Furry Fandom: Furst Things Furst

alice_art.gifIntent on finding out more about Fur, a little Googling led me to a Furry Fandom chat site, where I created an identity, Monkey Monk, as much a play on Marky Mark as an homage to the animal of my Chinese zodiac, the monkey. Besides, I think monkeys are really cute.

A couple hellos and I was welcomed by a feline friend of whom I asked a few embarrassingly perfunctory questions. In the absence of an exact transcript, it went a little something like this:

“I’m completely new to Fur.” I even capitalized as a show of respect. “How does one learn more about it?”

“Well, you found this site, so you’re doing okay,” said a feline with a playful tease, in perfect keeping with her “fursona“. A few more furry friends chimed in with brief welcomes, and others disregarded the noob, chatting amongst themselves. Another, a wolf I think, howled, “You might want to rethink the monkey thing. Monkeys aren’t very popular.”

“Really why?”

“Because humans ARE monkeys, of course, and some of us try to be as far removed from humans as possible.”

“And the fursuits aren’t usually as good,” someone chided.

Great. From what I’d read about Fur before finding the chat site, I was supposed to choose an animal with which I identified, which I felt reflected who I am inside. A very personal choice indeed. So even among the disenfranchised, I’m disenfranchised. I felt like I was back in high school, with the “cool kids” being foxes and wolves, and dogs and cats, and bears, and a bucket of random creatures like meerkats and raccoons. There are also “Scalies“, “Avians” and “Fantasy” dragons, unicorns, hybrids and such, although there were none in this chat, and not a monkey anywhere.

The utter absence of monkeys (except for gorillas, which are evidently a readily-available cop out common to novices) only confirmed that I’d chosen the right animal, “And I’m going to be the best damned monkey they’ve ever seen,” I thought. Regardless, I tried to change the subject.

I addressed the friendly feline, “So is it a good first step to go to Califur?” Califur is the Los Angeles area furry convention.

“As good a place as any,” came one response, and then another, “You might get overwhelmed, and feel excluded.” Another still chimed in, “I don’t think he’d get overwhelmed, I started out at a con,” and still another, “It’s a bad idea. Perhaps a small fur meet.” “Yes, yes, a fur meet. Good fur meet last month, wasn’t it?” “Yes, really good…” and off they went about the fur meet.

And they said the convention would make me feel excluded.

Undaunted, I barked again, “A fur meet? How could I find one? Does anyone know of one in LA?” I asked.

“Try Google. Got you here, didn’t it?” Then an awkward silence, or at least an awkward blankness, since chats are usually inherently silent. A bird chirped. A squirrel skittered. A furry asked another about some photos they’d taken.

I readdressed the feline, “So how did you know you were into Fur?” A fair question, I figured.

“Well, you’re not really ‘into Fur’,” one chided, “It’s ‘Furry’.” I imagined the collective laughter, like a scene in Bambi where the woodland creatures are all laughing at the awkward fawn.

“Okay, so how did you know you were into Furry?” I persisted.

“No, one IS a Furry. One is into Furries,” corrected one, and another continued, “Or Furry Fandom.” Still another added, “Or you’re a Furry Fan.” “I don’t know does one say they’re ‘into Furry Fandom’?” “Or you just say you’re into Fur,” said yet another, “but isn’t that what he said in the furst place?”

Suddenly there was a critter cacophony in the room, discussing the semantics of my question with furry fervor, and yet, not answering the question at all. All at once, I felt just exactly like Alice at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, teapots hooting and dishes rattling and guests exchanging seats, all the while acutely aware that the people at this newly mad tea party may actually be dressed as hares and dormice.

My kind words of thanks and hasty exit went completely unnoticed, as the linguistic furpile frolic was well underway, and I was logged off faster than you can say “Through the looking glass.”

There must be another way.

2 Responses to “Furry Fandom: Furst Things Furst”

  1. 1 Silkeyn
    Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Lol. Don’t mind them. I know a monkey furry. Just remember, humans are animals too, and specific linguistics are irrelevent. Furry has all kinds of people in it, including a few nutty ones, as you’ve seen. Anyway, you can email me if you want to know anything about furry.

  2. Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Monkeys are not very popular, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one as your fursona. Only you know what your personal representation should be; and in my view, there’s more than enough foxes and wolves already. Besides, you’re not totally alone – check out “Category:Primate characters” at WikiFur.

    CYD’s guide was written with something of a tongue-in-cheek attitude. I recommend taking it with a pinch of salt. Of course, I’m biased towards WikiFur here, but at least we *try* to be neutral. 😉

    Conventions can be pretty big, but they don’t have to be overwhelming (and Califur is hardly the largest around). Wikipedia has an article on furry conventions; read up and decide for yourself. I think they’re a lot of fun. Others prefer smaller gatherings – especially if they have a particular group of friends that they’re comfortable with – but I think you owe it to yourself to try a con out. It’s a great way to meet lots of new people.

    You can best find local furmeets by talking to local furs. LiveJournals are a good place to start. One possibility is the Prancing Skiltaire, a house that has long been owned by furries in Garden Grove. I understand they have fairly regular furmeets.

    Most people find they’re “into furry” when they start running into the artwork online and saying “hey, that looks neat”. Perhaps they were fans of cartoon shows with anthropomorphic characters. Or, they might like roleplaying and figure it would be interesting to take on animal form. It varies.

    As for semantics, don’t get too hung up about it. Whether you say fur, or furry, or whatever, it’s much the same thing. 🙂

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