umm. Estim. Lets go with that. If better prepared, I’d have much better answers, but it isn’t supposed to be prepared. I think I did OK though as I gave a deep thorough, hot explanation as to what Estim is. I think I nailed it.
Everyone else does their bit and we take a brief break. Mumma Scott is feeding us booze which is calming.
Back behind the curtain, ready to get our jocks on. I was proud of my bit. I thought I was the absolute fucking ducks nuts. I still do. I get on stage with my gear, run a body metal detector over my crotch to show there’s a piercing or 2 under the jocks, hand the metal detector to Barbie and I then go down the catwalk a bit.
I grab the sides of my jocks whilst also thinking in my head “please fucking tear, please fucking tear”. The first few times I practiced this, the velcro was tougher than I had thought and didn’t come apart properly.
It did this time. Off come the jocks to reveal an assless jock. Yes! It worked! Legend! I toss the torn off underwear towards the judges (barely got there) and then back up to see Barbie.
Barbie used the metal detector once, laughed, said she had to do it again and laughed again. Then she did the thing that everyone told me was impossible. She had no words. I floored her! Maybe this is where we were asked the sex questions? I can’t remember. Holy shit this was all such a blur.
Off stage, everyone else does their bit and time for a break and booze. The adrenaline is pumping and I’m getting a bit tipsy (not enough to ruin the show, but enough to help the blur). I’m on top of the world. Even at a point where I didn’t care if my final act wasn’t the best. It was me, it was mine and I’ll fucking well be doing it.
Show Me Your Fantasy
The committee did a song and dance. I didn’t get to see much of it as I was busy trying to get a laptop working for part of my fantasy act.
I’m sure this will shock absolutely nobody but Windows needed an update. Of fucking course it needed an update at 10pm on a Saturday right when I needed it. I’m sitting there hiding away busting to piss waiting for this stupid laptop to stupid update the stupid thing. It updated, eventually. I guess it felt the burning hatred of a thousand suns and decided to cooperate.
The committee finishes. They’re all out back with us as we try and get our fantasy acts together. I was really grumpy about this. I know, it isn’t their fault and it really isn’t a big deal either. But the combination of everyone’s body heat, the fact that everyone is in the way, there’s an impending deadline means you just want to throw everyone out of a window. I was passive aggressive, well, borderline active aggressive.
Aaron is out there helping me, Barbie is distracting the crowd while I make a mad dash to get my shit together. I’m ready, it is showtime. Watch the act for yourself:
I walk off stage. I’m ready to cry. It is over! I’m really sad because it is over. I’m also really happy that it is done.
Fucking hell. Complete. Done. I did it. I made it to the end. We all made it to the end. I couldn’t be fucking prouder of everyone that competed. We all fucking did it. I can tell you, that there was a sigh of relief after all was said and done.
The announcements were made with Tim being crowned Ms Beauty Western Australia… No sorry, Mr Bear Perth 2021. Tristan coming in 2nd place and Hien earning Mr Congeniality. Was I sad I didn’t win? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. But I also feel that if I did win, I’d be sad too for everyone else involved.
Take this however you want. I’m not saying it because I want to be nice or a team player or whatever. I really, honestly, truly believe that anyone of my fellow competitors did everything it took and would have rightly earned the title. I don’t know how else to say that. There were no backstabbers, no assholes, no selfish pricks in the bunch of them.
Every single one of them brought something with them that was completely unique and I would be honoured as a member of Perth Bears to see any one of them represent the club. They put in the effort, the sweat, the tears and the time to do this. Fuck I love all of them.
At the end, I think I hugged every single person I could. I was a flood of emotion and I needed to tell everyone involved, that had helped me, that had made it possible, how much I appreciated them. The alcohol probably didn’t help either, but I needed them to know what it meant to have that support. I hope they realise how much I appreciated that.
The one thing that did floor me in the end. One of the judges from the committee came up to me (I’m so sorry, I completely missed your name). He told me that what I said in the interview inspired him. Yep, that’s me floored. Bring in the waterworks. I felt so fucking beautiful after that. Like. I don’t know. Just thank you for saying it, it meant a lot.
I saw Nat, and I saw Matty and gave them all hugs. Had a couple more drinks and that was it. I was physically exhausted. No more energy available. Dead. Deader than dead. I went back to the hotel room to sleep it all off.
All the shit, all of the exhaustion, all of the work and effort and time spent in this was worth it. I was so damn proud of myself after it all. I was so glad I did it. Was I glad it was over? Oh hell yes!
But I was sad too…
Well, this wasn’t really an event for the Mr Bear Perth competition. Rene did ask if the competitors could help out the next day. I volunteered to do the early 9am start which I completely and utterly regret. I had the absolute worst hangover combined with a desperate need to get more sleep.
Either way, it was a fun little outing. Something I hadn’t done in several years. Got to have one last catch up with the bears before the weekend was over and I had to go back to reality.
Wrapping Things Up
Now, you’re probably reading this and thinking “why the fuck would I want to do this?”. I guess the question is, would I have done this knowing what I know now. The answer is yes.
The whole experience made me anxious, made me sad, made me exhausted and was an absolute bloody slog at times. But it was also a hell of a lot of fun, a huge adrenaline rush and something I’m very proud of doing and is something to damn well be proud of.
Not only that, but I got to compete with a group of people who are not only so different from each other, but so awesome and nice to each other. Almost a friendship that was forged in fire. We all had sad moments, hard moments and we were all damn well exhausted by the end of it. But the people I competed with are people who I now consider good friends. They’re people who grew with me very quickly all to do something well outside of their comfort zone.
In addition to this, is all the other people I met along the way. Rene, Scott, Nick. The Perth Bears committee. We learned so much about each other and developed bonds that won’t soon be broken. We looked out for each other, we made sure we were all OK.
Don’t for a second think I regret competing. It was something I really thoroughly enjoyed and was glad to have experienced. It was great fun. It has given me new friends and new people in my life.
For anyone that is thinking of doing the competition, I don’t want you to feel like I’m putting you off. I want you to do it because I think you’ll go through the same range of emotions that I did, and come out with an awesome group of friends with an awesome life experience.