Why Dudes Are Upset About the Man vs. Bear Question

"Hey, Kid, what's this bear thing I've been seeing online for the last few weeks?" my friend Karl asked.

I said, Did you finally find the naked people on the Internet, Karl?

We were sitting at the bar at First Editions, eating dinner. There was an open mic reading that night, so we decided to show up early and enjoy some cheeseburgers without our family telling us they were bad for us.

"No!" Karl shouted indignantly.

So you already know where they are then?

"Damn right," said Karl, more than a little proud. "Anyway, the bear thing, not bare thing." He took a bite of his cheeseburger and chewed before he continued.

"I keep seeing tweets and Facebook updates about women choosing bears over men, and there's a lot of dudes upset about it. Why they're upset about women being friends with large, hairy gay men is beyond me."

I snorted into my Coke. Not that kind of bear, Karl, I said.

"What, regular bears? Like, bear bears? Black bears, brown bears, and pandas?"

Yep, just plain old bears.

"Alright, I'll bite: Why are women choosing bears over men in the first place?"

I took a drink of my Coke. It's like this: Someone interviewed a few women on TikTok and asked them, 'If you were alone in the woods, would you rather encounter a bear or a man?'

"What's wrong with that? That seems like a normal question," asked Karl. He took another bite of his cheeseburger. 

Well, the overwhelming majority of women said they'd rather meet a bear. Then the question went viral and thousands more women responded that, yeah, they'd rather meet a bear in the woods.

Karl threw his head back and laughed. "And these dudes got upset over that?

Oh, yeah, they lost their sh—uh, minds, I said.

Karl turned and waved for Kurt, our bartender, and asked for another Coke.

One for me, too, please, Kurt, I said.

Karl turned back. "Seems silly to get mad about it. What happened next?" he asked.

A lot of dudes barreled in and went all #NotAllMen on social media, posting their little rants about how bears are dangerous, how they've always had pleasant experiences when they encounter people in the woods on hikes, and why it's better to fight a man than a bear.

"Really? Fight a bear? That wasn't even the question, was it?"

Not at all. It was just 'Which would you rather meet?' But these bro-dudes got super angry about being told that men are more violent than bears. So they shouted and pouted to prove they were less dangerous than a 600-pound bear.

"The babies doth protest too much, methinks," said Kurt. "That's Shakespeare, by the way."

I know, I said, a little haughtily. I don't need you Hamsplaining Shakespeare to me. I took another bite of my cheeseburger, and we ate in silence for a few minutes.

Anyway, I continued, a lot of the responses from the men were things like accusing women of being delusional or lying, trying to 'Well, actually' them with statistics about bear attacks, or gaslighting them entirely.

"It was a hypothetical question, but they still couldn't take no for an answer?" Karl said. "Talk about a self-own."

Later, several women on TikTok then asked their husbands, 'What if your daughter was out in the woods? Who would you rather they met?' Nearly all of the men picked the bear.

So a few men posted their own responses saying the angry guys were only proving the point and that men needed to do better. And then they were accused of virtue signaling.

"It's not virtue signaling if you're actually a better person," said Karl.

Kurt came to clear our plates; we both ordered the sugar cream pie for dessert and swore Kurt to secrecy.

"So which would you rather meet in the woods?" Karl asked me.

Bear, hands down, I said. What about you?


Why is that? I asked.

"Well, the question doesn't say what kind of bears, what mood they're in, or what they're doing. So, what if it was a panda? Also, what if the man in the forest was a serial killer? Or a Jehovah's Witness? Or you?"

I flipped my middle finger and said, I'm telling Alexis you had a cheeseburger.

Alexis was Karl's daughter who still lived with him and told him what to eat and not eat "for his own good."

"Please don't. I'd rather tangle with a mama grizzly. Besides, I'll tell your wife, too."

Fine, mutually assured destruction, I said. I took another drink of my forbidden Coke. Anyway, that's the bear versus man question. Do you understand it now?

"Yeah, but not really. I mean, I get it, but I don't get why these dudes got so upset by it."

They couldn't handle the idea of being rejected in favor of a bear.

Karl said, "Well, like it says in Proverbs, 'it's better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.'"

I raised my Coke in a toast. #NotAllBears, I said.

Karl clinked his glass to mine. "#NotAllBears."

Photo credit: Ambquinn (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available from 4 Horsemen Publications. You can get the ebook and print versions here.