I've been into pony play for years, but until March of this year, I have never attended a munch. I expect there are others who, like me and T, have been practicing pony play in the privacy of their homes for awhile, but for whatever reason have not had the chance or the desire to venture into the local scene.
Until last September, I hadn't given much thought to attending a munch. It's not that I considered attending one but decided not to, but rather it never really occured to me to attend one.
What changed in September of last year? I attended the Folsom street fair after a 5 year hiatus. The ponies, puppies, and critters at the fair were so captivating that I vowed to attend a munch and be part of such a wonderful community.
So, why didn't I go in October, or November, or December? Perhaps it was the holiday season? Perhaps.
Then why not in January or February? Maybe because it's a 30 minute trip to the cafe where it's held, or maybe because it ends somewhat late and I have to wake up early, or maybe it's one of the other asinine excuses I would tell myself as the second Tuesday of the month approached.
The real reason I didn't attend a munch for months after I promised myself I would was because I feared going to the munch (well that and a dose of laziness). It wasn't some paralyzing fear or anything like that. It wasn't even the apprehension that sometimes comes with unfamiliar and possibly awkward social situations.
You see, I wasn't worried that the munch would live up to my worst expectations. No, I was worried that the munch might not live up to my best expectations. I was afraid that if I went, the magic would be lost: what was captivating at the fair would become mundane. Needless to say, the munch surpassed even my best expectations.
It was absolutely wonderful meeting so many other animal roleplayers, having table conversation about hoof boots while puppies and kitties were zig-zagging under the table. And every single person I met was warm, welcoming and friendly. You might think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. It was an amazing experience, and I feel incredibly silly for not going sooner.
I guess I implicitly assumed that the primary reason to attend a munch is to meet play partners. I realize now that while a munch can serve as a springboard to meeting potential play partners, it's also so much more than that. It's about relaxing, making friends, chatting and socializing with likeminded people.
So, my advice is don't fall into the trap of postponing attending a munch. I'm not saying that every munch is for every person, but consider giving your local animal roleplay munch a chance, you may make some great friends!
I should add that The Stampede munch is perhaps a little different from some other munches in a couple ways: fetish attire and some play accessories (e.g. collar, cuffs, fist mitts) are permitted, and light play is allowed. The munch is held at Wicked Grounds, which is a kink friendly venue.
I only mention this because many munches prefer/require participants to attend in vanilla attire because they will generally meet in vanilla locations, and I don't want you to arrive wearing ears and tail unless the munch specifically says this is acceptable (even then, I would still advise going vanilla at least for the first time).
Just as an aside, it was my first time at Wicked Grounds, and I would highly recommend you check them out if you're in San Francisco. It's the only local place I know of where you can get your coffee served in a dogbowl (and buy a dildo with your coffee) and drink it tied to the table - plus they have free wifi. I especially love how "black wrist cuffs" come up as an option everytime they ring up my black cherry soda.