by Phil Geusz
©2006 Phil Geusz
If you ask a fur what the fandoms all about, you usually get a pretty straightforward answer. The fandom, youll be informed, is a group of individuals who happen to like music, stories, cartoons, videos and art featuring anthropomorphic animals. And, that answer is correct insofar as it goes. I believe, however, that theres a lot more to it.
Recently I read a mainstream newspaper article written by a pair of reporters whod infiltrated a furcon. Like most such self-appointed spies, they tried in vain to seek out the ever-elusive yiff rooms and furpiles made famous by smear pieces on MTV and elsewhere. These reporters, in fact, specialized in reporting on all the kinky activities in their particular town. (While such activities probably do exist at furcons, Ive been to a whole slew of such events and have yet to come across anything like them. And, I suspect, Im probably better at snooping out such things at furry events than any mundane reporter could ever be.) What they actually found, however, was a bunch of people intent on having a good time together, and succeeding. In fact, their closing line read, they couldnt ever remember having such a fun (clean) time with a bunch of strangers in their entire lives. And this, they admitted, was the last thing theyd expected.
Silly, uninformed reporters!
Im not sure exactly what it is about furry that makes the average furfan such a pleasant person to be around. Perhaps its because once an adult admits that they like anthro animals, they can never take themselves too seriously again. I mean, can you picture a truly pretentious, self-important asshole walking around in a public place wearing ears and a tail? Or, maybe its because you have to be in touch with your inner child in order to be a fur-fan; you have to be capable of letting the kid inside of you out to play, which is fun for everyone. Whatever the reason, furs as a group are the nicest, most pleasant-to-be-around folks Ive ever met in my life, bar none. At a furcon, I can sit down at a table and set up a board game, confident that pretty much anyone who sits down across from me will prove to be a pleasant companion for an evenings pleasure. I can invite perfect strangers to my restaurant table, and know that Ill enjoy a delightful dinner conversation with someone who will, most likely, have a large store of interesting tales to share. This stands in sharp contrast to almost any other form of social gathering Ive ever experienced, where I generally find my fellow attendees to be dull, crude, and more interested in playing the Im higher status than you game than in genuine camaraderie.
To be perfectly honest, Ive long since seen enough fursuits to last me the rest of my life. Nothing in a Dealers Den has held my attention in several years, and with the notable exception of panels on writing (Im voraciously interested in my personal artform) and a few quality acts like 2s rants and pretty much anything done by Uncle Kage, theres not much scheduled at most cons to hold my interest any more. I come for the people, for the companionship, for a brief escape from a mundane world full of short-sighted salesmen and business-types who couldnt think outside the box to save their lives. For a brief weekend, I can talk to my kind of people about things that are interesting, instead of where the next big real estate boom is going to be and how I need to buy the exact same kind of cookie-cutter house in exactly the same kind of soulless neighborhood as everyone else in order to take advantage of it. Thats what everyones doing, the mundane world continually whispers into my ear. So should you. If not, youre weird.
Well, as it happens, I am weird. Even worse, I enjoy being weird more than anything else on earth, and spend most of my days laughing quietly up my sleeve as the mundane majority consumes their every waking moment in their obsessive monomaniacal drive to become ever less remarkable and different. Ive found that I very much enjoy the company of folks every bit as unbalanced and as unwilling to kneel at the altar of conventionality as I am. In fact, given a choice, Id never return to cold, unimaginative normalcy at all.
Unlike those two reporters I mentioned earlier, you see, Ive known all along that adults who retain active imaginations and value play are a lot more fun to be around than people who aspire to nothing more than dignity and drab ordinariness. I learned many years back that a creative, unpretentious, and merry soul is a beautiful soul. And, from the day I first encountered furry fandom, I knew that Id finally found the brotherhood Id always yearned for. Furriness is a self-weeding phenomenon. Practically all the assholes take one look, then leave doubled-over laughing and pointing and making trash-TV specials. Well, good riddance to them all! I, for one, dont miss that sort even just a little bit. In fact, I pay good money several times a year to be rid of them for a few precious days.
Ive got friends left over from before I discovered furry, and they remain close friends indeed. But they are a tiny handful, gleaned from among thousands of mere acquaintances. Among furs, its unusual for me to meet someone and not part friends, to not wish to stay in touch and look forward to seeing them again. The difference is huge, and in my book is the essence of what makes the fandom work. What makes the brotherhood work.
At the core, you see, furry really and truly is a brotherhood, more than anything else. Yes, we share an interest in certain forms of art. But that very interest, I would submit, is indicative of shared values and traits that run far deeper than mere artistic taste. We are more alike than we can easily see, most of us, far more alike than perhaps wed even willingly admit. Thats the secret to why we get along so well, and bond so easily and deeply.
We are furs. We are brothers. We are one.
Be proud. You are in excellent company.