Conducting Yourself at Conventions
Con season is in full swing, friends, and unfortunately, we gotta talk about the things that are acceptable when it comes to going to conventions. Yes, it's super exciting, getting to see your friends, cosplays of your favorite characters, all the swag, and so, so much more. That being said, there's a difference between good and bad behavior. This article is probably going to come across as harsh, but we all need to learn to be better and learn from our mistakes and past behavior.
You've got your money for the vendor's hall, you've got your badge, and your cosplays are all finished and perfect and you are SO. READY. For the weekend. Please remember that if you are going to a convention that you have a badge. If you ghost the con, you are telling that convention that you don't care about all the hard work, time, and money that they spent getting these guests and artists/vendors together to have a space for you. Don't disrespect their efforts. That being said, I have done it once or twice in the past, but I have grown and learned from my mistakes. I also don't go to a convention if I cannot 100% pay for everything that needs to be paid for. Please always remember to eat at least 3 times a day, stay hydrated (Thank you Ria!), have a badge, and if you have to stay at a hotel (either alone or with friends) that you pay for that as well. I have seen recently, more people opting not to eat so that they can go to conventions and that is a recipe for disaster. Do not harm yourself for this. There are other conventions, and there will be other times to do stuff like this. Especially in the Saint Louis area, there are specific cosplay meetups that are usually free or very low cost that you can meet up with others for. If that isn't true in your city, make it happen.
Also, remember that you are going to be packed into these buildings with hundreds or thousands of others. Shower. It can take as little as 10 minutes and most hotels provide the toiletries if you happen to forget yours at home. Shower at least once a day, using soap. I have had circumstances where I have literally been able to smell others before I see them. That is not fair to you or anyone else in the venue. Spraying yourself with Axe does not count. Speaking of being in close vicinity of people, one must always remember to ask for consent before touching anyone else. I have noticed an increase in (especially) guys asking to put their hand on my shoulder or waist before taking a picture, but also female (or feminine presenting) people just running up and hugging me or touching me without my consent. I almost never have a problem, as long as you ask. Please use the same courtesy with others as you would with me.
When taking pictures of others, if you see someone posing and there are a bunch of people with cameras, it is usually a good indicator of it being alright to photograph them. Some cosplayers cannot fully see if you are motioning when there is a large crowd, so take the picture. If you see only one or two cameras and it looks like a photoshoot, definitely ask beforehand. Most cosplayers will let you know politely what's going on. Do not be rude if they decline a photo. Most of the time, they are busy, and it's up to them how they use their time with a photographer. They paid for that time and however long they have is almost never long enough. Along with the line of consent, ask before hugging or touching, our cosplays are all delicate and deserve to be treated as such. Glomping is outlawed in many conventions specifically because peoples' cosplays have been destroyed or they have been hurt by it. Please also do not block the walkways when trying to take pictures. It creates a fire hazard and a bunch of traffic that could otherwise be avoided. I also (as a personal rule) do not allow minors to hug me. A small child running up to me is fine, but I usually do not allow teenagers to touch me as there are many predators running around and I aim to create a safe space, not create an outlet for predators. Minors, please be aware of who you ask for hugs. Especially adults can be the monsters we speak of. The wig only masks who they are.
Now, you've seen a million cosplays, asked for photos, and now it's time to hit up the vendor's hall. Remember that you have money budgeted for food, so do not spend all your money on swag. It's tempting, but don't do it. It's better to eat normally and keep the risk of con plague low. I cannot stress this next advice enough: DO NOT tell an artist what to price their work at. I have had so many people tell me or their friends within earshot that what I make is "too expensive" especially when it comes to my kigus. I have been sewing for 20+ years. I have created my own patterns and one of a kind onesies that have been made with the finest fleece I can get. It usually only happens with the younger con-goers that only have $20 because their parents gave it to them, or the older ladies who are only there because their kids or grandkids are there. Don't tell an artist how to price their wares. We have no idea what time and effort they put into them and how long they have been perfecting their craft. If you have to say something, do it waaaaaaay far away from them.
Now that I've ranted about the artist alley, we also need to speak about noise. As I have said before, there are hundreds or thousands of people all crowded into a small/series of building(s). Screaming should not have to happen. Especially if you are in a really crowded area. You don't know if people have misophonia, sound-based triggers, or other ailments that create migraines or other problems. Remember to be respectful of the others around you. This also includes those that have wheelchairs or power scooters. Do not ask them to stand or leave their mobility behind. Some people can stand, and some walk, but don't require them to suffer in order for you to be comfortable.
On the note of comfort with your surrounding peers, please remember to dress appropriately. I honestly have no idea why this still happens, but those of us with protruding genitalia do not wear dancer's belts, so we have to see the outline. No one should be subjected to that, unless it is in a consensual, adult situation. But don't show your junk off to everyone. Dancer's belts and underwear are seriously not expensive at all. Make sure to cover nipples, especially if the con rules include an anti-nipple clause (yes, those exist), and like I've said before, just be considerate of those around you. Most of these things I've talked about are making sure that you aren't a nuisance to others.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, you are always more than welcome to message or comment directly on this post! Please let me know if I forgot any advice, and I will gladly add to this.