No, I'm not kidding.

For reasons not connected to this telling, we were standing on the boardwalk in November, with our bare feet wet. The family plus Floyd were talking, while Alex, wrapped as a pearl in a shell of blankets, slept. Waves crashed as a daylight moon swelled the Atlantic. We rinsed the sand off our feet and began to discuss dinner plans. Two people walked by dressed in Wolf Costumes. We took notice, and then looked further up the boardwalk from whence the wolves arrived.

The Furries were walking seven abreast. Wolves, dogs, squirrels, cats, and something with the head of an Egyptian Anubis waved at gawkers and pointers. The Anubis wore a long black outfit reminiscent of a Death Star commander. The rest were dressed in the fuzzy attire of their preferred character. The girls were stunned…then delighted. All three insisted on having a picture taken with the Furry crowd.

The girls thought they were pretty cool...fur real.

Furries, contrary to popular belief (mine included) aren’t necessarily a bunch of freaks trolling for a new place to “yiff”. The concept began back in the 1980s as Comic Conventions competed for geek bucks against Trek Conventions. Mostly, these folks identify with their chosen “animal” and purchase or make a costume to reflect their cartoonish identity. Maybe they find it interesting, or wish they were as strong, cunning, or fast. The Furry’s head is usually smiling, and except for the Egyptian Death Star guy, all of our Furry friends seemed pleasant enough.

Misconceptions abound about Furries. Admittedly, I had reservations. My only exposure to this culture was from TV shows wherein costumed clad adults would yiff the hell out of each other. Standing on the boardwalk as the girls posed I had the feeling I was watching a GLEE mashup of Monster Mash and I Touch Myself. When the Event Organizer, a guy in ‘civilian’ attire who goes by Casey Red Fox, handed my oldest daughter a business card, my neck turned Red. I took the card from her as they moved on and shoved it in my pocket.

Since then I’ve read some more about the Furries. I’ve looked into it because I felt protective over my kids. Also, I dislike casting my ignorance around as if it were strength.

Furries are outcasts who use their love of cartoons, creativity, and inherent oddness to form groups, hang out, and generally find a connection to other people. Their costumes, in some ways, are like shields against the isolation they may have experienced over the years. Tammy pointed out that it is also a way of receiving some fame. When I thought back on our kids and their reactions I saw this was true. To our kids, the Furries weren’t a bunch of geeks, weirdos, or sexual deviants…they were just people dressed up in smiling furry costumes willing to take a picture. They made our trip more interesting.

There probably is something to the “bestiality in disguise” aspect. Dressing up like a Lion so you can screw other people dressed up like Lions has to signify some level of attraction to Lions…? Yes?  BUT, my kids aren’t Lions…so…whatever…

As I looked around the internet for some Furry photos to share, I realized we all share in some of this seeming Furry insanity. Dressing up like a Cat and walking down the Boardwalk is really no more odd than dressing up like a Business person and walking into work. The business clothes are more accepted, but the idea is the same. Dress up like a character, behave a certain way, and you receive a reward. A reward that allows you to feel important, needed, richer, connected, powerful, and meaningful or whatever…

A costume is a costume…
But what kid goes nuts over a guy in suit hugging his laptop?