Pete Talks: Bears and snakes with Austen Sweetin
In the gay community a bear is a large, hairy gay man. A young, husky gay man who is not so large and hairy yet may be referred to as a cub. A cub may or may not be into bear hunting, but if he is, there is a strategy to the hunt. In many bars and clubs there is something known as the Hanky Code. In these establishments, gay men dangle different colored hankies from their back pockets as a sign of what they are into. For example, one who wears a teal hanky is into torture, while others who are into sucking toes (shrimping) wear coral-colored hankies. Each hanky matches up with a hanky of same color but worn in the opposite pocket. So, a Bear might wear a red and black striped hanky in his left pocket and a cub looking to meet up with a big, hairy bear will wear a red and black striped hanky in his right pocket. It’s quite simple – if you know what you want.
If Austen Sweeten were a cub looking for a bear, he’d follow the Hanky Code. Only Austen isn’t a husky gay man who likes furry men. Austen is an amazing snowboard kid from the Northwest, where bears of the wilderness variety roam the forests eating salmon and berries. There’s also a few at the bar roaming around for little Boo-Boo bear cubs for the evening.
Peter: What’s up Austen?
Austen: Just hanging in Seattle, just got back from Hood last night.
P: How was Hood?
A: It was fun. I went down there for Pat Moore’s session, then me and Cam Pierces’ session.
P: You had one too?
A: Yeah, at Windells.
P: How’s the skate park down there?
A: It was good, a lot of concrete. I wish it was in Seattle, I’d skate it every day.
P: So you skate a lot?
A: Yeah I skated [down there] just as much as I snowboarded.
P: Are you good at it?
A: Ehhhhh, I’m OK but not that great.
[He’s being modest; he’s sick] P: Not as good as you are at snowboarding?
A: Ha! No, I don’t think so, but I wish.
P: You see any bears down at Hood?
A: Ha! No bears.
P: You didn’t skin any bears?
P: No fat, gay guy bears?
A: Um, there were a few, but I tried to stay away from them.
P: Did they call you a little cub? “Come here lil’ cub.”
A: They tried to bring me to their bear den, but I had to retreat before they caught me.
P: Good maneuvering. What’s your plan for this winter?
A: Film … pretty much all winter. I think Forum is going to put together another lil’ project.
P: There’s been a rumor that this was their last movie.
A: Yeah, it’s been up in the air, but by the sounds of it, I think they are going to put something out.
P: I would think so because all their guys are pretty much filming guys not contest dudes, so that’s pretty much what they need and want to do.
P: So how long have you been riding for Forum?
A: Since my junior year in high school, so this is my fifth year now.
P: How many movies have you filmed for them?
A: I filmed for F*** It, Vacation and our movie this year, #Forum.
P: Do you have a full part this year?
P: Well, it’s a shorter movie this year, and you’re a shorter person, so it’s probably a shorter part by logic.
A: Yeah, I guess.
P: How are you with the ladies?
A: Doing good. I have a lady.
P: Oh yeah? What’s her name?
P: What’s she do?
A: Sleeps a lot, ha … nah. She just moved up here from Florida.
P: Florida? So she’s going to move back soon because she will hate the rain.
A: Nah, she actually likes it up here.
P: Has she gone through an entire winter yet? Rain for 3/4 of the year usually ships girls out quickly.
A: Ha. She says she’s a fan of the seasons, so there’s a chance.
P: I used to live in Florida. The seasons there are hot and hotter.
A: Are there a lot of alligators and crocodiles?
A: Aren’t there a lot of flamingos there?
P: Not in the wild, they have them at Parrot Jungle.
A: I hate snakes.
P: They have Coral snakes which are poisonous and actually a lot of Ball pythons in the Everglades now because people release their pets, and now it’s a nuisance animal.
A: Did you have one as a kid?
P: No, I caught Red Rat snakes in my backyard.
A: So, you’re not scared of snakes?
A: I am. Ha.
P: Maybe a Rattlesnake.
A: I ran over a Rattlesnake a couple weeks ago.
P: That’s bad karma.
A: Is it?
P: Yeah, you killed a snake. Now a snake is allowed to kill you.
A: Hopefully when I’m 80 and no time soon.
P: It’s a painful way to die. It bites you, and where it bites you swells up with venom. It swells up so much that your skin eventually splits and puss runs out, then all your skin and flesh starts to die and go black. Your blood then begins to get more poisoned by the infection, and you’re begging to lose all your motor functions and become partially paralyzed and shit your pants. But, at 80, that’s pretty much normal. Just kidding. I’m not sure if all that happens, but I think most of it does.
A: I’ll just karate chop the snake in half before it gets me. I’ve been learning from [Austin] Hironaka’s ninja skills.