A reader writes:
Your most recent gratuitous beard shout-out (while discussing the still-potent myths of the Civil War) has finally prompted me to ask you something I've wondered about for a while now:
Should bears' fascination for beards be considered the counterpart of straight guys' fascination with breasts?
In some respects, yes. Beards are a somewhat crude and physical marker for maleness. They are literally testosterone-driven. To sexually fixate on maleness qua maleness is a little like fixating on femaleness qua femaleness. And the most visible sign of that is boobage. Which goes to show, I think, that gay men and straight men have one thing very much in common: we're shallower than we want to admit.
(Mardi Gras photo by Frank Carroll.)