Everyone knows Tom Goss crushes on plus-sized gay men, especially the nerdy ones that dig superheroes and video games. He sang about his too legit to quit love last summer in the smash anthem, “Nerdy Bear.” Now he returns with a reinterpretation of the song, but from the bear’s perspective! Nerdy Bear: the Markholic Remix raises the BPMs and features hot-new rhymes by the gay community’s ultimate nerdy bear, Mean Girl and Looking actor Daniel Franzese.
Franzese wittily weaves his own raps in the song. Many turn up the naughtiness on popular arcade games from the 80s. He gets playful with the shapes from Tetris, the cherries in Pac-Man and the mushrooms in Mario Brothers. The idea is not just about getting laughs, though. It is meant to convey the confidence Franzese and others in the gay bear community have built by not only accepting their girth, but embracing it.
Last summer, Tom Goss paid homage to the subset of plus-sized gay men that enjoy superheroes and video games with his smash anthem, “Nerdy Bear.” Now he returns with “Nerdy Bear: The Markaholic Remix,” a reinterpretation of the song from the bear’s perspective, featuring brand-new rhymes by the gay community’s ultimate nerdy bear, Mean Girls and Looking actor Daniel Franzese. “The remix was my idea,” says Franzese. “When Tom’s original came out last summer, I was like ‘OMG, it’s about time we got an anthem of guys pursuing us in song. We should do a remix of this track where the bear responds that he’s down to party—and I should rap on it!’”
The friends have worked on several projects together over the past few years. Most notably, Franzese played Tom’s husband in a series of videos from the singer’s Territories album. “It’s always fun to work with Danny and at this point it seems like we’re just making up opportunities to work together,” Goss laughs. The original “Nerdy Bear” is a pop track, with a big, snappy sound, an infectious melody, and a sultry R&B vibe. The remix—by LA-based producer Markaholic (RuPaul, Trixie Mattel, Willam Belli)—raises the BPMs and adds slick and seductive rhymes written by Franzese. He wittily weaves explicit sexual connotations into many of the popular arcade games from the 80s, as in: “If you like whips and chains, we can do the Double Dragon,” referencing the martial arts game. He continues with “I’ll follow you down your Oregon trail and hitch on to your wagon.”
Tom Goss was 22 and in seminary, training to be a Catholic priest, when he realized his strong attraction for plus-sized men, known as “bears” in the gay community, and nerdy ones to boot. “‘Nerdy Bear’ is authentic to my experience and relays my unique perspective that beauty doesn’t fit a standard mold,” he says.
Tom Goss’s “Nerdy Bear: The Markaholic Remix (featuring Daniel Franzese)” is available on iTunes, Spotify and all major digital platforms. Its music video is on YouTube.
We spoke with the fab duo from their homes in LA.
Whose idea was it to come together on the Nerdy Bear remix?
Daniel: Tom played the original for me last summer and I loved it right away and immediately suggested we should make a remix.
Tom: When Danny said he had an idea for a rapping remix, I was all ears. I love working with him and I’ve always wanted to work with Markaholic, as well. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to get all of us together make something campy and dance-y.
We don’t often hear of gay, nerdy and hairy plus sized men as sex objects.
Tom: That’s the point! But the song’s not really about sexualizing plus sized men as much as it is plus sized men being seen and represented. I don’t want anyone to feel alone, unseen, unloved or undesired.
Daniel: Yes, representing everyone in the queer community is important.
Did you ever feel shame associated with your body?
Daniel: I can never claim to understand what it’s like to be a trans person but I can certainly empathize with feeling like I was born in the wrong body. Society and the media are constantly telling plus sized people that we are wrong for being the shapes that we are.
Were you a large kid?
Daniel: I was chubby but nowhere near as big as I felt myself being. Body dysmorphia is real.
Tom, is there anything about your body that you felt shame over at one point in your life?
Tom: Absolutely. I was the chubby kid in my family before becoming a gymnast and then wrestler. Both sports emphasized being as small as possible which led to a non-stop quest for body perfection and eventually, body dysmorphia, too.
Have you overcome the shame?
Tom: I wouldn’t say that I’ve “overcome” anything. It’s all a process. Some days I am better at self-love than others. I do my best to cut myself slack and see the things that I love about my body, but it’s not always easy.
How did your shape impact your coming out experience?
Daniel: Growing up, I never felt like I belonged anywhere because I was gay. Then I came out and the gay community wasn’t so welcoming either. The community isn’t always kind to large people. I remember thinking, If I don’t belong with the LGBTQ community either, then where do I belong?
Tom, when did you discover your affinity for large, hairy men?
Tom: All my friends in high school and college were my teammates; all were hyper fit. I was showering with them every day and I didn’t find myself attracted to them. It wasn’t until I finished college and got out into the world that I became close to, and realized I was attracted to, men of size. I fell in love with a friend of mine. He was a chubby, nerdy, shy and sensitive man. I I found that combination irresistible from the start.
Daniel, is Tom a rarity?
Daniel: Tom is one and a million!
Do you get hit on by skinny dudes?
Daniel: These days I do. I think all kinds of guys are attracted to my size because of the confidence I carry with it.
What role does your celebrity play in that confidence?
Daniel: None. I’m not one to pop bottles at the club! Maybe it’s an ice breaker at time, but I tend to go for guys who are less familiar with my work.
Do you like being seen as a sex object?
Daniel: Sure! Being desired makes you feel good. Who doesn’t want that? One thing I really love is when hot guys comment sexy things on my Instagram. I think it shows other big dudes there are guys out there that find them hot.
Are you guys planning to tour the song this summer?
Tom: What a great idea!
Daniel: I would be so down if the world Is ready!
How will you each celebrate Pride this year?
Daniel: With gratitude for awesome people in my chosen family, like Tom.
Tom: I will celebrate, in gratitude of the good people who made pride possible. In fact, I am releasing a new single and video called “Pride” that celebrates all those who came before us and made our pride possible.
Tom Goss’s “Nerdy Bear: The Markaholic Remix (featuring Daniel Franzese)” is available on iTunes, Spotify and all major digital platforms. Its music video is on Youtube.