So, you’re a single geek and attending Comic-Con this year. Well, you are not alone, not by a long-shot. There will be thousands of single geeks there of all genders, interests and sexual orientations. If you can’t find someone interesting there, you aren’t trying hard enough! I went to Con single for years without having the courage to talk to anyone and I want better for you. I’ve shared some general pieces of helpful advice on talking to new people in my Lady Steamy columns, but here’s some Con-specific advice for you.
1) Think about what you’re wearing:
COSPLAYING-I am fairly new to the world of cosplaying and I have already fallen head over heels in love with it. You get to express your creativity, show off something that you love and you have a unique opportunity to meet so many new people at conventions. Last year at SDCC, I dressed up for the first time in Steampunk attire and I was shocked at what a different experience Con was while in costume. People stopped me to take pictures, to ask me where I got my clothes and to discuss Steampunk. If you’re shy, this is the perfect way to meet new people without having to come up to them. Remember, every new person you meet could be a potential dating prospect or a new friend who has single friends.
OTHER CLOTHING- If you’re not a cosplayer, you should still think about what you’re going to be wearing to Con, especially if you’re shy. You know that awesome geeky tee that you own that’s so geektastic that no one in the real world understands it? Yah, that is the perfect thing to wear at Con. Plenty of people will get the joke and you’ll probably have several of them bounding up to you telling you how awesome it is. When this happens, talk to them. Be friendly and take advantage of the new connection. Check out an article I wrote recently about harnessing the power of fashion for some specific tips on looking and feeling good. http://thelxl.com/2011/06/17/advice-for-the-week-embrace-your-inner-superhero-and-harness-the-power-of-fashion/. More importantly that anything though, take care of yourself physically at ComicCon. That place is gigantic and I don’t want anyone wearing uncomfortable clothing or shoes trying to look attractive. It’s more important that you are comfortable, but if you want to throw on a cute jacket and a pair of cool earrings, then do it.
2) If you see someone with an awesome t-shirt or costume, go talk to them. I know it’s incredibly scary to go up to a total stranger and talk to them, but odds are, they’re shy of strangers too and they would love it if you came up to them. If they’re in a big group and involved in a deep conversation, be polite and don’t interrupt, but if they’re alone or walking around, go ahead. 99.9% of people in costume are more than happy to stop to chat with you or get a picture. It’s part of the fun of dressing up. Sometimes we all get very focused and overwhelmed at Con and making a new friend can brighten up the day and get us to remember that we’re surrounded by thousands of our fellow geeks who are all excited to be there too.
3) Smile! Putting on a simple, natural smile will do several things. 1. It’ll make you feel better, I promise. 2. Smiles are contagious and if someone sees it, they just might start smiling too. You might just start a chain reaction. 3. You’re making yourself much more approachable to a potential mate by appearing open and friendly.
4) Talk to people sitting near you at panels. The person sitting next to you is (probably) there to see the same thing you are, so you already know you have something in common. Strike up a casual conversation about the next panel, what they’re reading, etc. This is an excellent opportunity to make a new friend (or love connection) and to hear about other fun things happening at Con that you might not know about. As always, if the person doesn’t seem receptive to having a conversation, don’t force the issue. Not everyone is up for an extended conversation with you, but you should always give it a shot.
5) Attend after-hours events. I spent my first 6 years at Con never once attending any kind of after-hours events and I think I missed out on a lot of socializing opportunities. A lot of attendees are very focused and often stressed during the day while they’re running around to panels, waiting in the hot sun, or desperately trying to get an autograph. At night, they’re more relaxed and more receptive to meeting someone new. There are plenty of parties out there, believe me. Many of them are very exclusive, but there are some that are completely open to the public, like the New Media meetup on Thursday night that the LxL is co-hosting. http://www.facebook.com/?sk=lf#!/event.php?eid=216406131731404 Pay attention to the twitter feeds of your favorite groups, blogs and websites. If they’re hosting something special, they’ll usually announce it there. If you don’t get into any parties, go to the Gaslamp District and head into a bar. Odds are, the people at the bar are fellow geeks. Strike up a conversation, mingle and maybe you’ll meet someone awesome (maybe even a Stormtrooper, squee!)
6) Go off and do stuff on your own. If you’re attending Con with a large group of friends, keep in mind that men have a harder time coming up to women in groups. It’s easier and less stressful to talk to you if you’re alone. By all means, hang out with your friends a lot, but go do things on your own as well. They may not want to do exactly what you want anyways, so you’ll make yourself happy and it’ll give you an opportunity to talk to someone new.
7) Look for special events happening in your area of interest. At Con, there are always small meetups happening for specific groups and interests, both during the day and at night. There are the gaming tables, LARP meetups and much more. For example, the Steampunk community has a huge meetup on Saturday afternoon behind the convention center. This is a unique opportunity for steampunks to meet other people that have very similar geeky interests as them and it’s so easy to strike up a conversation with someone new about their clothing or gadgets. I’ll bet if you start looking around, you can find some of these activities in your areas of interest.
I wish you all the best of luck out there! Remember, have fun, stay relaxed, take care of yourself and go meet some new people. To wrap this up, I asked the lovely LxL co-founders if they had any words of wisdom and here’s their own advice for you:
-Positive advice for both genders: wear a cool T you love—people will ask about it—and it’s an easy conversation starter. Don’t be afraid to ask about something if you dig it.
-Don’t be too intimidated to ask someone about their costume/product/style/etc!
-BRING MINTS! Heh
-Make eye contact and smile!