I first learned about furries in July of 2004. I had just been forced to go to the Regatta with my friend Stacey, and as if that wasn’t enough, she then forced me to pose for a picture with the Froggy radio station mascot, which somehow in mind was the perfect segueway into thinking about filming mascot porn. I mentioned that on my LiveJournal entry about the Regatta, and someone was quick to tell me that there was actually already such a thing, and it was called “being furry.”
You can imagine how excited I am that my quaint city hosts the largest convention for furries each year, the Anthrocon. It is definitely one of the perks of working downtown, that’s for sure. I was practically salivating to take my half-hour break on Thursday: hunting furries and racking up steps on the pedometer? That’s the dream. Some of my co-workers were lamenting the fact that they had not seen any of these pseudo-mythological creatures when they were out, and I said, “Well, that’s because you have to go to them.” So that is what I did. I power-walked straight into the heart of Furryville: the Westin Convention Center. Halfway there, I began passing seemingly normal people, until they’d turn around and wave a bushy tail at me. The closer I got, the more full-costumed furries I saw. Waiting to cross the street to the Westin, I noticed that the man next to me was wearing an Anthrocon badge, so I started chatting him up to learn the proper etiquette of approaching furries. I had only ever admired from afar in the past, usually from the car window, but I wanted to get all up in it this year, now that I had easy access thanks to my job.
My new friend told me that they preferred to be asked for a picture first, but that most would be happy to oblige. He told me to remember that the masks gave them tunnel-vision, so if it seemed like they were ignoring me, they probably just couldn’t see me. He was very helpful, and as we parted ways, he said in competing gay and nerd dialects, “If you see a walrus later, that will be me!”
I talked to these guys briefly. How could I resist a skunk in scene-kid shades? Anyway, I asked the one in the middle how they got into the furry phenomenon; he just shrugged and gave me a muffled, “The Internet?” Whiskey over there refused to break character. He just kept cocking his head and resting it on his hands. So fucking adorable, I couldn’t stand it.
I got free shrugs AND a high-five from this guy!
Then I saw a furry in a wheelchair but he was moving too fast for me to catch him. When I got back to work, Barb said, “I love how you don’t know where anything is downtown, but you can find the furries.” Well, yeah! Us weirdos will always find each other.
I haven’t dragged Glenn‘s name through the mud in awhile, so I did this later that night. I was really feeling festively furry, obviously.
Yesterday, I went back out with Amber2, who had been trying fruitlessly to spot a furry the day before. There is just nothing like walking down the street and getting a high-five from a bear in a fedora. This time, we went inside the Westin and hung out in the lobby for awhile, where we were met with a panoply of anthropomorphic aficionados. It was absolutely thrilling.
We were in the revolving door with this furry businessman poser, who was shouting so ridiculously loud into his cell phone, that I asked Amber2 if she thought he was for real. She said yes, that he was just a douchey loud mouth, but I kind of think he was talking on a Fisher Price cell phone and it was all a part of his furred character.
My goal was to get one of them to pose with my Jonny Craig doll. I even carried him in a little purse so Amber2 wouldn’t be embarrassed (because you know, a girl carrying a doll is SO WEIRD when there are people in full mascot-attire skipping around the streets of Pittsburgh). The last time I took Jonny out for a downtown stroll, I straight cradled him in my arms. Ask Carey, she wasn’t embarrassed at all.
Anyway, I picked this particular furry because hello, perfect coloring! He’s practically the furry Jonny Craig. So I prefaced my request with, “This might sound kind of weird…” Yes, because that is the only weird part of this whole picture. Having a furry hold my Jonny doll was absolutely exhilarating, I can’t even describe the joy I felt.
My favorites are the ones who dress their furry personae. A bathrobe and eye mask? Fuck yes.
I don’t know who the human is in this picture.
“Will you hold my doll for a picture?” I asked, before noticing the dino’s digit-deficient paws. “Can you hold it?” I added. He gave an unsure nod and then fumbled for Jonny. Oh, furries. We had to go upstairs from the lobby to get his dude’s picture, that is how dedicated Amber2 and I are at furry-stalking.
Pittsburgh, for as much trash-talking I do, is actually overwhelmingly accommodating to the furries, which is why they keep coming back here. Most of the restaurants near the Westin had up signs boasting their furry-friendliness, and there is even a place that serves them food in dog bowls. How fucking adorable is that? (Seriously, click that link and read the story; it’s heartwarming.)
When I got back to the office, I was talking to my co-worker Colleen and she was telling me about this walrus she saw two years ago that was dressed to the nines in a tuxedo with tails, a tophat and a monocle, and was literally holding court in the middle of the Westin. I told her about the guy I talked to yesterday and she exclaimed, “What if it was the same guy!?” and a passing-by co-worker added, “Wow Erin, you might have met a celebrity furry!” and maybe that sounds stupid to you, but I was totally excited at the prospect.
Meanwhile, Chooch was all bent out of shape that I got to see furries and he didn’t, so he and Henry ended up taking the trolley downtown while I was at work last night. Anything for the bitchbaby! But seriously, Chooch is just completely enchanted by these guys, as any child would be I imagine. Henry told me that they saw a (not skinny) furry who was completely nude except for her bikini bottoms and body paint and that Chooch couldn’t stop laughing about it the whole time. It was nearly two hours later by the time I met up with them and the first thing Chooch said was, “Did you read Daddy’s text about the nude lady?” and then died laughing all over again.
Oh, the things the city will show a kid.
We walked back down to the Westin and hung out with some more furries before heading home.
This guy was in full character, scratching behind his ears and whimpering to Chooch, who just stood there with a smile mixed with amusement and confusion.
My flash didn’t go off for this picture, but it was some dragon/bat type thing that let Chooch hold his dead plush fish.
I know there are people who do this for the kink of it, and some of the people behind the fur perhaps have some sort of neurological malfunction, but I have to imagine that a lot of people do this because maybe they’re introverts, overlooked at their jobs, and this is their chance to have some attention and just let go of their insecurities. And how can you hate on that? I think it’s OK to not understand how a person falls into this incredibly fascinating (and yes, weird) lifestyle, but making fun of it is kind of “so 2006” isn’t it?
Maybe some of their fur rubbed off on me, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to try and get into their convention next year. Possibly in costume. Look, strapping on a tail and giving blow jobs isn’t exactly beneath me, but I really just want to know what goes on inside that convention! I want to be furry for a day, OK? Purely for research. Don’t judge me.