Furries Are Weird. Furries Are Scary.
[Editor’s Note: Portions of this article were originally written as a part of RFSHQ.com’s lineup on December 10th, 2004 (”Humpy Humpy Dinos”). Excerpts have been modified and new content has been added to it since its original posting.]
Furries. I say one word and instantly you’re either intrigued or disgusted (or other words not appropriate for this article). “Furry” is a subculture of the Internet with an innocent side that’s completely overshadowed by the overwhelmingly gargantuan portion of the fandom that is riddled with bizarre fetishes and costumes with holes in very peculiar places. I can tell you with a straight face that I know some of the cleaner furries and I know just as many if not more of the “darker” ones and frankly I don’t care either way. Whatever floats your boat, yeah? Lots of furs like to claim that “it’s not about the adult stuff” but, yeah, it kind of is. Saying that furry isn’t about the adult artwork is like saying you go to McDonalds just because you like the napkins; you aren’t fooling anybody. I don’t have a problem with furries, some of them are pretty nice but it’s the socially awkward ones you have to watch out for.
In a very early article I wrote for RFSHQ that later became arguably one of the website’s “Greatest Hits” I detailed my misadventures in the public schooling system with a particular furry. I knew he was a furry just from looking at him, if you can believe that. People have that 6th sense (a.k.a. a “gaydar”) to know when someone is gay, well there’s also another 6th sense where you can guess if someone is into furry stuff just by looking at them and this guy fit the bill. I mean no ill-intent, but he stumbled over words, was socially shy, and looked kinda… well, strange. Perhaps the biggest giveaway, though, was that he sat around and drew Digimon all the time.
He was a nice guy with a pleasant demeanor and he was good at what he drew. Really good. He’d spend 30 minutes on a sketch and you’d shit yourself thinking it was official artwork. To further drive this point home he drew me a bunch of dragons in various poses because I had trouble with the anatomy of arms and legs; the reference work he let me have was amazing. Despite all of this I never really made an effort to get too close to him because he was always kind of overbearing about this furry nonsense. He never directly said anything but it was completely obvious as things went on; when someone shows you a drawing of Renamon that’s basically two circles and a line away from being XXX you know there’s something funny going on. Perhaps he thought I shared that personality trait which is why he consulted me for advice and critique on his art but in all honesty I could have done without seeing all of that Digimon smut during high school.
One fateful day in 2002 I was leaving my history class and walking towards the front of the school. This fellow was also in the same hallway on the opposite side. He was about ten steps in front of me and I wasn’t going to make any effort to start a conversation; I just minded my own business. He dropped his short stack of things, the top of which was crowned by his drawing notebook, and upon hitting the ground everything inside of it cascaded out like a rainbow shooting out of a pot of gold… except instead of a rainbow and a pot of gold it was more like a stream of furry porn shooting out of a notebook containing more furry porn. I just kept walking and inevitably I caught up with him and glanced over as he fervently shuffled his things together and smack on the top of the stack of drawings was an image that was instantly burned into my retinas.
It was a pencil drawing of two Tyrannosaurus rexes making whoopee.
How do you react to THAT? I don’t think I reacted at all, I just froze in place because I was terrified that he’d be made aware of my presence and the last thing I needed was him stalking me and showing me dinosaur porn constantly. Somehow, though, he was alerted to my location by some noise or motion that I can’t quite remember. What I do remember was how he suddenly stopped shuffling his papers on the floor and glanced over at me standing by the wall. He stared at me for what seemed like an hour and me not knowing how to even react to this just stared back. I snapped out of the trance and bolted from the hallway and the rest of my high school life from then on was peppered with Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh drawings. Joy.
By now you’re probably wondering what’s up with me rejecting the drawings when my username clearly dictates that my appropriate response would have been to beat him up, take the drawing notebook, and run. Well let me just put it this way: that’s something you don’t do in public. There is a time and place for that kinda business and “after school in the history hallway” is wrong on both counts. Plus he was spoiled by Digimon and really liked to draw anthropomorphic characters… and I don’t like my dragons like that. I’m dropping some big words on you now, so here’s a handy diagram:
When did this article become about my preferences in dragons? That’s strange. Can we talk about furries again because that’s what I really wanted to do here.
In a more recent twist of events at the university I attend I stumbled upon another furry completely on accident. I’m a Journalism major which means that I like to write and I’m pretty good at it (case in point) and because of that choice I take many writing classes at school. Writing classes bring out all sorts of strange people, folks that seem kind of… off. You can tell they’re odd because they don’t speak or act the same way as regular student do, and yet again my furry radar (Furrydar?) was going off on this one person I share a newswriting class with. He’s a little more creepy than dinosaur boy because every so often in class he’ll look at me, and not like a glance either. He tends to hold a gaze, and I can see him out of my peripherals and that’s unsettling. I don’t know what his infatuation is though, because I hardly talk to him. Either he is assuming something about me or maybe I’m just good looking.
An assignment required me to attend some recent university events and write little excerpts about them using certain news formats. I attended this panel of guest speakers in the field of business and things were fine; then he showed up… and sat right next to me. I can be friendly and I can superficially chit-chat with somebody no problem. This, however, would be my folly.
Furries have this underground “symbol” some of them wear to communicate to others that they like doing unmentionable things in mascot costumes. That symbol, appropriately enough, is a paw print. This tidbit of information was something lost in my head so while I was filling the clock with mindless chatter (because otherwise it was silence with him looking at me) I made the mistake of looking at his keyring and asking about a specific keychain.
“Did you graduate from [name of a high school near where I grew up]?” I asked.
He gave me a puzzled look. “No… why?”
“Oh, your keychain, the paw print. That’s their logo, I thought maybe you went to school there,” I replied.
He grinned just a bit. “Oh, that’s an ‘internet thing’,” he said.
Then that missing piece of stray information hit me right in the face and I had one of those internal “fuck me” moments. My initial hunch was right and now that I think of it my book bag has a pretty generous helping of little dragons and alligators hanging off of it. He is probably assuming I’m a furry and that is exactly why he has been giving me those soul piercing looks from the other side of the lecture room. I’m no furry, but I was at a standstill; if I acknowledge the meaning of that keychain then this staring nonsense isn’t going to get better… but likewise if I play stupid he might start playing 20 Questions with me. Mercifully the (late) guest speakers started their presentation so he shut up and I took my required notes for the assignment and left.
This story has no ending, though, because come Monday he’s likely going to be in class and the cycle begins again.