Bears in Excess

The terrible din of crowbars and sledgehammers wielded against wooden doors and marble walls.

That’s what Peter Bochove remembers most about the night of Feb. 5, 1981, when police descended on four of Toronto’s bathhouses and rounded up close to 300 men.

They were herded into the bathhouse lobbies, many dressed only in towels. Some had numbers marked on their arms. Others would later tell of being pressed for the names of their wives and bosses.

The majority were arrested at the Richmond Street Health Emporium, owned by Bochove. It was so badly damaged during the raid that it never reopened. Exerp from the Toronto Star  NICKI THOMAS STAFF REPORTER
Fri., Feb. 4, 2011

Thank God Times have changed. It’s always important to remember so we never return to those dark days again.

Bruce in the City

Hey you sexy bears! It’s great to be back! It’s amazing to be connected with bears from all over the world and I love meeting you on my Instagram @bruceinthecity and here on my official blog bruceinthecity.com Today it’s all about the bears!
I love giving you a birds eye view from my Canadian perspective. I’m a Toronto Bear Cub and telling you about the bears of the North makes me proud. Canadians and the US bears has shared a special friendship for a long time and we definitely love when you come to visit us! Recently I attended a super sexy event at one of Toronto’s most popular men’s spas “Spa Excess” when in my fair city it’s a very popular go to for the bear community. Their Bear events draw a colourful mix of fellows who leave their inhibitions at the door. This place is easy going down to earth and a great place to meet and greet and meat and greet!

“It’s so popular and so wonderful an evening, because a lot of people are alone and not many people come as a couple,” “It’s become like one big, huge family.” excerpt from the Toronto 2014, StarLaura Armstrong
Staff Reporter

The Bears in Excess event I attended there recently happens once a month along with Chubs at the Tubs where the alpha bears are out in droves.
The energy is great. There’s prizes to be won and money to be raised to help local relevant causes. This day was to raise funds, for a close friend of the organizer,who needed a serious life saving surgery.  I met bears from all over the world at the event including some of you fine mates from across the boarder! There’s like four levels  of fun in this spa and a bar to get you in the right frame of mind. The staff is helpful and the staffs are plenty! It’s great to see the Gay community embracing us more voluptuous Queers and it’s really about time being that full size is now in vogue. I hope this beautiful trend continues. Body shaming is so 1990’s! Come and be a saint or sinner at the next Bear event if your visiting Toronto. We just love you our bears from the south. Check out Bears in Excess on Instagram for current event info @bearsinexcess organizer @fluffyeric (Eric)
Have a great August! See you in September you sexy Bears!

http://www.spaexcess.com

Bruce in the City

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Badass B.I.T.C Beard #33

Lets not waste any time! The Badass B.I.T.C Beard thunders on with the 3rd beard of the week for August! Vote now by heading over to my official Instagram @bruceinthecity Who will be the Badass Beard for August? Only votes will tell!

 

 

B.I.T.C

official prize destination @shopthemensroom

 

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The Butterfly Bear Affect

The Butterfly Bear Affect
Bruce in the City
Bruce Christopher

I wanted to explore the world in which I find myself over the last few years “The Bear World”. I was a Twink until that bitch, Mother Nature, decided puberty wasn’t enough and that I was going to transform into what I first thought was a hideous beast. I’ve become much more comfortable and happy in my new skin and I was just curious how other Twink to Bears were doing and how they handled their very own Butterfly Bear Affect. It was an eye opener to me and an amazing realization that I was not alone in my experience. Here is my one on one with some Bears in my community and their journey to self acceptance. My first Gay Bear is Dann. A Queer. A Bear. A married father of one and a bearded fellow.

Bruce: Hey Dann thanks for meeting with me. This shouldn’t hurt but it could be a bumpy ride! What does being a Bear mean to you?

Dann: Thanks for choosing me. This should be interesting. Being a Bear means being happy with my body. Being happy as a larger guy. As a Bear you can say Fuck You to the stereo types people have about being a gay man. I don’t have to feel the need to fit in with gay physical norms. I’m personally so much happier. Like a weight has been lifted. That wasn’t always the case.

Bruce: Tell me what being a Twink felt like to you.

Dann: Fitting in! I recall my life in Vancouver, it was all about the right clothes, the bitchy attitude and not realizing at the time that I was conforming to social stereo types. The club scene was the norm and being a social butterfly was a must.

Bruce: When did you first come out?

Dann: I was 15 years old. Body image was suddenly extremely important. At first it was easy. I was young and thin and acceptably feminine. Quickly it started becoming a lot of work. My body was wanting to change. I got hairier, I began expanding, maturing physically against my wishes. Being a Twink was how I identified being sexy and desirable to other men.

Bruce: What was your first sexual experience with another man?

Dann: I think around four years old. I had three little buddies I explored with. It must have been around 1974. We are all the same age and all curious about our bodies. That went on for a while but then you realize early on that that isn’t the norm so those explorations stopped. I had my first girlfriend when I was around 12.

Bruce: How did you feel when your body started changing from a Twink to a Bear?

Dann: I’ve had body image issues most of my life. Suddenly I wasn’t fitting into my Twink clothes anymore and my peers were in better shape then me. It was in my 20’s that I began to work out more. I spent years trying to maintain that Twink body. In my forties I got called a bear at a club from this cute guy. I was dumb founded. I couldn’t relate to his comment. In my mind I still saw myself as a Twink but I had changed. I had not accepted that I was really a Bear.

Bruce: What turned that around for you?

Dann: Apps made it easier to cruise within the Bear community. Apps like Growlr and Grindr. I was blown away that guys were finding me attractive. I was seeing guys who were like me. Bigger, harrier, bearded, in some cases guys who looked like me.

Bruce: Where did you find your community outside of the apps?

Dann: The gay bear culture has grown and now there are more social gatherings for Bears in the community and it is even in style now to be a bigger bearded dude. Places like The Lodge and The Eagle in the village are places Bears can mingle and mix and chase.

Bruce: it sounds like your transformation from a Twink to a Bear was not an easy one. If you could help a fellow to accept who they really physically are, what would you say to them?

Dann: As a Bear I feel more at ease. Not everyone is naturally the Twink body type and that’s okay. Most of us start out that way but you have to embrace the change. It’s way sexier to be authentic. I have found men of quality to be in my life. Free yourself from those stereotypes. We are men. It is okay to be a man.

Thanks Dann. That was amazing. I could relate so much to many of your answers and hopefully dudes are having their own aha moment.

My next Bear experience with the Butterfly Bear Affect was just as enlightening and I’m thankful he decided to play along. This is John. A baker. A baseball player. A Bear. A bearded fellow. Here is what he had to say when we chatted about his unexpected transformation.

Bruce: Hey John! Tell me what being a Gay Bear means to you.

John: It means I get to be myself no matter if I’m fat or thin. I honestly don’t care what people think of me. Well, not anymore anyway.

Bruce: What did being a twink mean to you?

John: When I was younger I was very shy and I felt guys didn’t take notice of me. My self-esteem was lacking shall we say.

Bruce: When did you come out?

John: I came out when I was 16 which was 33 years ago. Yikes!!

Bruce: Were you a twink or bear?

John: I was a short, skinny, scrawny, runt so a hobbit sized twink

Bruce: When was your first sexual experiences?

John: Between the ages of 16 to 22

Bruce: How would you have described your life as a twink?

John: I was very self conscious back then and didn’t think I was good looking. I had very few friends.

Bruce: Do you think twinks get treated differently than bears?

John: To be perfectly honest I think they both get treated differently in the fact that if you are not either a muscle bear or a muscle jock then you are looked down upon by these 2 types of groups. This is my perception only.

Bruce: Perception is reality! When you were a twink, how did you feel about bears?

John: I’ve always thought that bears or big, hairy men were sexy. I realized that when I was younger and my best friend’s dad was really hairy.

Bruce: Oh those Daddy’s. That’s a whole other article. How did you feel when your body started changing from twink to bear?

John: I’ve always had a hairy body, but when I started changing my eating habits and my workouts I started to become more buff. When I grew the beard it was like I was reborn if that makes sense. I was being noticed and hit on which was very flattering since I was rarely hit on or I was too oblivious to realize that I was being hit on. I still don’t see myself as attractive.

Bruce: I’m guessing many readers will disagree with you on that one. Do you feel the gay culture in Toronto is welcoming to bears?

John: I believe it is more so now than when I first came out. Now there are all of these Bear Events and Vacation Destinations. I think twinks need to start having their events and Vacation Destinations as well.

Bruce: Oh don’t they have enough? You don’t have to answer that! Do you have body image issues because you are considered a bear?

John: I have my own internal issues with being overweight although I’m short and furry I like to watch my weight because I don’t feel comfortable when my stomach gets in the way when bending over to put on my shoes or socks.

Bruce: Is your social group supportive with your transformation?

John: I have a wide variety of friends from twinks to bears to muscle bears to muscle men to jocks. Reason for this is because I play softball and have for the past 20 years and I’ve met friends all over North America. I consider myself an Ewok because I’m the same height and furry.

Bruce: Where in the world do you think you would be most comfortable in your skin?

John: Either here in Toronto or in Europe. Sadly homophobia seems to be ramping up again thanks to Trump, religion and far right groups.

Bruce: Anything you’d like to say for the record?

John: The saddest part about the gay community is that not only do we have to deal with homophobia from around us but we also have our own internalized homophobia in the gay community. As I indicated earlier, there are many groups within the gay community and if you don’t fit into certain group you may feel alone and unwelcome. No one should ever have to feel that way.

Bruce: That’s so true. I’m glad you survived your transformation into your more authentic self. It is a scary journey but exciting too. Just like your first visit to a bathhouse. Have you ever been? Don’t answer that!?! Wink!

My final sit down is with Will. He’s a slightly different generation than my first two bears and his perspective is interesting because of this fundamental difference. Let’s see how this self proclaimed cub experienced his Butterfly Bear Affect!

Bruce: I like to start with this question because I think it helps me get a quick picture of where your head is when it comes to the bear lifestyle! So Will what does being a bear mean to you?

Will: Well, I wouldn’t fully consider myself a bear, however, it just means I am being who I am. Living my truth.

Bruce: And what did the truth look like to you as a Twink?

Will: My life was in chaos when I was labeled as a “twink”. I was young and vulnerable in the big city. Thankfully I had some wiser friends who aided in some semblance of a path. The men who did that themselves being labeled as Bears.

Bruce: What were you like during those twink years?

Will: When I was a twink, it meant something different to what I feel it means now. It meant I was desired yet judged, small but loud, though always having fun.

Bruce: I’m assuming you were considered a Twink when you came out? Or did you come out later?

Will: No I came out in my teen years. A little punk kid who needed to leave home, coming to Toronto from Niagara at the age of 16, thinking I knew what was best for my life and I did! And yes I was a Twink at that age, fresh and full of sass. I’m 31 now!

Bruce: Do you think Twinks get treated differently than bears?

Will: When I was younger, I feel it was different. I felt when I was a twink I wasn’t taken seriously. Some youths and adults who define themselves as twink are advocates and great members of the community.

Bruce: I was a Twink myself and I’m really amazed how similar all of our experiences are and also body image was a real stress when growing up. How was body image for you? When did you start really seeing your body begin to change?

Will: I would have to say at 25. I was FINALLY able to keep the weight on, I would eat so much and still not gain. At 25 that definitely changed, lol.

Bruce: What do you think about the bear community?

Will: I have a great deal of respect for most of the “bears” I know. Though I would say I am more a cub then a bear.

Bruce: Do you feel the gay culture in Toronto is welcoming to bears?

Will: I would say yes, though I feel there are times when personality conflicts come up, as in any culture.

Bruce: What is your social group like?

Will: Most are in relationships. I have a great group of friends, male and female, queer and straight, that have been with me through thick and thin.

Bruce: What other way would you describe yourself as a young man?

Will: I’m an artist, always have been, always will be. I would consider myself possibly that.

Bruce: Where in the world do you think you would be most comfortable in your skin?

Will: As I’ve recently been traveling around the world, the one place I felt the most comfortable was in Spain. The way they view body image is great, and nudity doesn’t always equate to sexuality.

Bruce: As part of a younger generation of LGBTQ people how would you describe your overall transition with the Butterfly Bear Affect?

Will: As I appreciate this interview, it’s important to note that not all fall under the labeling, that has become all so prevalent. Being a queer adult and advocate is how I see my “label”. If we’re spilling tea, I would like to note that we all JUDGE each other way too much. Some comments that people say online are truly shocking, control yourselves people. I think if you feel you can say it to their face, first time talking, go ahead. If not, don’t. Social media is a beautiful and strange thing, though, like communities, it too has a dark side.

Bruce: I hear that. It wasn’t easy for sure. Keeping busy within your community helps during your transition from Twink to bear. Some guys are naturally going to grow up and out as their truly authentic self emerges and I think the aging process is difficult on most groups straight men, gay men, bi men and more than it’s discussed. I know one thing for sure for some reason I have felt more at ease in my bear body and bears just seem to be way more inviting. Of course there are a lot of great Twink fellows out there. I just haven’t met any! I’m totally joking!

B.I.T.C

edited by Mary Ellen Monk

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Season of the Stylist

There is a service that many people, young and old, rich and famous, and some with none of those titles at all that enjoy the talents of a stylist to help create their perfect image for any business to casual lifestyle. Although the word stylist gets over used these days at places like Holt Renfrew, there really is a talent that’s required to pull this task off with finesse and artistry. Don’t be fooled by the difference between a sales shark and a talented stylist. I met such a woman this month at a concert for one of my favourite music artist. I had to know more about this talented fashion artist and so with further ado here is my one on one with Nelly Akbari.
Bruce: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I loved Lydia’s look at her show recently and really felt your influence of style really marriaged with her music perfectly. Are you a local stylist?
Nelly: Well thank you. I am a fashion stylist in Toronto yes.
Bruce: Did you always call Toronto home?
Nelly: No, actually I am originally from a suburb north of the city
Bruce: What brought you to the big city?
Nelly: I attended Ryerson University for their fashion communication program.
Bruce: I’ve never heard of that before. What were you hoping to do with your professional life by taking this program?
Nelly: Well specifically with the dream of becoming a fashion stylist.
Bruce: You’ve always dreamed of doing this then.
Nelly: Yes, for sure.
Bruce: What are some of your biggest accomplishments so far?
Nelly: Well throughout my time in school I landed an internship with Flare Magazine, Degrassi: The Next Generation, and my current agency.
Bruce: Wow not a bad resume straight out of the gate!
Nelly: Thank you and these internships helped me make amazing connections that helped me build my career and make all of this possible.
Bruce: That’s very impressive!
Nelly: Thanks and in 2016 I relocated to New York City for 5 months and there I was able to be a part of amazing projects for Vogue Italia, Zara, and Interview Magazine.
Bruce: That’s Fabulous! I love New York. I write for a magazine there. Everything is everything is New York! But I digress! How
lucky is Toronto to have you back! Are you back?
Nelly: Yes, currently I am back in Toronto.
Bruce: Excellent! You seem like you have a pretty full calendar.
Nelly: Definitely. I’m working full-time as a fashion stylist consulting on wardrobe for fashion, commercial, T.V., and music clients.
Bruce: I know getting this interview was a bit of a challenge because of your long days and late nights. Working with music artists specifically, what’s that like?
Nelly: Personally, I love the experience working with musicians – that collaboration process with another creative individual creates the most amazing looks.
Bruce: Well you’re very talented and I’m very happy you agreed to chat with me. I know you’re running off to another event so all the best and I can’t wait until we cross paths again.
Nelly: Thank you Bruce.
Bruce: My pleasure.

You can find Nelly on her Instagram @nellyakbari or her website @ https://www.nellyakbari.com/

B.I.T.C (Bruce in the City)

edited by Mary Ellen Monk

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Badass BITC Beard 32

It’s time for our second beard contestant for August. Check out this sexy MF! Better known as Marley @hairyotter_90

My 5 facts : I’m from Poland 🇵🇱 , I hate leg days, my favorite food is sushi 🍣, I want to move to Canada 🍁, I’m a lazy ass M&$$&R F@&&R!

Well Sir we got an extra room here! It’s no secret Canada rocks! Get over to my  Instagram right now and vote for this great beard! @bruceinthecity

B.I.T.C (Bruce In The City)

Prizes are generously contributed by @shopthemensroom 

 

 

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Bruce News!

Join my instagram today and say hello! @bruceinthecity

Bruce in the City

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A Woman in Red

Hey Brucesters

What a week! I was planning on beginning my month break from my blog when of course a bunch of cool stuff starts happening and bam, I want to write about it! I met a new friend at an event I was doing an article on and we seem to hit it off. Since then we’ve gotten together a few times and it’s really been a tonne of fun. A few of our outings are chronicled on my Instagram (@bruceinthecity). I was planning on going to my cousin’s for a family BBQ but the morning I was to go I wasn’t feeling very well. I felt bad but I’m not the type of guy to pass around bugs to my peeps.
Luckily the stomach thing that was bumming out my Saturday morning passed and later in the afternoon I took a stroll around the city. My new chum contacted me and we decided to stroll together.
As the evening arrived he suggested we stop by Dundas Square. There was some outdoor concerts going on and so we stopped by to check it out. A good crowd was gathered and from a distance we could see a young woman (Lydia Ainsworth) was dressed in a beautiful red sheer ensemble. The designers name is Nelly Akbari. You can find her designs on Instagram @nellyakbari There was some sexy beats coming from her midi gear supported by four classically trained musicians and two modern dance artists on either side as she vocalized. I went from, “Hey this is pretty cool” to “This is very good” to “Damn she’s really talented” to “Okay this is awesome and she is brilliant”. If I were to describe her music I’d have to say I heard some really interesting influences possibly from Enigma, Sarah Brightman, Enya and maybe even some Tori Amos in there. Very sexy, spiritual, and creative not to mention very easy to move to and somewhat hypnotic. I’m personally so tired of what’s going on in the music industry at the moment. Diversity in musical style is dead. Sorry but it all sounds like one long mashup. I enjoy moments of it but why is everyone so afraid to be an individual. Where did that music message go? I was encouraged to see this stunning and obviously talented artist embrace a unique yet relevant style taking from some enjoyable pop grooves and spinning her own hypnotic grooves. I have to get an interview with this artist. She has two CDs available for sale and I’ve ordered both! This is the moment in an artist’s life that thrills me because they’re just raw and true to their craft before success and industry can rob the soul. I’ll be doing a review of her latest album in a couple of weeks and who knows maybe I can bag me a one on one interview. Wouldn’t that be brilliant?! Check her out today.

Instagram

@lydia.ainsworth

Bruce In The City

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

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Badass BITC Beard of the week! #31

Brucesters & B.I.T.C’s

The dog days of summer are in full affect! It’s been a scorcher of a summer both weather wise and beard wize! Thanks to all the boys who’ve played along! You have really made The Badass B.I.T.C Beard contest a great success. Plans are underway to produce our first calendar to raise funds for PWA foundation here in Toronto. Without further delay this is RYAN! 🌈

1. I was born in Scotland 2. I lived in Gander, Newfoundland for 2 years 3. I got to meet and shake the hand of Muhammad Ali at the Pittsburgh International Airport 4. I have had two heart surgeries to try to correct a form of tachycardia, but neither worked, and the second surgery landed me in ICU for 9 days 5. I have never had the chicken pox

And you’re a cutie putoutie! Did I spell that correctly? LOL! I don’t think so! Ok head on over to my official Instagram and vote! Two chances to vote by clicking the heart on my post of Ryan’s pic and on the post of his bio which are found back to back @bruceinthecity

Ryans Instagram is @harrybuck11 tell him the B.I.T.C send you!!!!

Bruce In The City

Visit The Men’s Room Toronto Today! The official prize destination for the Badass  B.I.T.C Beard contest!

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July’s Badass B.I.T.C Beard!!!!

Wow!

This months Beard contest has the most voter involvement since starting my contest last year! Thank to all my readers and Instagram followers that have been voting! Without further ado I’m pleased to announce July’s Badass B.I.T.C Beard grand champion is….

Tony!!!!!! Follow his sexy Instagram today! @scanman911 Tony stop by The Men’s Room in Church Street Toronto and pick up your gift card!

The Men’s Room is the official prize destination for Bruce in the City’s Badass B.I.T.C Beard contest.  They will also be the official shop to sell the 2019 Badass B.I.T.C Beard calendar coming in October. More details to follow!

Bruce In The City

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Bruce News! Holiday update

Hey Brucesters and B.I.T.C’s!

Whats the Buzz?

Looks like I’m not taking August off as I originally planned! There’s just too much stuff I want to write about! One in particular is an artist who’s music has literally blown my mind, both spiritually and physically and I’m going to review her latest album this coming Sunday!

Bruce In The City

 

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