Talking to Strangers: Furry Convention

"It’s really weird and intimidating to talk to someone though a wolf mask." "Of course it is. That is the appeal."


Last week, the 16th annual Anthrocon, the world’s largest gathering of furries, was held in Pittsburgh.

“Crimson,” 23 

How big a part of your life is the whole furry culture?
A very small amount because I am still very new to the game.

How did you become interested?
This creature right here [points to someone]. We’ve known each other for about four years now. That’s how I was introduced to it to begin with. I had no idea what it was until it was explained to me. The sighting came first and then the explanation.

What do you mean “the sighting?”
I was hanging out with him and his roommate at their house and this was one of the first few times I was hanging out with them, and he just came out wearing these enormous orange feet and I thought they were kind of interesting-looking slipper things. I’m like, “Where did you get those?” and he’s like, “Wait, wait, there’s more!” and he came back decked out in full orange fox suit costume and I was like, “So, were you a mascot in college and this is like a memento or what? What is this?” That’s when the explanation came.

What was the worst date you’ve ever been on?
It was a guy who met me at my work, when I was working at Express. The guy walked in, asked me out and I said OK. We met at a coffee shop. He was a half an hour late and apparently had no idea what your standard latte from Starbucks was, so I had to explain to him all the different flavor types. The whole time I felt like he was just analyzing me but not really listening to anything I was saying. I started looking around thinking, “How do I get out of here?” because I could talk to the wall and it would react with just as much interest as this guy. I think he was just hanging out with me and hoping I’d shut up and go home with him. I started telling particular stories to freak him out. I told him about my one and only experience at a night fetish club, which a girlfriend invited me to.

Tell me about how you found yourself in a fetish club.
I have a girlfriend I have known for ever and ever and ever. She’s always been a punky goth girl. That wasn’t our common point of interest; that was just how she acted, but she‘s a sweetheart. At one point she was like, “You have to go to this club with me. I’m a member,” and I said, “Sure, I’ll try it out. Just don‘t expect me to do anything crazy. I just want to go in and check it out.” It was OK. It was different. It was even different for an experience clubbing. It looks a vampire coven when you walk in. It’s very dark. There are little white candles on the tables. There is a room with an X on the door with a swing in there. I just stayed out of that room.

And you thought this would repel this guy? Because I would think if he was just looking for sex, he’d think, “Oh, this girl has been to a fetish club; my chances are better!”
He was an awkward panda, so no. It made him say, “Oh, look at the time; I should be going,” and I was like, “Buh-bye, get going.”

So based on your experience, should people avoid hitting on someone while they were working on the job?
Because I get blushy and shy when people hit on me, I didn’t know to handle that, other than to say, “No, thank you.” I’ve gotten numbers a couple times while at work and other than the one I haven‘t taken any up on those.

Has anyone ever told you something inappropriate?
Oh, god yeah! I had a group of males come up to me when I was working and they were like, “What’s going on, girl?” and I was like, “Um, I’m folding clothes. Can I help you with anything?” It ended up with, “So, listen I would like to get your number so maybe we could hook up sometime. Maybe you want to hook up or if you have a girlfriend with low self-esteem or low confidence.”

That was the wording?
That was the wording. I looked at him like I was probably going to smack his face clear off. I was like, “If I did, I would not let her ten feet in front of you, pal.”


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