The adventures of a New Jersey college professor with very strange friends, colleagues, and family members.

Friday, June 16, 2006

1,500 Insane People

The day finally dawned at the Furry convention, and it was time for me to “gather material,” as Andrew said. The particular convention I went to was called Anthrocon—you can find out more about it here: Seriously, go look. I'll wait.

When we arrived in Philadelphia, I was immediately terrified because not only were there about 1,500 people there, but they were all dressed as animals (apparently, this is called “wearing a fursuit”). Frightened, I grabbed Tracey’s arm and refused to let her go.

I then noticed something strange…there was no talking. Apparently, since animals can’t speak, people dressed as animals can’t, either.

If you want to know how fursuiters do communicate, it’s by way of an activity called “skritching.” This involves going up to a compete stranger and scratching them on the back, with their paws or hooves or whatever the hell else they’re wearing. I wasn't there three minutes before a gorilla approached me and started "skritching" my back. Now, I’m a very friendly person, but that kind of freaked me out. "I'm sorry," I said, "but please stop doing that."

The gorilla turned sadly away, and made a big show out of his shoulders drooping a little.

The only Furry that spoke to me was a man dressed as an ostrich who asked me: “Do you want to yiff?”

Confused, I asked, “is that like dancing?”

I then discovered that “yiffing” is having sex while still wearing your costumes. While I’m not the most suave person when it comes to sex, I do prefer it with, you know, a human being and not an ostrich.

Tracey thought I’d be more comfortable in the Art Gallery, so we went there. Oh, dear God.

Easily 80% of the art (which, bizarrely, as all very well drawn) was X-rated, and included many drawings of foxes having sex with wolves, tigers having sex with horses, and dogs having sex with squirrels. Even weirder was that the non-explicit art all seemed to include lesbians. And people were actually buying it.

Thoroughly freaked, I went back upstairs to my hotel room and immediately called Andrew. He was just as weirded-out as I was. While I was talking to him, someone knocked on the door.

I opened the door and saw…Steve. He was dressed in full horse regalia, looming over me in a latex horse suit and a rubber head. He was at least seven feet tall and looked terrifying. My first thought was: “My God, he’s between me and the door.”

I babbled some excuse about using the pool, and took off. By the time I got back downstairs to the convention, something called “The Fursuit Dance” had begun. It truly has to be seen to be believed. Hundreds of people dressed up like cats, lions, birds and gorillas, were freaking out on the dance floor. The music seemed to be some sort of modern industrial music and they had a laser light show, followed by a talent show. When that was all over, they had a “Fursuit Parade”, which is pretty much self-explanatory.

The only workshop that I attended was for a Tarot card reading. It didn't go well. Being divorced, I wanted to ask if I had a shot in hell of every finding somebody else. Sadly, the reader shook her head and said; "I'm sorry, I don't see any relationship cards in your reading at all."

The convention wrapped up with a huge meeting trying to figure out how to improve the convention next year. I wanted to suggest “no yiffing”, but I think I would be overruled.

And there you have it…my dealings with the Furries. I promise my next entry will be even more bizarre.


  • At 10:04 AM, Blogger guru said…

    I've heard once you go furrie you never go back....
    That is too funny. And I do think Andrew owes you big time....

  • At 7:35 AM, Blogger rua_atha said…

    Agreed. Andrew owes you for your time lost and the PTSD you will be suffering, at the Very least!

  • At 6:10 AM, Blogger Cinnamon Marine said…

    Eep! What a thoroughly weird experience! I'm not surprised you freaked out.

  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger Rhiannon said…

    What? Rubber doe suits aren't the next big fashion craze?

  • At 1:36 PM, Blogger Elizabeth Sanford-Anson said…

    Luckily I was able to understand your meaning when you used the words "skritching" and "yiffing" as those coincidently happen to be the two slang words explained on the Furry episode of CSI.

    I wonder why the ostrich wanted to yiff with you when you weren't even in costume though. Odd.


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