by Michæl W. Bard
©2007 Michæl W. Bard
I managed to sneak into a local furry breakfast about a month ago. Well, not really sneak, but certainly insinuate myself as a random stranger who said the magic words: Is this that furry thing? The breakfast itself was kinda blahone of those all-you-can-eat buffetsbut there was a lot of it. The big container of nothing but bacon was rather frightening
but this world takes all kinds.
Anyway, the point Im driving at is not the breakfast. Rather, I want to explore one of the most wondrous, and saddest, and most disturbing, things about the furry culture.
Hugs and scritches.
Now, what can possibly be disturbing and sad about that? To answer, Ill need to present a bit of background. I strongly believe that one of the major faults of Western culture is the whole idea, and its implementation, of Personal Space. This is a theory, that I believe is fairly commonly true, which holds that individuals regard their immediate physical surroundings as an extension of themselves, more or less. As a result, people tend not to accept anyone else being in close proximityexcept, of course, when the other person is one they have an intimate relationship with. Assuming the individual in question consciously, or subconsciously, holds to this theory, then they keep everybody at a distance except for individuals important to that person.
Anyway, to get back to the point, this fear of human contact isolates each person from the support of the human tribe. Each person, man or woman alike, stands alone. Those persons who are generally happy or confident are more willing to allow distant acquaintances and strangers to approach them more closely; for everyone else, however (and given the prevalence of real and perceived dangers in this world, that means most of us), we tend to keep everybody, other than a handful of close individuals, at a safe distance.
What this means is that to most humans (and, sadly, I include myself in that group), the idea of regular scritches and hugsof regular close physical contactis entirely foreign. Its just wrong on a very primal level. I fear that this may be the single most effective factor keeping furrydom from being commonly accepted in mainstream culture. Other fringe groups can be weird, but theyre not socially wrong. Weird is far easier to accept.
And as noted above, even I am perturbed by the regular scratching/hugging I see amongst furs. I hate that in myself, and am working to expunge it. Right now Ive reached the point where I enjoy receiving hugs and scritches, and sometimes give them out myselfbut I have to take a deep breath right beforehand to work up the nerve. And even then, I still sort of have a double-take when I see other furs doing it.
Ill get there eventually, never fear. The reward will be worth it.
Oh, and with all the above said and acknowledged, why did I use the word wondrous? Because of that reward I just mentioned: The simple knowledge that near-strangers are there to offer support, to hold you, to confirm that you are important and your happiness is of value, is such a wonderful, amazing, warm feeling. It is often all thats needed to make life worth living.