I Am a Con Virgin

I don’t know if some people will take away my geek cred for this, but I have never been to a con. I have thought about going on many an occasion thinking just how awesome it would be to go to a panel about the shows I love and talk to the creators of said show. The problem is every time I truly think about it the thought of the crowds and the lines send me into a bit of a panic.

When I was younger I don’t think crowds bothered me as much, but I have gotten older I have become the person that you see who is moving faster than everyone else darting in and out of different traffic patterns just to get to a spot where I have at least a foot of space in any direction. Now you want to experience a live action video game, try darting through the crowds at Disneyland in Main Street before or after the parade; now that takes skill, but I digress.

The closest experience I have to a con was a Christian youth conference I attended in Los Angeles called DC/LA when I was in high school. The conference took place at the Los Angeles Convention center. It did have various organizations trying to sell you items, Christian bands, and books, and there were panels, discussions and various groups you could attend. Although, I never had to wait in much of a line mostly because during the larger gathering my entire group did not mind sitting in the back. It also was not like San Diego Comic Con where people line up at 5 am for a panel discussion at 5 pm. It was a time to reflect on our faith and hear about other people living their faith in their every day lives.

So that is it. That is the only “con” that I have been to, which is really not the same as any of the Geek Cons one could go to now a days. I wonder if I am missing out because I have not been to any cons. Growing up in Alaska it was not like I had a ton of opportunities when I was younger to just go to a con. Now that I am older I sometimes wonder if it is too late. Reading some of the comments from people who go it is like they have been going for years and they know how to navigate through the spaces. Seeing pictures of people who put together some of the most amazing cosplay you will ever see is so incredible and is slightly intimidating. Even though this is all stuff that I love it can sometimes, just looking at the stories about cons, feel like a foreign land. Do I know enough about all these things or am I just imitating geek?

It is funny that I talk about imitating geek when there is an ongoing controversy over the “Fake Geek Girl”. I should not let someone else’s passion snuff out my own, but sometimes it is hard. The lengths that people have gone to for their various geekdoms is truly impressive and I admire people who put that much work into it. I guess my love is shown more in discussing things I love, but there is no single physical manifestation that shows that passion. So do I just walk around the convention in my Doctor Who t-shirt feeling a little lost because I am not quite sure what I am really supposed to be doing?

When looking at Cons to go to I have definitely tried to opt for ones that look slightly less intimidating. One that I have been thinking about going to since it began is the Geek Girl Con in Seattle. I mean a con where it is a bunch of geeky women discussing what it means to be a geek and a woman, yes please. I also wondered if it would be a bit lower key then some of the big name cons because they were just starting out. It could give me a taste for what con was like before I tired to go to Pax or EmeraldCity Comic Con. Of course I will need to get on that train early because, hopefully Geek Girl Con will become as widely known as many of the other cons.

Even though some of the larger Cons do intimidate me I am also excited to see how well they are doing. Seeing the cast of Firefly do a panel discussion to a sold out crowd makes me want to be a part of that crowd. At the same time I am also thinking about the line I would have to stand in order to be a part of something like that. Although I did stand outside for 5 hours at the premiere of Return of the King in Denmark to catch a glimpse of Viggo Mortenson and Peter Jackson, but I was also able to have spiced wine with a shot of schnapps while I waited. So who knows what that means for my priorities.

I know I really should pop my con cherry at some point, there are just so many factors to consider such as cost, time, and location that make it difficult (remember Alaska people). As I mentioned earlier, I have thought about PAX and GeekGirlCon seems neat because it is specifically tailored towards Geek Girls. The crowds still worry me, but I figure at some point I should try and see what all the fuss is about. What is a con you have gone to and enjoyed and what con would you recommend for a first timer?

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4 responses to “I Am a Con Virgin

  1. I have been to E3, Pax, and I helped with meltdown right here in Juneau. I’ve never been seriously crowd anxious, but I think with cons you have a lot in common with everyone else you will make friends. Also anxieties aside I think it’s worth taking the time to go. So just go. I would recommend Pax due to cost and location. Pax is really good about having areas where you can just sit down and take a break, Two things to avoid don’t go right at opening the crowds are suffocating and they are in a huge line that is really overwhelming. Work up to going to the show floor as it gets very busy and noisy and can be quickly overwhelming. Although my son who is easily overwhelmed did manage the pax show floor successfully.

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  2. Unfortunately, I can offer you no advice as I, too, am a con virgin. The closest I come is a worksite wellness conference I attended for work a couple of years ago. I remain a con virgin for pretty much all of the reasons you talked about-the lines, the cost, the walking. My best friend and the girl with whom I co-run a blog swears by conventions, though. She started big with Dragon-Con around 2 or 3 years ago, and she’s been to so many since then I’ve lost count. Her favorites have been Dragon-Con and a Star Trek convention she attended in Chicago-it was Leonord Nemoy’s last ever convention. The problem for me is that so much of her Con experiences have been devoted to collecting sometimes surprisingly pricey autographs from celebrities, which is not something that remotely interests me. So, I think her experience has negatively colored Cons for me even though I know not all Cons are the same, and they can be used in many different ways.

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    • The autographs thing is something I don’t care about. I love listening to celebrities talk about why they do what they do, particularly if they are just genuine people. The interview of Tom Hanks on the Nerdist is just lovable and I loved listening to the interview with John Barrowman. I do not need something with their signature written on it. Would it be cool to meet them it would, but I don’t know if the lines would be worth it. I think I will have to give it a try, but I am not sure it is going to be a thing that I do every year like others do.

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  3. Pingback: Call to Action – Local Board Game Con! | Comparative Geeks

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