We found this shop along the two-block stretch of downtown Palm Springs that serves as the epicenter of the town's gay life.
For those who aren't students of gay male subcultures, bears are a subset of men - often with stocky builds and less-than-perfectly manicured looks - who defy traditional gay male stereotypes. The ungay gay guys.
But what was once a movement of naturally masculine men countering the worst clichés of gay life now has become a cliché of its own.
If bear socks don't convince you, then how about these . . .
It's too bad that gay guys who, for example, go fishing, wear muddy boots, watch football, gather for keggers and smoke cigars saw their nifty attempt at self-affirmation eventually co-opted by marketers, the bar crowd and Mr. Bear This 'n That pageants. But, then again, that's America, in a nutshell.