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Sep. 21st, 2011 @ 04:37 pm Meeting New Furs/The Next Generation
I had an interesting experience this weekend that put into context where I stand in the furry fandom. We had friends in town and decided to go out to a local festival where the annual "All Species Parade" was going on. We don't get out much and even less so in suit, so this was a wonderful opportunity to be a fur in public.

Before the start of the parade we were approached by a blond haired kid who couldn't have been any older than 16. Before he even spoke he had a look in his eye that told me exactly what he was thinking - he was a furry and he had just found other furries. He was nearly speechless, cheered and raised his arms to the sky and said "Finally! I'm not alone anymore!"

I was immediately filled with two strong yet opposite feelings; both empathy at knowing EXACTLY how he felt and the relief of finding like-minded folks, but also the teeth-gritting cringe of meeting someone with lofty expectations of furry and the thought that I'd be the one to have to introduce him to the fandom at large.

Not 15 years ago I was in the same position - I knew I was weird, had just found the internet, and was *just* realizing that there were people out there like me. I desperately wanted to meet other people, especially ones with fursuits. I was so lucky to have found the people I did - who in spite of my youth, accepted me for who I was and showed me to the wonderful world of big cuddly animal costumes. I don't know where I'd be without those people, and the world would probably be a much lonlier place.

With roles reversed, I'm finding myself turning my nose up at this kid. I'm justifying my coldness, telling myself I'm too busy, he's too young, that we have nothing in common except for furry, and that it's not my responsibility to shepard him into the fandom etc etc etc. The more I sit on that decision, the worse I feel. The thought that I'm never going to have kids scares me into wanting to impart what knowledge I have onto the next generation, and there really is no better recipient than the up and coming (and lonely) fur.

I've just e-mailed him and pointed him to a local group of college-aged furs, but I don't want that to be all that I do. But I also fear inviting him into my house and him turning into a drama bomb, or becoming clingy, or wanting something from me that I can't provide (attention, time etc.)

I hate feeling like this :(
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Date:September 22nd, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)
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Just think... you and Mike and Stewart introduced me to Furry. I think you did okay! But I know what you mean about the whole glassy eyed kid thing. I've become so crotchety that I am really particular about who I hang out with. I don't even hang with the local furry group (wayyyyyy too dramatic, unemployed, loser types). There are some local folks up here (Ocelot, Turbine, Kacey, Dragonrift, etc) who are awesome to hang out with though. :)

Point him to the college group, tell him about FA and other websites, and hopefully he can find some folks he can hang out with and have more in common with!
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Date:September 22nd, 2011 01:11 am (UTC)
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Congratulations on having a gay furry baby! I didn't even know you were preggers Red! XD
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Date:September 22nd, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
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A clingy guy is kind of dangerous, because everyone's life these days is pretty damned busy. In fact, why the hell am I even replying to you? I barely ahve a moment to squeeze in reading your entry. No time to rply to it. But you're worth the entra bit of time.

Anyway, there's nothing like introducing some bright-eyed neophyte into a world that you are a grizzled expert in. It geives you the opportunity to relive so many experiences when you first had them.

But it does depend on the acolyte. If he's clingy, if he's weird or obnoxious, then you'll have to cut those ties pretty quick. Make sure he knows right off the top that your time is already highly over-committed and that you won't be able to spare all the time in the world to talk to this guy. But as long as he's cool with that, I think you should give him a achance.
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Date:September 22nd, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
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This is how it starts... next thing you know you'll be "popufur!"

Wait.... maybe he was just really excited about math and was fawning over you so he could learn to be an elite accountant somewhere! You just don't know with these crazy kids anymore!
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Date:September 22nd, 2011 04:00 am (UTC)
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At least you introduced him to kids his own age. Not that I don't mind meeting new furries, but I find the new ones tend to related better to those in their age groups.

The feelings you have are because you're older now. Yes, sorry to tell you that, but you are. It's hard to know what he's going to be like because he's 16, there is a LOT he still has to figure out for himself.

I keep it with emails and maybe short visits and see how it goes.
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Date:September 22nd, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
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I can understand being worried about him being clingy. Keep in touch, but at a distance, at least at first.
Date:November 4th, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)
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What a great resource!