Dear Bear

By Gary Socquet


So people call me Garebear (Bear for short) not because it rhymes (that would be lame, and my friends are not lame) but because I’m actually half bear, on my mother’s side. A few years back I started an advice column for the lovelorn: as it turns out, you learn a lot about making relationships work when one of your parents is a bear. And, well, I just like to feel useful. I think you’ll see what I mean. Let’s dig into the mailbag, shall we?

Dear Bear:
My boyfriend is my best friend, he’s smart and funny and sexy, but he’s not a giver: he never considers my feelings, never asks me how my day was, and in five years he’s never once told me I look pretty. What should I do, Bear?



Dear Unappreciated:

Are you pretty? Is it possible one of the qualities you left off the list of his many fine traits is “honest?” Have you ever considered the possibility that he’s just taking pity on you? I mean, you call him your best friend, but it doesn’t even sound as though he likes you all that much. You’re clearly very needy, you have limited self-esteem, and at this point the jury is still out on your looks – although, honestly, if he’s never once in five years said you look pretty, well, do the math. And count your blessings.


Dear Bear:

All my girlfriend ever wants to do is have sex: first thing when we wake up, in the evenings while I’m trying to watch Jim Lehrer, sometimes she even shows up at my office in the middle of the day and tries to get me to do it with her on my desk. What should I do?



Dear Whoopied:

Hmmm. This is a tough one. Well, let’s start with first thing in the morning: the alarm goes off, you open your eyes, rub the sleepies out, turn your head, and there she is, giving you the hungry look. Am I right? Okay, here’s what you do: roll over, and have sex with her. Got that? Okay, moving on: you’re watching Jim Lehrer, he’s talking about a squabble in Congress, or the situation in Afghanistan, and she climbs into your lap and starts rubbing herself all over you – sound about right? Here’s the plan: position her exactly in the line of sight between you and Jim Lehrer’s face . . . and have sex with her. Now to the nooners: she steps into your office, locks the door behind her, sidles around your desk, puts one high-heeled shoe up on your leg, lifts her skirt to show you she’s not wearing any panties – am I close? This one’s the toughest yet, but I think the answer is coming to me . . . yeah, here it is: give her my number. Loser.


Dear Bear:

I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost two years now, and I really love him, but lately he’s been working super long hours and I’ve been spending a lot of time with his best friend (we both miss having him around so much), and, well, I’ve started to develop feelings for the friend. I don’t know what I should do!! 😉

–Helen of Troy


Dear – wow, Helen of Troy? really?:

Well, let’s see. A couple things come right to mind: first, it’s natural for the bonds of a relationship to be strained when circumstances change, particularly when those changes lead to what seem like satisfying short-term distractions; also, try not to be such a giant whore. That almost always makes things better. (Did you really just emoticon wink at me?) Good luck, Helen!


Dear Bear:

I’ve been with the same woman for seven years, and I’ve always thought things were fine, you know? But lately she’s been dropping all these none too subtle hints about making it official, if you know what I mean. I just don’t know, you know? I mean, she’s great and all that, got a great body and a good job, but I don’t know if I want to put myself in that position, you know? Like, the only woman I ever get to sleep with, forever after? Help me out, buddy?

–Jets Fan


Dear “Buddy”:

Yeah, I get this question a lot. It’s a real pickle. “She’s great and all that, got a great body and a good job” – I hear ya. Who wants that? I suggest a two-pronged approach: first – and it’s absolutely essential that you take these steps in the proper order – first, get your fat, stupid, Jets-loving head out of your ass, and second, get your fat, stupid, Jets-loving ass out of her life. Seriously, if she doesn’t realize she could do better than you, at least be decent enough to give her a chance to find that out. It makes me sick to think you might be the last guy she ever gets to sleep with – there, I threw up in my mouth just thinking about it. Be a mensch for once in your life and get the fuck out. Buddy.

Ah, that was nice. It feels so good to help. Now for my favorite part – here’s a letter from someone who recently came to me for some advice. Let’s see how he’s doing.


Dear Bear:

I’m following up to let you know I took your advice and talked to that girl at work I like. You were right – it was so easy! Turns out she got a new pair of glasses and she was asking people in the break room what they thought, and I said, “They’re librarian hot.” (No pun intended.) What’s my next move, Love Doctor?
(name withheld for obvious reasons)


Dear Scott:

Guh. Please tell me you didn’t . . . Okay. Shit. Okay. Your next move . . . your next move. Okay, here’s the thing: “no pun intended” is not an idiom. It means exactly what it means. It is intended to follow an unintentional play on words, like when you’re in a meeting and somebody asks the fat guy to “weigh in” on the topic. So I’d say your next move should be to tell her in no uncertain terms how much you love her boobs, and then say, “No pun intended.” Get it, Scott?

(I’m not going to lie to you, people: sometimes I wish I were all bear.)


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GARY SOCQUET has been an amateur life coach and barstool philosopher for more than thirty-five years. He lives in Waterville, Maine, where sometimes he paints houses. He is currently at work on his first novel.

15 responses to “Dear Bear”

  1. […] This is amazing. Gary Socquet over at The Nervous Breakdown has published an online advice column, answered by a part-man, part-bear. In his own words: So people call me Garebear (Bear for short) not because it rhymes (that would be […]

  2. D.R. Haney says:

    Shouldn’t, being half bear, you offer to eat one of those people by way of solution?

  3. D.R. Haney says:

    Unfortunately, I did the latter a few months back. A friend, who was leaving town for good, went apeshit as we were saying our farewells, to my enormous surprise — this guy had always been a stoic — and not only did he weep on my shoulder, I felt a sudden pressure to cry also, otherwise I would look like a heartless bastard. So, yeah: pass the fucking salt and pepper.

    • Gary Socquet says:

      That made me cry a little bit. Come to think of it, I probably would have eaten him. Or at least mauled him pretty good.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        It’s hard to maul people when you’re in shock. Then again, I’m not half ursine, so, you know, it may be different for you.

        • Gary Socquet says:

          Put it to you this way: when my mom, who you’ll remember is 100% bear, said, “Dry up or I’ll give you something to cry about,” she wasn’t talking about a smack on the ass. There’s not enough therapy in the world to unlearn some shit, ya know?

  4. Gloria says:

    also, try not to be such a giant whore. That almost always makes things better. hahahaha – so wrong. Yet so funny.

    This whole thing is brilliant. I really hope these are real.

  5. Mary says:

    At last, at long last another bear.
    I adore you.
    I have never tasted human flesh, I fear I would enjoy it too much and my cholesterol is too high as it is.I have it on good authority that when badly burnt it smells like bbq pork so I assume it tastes like bbq chicken.

    those were all very funny and your advice was apt =)

    • Gary Socquet says:

      I adore you, too, Mary.

      It never occurred to me to barbecue the person — it was very much a spur of the moment, bear-being-a-bear kind of thing. This opens up all sorts of delicious possibilities . . .

  6. pixy says:


    you should do a regular column spreading your witty bear wisdom across the tnbscapes.


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