As I said yesterday, the only reason I'm gay is because of Bear magazine. Issue 23 to be precise. There were two hairy guys on the cover, one in overalls and the other in a red union suit. It rocked my world - until then, I thought I wasn't gay, because all the gay porn I saw dealt with skinny little hairless twinks, and I wasn't excited by those. If I wanted to date a prepubescent girlish figure, I would be straight. Instead, issue 23 made me admit to myself that yes, these were the people I wanted to be naked with. And at that moment I came out to myself.
Unfortunately, the issue belonged to a college friend of mine. He hadn't meant to show it to me... instead it was beside his sofa, and I was nosy enough to flip through it. I said, "Um, can I take this home with me?" "No!" he said, "buy yer own damn magazine!" I left my friend's apartment and went straight to the local newsstand where he said he bought the copy: Schinder's Books in downtown Minneapolis. I've never been so nervous as pulling a bunch of magazines off the shelf, sandwiching the illicit copy of Bear somewhere in the middle of the stack so the sales clerk wouldn't notice. Running back to my dorm room, and pouring through the issue cover to sticky cover.
And oh! Those first issues of Bear! It was a funky and kinky magazine. Cartoons by T.C. Smudge describing homemade sex toys. Fiction involving bikers and truckers, S&M and torture. The magazine was messy and badly designed - looking more like a 'zine than a glossy gay mag. And that's why I loved it.
Since then, Bear magazine folded. American Bear and Bound & Gagged stopped publishing too. Beef and A Bear's Life try to take its place, they are mere pretenders. Beef magazine rarely catches my interest. A Bear's Life is even worse, filled with boring sexless lifestyle articles. If I wanted that, I'd dig through back issues of O. When I want smut, I want smut. And lately the internet fulfills that for me.
My Master agrees with me about Bound & Gagged. Even at it's height, only one or two article a month were any good. It's funny, but a lot of their bondage pictorals were too *tame* for me. But when I found something that resonated with me... watch out! I still have all the Drummer magazine going back to issue #1. And other esoteric printed stuff like Sludgemaster, Rubber Rebel, and Brown Hanky Journal. I treasure those magazine for their help in my coming out process. And in today's world, they are irreplaceable.
The best things about magazines is that you can bring them anywhere: the bathtub, the bus, an airplane. You can't really do the same with the internet. I'd be too afraid I'd get my web-enabled telephone soggy. So, tonight you know I'll be in the hot tub. Reading. Because you know I only read Instigator for the articles.