01/10/2013 04:26 pm ET

Bear Essentials: Experiencing D.C.'s Hairiest Gay Subculture Has Never Been Easier--Or More Complicated.

You start with a quick peck on the cheek, allowing your scruff to velcro the brush on his face.

Then you pat his belly, briefly handling a soft, furry mound beneath his flannel button-up.

“It’s been too long,” you might say.

“You’ve put on weight,” he’ll respond with a wink.

“It goes straight to my gut,” you’ll say, rolling your eyes as he signals his approval: “Woof!”

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