The Further Confusion convention is a Neverland-like utopia for adults who don’t want to grow up—at least for one weekend.
By Harmon Leon
Numerous questions cross my mind while looking at the simulated dragon vagina. From under a blue cloth, the mad scientist behind this niche sex toy unveils Fem Dragon. “This is the prototype,” he states with a Scottish accent. He explains that Fem Dragon won’t be available until later this year. During product testing he says he discovered, “We made the hole too small!”
Impressed that one could create the scaly sexual reproductive organs of a mythical creature that breathes fire, I realize this is the first time I’ve ever looked directly at a man who has willingly fucked a simulated dragon vagina. In the furry community he’s a dragonkin—in a past life he lived as a dragon and still retains those memories. (Conveniently, dragonkin never show non-dragonkin their powers.) Naturally, dragon-related carnal relations would be second nature to this man.
Fem Dragon’s impresario is just one of the thousands of furries who have congregated at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose for the Further Confusion convention—the second largest furry gathering in the country (the world’s largest is in Pittsburgh). Furries are people who like anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities. Some suit up in elaborate animal costumes to create walking, talking animal/human hybrids, while others merely sport animal tails and ears.
The original furries were simply into the kind of animals you’d see in Warner Bros. cartoons. Then a furry dark side evolved. Alongside the wholesome furries who come to Further Confusion to learn such things as team mascot skills or how to draw rabbits, there is a niche group that likes to partake in sex while adorned in full furry regalia. Furverts are sexually turned on by the whole animal/human hybrid experience. These deviant troublemakers, who are also known as yiffs, give the other furries a bad rep. Think of them as the seedy anthropomorphic black sheep of the furry family.
Hollywood hasn’t helped. CSI had an episode called “Fur and Loathing” that followed a murder case linked to a furpile (furry orgy or yiffing).
On Entourage, Johnny Drama donned a pink bunny suit with a hole cut out for his privates so he could bone a furry in a squirrel costume who yelped woodland noises while in the throes of sex.
So now—or so I’ve been told—many furries feel as if they’ve been pushed to the back of the fantasy-role-playing bus because the world is only interested in the sexual aspect of their community. But I want to find out for myself. Throwing together a bunch of random leftover accessories from various Halloween costumes (pig mask, bear ears, furry vest), I’m going to infiltrate the world of furry fandom. If asked, I’m “ManBearPig” from South Park. I’ll go by the moniker “Zoran XT.”
The lobby of the Doubletree looks like the furry equivalent of the Star Wars bar (or a Hunter S. Thompson
acid trip).A sea of furries mingles as the hotel staff looks on with bemused expressions. Some furries are dragged around on leashes. Two coyotes teasingly simulate oral sex. A pair of wolves make out, then playfully communicate through mime.
“Welcome to the village—you’ve been hugged, tagged, and sent back to the community,” a wolf/human hybrid announces to a man in shorts, initiating him into the pack.
It’s like a creepy Halloween celebration or comic-book convention minus comics and booth babes. Not entirely devoid of hot female interaction—even though the convention is roughly 90 percent male—much flirting is involved when it comes to the busty female furries. The elevator opens. Three large female animal characters emerge: a big-breasted cat with pink hair, a curvy wolf draped in a tight dress, and a belly-dancing, yellow-haired giraffe. As they spill into the festivities, large IT guys sporting animal tails become very flirty with the busty female furries. Dungeons & Dragons–types amorously surround a corsetclad horse. These are the guys who got a “funny feeling” every time they saw Bugs Bunny wearing a dress, and took it to the next level.
“Thank goodness there are a lot of other freaks out there to join me!” exclaims a furry named Chad. “I get all giddy dressing up as a giant furry rat! We’re all ridiculous. I choose to put the pride aside, and simply party how I wish to.”
And it is fun. My pig mask lends the complete anonymity I need to schmooze at leisure.
“Where’s the dogs?” someone playfully jests as what appears to be the cast of Cats scampers by, speaking German. The felines pose for snapping cameras. “Here kitty, kitty, kitty!”
“We outgrew the Doubletree years ago,” a photographer shares, gleefully snapping away. “I came here in ’98, and
you could fit all the costume characters into one hotel room.”
“There are usually lots of wolves and foxes, some cats,” notes a large humanoid nursing a beer by the bar. “This year we have some horses and deer.” His excitement grows. “I even saw a Minotaur!” Though wearing human clothes, the large man has adopted a furry name that sounds like “Trendevar.”
“Why do you think people are so into anthropomorphic characters?”
“For ages, anthropomorphic animals were there to teach us lessons,” Trendevar reasons seriously. “Like Aesop’s fables. Kids learn because they can relate to the animal kingdom.”
“What kind of lessons?”
“Lessons about overcoming adversity and learning from our mistakes!”
I wonder to myself what lessons kids learn from a simulated dragon vagina.
Though a wolf and a lion grope each other and a group of guys grind on a rodeo dog, the furries are trying desperately to change their fur-suitbonking image. As stated on the Further Confusion website, Doubletree’s lobby must remain PG-13:
Groping, tongue battles, and nudity are not allowed. Collars and leashes may be worn discreetly, but blatant displays of bondage or BDSM in public may result in your badge being taken away. “Anatomically correct” costumes must be likewise clothed.
Apparently, “anatomically correct” mishaps have occurred in the past. But not all furries come to Further Confusion to bonk while wearing their costumes. “I don’t really go in for the fur-suit sex,” says Zuki, a large mythical beast with green eyes and fangs. “It’s way too uncomfortable in one of those costumes to have much fun, and you’ll only ruin an expensive piece of work!”
“The ones with stripes are more expensive because they need to be hand-sewn,” Trendevar interjects. Fur suits can range from $500 to $8,000, and it can take a craftsman up to 80 hours to construct a complex fur head. Some include movable animatronics. “The more elaborate costumes have fans built in.”
All attention turns to a dog in an intricate fur suit engineered to appear like it’s walking on all fours. Zoran XT follows the canine as it waddles toward an area with a large sign that reads, “Please only fur suits and helpers. No photos or video.”
“What goes on here?”
“This is the Headless Lounge,” announces the gatekeeper. “This is where people come to chill out and take their heads off ’cause it gets hot!”
Adjusting my pig mask, I enter the place others don’t get to see. In front of industrial-size fans, furries sit with their heads off, looking severely dehydrated. Near a rack for hanging large furry heads, sewing machines and glue are on hand for fur-suit emergency repairs.
A headless Clifford sits in stony silence—the complete opposite of his outer, hugely smiling shell.
“That’s certainly a big, red costume,” comments a heavyset girl brushing the yellow mane of a furry horse. Clifford remains silent.
Enter the popular kids. The busty female furry characters who’ve been turning men’s heads throughout the convention march in. Strutting their stuff, the sexy corset-wearing horse with huuuge tightly bound boobs removes her head. And … it’s a dude! The sexy coyote/Fembot also takes off her head. Another dude! More heads removed. More dudes. This is like some weird frickin’ furry Crying Game. It’s a whole flock of big-breasted guys—a tribe of men with tails, corsets, and fake J. Lo booties partaking in furry cross-dressing. Many issues are being explored here.
“I finally got the cleavage to work after much engineering,” the busty horse/dude—who towers around six two—says, pointing to his big breasts. “It’s a gel.”
“That’s sexy,” the busty coyote/dude replies. “I got this makeup in New Zealand.”
“Come here!” the busty horse/dude says to a guy bouncing on a coyote’s lap. He thrusts the guy’s head between his gel breasts. Other men come over for a feel.
This is like in World War II when a guy from the army troop would put on a dress for the talent show and the rest of the platoon would flirt with him.
“You do get groped!” the horse/dude confesses about furry crossdressing.
Lone Clifford suits up. He puts on his big red head. Once intact, Clifford suddenly comes to life. Clifford the Big Red Dog is now extremely animated. Following at his heel toward the lobby, we pass Tony the Tiger’s girlfriend (is she also a dude?) and members of the San Jose Fire Department (or fetish fantasy group?). Clifford is now dancing like crazy.
On day two, I am accompanied by an infiltrating partner-inanthropomorphic-crime. Going by the pseudonym “Fluffy,” she is also attired in random Halloween costume accessories, including a large bunny nose. Fluffy and I head toward the volunteer brain center coined the “Gofur Room.” As convention volunteers, we vow to do no volunteer duties whatsoever.
“You’re not ManBearPig from South Park, are you?” a volunteer dressed as Napoleon Dynamite asks upon our arrival.
“Affirmative!” I reply in robot voice, delighted at the recognition. Across the room a commotion occurs around one of the computers.
“Is that a zombie penis?” an intense chick in a black robe exclaims. Excited, she runs over to the monitor. “It is a zombie penis!” And then, “If you have sex with a zombie, would he always be hard because of rigor mortis?”
“Rigor mortis only lasts four hours,” the volunteer coordinator authoritatively pipes in without looking up from his computer.
“Where did you get that bunny nose?” the intense chick asks Fluffy. “I’m already getting my costume ready to debut next year. It’s based on a Second Life character.”
Next, we head over to the bustling vendor room and its array of furry related items: plush toys that might turn on those who first humped them as infants stand side-by-side with weapons—lots of them. Knives. Big fucking knives. Real knives, not pretend knives. Sharp.
“This is the sword-breaker,” the stringy-haired dealer says, holding a large knife that could easily sever an entire furry’s head. “Most furries like blades ’cause most furries are drawn with knives or guns in their hand.”
For the most part, the dealer tables are covered in furry artwork and comic books, with names such as N’Dar the Wolf.
A perky comic-book artist from Florida relates her furry fascination: “As a child, I thought I had invented it. Years later, my husband was on the Internet and said, ‘Look, other people are doing what you do.’ As a kid, I used to draw furry kid-type things, like going to school. When I was a teenager, I would have them doing teenage-type things, like going to
concerts. Now I draw things that my husband and I are into.” She smiles. I smile. We both look at a humanoid/zebra graphically giving a fully aroused humanoid/giraffe a hummer.
With that, the dealer room content gets darker as furnography is explored. Almost every table has an “Adults Only XXX” booklet on display. A lion bones a zebra in a display of interspecies gay animal sex. A humanoid/dalmatian clad in a fireman’s outfit sticks its ass out while humping a stripper pole. Inside, Post-it notes cover the penetration points (as if removed it would warp our minds). Like William Wegman gone horribly wrong, Big Boys Brandishing Boners (described as “erotic art”) has every animal species drawn with huge erections. “All I can say is that our fantasy is just that—a fantasy,” explains a furry who goes by “Fur.” “The probability that our fantasies will occur is infinitesimally small, so we compensate by over-representing sexuality in our media.”
I’m beginning to understand why the wholesome, fun-loving furries would rather the media not focus on such things as the Grapevine Uprock: Right across from a table of young girls sketching princesses and unicorns for the G-rated Baby Furs comic, I find myself slack-jawed, staring at a drawing of a unicorn being fisted by a humanized horse. In extreme close-up, the unicorn gets its salad tossed. Juices drip from the fuzzy horse lips. The spectacle wearing artist sits silently behind the table, furiously sketching more disturbing masterpieces. At what point do you cross the line?
“The question is what’s sick, what’s wrong, and what’s the limit?” AstroCat says. “The anthro-thing makes people uncomfortable because we’re all taught from an early age that doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel is something that Grandma wouldn’t approve of.”
“Drippy dragon is our most popular dildo,” a Scottish man informs Fluffy. “It ejaculates a plastic polymer.”
“Do you wear them?” a confused Fluffy asks. “Are they meant for men or women?”
“Are you a member of the media?” the dealer-room supervisor suddenly inquires.
“You will have to leave the dealer’s room,” she says.
We’re escorted out, but the supervisor follows us. Like Jason in Friday the 13th, she keeps popping up, always three steps behind us. It’s a little freaky. We try to ditch her, quickly passing a group of chubby guys petting a dog (I’ve never seen so many people with dogs in a hotel before) while fat men stand by the Guest Services area and look on. German shepherds on leashes pass furries on leashes. A costumed Doberman pets a real Doberman. In this Island of Dr. Moreau world, will someone get drunk and end up sleeping with a pooch like the ugly girl at the end of a party? Sure, it’s funny when Johnny Drama bones a furry, but the least weird thing would be a heterosexual man having sex with a woman in an animal outfit. Throwing real animals into the mix is far more twisted.
Saturday night, hotel rooms are bustling with a cavalcade of furry theme parties. A female unicorn (or so I think) grabs her wolf-companion’s ass. “Why don’t we have thumpty thumpty in Ron’s room?” the unicorn entices. She plants a kiss with her unicorn snout.
Like an eight-year-old girl’s dream bedroom, a Care Bear party is happening on the second floor. This party is for furries really into Care Bears.
“What’s your furry scene like?” I ask a Care Bear by the door.
“It’s a lot of drama,” he replies.
Suspicion. An emaciated girl in her mid-twenties wearing Care Bear pajamas, tightly hugging a teddy bear, throws out furry code words and carefully looks us up and down.
“So how long have you been a furry?” she snaps.
“I’m kind of new.” Pause. “Maybe you can show me the ropes?” Flattery. “You got the best-decorated room in the whole hotel!”
Clutching her pink teddy bear, she turns to Fluffy for cross-examination: “Do you go to the Million Bunny March?”
Pause. “Not this year.” Pause. “But I want to go!”
Whispering. Tension. More teddybear-clutching.
“Look at what they’re wearing!” I hear Care Bear woman say to the others. “They’re asking the wrong questions.” Tighter clutching of her teddy bear. Then: “Are you press?”
“You need a different badge.”
“Bye bye!” says a wee munchkin of a Care Bear man. “We’re going to make sure you can’t drink anywhere on this floor!”
Those motherfuckers! If there were ever a group in the world that shouldn’t be judgmental, I think it should be the ones clutching the Care Bears. We freaked out the freaky people by being normal.
The furries crave mainstream social acceptance of their freaky passion, but get pissed off like angry children when others find only the sexual aspect interesting. Their anger seems to be coming from a very dark, unhappy place where reverting to the comforts of childhood has become their passion. But why must they persecute my people?