First of all, thanks so much for writing this column. Early last year, I found out that someone dear to me is a furry and I immediately had a lot of questions and concerns, but this column addressed them all, clarified the fandom for me, and really helped me accept it as not a problem. So again, thank you!
I'll try my best to phrase this as one question only while also including enough details, so it will have a lot of moving parts, sorry!
Me: a straight, female, non-furry who used to have a lot of misgivings (prejudice, even) about the fandom but did more research and has come to understand that it's not what I was worried it was.
Him: a bi, furry male who is kind, smart, diligent, sweet, good-looking, funny, etc., etc. I think that he has a bit of a preference for males, but I don't think us women are completely out of the question. (At least, I hope!)
We met a little more than a year ago through work, where he was my direct supervisor and so any socialization/fraternization would not have been allowed. I developed a crush on him pretty quickly that turned into full-blown feelings before too long (two or three months, I'd say), but I didn't say anything due to company policy and I think I kept it to myself pretty well. We pretty much always had fun chatting at work, and that's when he started dropping hints that he's a furry. I honestly think that he did so based on some things I said that may have sounded like I was a furry (referring to the public at large as “humans,” that kind of thing). It didn't take me long to put two and two together and I realized, “Holy cow, he's what???” Cue initial freak out and worry session.
But I knew him well enough to see that the things I thought I knew about furries were simply incompatible with the good person I was certain he was. So either he wasn't a furry—which he definitely was—or I was wrong about furries. So I decided to really learn the truth about things, and a day or two of proper research (and finding this column!) proved to me that I was incorrect to freak out. Hooray for knowledge combatting prejudice! I was able to stay friendly and close with him at work and the fact that he is in the fandom no longer bothered me.
He left the company for better and brighter things, and I hoped that would be my chance to ask him out, but a) he's really shy, and b) I'm a total chicken (in the figure-of-speech sense), and so it seemed like I would never see him again. But we kept in touch via text, and eventually he revealed to me that he’s in the fandom. So now I know that he knows that I know that he's a furry. Phew! Many failed attempts at planning outings together later, we've hung out a handful of times over the course of the 6 or so months since he left our company. I even went to a (non-furry) con with him in town and got to see him in his fursuited glory—it was pretty awesome!!!
That being said, none of our outings have been dates, even though most of them have been one-on-one. Virtually all of them have happened because I planned them and made them happen. I've told him he could invite his friends to some of them, but he never has. I did meet some of his fandom friends at the con, but it was fairly awkward—almost like he was embarrassed with them about me, or maybe vice-versa. We talk often about the technical aspects of his fursuiting (I'm a tech nerd, and I like problem-solving), but pretty much not at all about deeper matters (his relationships within the fandom, his experience of his furriness growing up, that sort of thing).
I guess the heart of my question is this: Why aren't these fun mutual activities turning into dates? Do I stand a chance of being his girlfriend, or am I disqualified because I'm female/straight/a mundane? Or perhaps he feels embarrassed to hang out with me and his friends at the same time because I'm a mundane? To be clear, I would be 100% fine with being just friends with him. He’s an incredibly awesome person who would be well worth hanging out platonically with, so I'm scared to come right out and address the matter head-on for fear of losing my chance of being just-friends with him. Surely he can tell that I'm okay with his furriness by now, so does he think I wouldn’t want a more-than-friends relationship with him because of it?
I would love to know where I stand with him and if I have a chance of being more than friends, but don't know how to proceed.
Thanks so much, Papa Bear!
MundaneButCrazyFurHim (age 25)
* * *
My my, I am so glad that my column answered your questions about the furry fandom and you are more comfortable with it.
Let’s begin by stating the obvious: Papabear has no idea what is going on inside the mind of your furry friend, but his shyness likely hampers his ability to tell you whether he likes, dislikes, or is indifferent to you. However, he seems agreeable to spending time with you, so it is probably safe to assume he at least likes you.
I don’t think it’s fair to accuse him of not wanting to date you because you aren’t a furry (many furries such as myself have romantic relationships with mundanes), and if he is bi there is no reason to assume he is avoiding something more because you are a woman (lots of bi people decide to have serious relationships with one sex or the other).
You have also done a lot to make him feel comfortable about you, mostly about his being a furry. Have you also reassured him that you’re okay with his being bi? That seems to be the one element of the equation that has not been thoroughly addressed. Here’s a good article that might clear up some misconceptions on the matter.
I would like to suggest you spend at least as much time learning about bisexuality as you have about his being furry. Show to him that you are just as comfortable about that as you are with his being a furry. That might be what is causing him to pause.
I hope that helps.
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.