Teddy bears. Those stuffed animals named after a forgotten president, remembered by few, but cuddled by more. Luckily, The Taft Porcupine didn't pick up.
To me, a teddy bear is any stuffed animal. I have a large bear called "Berel" with a history of his own, an adorable white bear a bit larger than average, a brown one that has a bow tie that has fallen off, a yellow rabbit that looks like a bear with ears, two checkered giraffes, and a wolverine.
So what is it with these things? Well, each has a story, yet only one has a name. Back in my silly days i believed that stuffed animals needed names. Thus, when Berel was named, he kept it. Later, i realized that names are to call one's attention, and teddy bears don't answer. Also, names usually imply identity. Something which is not required, and possibly only hurts the teddy bears being. Teddy bears have many uses, and a name merely restricts its usage.
I didn't purchase Berel or the wolverine. Berel has a dubious past, and ended up being rejected as garbage after some years. I "saved" him, and now he's mine. The wolverine was given to me by a boy (ISFJ) who was probably ten at the time, got it, didn't care much for it, and figured that i would like it considering my collection. So, he gave it to me. To me, it has no intrinsic value other than that fact that he gave it to me.
The rest of the animals are my purchases. Each for its own reason. But first, "how to purchase a teddy bear" is in order.
There are plenty of teddy bears on the market, yet only a few are worth purchasing. There are four qualities to look at when purchasing one: Color, cuteness, huggability, and price.
Color is somewhat important as it affects mood. A pink or bright yellow one reflects gaiety, and white reflects purity or blissful ignorance. Brown is traditional, and black is for a strong feeling. Well, to each there own, but the color must not be overlooked.
Cuteness is simply that. The look can effect a certain mood. Whereas color affects the existing mood, cuteness effects a different mood, or is only looked at when already in the appropriate mood. Even the smile or grimace holds weight here. The look must help derive a certain feeling from the person appropriate for that person's relationship with his teddy bear. Perhaps cuteness is a misnomer, and "looks" or "countenance" is better. Though, for me, cuteness is definitely the way to go, and the measure is merely the amount therein.
Huggability is by far the most important factor. I refer to it as the "Huggability Index". That is, how does it feel when hugged. The most common action with a teddy bear is to hug it, yet i find that the overwhelming majority do a poor job at it. If the bear is to thin, or its stuffing is too soft, the arms go around to easily, and there is no "oomph" in the hug. Worthless. If it is too large, or the stuffing too hard, the hug is overwhelming and looses all feeling. Useless. As such, the bear must be within a certain range, and the stuffing a certain softness. The softer the stuffing, the more there must be. A plush bear is only good when the thickness stands up to a good squeeze. Yet, that can be quite rewarding.
Checking a bears huggability index can be embarrassing for some. So, when i go to the store, i first make sure that noone is around, and then squeeze each one that i think might be good. It would seem somewhat embarrassing buying them, yet the cashiers generally comment "how cute!", or a similar remark. I pride myself on my choices.
Finally, price is a factor. a fifty dollar bear is almost never worth it. Bears should cost between ten and thirty dollars, depending on size, and the other factors. It one is perfect but costs too much, it can probably be found at a later date for a cheaper price. Or so i believe are my findings.
Back to why. The white bear was bought because it is large, plush, and adorable. I just couldn't resist that one. And, the younger the person that sees it, the harder it is for them to resist grabbing it. The yellow one is smaller, but is different, being it is a rabbit. Fold the ears, and it becomes a bear. That and its yellow color made it one i thought about. The price was nice and cheap, so i bought it.
The brown bear is interesting. Probably the second one i have purchased. A young girl who was visiting a friend from out-of-town, and was about to embark on the long ride home. She asked me if i had a stuffed animal to keep her company. I didn't. Though, there was a chance that they would leave the next day. So, when at the store later, i bought a bear. By the time i came back, they had left. So, i now had a teddy bear.
That's when i experimented in sleeping while holding a teddy bear. Something i don't think i had ever done before. It was quite a rewarding experience. After a year, i saw her again, and gave her the bear. She was happy, but i was distraught. I *needed* another bear. And so the saga began. This brown bear has a scraggly appearance furwise, yet is just right. He sits on Berel's leg all day, and has been my favorite.
The final two are the giraffe's. Bought on a whim that never came to fruition, to act as "walkie talkies" for those who have a hard time communicating or touching. It only seems to work halfway. Perhaps i need to experiment some more.
All in all, teddy bears are taboo by many adults, especially males, yet they provide an interesting experience for oneself, and visitors. Even if only a personified pillow, a good teddy is worth its price. But never name them, that only detracts from their true purpose.