I'll make it simple. I'm interested by murrsuiting.
I find the texture of faux fur so... relaxing and so cuddly. And don't get me started on the big eyes, the colors and the cheerful personality the wearers often take while in suit.
The thing is, I cannot help but feel uneasy when having those fantasies.
I see so many furs who do like all this fandom is about sex, who say that every furry is into kink. Who complain because they cannot buy Bad Dragon stuff at Anthrocon. I often see them online or in some very not necessery interactions with the media.
I hate those people. I often complain that some talentful artists produce a lot more of porn than SFW stuff because that is what people are paying for.
Yet, I have what most people would consider the most stereotypical trait of a furry.
I know that I am not a freak. I wouldn't never force it on anybody, I would never bring something that has touch body fluids to a con, out of respect for the other attendees.
But I cannot help but feel inconfortable with this fetish. I know it's because I associate it with a part of the fandom I don't like ( the Furcons-are-big-orgies kind) I know that there is probably a lot of very respectable( and respectful) people in this fandom who own a murrsuit, it just that they keep it in the bedroom where it belongs.
I just wanna stop making this association automatically. I know that there is a difference between having a wet dream involving a cute bunny girl and been an asshole who ruins the fun ( and the innocence) for a lot of furries.
So basically, I'm tired of feeling like a freak for liking something that hurts nobody.
* * *
I see, you feel guilty because you think having some sexual activity in an anatomically correct murrsuit. Well, let Papabear say this about that: people should be free to do what they wish to do in the privacy of their own bedrooms (or other private place of your choice) between consenting adults. The only thing that is really bothersome about people's sexual activities is when they either shove it in your face (Papabear finds twerking in public offensive, for example—I'm sure many young people will disagree with me—because I find overt, slutty public displays hurt my eyes) or when people assert that the only appropriate sex is missionary style between a man and woman for the purpose or procreation only (or, indeed, if they insist on any particular sexual practices and say that any others are sinful or illegal or otherwise not permissible).
What these people don't tell you is that most of them are probably engaging in very kinky stuff in private and then pretending, in public, that they are clean-cut and straight-laced (how many stories have we seen in which anti-LGBT ministers or Congressmen get caught with their paws in the cookie jar?). You might have heard about the novel (and movie adaptation) 50 Shades of Grey. It's a movie about kinky bondage sex. A book with very little literary merit, it was a bestseller and popular film because why? Because people who won't admit it are fascinated by kinky sex, that's why.
So, first of all, hon, the people you are worried about judging you are probably doing things equally or more kinky than you. Either that, or they are having boring sex and are envious of you for doing something fun. In other words, their opinions are not worth listening to. I have some considerable experience in this area, and I can tell you there are many kinks and fetishes far more bizarre than a murrsuit. In fact, a murrsuit is rather tame compared to a few things I have heard and seen.
Papabear agrees with you 100% when you say "I'm tired of feeling like a freak for liking something that hurts nobody." So, stop feeling like a freak. You're doing it to yourself, you know. Get a murrsuit. Have fun. Don't feel guilty about it because that will simply spoil the experience.
How have you been?
Well, I'm here because I really need some help, and need to express what I'm feeling recently.
I became a furry 3 years ago ( 4 with this year), and unfortunately my country or dont know what the furry fandom is or have the wrong ideia about what's the furry fandom, I live in Portugal and in my whole life I never found a furry here.
I really love this fandom, create my fursona was a great help in my life, because I didn't like myself, but now that point changed. My problem is, I dont know how to integrate myself more in the fandom, since I never found any furries in my country and I only spoke to a few furries online.
I like to make new friends but for some reason I feel very shy when I talk with someone in the fandom, I really need some help. This fandom was and is a very important thing in my life, I found it when I was in a deep depression, nobody understood me, I was victim of bullying in school, and one day, someone on twitter raised his paw at me and brought me to the fandom.
I dont know if the countries where the furry fandom is popular know our existence but well, with luck, one day maybe we will have a furry event/conventiom, if that happens my wish will be fulfilled.
I started recently doing art (furry art/headshots/etc) because I think that's a great hobby and can bring me some extra money, since I'm also saving money to buy a fursuit, so I thought maybe that could help a bit to know new people, but I dont know, I really need help.
Can u give me some help or tips to socialize more in the fandom or just how to have more confidence? Or some way to know if there is some furries in my country?
The best for you!
* * *
Bear hugs and welcome to the furry fandom :-3 The furry community originated in California, of course, but it is spreading internationally like wildfire. Even so, there are some countries, such as Portugal, where there are not a whole lot of furries (or they just don't know they are furries yet ;-).
I can give you a couple of leads that might help, however. There is a helpful website called FurryMap at https://furrymap.net/ that I checked out, and there are some furries in your area. There are, actually, probably many more than are listed on the map because only a small percentage of furries are registered on FurryMap. However, if you create an account on FurryMap (it is free) you can then click on the little markers you see on the website and try to contact those furries directly.
I also found a couple of furries listed on Wikifur at http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Category:Portugal. Not sure if you can reach them through there, but it is a start and gives you some leads.
Next, if you are able to travel, there are a number of conventions in Europe (sadly, none in Portugal, Spain, or even France, but many in Germany and some in England, Switzerland, Italy, etc. You don't necessarily have to go to these cons, but you might try contacting some and seeing if they might have some leads (they might know better about European resources than I do here in America).
If you are familiar with the social network Facebook, there is also a Portugal furries group there https://www.facebook.com/groups/820904181332707/ that has 141 members currently. It is a closed group, so you will have to ask them to let you in. Make sure your profile notes you live in Portugal. Facebook is also free to join.
I am unfamiliar with Portugal, but perhaps, too, your country has some popular social networks and perhaps you can create a profile and note you are a furry and try to get some contacts that way, but that's a bit of a stretch. I would try the other options, first.
I hope this helps! I'm sure more and more people will join the fandom in Portugal as you have, and perhaps, yes, there will be a furcon there someday. Perhaps you might even start with a simple furmeet, even organize one yourself and invite people you discover in the fandom online.
Over some time I have felt my childhood dreams will not make me successful in the future, and have had people who try to get me to adopt "you cannot have happiness without sadness" or "there is no such thing as a perfect life" that seem needlessly complex. I also read "your child's genius is within his dreams," so I feel torn.
My childhood dreams were to have a secret underground bunker with supplies that lets me go on missions, like what you see in movies. Have a space base that was something like the Enterprise from Star Trek, so my imaginary friends and I could save the universe. Have a big house in an isolated place, being taken care of financially, so I could live a simple life free of doubt, worry, fear, not working from paycheck to paycheck, etc.; and I mean a house in the middle of nature, a forest, rolling hills, or where it snows.
Is this normal growing up? What should I believe? One side note is my parents have now divorced and I am living with my dad.
I wish the best for you!
* * *
It’s very nice to have dreams. Dreams can inspire us to do great things. But to achieve those great things requires work. The first “uh oh” I see in your letter is the phrase that you wish to be “taken care of financially.” You mean, someone will just give you all the money you need to achieve your dreams? I would not count on that.
But if you mean you would work hard to take care of your financial needs and then move to your lovely home in the woods, that’s doable, assuming you, again, are willing to work for it.
Are there dreams that are too big? Such as having an underground bunker or a space base? Hmm, well, there is a billionaire named Richard Branson who founded the private space travel company Virgin Galactic. But Branson achieved this by a huge drive as an entrepreneur, starting a company that would become the Virgin Group when he was still a teenager. Are you willing to work that hard?
Don’t let people tell you that you can’t dream, Nick. But, at the same time, if you really want those dreams to come true you need to be willing to do the legwork.
P.S. Sorry to hear your parents have divorced. I wish you the best, too.
Hello, Dear Readers.
Well, Papabear was trolled once again. This particular troll was quite clever. He tried to portray himself as someone needing my help, someone desperately trying to make sense out of life. But when I tried to give him some positive advice, he not only slammed me down but viciously attacked me to the point I had to finally block him.
I will be honest here: I just don't get trolls. Papabear tries hard to always see the good side of people. I try to see that, if they act badly, there is a reason for it, such as they have had a very painful life and are lashing out.
But after three or four experiences with trolls, I have to come to the conclusion, sad as it might be, that there are, in fact, some people out there who are simply giant assholes unworthy of any respect. (Yes, I know, trolls feed off reactions, even reactions like this one, but I wanted to have some closure here before initiating a policy in which I will simply no longer reply in any form to trolls).
Curious, I did a little research and found this article, which sums it up rather nicely. Trolls are twisted, sadistic, nasty people who get their jollies out of hurting others. This makes them the worst possible kind of people in my book.
So, to all you trolls out there, this is for you. Despite all your efforts, you will not shake my resolve to help others, you will not put a stop to this column, and you will not make me lose my faith in love and the Great Spirit.
You no longer upset me. I no longer worry about why you are the way you are. And, unlike the other wonderful people who write to me, I no longer care about you and will no longer try to help you (and that's coming from an empath!) Congratulations. You have officially alienated the last furry on the planet who might have given a damn about you.
You can kiss my...
P.S. I'm leaving the comments posted below. Apparently, I have been writing this column for nearly five years only because I need validation from other people and to feel important because I am emotionally damaged. Gee, thanks a lot. This is the thanks I get for spending hundreds of hours trying to help people? Really? REALLY? Someone tries to help others and bares his soul online in an effort to show that he has empathy for others and he gets nailed as an egotistical jerk?
You know what? I wake up every morning crying my eyes out because Jim is dead. At night I lay down in an empty bed (well, except for sweet Ernie the Wonder Dog), and yet I drag myself to the keyboard and try to help people because it is the only way I feel I have any meaning in my life anymore.
If that makes me a bad person who is only doing this to suck validation out of strangers, then I guess I'm a selfish, needy twerp.
Thanks for pointing that out, Rouge and Lego Man.
BOTTOM LINE is this (and, Rouge, since you're so concerned about evidence, this is for you in particular): this column HAS helped people. And, yes, I am proud of that.
What have YOU done to make this world that you complain about so much a better place?
My name is Kevin Hile. I live in Cathedral City, California. If you want my phone number, you can email me using a form. Who the hell are you, really? Cowards hide behind pseudonyms. I challenge you to leave your name and email here on this site so that people can contact you (I could post your emails myself, but I promised people I wouldn't do that, but let's see if you are willing to have people contact you directly).
I've always struggled with my identity as I am an African American teenager who has grown up in a military family. I've have always been struggling with my identity because I am black but I tend to have a more (what people call) a “white” personality. This isn't the only problem. My family and people I know say I have an “intimidating look.” I am 5’11”, and guess I could call myself pretty athletic. And added to all this I am black so nobody expects me to be into something like the furry fandom.
When I was 10 years (around 2009) I moved too Japan. Around that time, I discovered I liked looking at and drawing anthropomorphic animals. I never knew of the furry fandom at that time so it was just a little thing to me. It was like that for the next 3 years until we moved back to America. This pretty much ruined my social life as I had already established my life in Japan.
We moved from Baltimore, to Rhode Island, then recently too California, all within 3 years due to my father being active military. I discovered the fandom when I first moved to Maryland. I slowly got into it and was started drawing and admiring artists through YouTube, DeviantArt, etc. But the thing is during this time between being in Baltimore and Rhode Island, my outside personality completely changed to conform with the people I hung around in school. And the people I hung around with was (yup, you guessed it!) the typical ghetto, suburban, rude teenagers. It was a struggle for me as I wanted to tell people about me being furry and share my art and make friends who liked furry art. I was actually lighthearted, nice person on the inside but yet I had this forced, rude outside personality that kept all that hidden.
I recently moved to California as I said earlier and I decided to make this a fresh start, yet I still have this conflict inside and outside of me. Do you have any suggestions on how to make friends that have the same interest as me even though my conflicting personality and outside appearance gets in the way?
* * *
It is indeed very difficult being the son of someone in the military who moves around a lot. Children are happier if they grow up with a sense of stability and home, which is hard to do when the average military family moves every three years (I’m just writing this for the benefit of my readers). One thing I would say about your particular experience is that you probably gained a lot of insight and knowledge about other cultures by living in Japan. That’s something that could benefit you and your view of the world.
As for looking muscular and athletic—yes, I understand how people get intimidated by that, sadly. People judge too much by appearance, whether it is someone who is attractive (he’s attractive, so he must be a pleasant person) or ugly (he’s ugly, so she’s a bad person) or whatever. People see your muscles and that you’re black and think you’re a thug or some such. So sad. Obviously, you’re a sweetheart inside.
Now the trick is this: having the courage to show others who you truly are. You’ve conformed to the “ghetto” set because you wanted to be accepted and fit in (very human desire), and you are probably afraid to show your furry side because you could be rejected by your peers at school. For starters, since you are likely to move again and again, I would not be overly concerned about peers at school, unless some of them become actual friends and not just people you are trying to get to like you. Second, I would start slowly by first trying to make friends online. Fortunately, there are many places you can do this, and if you like I will send you some suggestions if you haven’t already located some good furry social groups. You could start with SoCal Furries (http://www.socalfurs.com/), since you’re in Oxnard, and, if you ever get the chance, try to go to the Prancing Skiltaire monthly furmeet that is held in Glendale (http://prancing.skiltaire.net/). Start talking to furries online, start posting your furry art, talk to fellow artists. When you locate some who start to click with you, then you might start to show them both your outside and inside through photos, cam chat, and the like.
You have to let your guard down. This is scary, I know. Very scary, but it’s clear you are not happy living a charade. You want to be who you really are, right? A nice guy who is into furry, likes to draw, likes to be physically fit, and happens to be black. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of that. And, you know what? You’ve discovered a community—furries—who are more accepting of differences than many other social groups. Here’s a cool article about how more and more African Americans are getting involved in the fandom (Anthrocon is an example): http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2013/07/10/more-african-americans-get-involved-in-anthrocon-every-year/.
Another thing that benefits you: many furries absolutely adore Japanese culture (especially anime, of course, and Japanese cartoons have had a very strong influence on the fandom--Kimba, the White Lion being of particular note), and you’ve experienced it first-paw! You can certainly find furries who share this interest with you, both in America and back in Japan.
Maximus, you don’t seem to know it, but you have stumbled into a community that might just be the ticket for your releasing the inner you: furries. I encourage you to get involved with them. I’m sure you’ll find some cool fuzzy friends.
Hope that helps.
Dear Papa Bear,
I'm a 32/15 year old Lion by now (two fursonas, one is 15 and behaves like 6) and I suffer from some psychological/mental problems..
Some years ago I fulfilled my biggest childhood dream and imported an electric toy ride on quad to Germany. I ever wanted one as child, but parents said I was too big for it. Twenty years later I proved they are wrong.
The problem I have is I'm jealous of kids that get attention when riding their toys. When a child is driving his toy quad or other thing, people come and say nice things like "Hey, I'm sure you are going to be a famous racecar driver when you're grown up," or simply "You’re great at riding it" or similar things. And they come and take pictures because the kids are so cute, but there are NO pics with me. I wish I would get that kind of attention, too. I'm a big kid, but on me people are sometimes laughing, or children ask me if they can have a ride. They don't know toys like this in Germany, so it's a novelty seeing this and they want to try it. But why I should let them go? Nobody lets ME try his toy, then why should I? As soon as the kids go with it around, they come again and applaud. But when I ride I'm a "retarded." "Look, that one plays with children’s toys. He has to suffer from some mental issues." YEAH, I DO. It’s not only when I’m with my quad; I also collect and ride giant, inflatable toys. You may have heard or seen the wolves and huskies made by Puffypaws.
I wish I would be recognized as a great like upcoming quad champion by others like children do. I would also wear a race outfit even when it’s useless on a toy going only 7.5 miles. This is a video if you don’t know what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuKZRD891VQ.
Thank you for your help, Papabear, and dear regards,
Max (age 32, Germany)
* * *
Papabear is sorry that there are adults out there making fun of you. And it is especially rude and hateful of them to make fun of you because you have some mental health issues. For them to do that shows them to be ugly people who lack compassion and sensitivity.
Thank you for sharing that video with Papabear. I loved watching it, and it is so clear that you love riding your electric quad. I think it’s wonderful that you found something from which you get so much enjoyment. And it’s fine that you also enjoy big, inflatable toys.
I want to reassure you, Max, that you are NOT alone in being an adult who likes children’s toys. In fact, take a look at this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melissa-maypole/these-grownups-are-making_b_6179084.html. It is about adults who are actually earning a living by playing with children’s toys. So don’t feel bad about that. In fact, maybe you could follow the example of some of the people on the websites in that article and start your own YouTube channel? Hey, it’s worth a shot!
Other points I need to make: 1) If a child asks you if he can ride your quad, be a nice guy and let them. Just because someone else won’t let you ride their toy does not mean that you can’t be an unselfish person and share your toys. Be nice. 2) I know it hurts when people call you names and say you can’t do things. Don’t listen to them. As long as you are not hurting other people, you should do what you love to do. Enjoy your toys! 3) Being jealous of other kids because they are getting attention and you are not really only hurts yourself. Instead of being jealous, how about being a mentor to these kids? Being encouraging and helpful to others is a lot more satisfying than being selfish and jealous. Give it a try.
To summarize: Don’t let other people take away your joy, and don’t let other people define what you should do with your spare time. Having a hobby that you enjoy is a wonderful thing. Enjoy it for your own happiness! And don’t be jealous of other people’s happiness. Be happy for them.
First off, I feel like I should give my biggest condolences to all that's happened to you. I've been very worried about you and your health after all that's happened, and I see you as very admirable for continuing this when things look so bleak. You are so strong, and someone I really look up to. I've come to you a lot for even silly little things, to some of the darkest moments of my life. I've come to you multiple times in my life under many names, for many years. Each time, I have taken your insightful responses to heart.
Anyway, let's get to the letter, I guess. I think I've got a crush. A bad, bad crush. On a girl. And I need someone to tell me to stop before I dig a hole and get trapped.
Travel back two years, and I'm a tiny furry just entering highschool. I get my first furry friend, let's call her Shibe. (That's the nickname I call her!) Now, Shibe and I get pretty close, and I developed a crush. Shibe's my first crush, so I couldn't put a label on the feelings, and I was all around confused about what to do or what I wanted from our relationship.
Since I didn't know anything about crushes, I start dating this guy instead. My heart was never in it. I would always doubt our relationship, I didn't even feel close enough to him to let him hug me. He was a boyfriend for the sake of having a boyfriend, y'know? No matter how I looked at it, my heart was set on someone else. It was set on Shibe. The boyfriend and I realize this isn't working and pull a 'just be friends'.
Now, I wimped out on confessing to Shibe when I connected the dots, and never made a single romantic move. Shibe's bi like me, so I knew there could be a possibility, but I'm terrible at emotions. Before I work up the courage, she gets boyfriends. One lasts for only a few weeks, and the second she still has (has lasted a few months). So now I have another excuse not to say anything- she's got a boyfriend. I love that he makes her happy, but you have to understand how it hurts.
I keep my mouth zipped. Some more time passes by, and we get... very, very, close. I'm not sure how it happened, but Shibe and I's relationship got very physical. I don't just mean hugs- I mean cuddling, hardcore cuddling. Obviously, nothing sexual. I'm loving it, unlike with the boyfriend, who I couldn't even hug. It gets stronger in nonphysical ways, too; she's constantly complimenting me and supporting me more than she ever has.
She spent the night at my place a while back, and she was really comfortable with even more physical attention. We even fell asleep cuddling! She's always telling me she loves me, and when we were making some eggs that morning, she joked that 'hugging while making eggs is very romantic.' How does she expect me to take this? Just gals being pals? No romantic tension at all?
I feel like she's teasing me. I can't take this anymore- I love the physical and emotional attention, but it's going to be awkward for me thinking of it as strictly platonic, and I know I don't have enough self-control to not let something slip if it continues like this. I am moving in a couple of days to Utah, so I'm hoping that once I'm away, maybe the feelings will die down and I can return the affection with no romantic connotations when we meet up face-to-face again.
The move will certainly affect our relationship, but I'm out of the house in a few years, anyway, so I doubt it'll dissipate. My only hope is that somehow, my romantic feelings for her dull down into strictly platonic ones.
I want to at least be friends. Does this all make sense? I feel like I'm blabbering incoherently, heh. What in the world should I do? Shove it away? Wait for a good opportunity to tell her all this?
Your faithful corvid, Genesis.
* * *
You're the same furry who wrote me the following, yes?
In that letter, I didn't see you saying you were bi; and what happened to that love interest? Anyway, as is evident from that letter, love relationships seem to come and go, and this is common for people as young as you are. It will likely be some time before you come across someone that you are ready to settle down with. Shibe is your first serious interest in a woman, and there will likely be other women before, as noted above, you find someone truly special (or maybe one of each sex, who knows?)
I apologize that this letter will come to you after you have already moved. How did that go? Perhaps you should update me on your current status because if I write some advice now it might be too late or irrelevant. Again, very sorry.
* * *
Hi again, Papa!
Er, yeah, I was pretty vague, wasn't I? Sorry about that. I'll agree it was a teenager-ish, naiive thing for me to hold on to the relationship with Wolf, who is, as you probably guessed, the guy in the letter. Yes, the relationship lasted about two years, and I did end up meeting up face-to-face with him, but as time went on, I realized everything about my desires- spending more time with him, watching movies, wanting to talk to him, was actually normal, platonic things I got confused about. Not exactly daydreaming about him as much as I thought I was. Maybe I was wrong, and they were romantic? He was the one who brought up how platonic our relationship was and called it off, so perhaps I'm just trying to protect myself from being hurt? When he broke up with me, though, I saw it coming. We're still friends, we just acknowledged we made a mistake.
Honestly, I don't have my story straight. I don't know what romance feels like, so I just take a good guess, and that confuses me. Heck, is my infutation with Shibe the same way? I don't know. What does a crush feel like, anyway? For all I know, I've never had one in my life. Also, I didn't mention I was bi in the last letter because it wasn't really important. I've known since about twelve years old? Honestly, thanks for trying to make a coherent story in your head from my mess of one. I don't know what I'm feeling, simply because I have never felt it before.
I have moved. We're keeping in touch though, me and Shibe, and we plan to meet up Winter or Spring break. Thanks for your concern.
Thanks again, Genesis
* * *
Well, a few things to answer to here. I'll go through the list (I'm German and enjoy lists):
1. Yes, being bi is relevant. How could your sexual orientation NOT be relevant when talking about affairs of the heart? If there is one frustration I have as an advice columnist, it's people second-guessing what I should and should not know and withholding information. Sigh. I've had people withhold things ranging from being abused by parents to having autism. Usually, they say they did so because they considered it "irrelevant," but, really, it's because they are embarrassed to share personal information, which is why I try very hard to reassure people they will be anonymous. Papabear can only give you good answers if he has all the puzzle pieces.
2. Why were your feelings hurt with Wolf if you actually did only want a platonic relationship? Wolf was correct to break it off in this way because he sensed, correctly, that you just wanted to be friends. Don't feel bad about that. Good friends are worth their weight in diamonds.
3. If you fear rejection and your feelings being hurt, you will forever be doomed to shying away from relationships that could become something that is once-in-a-lifetime. To find real love, one must take risks.
4. How do you know when it is romantic love? Great question! As the Greek's understood, there are many different kinds of love, which is why they had several words for love instead of just "love." There is love between a parent and child, love for a friend, love of God, love for a pet, sexual love (lust), and then there is romantic love. I have been very fortunate to experience romantic love twice in my lifetime: first, toward my now-ex wife (but still friend) and then for Jim.
Romantic love is when your heart melts just looking at the object of your affection. It is when the mere thought of that person brings a smile to your face. It is what the owl meant in Bambi when he said you were "twitterpated." Romantic love is when you can't wait to be with that person, when just sitting in the same room with them makes you happy, even if you aren't doing anything in particular. There were so many little things about Jim that just made my heart flutter. Mostly, it was his joy with life and how he was still a little boy inside. It's not about sex at all. It's about how being with that person just feels like it was meant to be. It feels right. You don't have to second-guess them because you know what they are thinking and feeling.
I hope you experience that someday, but don't rush it. Don't force it. Let it come of its own accord.
I was just a tad curious as my letter wasn't responded to, and I'm just trying to be as patient as possible. I'll leave a copy of it here in case it got lost in your inbox.
I live with my mother and sister. We're a little shaken up, but we make it work. My mom has known since 4th grade I was interested in art, and always knew I had something for animals too. She simply shrugged it off as something similar to a 7 year old's phase of adoring horses more than humans.
However, I had known about furries since I was about seven. You could say I stumbled across them and had a good first impression. Years later, here I am, and I adore anthropomorphic animals even more.
I have one finished partial fursuit. I wore it twice in public, and it got a huge positive reception. I passed it off as a "Halloween costume" but she knew I wouldn't spend 80+ dollars on a normal costume. Seems she ignored it.
Not long after, I asked if we could go to this "convention for animal fans" for my birthday. I simply asked, "Can we go to this cartoon animal convention called Midwest Furfest, it's around my birthday, I think it would be really fun." I had a slideshow full of support and information, and much to my surprise, she said we could go. Keep in mind this all took place last year. We would be going to MWFF 2015.
This was a huge deal mainly because I had always been a loner growing up. I have about five really close friends, and none of them hold the intrest of art or animals, which has become a daily staple in my life. The idea of going to a place with over 5,000 people who hold the same specific intrest as me was so great and ideal. I was so excited to mainly make friends, and friends I could continue to talk to.
Shortly after, my mom had to go to a class reunion. I continued to be overly excited. There was only a little less than two months until the convention. We hadn't pre-registered, as a day pass couldn't be pre-registered.
When my mom came back from her reunion, she asked to meet me outside. I knew it was about the convention immediately. My mom knew this was for cartoon animals, but outside of that, she knew nothing. It was the perfect time to take her to a convention and show her that we're all nice people.
However, she told me in the kindest voice she could: "Are you sure you want to go to this convention?" I asked why she'd ask, because she knew how excited I was. She then said: "I don't think this group is really what you think it is."
That was the nail in the coffin. I knew what this was about. She explained: "I was talking to my friend who runs a store who sells things like Dungeons & Dragons and such. When I told her where we were going, she said not to. She said furries are people who just dress up in costume and have sex, and how she has a customer that always wear a tail."
Alright, I can save this yet, I thought. I calmly said: "You know, it's really a minority of people who are interested in that sort of thing, and you shouldn't listen to a minority. And about the tail, wearing that is a form of self expression, it's fine."
She proceeded to make things worse and call off the convention. Saying things like: "NORMAL people don't wear tails!" I was kinda shut down after that. I lost connection with the fandom for a few months, and the name Midwest Furfest sounded bitter.
Present day, only two months ago, I brought up the idea again. She looked at me like I had two heads, and asked why we would go. I once more said: "It'll be fun, and I can meet people." She still refused, until I pulled up the rules and specifically pointed out the one that said "No public affection."
I made sure we pre-registered for a full weekend this year. MWFF 2016 here I come. I'm so excited, but also really nervous. She wants to make anyone other than herself go. Her name is on the badge however, and she's coming along. This is my chance to make things right again.
Whenever I bring it up anymore she ignores it and tries to change the subject. I'm trying to get her used to the idea of it, and still nothing. She asks what we would do. I respond: "We would go to panels, see costumers, browse the dealers..."
Now, I'm almost in a panic. The convention seems far off but I know time flies. I have watched previous dance competitions and fursuit parades from last year on YouTube, as well as panels upon panels.
What I'm nervous about now is how there seem to be slighty sexual jokes frequently. I think she'd like Kage, so I'll be sure to head to one of his panels if possible, and she'll let that slide. What I want to know is how she'll react to a body roll in the dance competition, or a female "themed" fursuit.
I don't want that to ruin the impression. I'm really nervous, and I want to know: "Is there any way I can help my mom experience the very best of MWFF? Or even just avoiding any negative?" This is our first convention, and I need some advice.
Thank you so much,
Ioga DeWolf (age 12)
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I'm so sorry I didn't write back sooner (not that it's an excuse, but my husband died recently and I have fallen behind). I hope the delay does not affect your attendance at the con.
Okay, so, you seem to be worried that your mother will see some misbehavior at the furcon and become turned off by furries, which, in turn, might cause her to restrict your furry activities. Correct?
This is a legitimate concern. A lot of this depends on which furcon you are attending. I have to say, thank goodness you and your mother did not go to the last Rainfurest, which was a disaster. People misbehaved, and the hotel now refuses to have a furcon there ever again.
HOWEVER! Midwest Furfest is one of the best-run furcons in the nation. I have attended it a couple times back when I still lived in Michigan. The con organizers hire a lot of security staff, and everyone is very vigilant about controlling the crowds, something that is very important with larger cons such as MFF or AC. Misbehavior of any kind (violence, drugs, sexual or even sensual activity) is not tolerated. Indeed, if you or your mother witness anything like that, you should report it to the MFF staff. Make sure that your mother reads all the policies of the furcon; this should go a long way toward comforting her.
As you attend the con, I encourage you to go to the forums, which are informative and tame. Feel free to go to the dealers' den and to the art show. You will note at the art show that there is a part that is restricted for adults only. Point it out to your mother and note that you are not allowed in there. Also, in the dealer's den, artists are required to clearly label any art folders that have X-rated stuff in them. In other words, you can note for your mom that although the furry community does have adult art like this, if you go to a responsible furcon you are not going to be exposed to it. MFF takes this very seriously, as do most other furry conventions.
You were honest with your mother that there are aspects of the community that are for adults, and that's good you did so. If you learn about the history of furry, it actually started as a movement to make comic books and cartoons more adult (not just sex, but adult themes in general). The other, more prominent side of the modern fandom, I believe, is the joy of imagination, creativity, and just having fun with these characters in an innocent and playful way. If they have things like "furry games," take your mom. The furry parade is clean fun, too. Take her to the booth where the sponsored charity will be to show her the good stuff furries do, too.
While I cannot guarantee anything, I think you and your mom will have a great time. It's super that she is willing to go with you and, hopefully, the experience will change her mind from what her friend at the store told her. Oh, and you need to explain to her that there is no such thing as "normal people." If you can, try to meet up with and chat with furries there. Many of them will be very happy to see your mom there with you. We think it's cool when parents support their kids (I once saw a whole furry family at a furcon, and it sure warmed my heart).
Hope this helps, and I hope you have a wonderful, memorable time at MFF!
Hi, Dear Readers,
Today, Papabear is 51. I wanted to take this time to write a column about what this bear has learned by this time in his life. These are things that are at the core of the advice that I give people who write to me, so perhaps they will help you understand where I am coming from.
This is not everything I've learned, but it includes the highlights. Thanks for reading.
How do I become a furry? And where can I go?
Anonymous (Cape Town, SA)
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How do you "become a furry"? Well, it is a very long and arduous process. You have to find someone who belongs to our secret furry organization to sponsor you. Once you've paid the $100 to join, you must go through a grueling period of training on how to be a "true furry." This is followed by an initiation that can be quite physical and painful (I cannot divulge the details lest I be punished). When you have been trained, you go into your apprenticeship during which you must find 20 furries to be your benefactors/owners. You will be their servant for the next year and you will have to do all they ask. Next, you are in your journeyman period for another year. This is when you must learn to make your own fursuit and you must wear it all the times, day and night. When that is completed, you are taken to the Super-Secret Furry Den, where you will be given a special ring you must always wear and swear your oath of fealty. If you ever break it or try to leave the fandom, you will be hunted down and eaten.
I'm kidding, of course. Please forgive a silly ol' bear. We all tend to make things much more complicated than they need to be.
Want to be a furry? Then be a furry. If you like furries, you're a furry. Ain't hard, hon.
As for "Where can I go?" That's all up to you. Easiest thing to do is simply search online for furry groups in social networks etc. and start chatting with furries. These days, you can't shake a proverbial stick online without hitting a furry.
Since you kindly provided your location, however, I can point you to a couple places in your area.
Good luck! Have fun!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.