Yes, it seems that many, if not most Weres, simply can't resist
getting their paws on a cute little furry critter, or, worse still,
fill half the available space in their rooms with the things.
Rather like my little friend sitting next to me here...
But what it is you folk, and indeed myself and all the other plushie lovers out there, find so attractive about an animal-shaped pile of stuffed fur for which some shop has charged you an extortionate price? Do you go in, see a pair of large, bulging, cute eyes staring up at you from the shelf and fall in love at first sight?
In particular, I've noticed that a large proportion of Weres have a seemingly inbuilt tendency to collect furry critters in semi-large numbers that relate to their phenotype. With the market out there being as it is, you can be guaranteed to find at least one person selling what you're after, satisfying the Were-aardvarks to the Were-zebras alike. Do Weres see the figure of a stuffed animal to be the image of their ideal self? A rather philosophical way of looking at things, but needless to say no less valid.
Certainly in the Furry community, where just as much, if not more plushie-hoarding takes place, there are people who do see their "ideal selves" portrayed in the figure of an innocent little stuffed critter. I said this was purely a light-hearted corner on today's show, but considering things more seriously, there are people out there who do associate with a particular stuffed animal of theirs, or, again turning more so to the Furry community, feel a need to, and get pleasure out of role-playing themselves through the persona of their favourite plush. People in such positions to whom I've posed the question "why?" have usually given an answer involving the notion that their character is a separate, real identity, and not the lifeless bundle of fur that most will see.
So do we have any justification in locking such people up, condemning them as some kind of "mental head-case" with a schizophrenic personality involving some kind of hallucination that brings lifeless things to life? Probably not, since it's something children do a lot too. And while locking a certain proportion of children away might do the world a lot of good, it's not really legally advisable.
Some Weres and Furs will take their plushie-collecting very seriously. Each one in the collection will have its own name and story behind its existence. Each will have its own unique position in the house so that it "gets on well" with the other animals surrounding it. The owner will usually have a "favourite plush" which he or she sees at the cutest, or the one that he or she can associate with the most. Some will go as far as photographing their collection and building whole website archives of the results, possibly even as seen from the plushies' points of view. Husbands and Wives coming second to stuffed animals?? Why nit - such critters (the plushies, that is!) would probably make for a more stable relationship with some humans.
So. You go into a shop armed with a fistful of plastic, and you see a little (or not so little) furry critter, matching your phenotype, staring up at you from a shelf just below waist height, begging to be bought. What thoughts go through your mind before you hand over that credit card to the sales assistant?
There are various different approaches to this. First is the "He's a wolf! I must have him!!" type, substituting, of course, for your phenotype. If you fall into this category, then you've probably got a self-compelled urge to express your phenotype by means of real-life imagery to stimulate the inner animal. Or you just like wolves.
Secondly is the approach, "Awww, he's so cute, I've just got to buy him!" My advice? Never get a dog, it'll cost you too much money.
And then there are those that will "hum" and "ha," and "hum and "ha" again, for which the final outcome of the shopping trip will be debatable. Is it just the cost to their pockets that makes them undecided, or is it my wishful thinking that there is a deeper reason behind the hesitation? Do you stand in the shop wondering if the plushie before you is an accurate enough representation of your Were-self? Do you worry if the colours don't match up? If you think along these lines, you are certainly the more refined, more serious plushie shopper that likes to take careful consideration of your purchase.
But whatever your shopping habits, can we actually find an ulterior motive behind why Weres and Furs seem to have an inbuilt instinct to pluck plushies off the shelves as if they were a human necessity? Or have I just been around the wrong group of Weres and Furs?
Quite honestly, it's probably simply because we find them so darn cute, and for no other reason. And I've waffled all this time to reach that conclusion. True, there will be people out there who see their plushie addiction as something more serious, but I'm sure they'll all admit to just wanting to sit down every now and again and give the things a cuddle, no matter how meticulous they may have been with their arrangement on the lounge sofa.
All text and images Copyright © 1999
by "Lone Wolf" unless otherwise stated