Now Reading
Bear? Cub? Twink? I’m a twub and this is what it means

Bear? Cub? Twink? I’m a twub and this is what it means

Alex Protopapa

The urban dictionary defines a ‘Twink’ as ‘an attractive, boyish-looking, young gay man.’ It defines a ‘Cub’ as ‘a young, husky, hairy gay man. Essentially a young bear’.

What do you get when you mix both neighbouring tribes together?

Hello, I’m Alex and I am a twub.

Yes, really.

A couple of weeks ago, I changed my Twitter title to incorporate the word ‘Twub’. Anyone that follows me will know I like my weird Twitter handles, but this particular handle is probably the most accurate I’ve ever had and was the easiest to swallow (stop it!).

Now, I know what you’re thinking if you’ve stuck with me this far: Is this boy for real? Not another gay tribe to add to the list! However … just hear me out.

I’ve created the twub tribe for myself because it helps me feel closer to the gay community. Identifying as a twub enables me to feel close to the two tribes I most identify with, and not the ones I’m told to identify with.

‘Growing up, I was the overweight camp kid’

It is possible to feel sexy as a ‘curvy’ young man, whilst simultaneously poking fun at gay culture by making up tribes by using funny words like twub. Today I find it empowering, but it wasn’t always this way.

Growing up, I was the overweight camp kid that was often the punchline of everyone’s joke at school. This deterred me from engaging in social situations for years because of the anxiety it caused. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the punchline of most jokes, but it’s now my own choice. And it’s fabulous.

Taking control

I put myself in those jokey situations because I’ve developed the confidence to be able to take control of how I want the world to see me. That includes how I identify and my personal branding. It means not bowing down to fit into how the world wants to define me.

For years, I felt isolated from the gay community because I didn’t have that gay perfect body and I wasn’t ‘Masc4Masc’: a term that still makes me gag.

It wasn’t until I realized that to feel more comfortable within a community, you sometimes have to mentally distance yourself and not constantly be comparing yourself to others. From my own experiences, I end up feeding a negative thought process when I compare myself to others on the scene.

What good does that actually achieve? The less I focus on what everyone else is doing, and focus on my own self development, the better and more confident I feel.

Alex Protopapa
(Photo: Alex Protopapa)

Own that label!

I’ve never actually been a major fan of labels. I’ve often questioned anyone that takes them too seriously. However, I’ve recently come to the realisation that if choosing to identify as a certain label helps lessen social anxiety, boosts one’s mental well being, whether it be superficial or not, own that label and throw out the receipt!

Anxiety within the LGBTI community is a real problem. Looking at yourself through a fine-sequined magnifying glass and not liking what you see…. Well, it can be really difficult to take in.

On the flip side, I love being a member of the LGBTI community, but sometimes there are those who are keen to point out our flaws. This justs adds to our anxietal baggage. Especially for a millenial living in the social media age where hours can be lost browsing and swiping through the lives of others.

The twub tribe

I’d identify as a twub on and offline, and for me, having a tribe that I feel I sit comfortably within, helps me navigate the minefield of ‘gay twitter’ or being #instagay on Instagram.

Identifying under my own label makes me feel like I’m standing out in some way, whilst remaining part of the community – whether I have guys gawking at my underwear pics or not.

The twub tribe is something I’ve created, it’s for me – and whoever else feels twinkylicious with a pinch of cub couture.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt from dealing with my personal demons, it’s the power of taking control of your identity. Brand yourself before taking the label others impose on you.

You are a strong person that deserves to feel amazing.

The Twub ‘tribe’ or ‘label’ helps me keep it cute and I invite whoever is reading this to keep it cute with their own tribe. Be a twotter (a twinky otter,) be a bock (a bearish jock) or be an emu for all I care. The point is that taking charge of your identity – whether that be the way you describe your sexuality, appearance or preference – is a stepping stone to taking charge of other elements of your life.

Love, Twub

See also

Why my New Year’s resolution is to stop dating several guys at once