Anywho, this probably isn’t going to be a long article but let’s jump into it anyways.
Usually when you’re at a convention, there will probably be other people in the hotel that aren’t part of the convention. Usually one of three things will happen. They’ll either ignore you, they’ll either question you about the convention itself, or sadly, they’ll act rude toward you.
Whatever happens, there are many ways that you can respond to non-con goers:
- Leave them be. If they aren’t messing with you, don’t mess with them.
- In the chance that they at least make eye contact with you, don’t be rude. Smile at them, wave at them, say hi. Just be civil. You never know where it could lead. Even if they give you a mean face, smile at them. They wont expect that.
- If they ask about what’s going on, share with them. Let them know about cosplay. It might even get them interested in the craft. We could always use more cosplayers
- If you see people around, don’t do anything to that might make them uncomfortable. Sadly cosplay these days doesn’t have the best reputation (especially because of recent media…more on that another time) to the public eye, and doing something like that will just make people think more of the stereotypes involved.
- If you hear a non-con goer saying negative stuff about you or the convention, it’s best just to ignore them. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and you don’t want to start any trouble.
- If they are harassing you or your friends, try to walk away. If they start to follow you, it might be a good idea to get to an area of the con where they can’t follow you. If it becomes worse, talk to the hotel staff, or talk to con security. Your safety is important.
- In the event that a non-con goer is disturbing a panel or another part of the con, you can either let them know it’s for con goers only. If they don’t listen, get con security and let them handle it.
Since this is a shorter article, I want to take this moment to share some of my experiences dealing with non-con goers as well as experiences of other people.
First up, at Kollisioncon 2011, I was sitting in Karaoke with a bunch of people, and some drunken people who were not part of the con came in and started acting obnoxious in the back of the room. Eventually it got to a point where it was being disruptive and I had to go talk to security. Eventually they did come and escort them out with no issue whatsoever. So…it was pretty smooth.
Sadly it can’t always be smooth. One time I was working Anime World Chicago, and I had to watch the rave entries. At the same time of that convention there was a wedding party that had taken place. Some of the members decided to crash the Rave, and just walked on in. I had to chase them and let them know that they were not allowed in the rave. Sadly they figured that since it was their wedding they had the right to go in. So, pretty much I had to keep them at bay until security came and dealt with them (I was just a volunteer). It was a nightmare to deal with…and it didn’t help that another person came up to ask a question while I was dealing with them. But it was resolved.
I know I’m not the only person who’s had dealings with non-con goers. So, here’s what some members of the community have shared with me containing the good, the bad, and the bizarre:
I went to one where prom was also going on. Most of the prom goers were shocked but loved the show anyway for the most part. -Alex
Saturday night in the lobby at AMKE 2013. I saw a couple of old men walking around, suffering from complete culture shock. One of them said “I’ve had some bad f*ckin’ dreams in my life, but this is it!” -Ross
I was cosplaying L with a giant lollipop, my boyfriend at the time was Light. We were handcuffed together. A young Mia Fey (Phoenix Wright) cosplayer wanted our picture and we said yes, but as Ace Attorney fans we also wanted her picture. So she quickly made some last minute adjustments before we took it. By this time we realize she was with her parents who had been standing by for some time. Took the picture, and we started to part. I overheard the dad ask her “So were those guys in prison? -Winifred
Day 2 of Anime Midwest a nice lady was sitting next to me in the lobby
and she helped me straighten up my wig since I couldn’t get to a mirror
she was major confused though XD -Willa
After dinner when we started traveling back to the hotel a large, visibly intoxicated group of men and women started following and I heard a woman whisper, “those are the people that dress up and then have sex with each other!” We walked faster away from them so they started to call out “Hey! Minecraft people! We have a question for you!” The guys with us pushed us to the front of the group and we got away from them as soon as possible! – Bright Eyes Cosplay
Not every experience with a non-con goer is negative as you can see. It’s always nice to know that there are actually people that are interested in the craft and won’t automatically call us a ‘freak’ for doing it. However, it’s always good to know how to deal with those people who might try to harass us or stuff like that. As always, if you have any other tips you’d like to add, feel free to leave a comment and let us know.
I would like to thank the following people for sharing their stories: Willa, Bright Eyes Cosplay, Winifred, Ross, and Alex.