NOTE: This is a transcript of a podcast for those with hearing difficulties, those that prefer to read, and those who would prefer to not hear the sound of my voice. 😉
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number one hundred and 112, “A Furry Thing Happened on the Way to the Convention,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
For the last eight years and change, I have been a member of the furry community. I have gone to furry conventions, written furry stories, published furry story collections, given furry presentations, taken lots of pictures of fursuiters, and made many new furry friends. While my furry experience has been wonderful so far, like so many things in my life, it sometimes gets a little weird. Okay, make that weirdER…
While not my first furry convention; Furry Fiesta 2013 was significant for me, because unlike the previous year, which was my first furcon, I now had a number of friends that were also going also to be there. Just like everything else in life, having friends around makes conventions a lot more fun.
One evening during the convention, I went with some friends to eat at a restaurant. The food was good, the company was pleasant, and we all enjoyed a nice meal. While waiting to receive our checks, the manager approached our table and asked us how everything was. We let her know that we were happy with the food and service. She noticed that some of us were wearing our convention badges, so she asked if we were in town for a convention. We answered that yes, we were, but nobody had an answer for the obvious follow-up question:
“What kind of convention is it?”
Everybody at the table, including myself, instantly froze up. I have never before, in my entire life, seen seven grown adults go totally deer-in-headlights. Everybody looked back and forth at each other, expecting somebody else to say something. Finally, after about ten seconds of awkward silence, somebody said: “It’s an ART convention!” That answer immediately snapped everybody out of their daze and the rest of the evening went on as expected.
For what it’s worth, I came up with a five-word explanation of furry that tends to satisfy most folk’s curiosity, and those five words are: “Nerds who like cartoon animals.”
For the last few years, I have presented educational panels at various conventions in Texas including RealmsCon, Comicpalooza, Fiesta Equestria, and San Japan. I’ve talked about publishing e-books, recording audio, and of course, furries, in a panel called Furry 101. The point of Furry 101 is to give outsiders the low-down on what furries are all about. In the interest of full disclosure, I do also include some of the weird stuff, but since the panel is for an all-ages audience, I can’t go too far.
A few years ago at San Japan, I was presenting Furry 101 to an audience of about two hundred people, my largest audience ever. As I’m doing so, I’m looking over my audience, making sure that I have their attention and looking to see that I don’t have too many people walking out. One person that stuck out was a gentleman that looked to be a bit older. Not super-old, mind you, but in an anime convention, if you’re over 40, you’re going to stick out a little bit. I figured he was there with his child. Much to my delight, he looked to be engaged in the presentation, but the expression on his face became, shall we say, less happy once I got to the weird stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that weird, but the presentation slide that mentions adult art certainly got his attention. I felt terrible after the fact, thinking: “Oh my God. I have totally ruined furry for his kid. They’re going to be locked away in their home forever and never be allowed to associate with those ‘animal people weirdos’ ever again.”
Fast forward a few months. Come to my surprise, I bumped into the gentleman and his child at Furry Fiesta. If I remember correctly, his name was Kevin. He thanked me for the presentation, much to my relief. I’ve spoken with a few more parents after Furry 101 since then and have even come across a few folks that have joined the fandom after attending my panel. Granted, the panel is not supposed to be a recruiting tool, but if folks want to join the club after the fact, who am I to argue?
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I insert more subliminal messages into my Furry 101 panel slides. I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear more 300 seconds subscribe via your favorite podcast app and check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com. Thank you for listening! Be good, take care, and God bless.