FA 089 Feral Attraction Guide to Convention Attendance

Introduction topic

  • Why It’s So Hard to Admit You’re Wrong by Kristin Wong

    • Cognitive dissonance

      • Sense of self is threatened by negative actions / mistakes

    • "One study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, found that people who refused to apologize after a mistake had more self-esteem and felt more in control and powerful than those who did not refuse.

      • Feeling powerful may be an attractive short-term benefit, but there are long-term consequences. Refusing to apologize could potentially jeopardize “the trust on which a relationship is based,” Mr. Okimoto said, adding that it can extend conflict and encourage outrage or retaliation.

    • When you refuse to admit your mistakes, you are also less open to constructive criticism, experts said, which can help hone skills, rectify bad habits and improve yourself over all.

    • Another study, from the Stanford researchers Carol Dweck and Karina Schumann, found that subjects were more likely to take responsibility for their mistakes when they believed they had the power to change their behavior.

      • Having a fixed mindset can make you more resistant to taking responsibility, making positive changes

    • Making a mistake often manifests as confusion, stress, embarrassment or guilt.

      • Those feelings do not necessarily mean you are in the wrong, but you can at least use them as reminders to explore the situation from an impartial perspective and objectively question whether you are at fault.

    • Remember that people are often more forgiving than you might think

      • Traits like honesty and humility make you more human and therefore more relatable.

      • On the flip side, if it is undeniably clear that you are in the wrong, refusing to apologize reveals low self-confidence.

Topic

Prior Episodes on Conventions

Getting there and back again

  • Never make plans to attend a convention without ensuring that you have secured the following:

    • Transportation to and from the convention

    • Housing while at the convention

    • Food costs while at the convention

    • Registration fees while at the convention

Convention Etiquette 101

  • Ghosting

    • What is ghosting

    • Is ghosting ever acceptable?

    • How does ghosting potentially harm conventions?

  • 3-2-1 Rule

    • This rule should be considered mandatory and not just a suggestion

      • Three hours of sleep

      • Two meals

      • One shower

        • Swimming in a pool, or using a hot tub / jacuzzi, does not qualify as a shower

  • Enthusiastic Consent

    • Vamp on previous discussions on Enthusiastic Consent and sexual activity at a convention

    • Reiterate that an invitation to room parties should always be accompanied with a question as to what the party entails

    • Consider having a buddy at parties you attend who makes it their job to ensure all activities you participate in are consented to

Finding things to do

  • Look at the convention map and identify things you might be interested in

      • Dances

        • Great for being anonymous / chilling and seeing fursuiters you might look up to in a more relaxed environment

      • Panels

        • Look out for regional / activity / interest-based meetup groups

      • Artist Alley and Dealer’s Den Etiquette

        • How not to ask for a commission

          • No begging

          • No trying to haggle on prices

          • No lingering or touching the merchandise without permission

          • Before touching anything, ensure your hands are clean or use hand sanitizer (if available)

      • Game rooms

        • Great for meeting people!

      • Activities

      • When in doubt, swing by high traffic areas, the zoo, etc. and see if you can’t involve yourself with passing friends

  • Many conventions have a digital schedule you can check ahead of time to see what will be available, and these are often live updating

    • Check to see if there will be costs to cover materials (mostly crafting panels), or if you need specific equipment

  • Join the convention telegram group if you are looking for parties or people who might want to hang out (especially if you are feeling isolated)

    • Fetish/kink oriented groups often announce themed parties specific to a given convention in their groups, so these can be a good resource to identify more open-invite style parties

Feedback

 

Subject: Advice for kinky asexual

At the end of episode 087, you answered a question from a listener who described himself as a 19-year-old kinky submissive asexual who has never had a relationship and was worried he would be alone. I am inspired to write in to give feedback on your answer because nearly a decade ago, I was in more or less the same situation, and as a mostly submissive kinky asexual who is now happily married to another kinky asexual, I found your answer very different than the advice I typically give others I meet in this situation.

I think it may be helpful then, to explain my journey and perspective. This may be a bit long-winded, but I think it's illustrative.

In my case, I came to realize that I was interested in kinks but not in other people in a sort of a haphazard stepwise process as a teenager. Kinks are not something that was ever explained in any way to me as a teen; where they are rarely referenced in pop culture, it is typically with respect to very common BDSM kinks, and always from a negative, "scandalous" or "sensationalize the freak" angle. Basically everyone I know in the kink community of this generation discovered they weren't alone via the internet, and while there has been great improvement over the past decade or two, many reference getting an initial "cesspool" vibe from kink-friendly forums that confirmed their bias that there was something wrong and shameful about kink and made self-acceptance harder at first.

It was in fact at age 19 that I was fed up with the shame and listlessness and finally felt like I had to do something to really try to figure out where I fit. I eventually found the AVEN asexuality forums, where found others asexuals who described themselves as having sexual kinks, and that validation of seeing that there were other people like me was enough for me to take what seemed like the logical next step and join pertinent kink communities. I looked for and specifically found the places that were the least intimidating and the most professional. At that point, I just got really involved in discussions. I got comfortable enogh to join the chats and discuss there. Eventually I got comfortable enough to go to other places that would have intimidated me before.

Through chats and the large number of "collisions" with people who shared my interests over years, I eventually stumbled into a conversation with my now-husband. We became friends, and eventually fell in love. It was very organic and happened specifically because it wasn't forced, by rather by both of us spending a great deal of time involved in communities where we might stumble into someone we could connect with.

This leads to the advice I would give to that questioner: "Go out and get involved in the communities you're interested in. Build confidence in small steps. You can break it up into many small steps as you build confidence - join online forums, then chats, then voice chats, join kink social networks like Fetlife, go to kink munches or, if relevant, furry events / room parties as easier points of entry into IRL meetups with other kinky people. Don't try force dating in the kink world, but mindfully join the community with the intent of putting time and effort across years there to make friends and see where it leads. Asexuality in the kink world is still uncommon but it is common enough to find others and often not incompatible with sexuality given the many varied relationship structures that exist."

Your advice in the podcast took a different direction. I'm not sure which direction is more correct. I suspect it mostly depends on the questioner and what steps they are ready to take at this moment.

You can feel free to do with this email what you want - if you think it might be helpful to the questioner, you can feel free to forward it or my contact information on.

 

Subject: Convention Volunteer Advice.

Question / Message / Feedback: Hello. I was listening to this week's episode, and thought I might have some input on one of the topics touched upon. Volunteering to cut costs. Now, I'll admit I've never been to a furry convention, but I do frequently act as an emergency volunteer at gaming conventions on behalf of the local Pathfinder Society Guild. Keeping up with staff is vitally important if you're in it for the perks. Behind the curtain can often end up being abject chaos, and sometimes mistakes happen, especially if you're a last minute volunteer, or volunteering on behalf of another group. All too often a volunteer is charged for entry when they shouldn't be, and it's never a fun time for anyone involved. If volunteering is your ticket in, communication is your best friend.

Question(s)

  • Subject: New to homosexual relationships. Scared about it all.

    • So a few years ago, some things in my life changed big time. Hearts were broken and minds were opened. And a certain young fur helped me through it all. I used to be very homophobic back then. But he showed me I was wrong. Showed me true kindness. So I changed my life around. I started helping people like he helped me. And I've touched so many hearts... It's amazing! Mid 2016, I realised with a shock that I wasn't as straight as I thought I was when I fell for a friend of mine. It was difficult at first. But after meeting him. It wasn't so bad repressing the feelings I had. Why did I repress the feelings in the first place you might ask? My family is incredibly conservative. My dad would yell out mean things whenever he'd come across a gay couple somewhere. And then went on to tell me if I was ever in that situation he'd "beat it out of me" as he put it. I know what you're thinking. No. My dads not abusive. He had his moments, yes. But we have a good relationship. So after meeting the guy. It wasn't hard to shrug it off and keep on being "Demi-Heterosexual" as I called it. I still love this friend of mine to bits. He's with a guy now that's so good to him. Makes me happy and proud to see him happy. So. This is where things get complicated. My friend. The one that helped me in 2015. The one that showed me another way. Him and his boyfriend, a close friend of mine as well. They recently broke up. And after the breakup. He needed some company. And living on my own. Safe to say. I needed some company as well. So he came over for a weekend. He's my best friend. I didn't think twice about it. That was until I kissed him. And oh God. Have I been a mess since. After he left. I cried myself to sleep every night for a week. Then I started reaching out to anyone that'd listen. That's when I realised again what an amazing group of friends I have… Honestly if it wasn't for them I'd have likely hurt myself... I know I love him. And I know he loves me. It's easy right? Just put a ring on it! But life is never that easy, is it. I mentioned my dad. And how he'd take it. I haven't mentioned finances. I'm still financially dependent on them, until I finish university. I haven't mentioned my oldest best friend. Whom I'd likely lose after I come out with this. Let's not even mention the drama caused by a friend of mine when he told his ex about it... Haha! And on top of it all. What if I'm not really bisexual after all? What if I end up hurting him, and losing everything? He's my best friend. He's the reason I'm still alive. He means so much to me. I can't fathom living without him as a friend. But I want to take the next step also. Thinking about the kiss brings a smile to my face, and butterflies to my stomach every time. I'm just so comfortable around him. I don't need to put on a mask. I don't need to pretend I'm ok when I'm not. And gosh. He has a beautiful smile. Not to mention the biggest heart I've ever seen. I'd be lying if I said I haven't felt attracted to him before. I mean how hard is it not to be. He's been there for me through the hardest days of my life. He saved my life. Literally. I've thought about it a few times before. But never have I considered it seriously. Honestly? I'm so confused. Do you have any advice?

Closer

  • Next week’s topic: Getting a Derailed Con Back on Track

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Metriko Oni

Metriko Oni is a former government environmental disaster mitigations expert with a focus on outreach, education, and policy writing. He now works with computers. He has been active in the fandom since 2013 and has been an advocate for transparent lines of communication. His interests include philosophy, media, futurism, and speculative fiction.