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The Bear Codes

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The Natural Bears Classification System (V1.10)
Version 1.0 23-November-1989
Version 1.10 7-May-1996

(Bob Donahue = BBC)
(Jeff Stoner)

Because "Bears" mean so many things to different people, because bears come in all shapes and sizes and have different sexual proclivities, because classified ad prices are SOOOOOO expensive, we (while eating lunch at a Boulder, Colorado, Wendy's on Thanksgiving weekend, 1989) came up with this incredibly-scientific system to describe bears and bear-like men.

Since we both have interests in astronomy, we are well-versed in star and galaxy classification systems, which use prototypes to set the standards for describing things. Rather than just saying something is of "Type I" or "Type II" (etc.), it is better to use natural features to describe an object, in particular as a continuum of a range of features. Such is the case with bears.

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The Classification Scheme

The most obvious characteristic of a bear is understandibly his facial fur. So, that is the most logical place to begin. Using a capital "B" to denote "BEAR", we have added a sub-class characterizing "beard type" which combines a bear's beard's length, thickness, and overall "keptness", numbered from 0 to 9 and defined in the following way:

    0 - (Little/no beard, or incredibly sparse) Such a beard is the absolute minimum that could ever be classified as a beard. We're talking 5-o'clock shadow, here! And yes, we are of the opinon that the beardless can still find company among the ursines!

    1 - (VERY slight beard) This is the kind of beard that people have who want to have a beard, but can't grow one. Or someone who is contantly at the 1-week phase.

    2 - (Slight beard) A beard kept VERY short at all times, or thinned out.

    3 - (Thin beard) A beard in all respects but kept thin and short.

    4 - (Mostly full) A beard that is full except for a few noticable bald spots, or kept trimmed.

    5 - (Full beard) A full beard not generally trimmed, though not generally bushy. May have a few bald spots on inspection. Usually full and roundish beards fall into this category.

    6 - (Very full) A full beard, not trimmed. May be slightly bushy but very full. Thick, full beards (moreso than B5's) are B6's. B6's beards also generally are higher up on the cheeks than B5's.

    7 - (Longish/bushy beards) A full beard or slightly thin beard with longish fur. This beard is not trimmed and does come away from the chin.

    8 - (Very Long Beards) These beards are usually very bushy and haven't seen clippers for a very long time.

    9 - (Belt-buckle-grazing long beards) The prototype is ZZ Top. Need we say more?

Ok... Using this scheme, it shouldn't be hard to narrow a person down to within 1 sub-class, although occasionally people may fall between two classes, and then the end result is left up to the person classifying, or one may use a hybrid designation (for example: B7/4) for those who vary across time (in the given range they spend more time near the first number).

Other Classifiers for Bears

While beards can be an observable trait of bears, there are other things that different people take into consideration as to "what makes up a bear", and things that people like in their bears. So, bearing that in mind (pun intended) there are other criteria that can/should optionally follow the "B" designation.

N.B. It is not necessary to have a "grade" for each of these traits! For each there is a "neutral" value, which basically describes someone who is "average" or "unknown" within that trait. These "neutral" values are given below, but would not be reported --- treat them as either "default" or "assumed".

    f - "The FUR factor". Some bears are particularly hairy about the rest of their bodies, others INCREDIBLY furry, yet others though rightfully bears, have little or no fur on their chests, arms, legs, back, butt, etc. So, one of the following may be added to better describe a bear's fur:

      f++ WAY above average fur
      f+ above average fur
      f furry in a bearish sense
      (none) "neutral", avg. fur from a sample population of
      both bears and non-bears f- below average fur
      f-- WAY below average fur--"Nair-smooth to the max!"

    t - "the TALLNESS factor". To describe bears that are tall or short for their frame.

      t++ a virtual giant bear
      t+ taller than average
      t tall but not very tall
      (none) average height
      t- shorter than average
      t-- a bear of very small stature

    w - "the WEIGHT factor". For those who perfer their bears more or less fluffy.

      w++ a round bear/BIG TEDDY bear
      w+ a big boned bear
      w bear with a tummy
      (none) average weight for frame
      w- a thin bear (otters!)
      w-- a bony bear

    c - "the CUB factor". For the junior up and coming bears.

      c++ complete daddy's boy
      c+ definite cub
      c cub tendencies
      (none) not "cubbish"
      c- looks like a cub but isn't

    d - "the DADDY factor". For the cubs, etc.

      d++ DADDY with a vengenance (even his parents call him SIR!)
      d+ definite DADDY
      d daddyish tendencies
      (none) not a daddy
      d- looks like a daddy but isn't

    Note there are now also HYBRID classes "cd" and "dc":

      cd A cub with "daddy tendencies"... Sort of like a "grown up cub".
      dc A daddy with cub-like tendencies/features.
      dc- More daddy than cub
      d+c REAL daddyish and also VERY cubbish

    g - "the GROPE factor": This is the amount one likes to be touched or pawed etc.

      g++ Love to grope/paw/touch etc. Will attack without
      warning. Gives hugs to hot otherwise unknown bears on the street in open daylight.
      g+ likes to be touched most of the time
      g Generally outgoing with ursine affection, a little more reserved about place/person...
      (none) Average amount of receptivity to being touched
      g- Generally doesn't like people to invade his personal aura/lair.
      g-- You touch my bod, I break your face!

    k - "the KINKY factor"... for those who dare.

      k++ likes just about EVERYTHING... we mean *EVERYTHING*!!!
      k+ picks and choose according to likes; willing to consider new ideas
      k open minded. Might choose SOME things on the "menu"
      (none) kinky neutral
      k- has definite ABSOLUTE dislikes
      k-- totally vanilla

    s - "SEX (ok, SLUT) factor.
    In SOME people's bear codes, "s" might really mean "k"
    (since "k" WAS originally "s" in the earlier versions...).

      s-- strictly monogamously/relationship oriented. No outside affairs, or in some cases, sex ONLY in relationships
      s- relationship oriented. Perfers a formal sort of relationship over playing around, however the scope of the word relationship is not defined here.
      (none) relationship neutral
      s neutral wrt to relationships/monogamy.
      s+ will form relationships which are generally open-ended
      s++ strictly polygamous, prefers very open relationships ONLY.

    m - "the MUSCLE factor"... for those who like meat on them bones.
      (N.B. "semi-"official --- may be dropped w/ V2.0)

      m++ Arnold Schwartzineger is that you?
      m+ definitely works out or is a ranchhand
      m some definition/blue collar
      (none) muscle neutral

    e - "the ENDOWMENT factor"... sometimes a size queen's gotta do
      what a size queen's gotta do.
      (N.B. "semi-"official --- may be dropped w/ V2.0)

      e++ gets complete respect even from straight men
      e+ gets attention
      e noteworthy
      (none) endowment neutral

    h - "the BEHR factor"... for behrs (men without beards but bears).
      You might also put a parenthesized number for the "B" designation to give an idea of WHAT the person would look like with a beard.

      h behr (moustache no beard)
      h+ Definite BEHR (moustache no beard)
      h- no beard OR moustache! (very rare but still cave dwelling)

    r - "the RUGGED/OUTDOOR factor".

      r++ "Grizzly Adams"
      r+ Flannel/jeans/C&W really *are* second skin
      r Spends some time outdoors/camping
      (none) rugged neutral
      r- prefers indoor-type activities (techie or 3-piece)
      r-- never seen in the outdoors at all.

    p - "the PECULIAR factor"

      p Some idiosyncracies --- no judgement made to whether these are "good" or "not so good"

    q - "the *Q* factor (ahem)"

      q for bears who are out - WAY out - and love every minute of it. Stereotypes be damned, break out the chiffon and everything else, because girlfriend, as Auntie Mame says "Life is a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death!" (For the stunned reading this - yes, Virginia, "q" is a GOOD thing just like "t-- and t++ are GOOD things", "w-- and w++ are GOOD things"; nothing negative should be associated with the *labels* pertaining to classification!)


      The following aren't graded, they are just flags attached to the overall classification:

      v     for variable, said trait is not very rigid, may change with time or with individual interaction (e.g. some guys who are generally REAL daddies, may turn into REAL cubs occasionally, etc.)
      ?    for traits where there is no HARD information available and the value is completely guessed at: eg. a picture of a hot bear that LOOKS like a rugged outdoorsman, r+? but in reality could be a 3-piece suit bear.
      :    for traits which are observed but uncertain, eg. a guy who is wearing a lot of clothes, so you can't be SURE he's an f+, but his forearms REALLY suggest that he is, hence f+:
      !    for cases where the trait is as close to a prototype as possible, or an exemplary case of a specfic trait... eg. the ultimate f++!
      ()    for indicating "cross-overs" or ranges. A guy who goes from k to k++ depending on the situation (ie mostly "k") could use k(++)

    You can make the punctuation as detailed as desired, although the best ones to read are the ones which are the most clear and simple to understand.

    NOTE: None of the classification materials in any way suggests a ranking or value judgement, in terms of what constitutes a "better" bear. Every person has their own favorite type!

    Some Specific Examples

    The authors:

      Bob DonahueB5 c+ f s-: w t- r k?
      Jeff StonerB6 f+ w sv w r+ k(+?)

Added note: We're still working on this... Some bears have asked that we extend the system to include "beard parameters like thickness, length, kemptnmess, etc...., so inevitably "VERSION 2" will be done... I have run across a bear or two that for me defied "good classification", mostly because of the beard. So... we'll see.

Have fun!

This file is the canonical copy of the most current version the NBCS (Bearcode) and appears with permission of the authors.

The Natural Bears Classification System (Bearcode) is Copyright © 1989-1999 by the authors. No reproduction of this file in any medium is permitted without permission of the authors.


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Last Updated: Saturday, 22-Dec-2001 12:51:47 MST