Point of Contention: A 5-Point Guide to Not Being an Ass-Hat at Conventions

With New York Comic-Con less than a few days away, let’s take this opportunity to explore the annoyances, frustrations, and bewilderments we all experience when dealing with the massive crowds of antisocial neckbeard-ed gremlins that compose most con-goers. You may say Oh Tarabisu-kun, that’s how Fox News would describe con crowds if given the opportunity, con crowds are much more diverse than that desu ka ne masu kara kyun~. Shut it up, weeaboo. We’ve all been in denial about this but every con has its signature funk that pervades the hall on its final day, an ultimate accumulation of the fat, abrasive, creepy individuals with their cameras filled with sexy cosplay photos (that they will inevitably masturbate to furiously post-con). This smell is so potent and deadly that governments secretly only allow conventions to happen at all just to harvest it as biological weaponry. This, and other insidious outcomes of attending a con, can be prevented if you follow this simple guide on how to not ruin it for everyone.

5. SHOWER EVERYDAY!!!

This is perhaps the simplest way to make sure that you don’t further the above negative stereotype of the average con attendee. Showering is a necessary part of our daily routine (I hope) and what, honestly, could be harder than not continuing to follow a routine? Doesn’t it make you feel dirty, walkin’ around carrying all the grease and bile and pizza stains from days past?

And some will defend their right to stink vehemently. It’s a public place, they’ll say. People should learn to love it, they’ll say. I’m a disgusting cretin who can’t function in society and should be far removed from it is what they’re REALLY saying.

Imagine the smell of sweat, farts, and lack of shame building to a critical point.

Honestly, I can only see two reasons why con attendees don’t shower. First is laziness. Easy enough to understand. Still despicable, but we’ve all been there. Second represents a dangerously self destructive habit, and of course I mean just not leaving the convention hall. At all. For the convention’s entire duration.

As you may well know, most cons offer 24-hour showings and panels. Even if the dealer’s halls and artist alleys close, there’s still stuff going on. Some take this as a welcoming invitation to stay, stretch out on four or five folding chairs in a relatively empty anime screening room and sleep every night for five or six hours. All the while only living off of overpriced pizza and NOT SHOWERING. You people. Stop what you’re doing immediately and GO HOME.

LIKE THESE PEOPLE

4. Yelling out memes is NEVER FUNNY

This may come as a tremendous surprise to some of you, but 4Chan and real life are two different things. The internet is wonderful in a number of ways, but long exposure has unfortunately had the negative side effect of turning us all into screaming idiots, regurgitating jokes everyone’s already heard just to justify our pitiful existence.

Because of anonymity and sheer number of willing participants, the internet has a surprisingly high tolerance for bandwagon joining, and joining bandwagons is certainly something we do with extraordinary commonality. And I’ll admit, many, MANY memes and video game jokes are funny. But a lot of what’s funny about them has to do with context. Failing to understand this not only hurts you, but the lasting strength of the joke itself.

An example:

A friend of mine cosplayed as the Spy from TF2 a few years ago at a local San Jose, California convention. Immediately upon entering the building, he was basically assaulted by people yelling out “SPY, SPY, IT’S A SPY.” This was mildly funny at first. But ohhhh no. Was it not funny the thousandth time. Or the ten-thousandth time. There were some who let their “joke” yelling dissolve into straight up harassment, following us throughout the convention trying to get a gang together to take my friend down. This was not funny. It was the opposite of funny.

To counteract the nonfunny, here’s a humorous image of a cat.

Now, yes, the Spy from TF2 is very funny. But that humor really should be kept to the game and a few well written webcomics.

And yet, there’s an even worse horde of perpetrators. These are the same as those described, only they do so with memes that died long ago. I’m talking about those losers with the “you lost the game” sign, stereos playing Never Gonna Give You Up, and goddamn cardboard box gundam costumes. Again, funny the first time, when someone was actually original and did it first. Everyone else copied it and therefore neither clever or funny. And I mean really, if you yell out “the cake is a lie” at a portal cosplayer, you have to be pretty separated from society to think that’s still funny or even relevant.

3. Know your cosplaying limitations

Hey everybody, I think we can agree on something here. Certain people are better for portraying certain characters than others. That’s a safe assumption. And yet, it’s something people constantly forget to respect.

Of course, I should clarify that there’s nothing wrong with picking a character that’s the direct opposite of your body build intentionally for laughs. Seeing a tall, fat man dressed up as Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender definitely helps to lighten the mood of what can often be a dreary, exhausting weekend. Similarly, a short scrawny white guy dressed up as Garterbelt would also be acceptable. All as long as humor is intended. I’ll even accept funny gender bend cosplay, all as long as it’s funny.

This man succeeds at life in more ways than one.

But then there’s the whole class of people who dress up as characters that do not fit their… composition and don’t intend for it to be a funny joke. That’s bad. Nobody will be happy you did it.

And honestly, this isn’t even about me being upset over an unattractive girl dressing up as a character intended to be attractive (as I’m sure some of you thought I was hinting at). I could care less. It really ultimately has to do with character respect and intention. If you intend to dress up as a character because it’s a character you like, do so in a way that will make people retain a positive impression of that character, otherwise you’re undermining everyone’s appreciation of him or her.

2. Leave Politics At the Door

Conventions are strange places specifically because you’re in a massive space filled with people who share nothing but similar interests. In most ways, it’s great. You’ll meet cool people, find interesting topics to discuss and debate, and share horror stories about those dirty liberals and their tree hugging, baby eating, whale humping ways.

Oh wait, not that last one. Many make the mistake of assuming that just because everyone in the same room shares the same fascination with comics, video games, and/or anime, they must also be similar in other ways. Yes, conservatives, there are nerds and geeks with a passion for the environment and constitutionally strong government. And the same goes for you, liberal nerds. Some of your obsession-brethren go to rodeos and hate taxes more than hell itself.

This should be a no-brainer. But I keep seeing people who are legitimately surprised when they hear that someone they thought they were totally on the same page with doesn’t think Obama’s that cool of a guy, or vice versa. I, myself, was once a perpetrator of this, as I was actively alarmed every time I heard of someone at a convention being religious. But that’s ridiculous, I thought. These are the spawn of forums, like me! And those things can’t stop complaining about religion!

But then it dawned on me that intense, dedication interest (enough to go an entire convention dedication to said interest) doesn’t really require any prior allegiance to any single faction. That’s just silly, and there’s really no point in getting on anyone’s case about how they describe themselves. Let’s all just leave that at the door and appreciate some good old fashioned anime/videogames/comics/tv/movies/manga together. As one.

This guy gets a free pass.

1. NO STALKING. EVER

Alright losers, here’s where I draw the ultimate line between annoying and just plain morally reprehensible. Yes, that girl over there is really cute in her Taiga Aisaka costume. No, you are not Ryuji and this is not Toradora. You are not going to sweep her off her feet and begin a romantic fling. Life is not an eroge where all women secretly want you. Do not follow her. Are you listening to me? DO NOT FOLLOW.

I’m all for finding romance in the nerdiest context possible. I still operate with a slight hope that finding love at a convention is something that can happen under extraordinary circumstances. But there’s absolutely a difference between meeting someone really cool who has a great personality and shares your interests and someone who you think is really attractive and decide to follow around a little bit.

“LOVE ME”

As I’ve probably conveyed by now, a vast group of con-goers have little to no real life interaction skills. Contact with women is only a vague theoretic concept and suddenly, these people are surrounded by women, many of whom have dressed up as characters they find extremely attractive. And so the game begins. It may start with a quick “can I get your picture” but will ultimately end with a new little creeper friend of her very own.

Just… no. Don’t be that guy.

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