Last month, I went to the comic convention in Denver. I know that you are shocked that I would attend something so nerdy, given my propensity for all things “manly” like…cooking outdoors, growing beards, working on whatever those wheeled artificial propulsion things in the driveways are called, and-of course-sports.I love sports. I just can’t get enough. I really like the sport where you shoot the blue gun at one wall and the orange gun at the other wall and make a wormhole between the two. Hmm, that one may be a video game. I get the two mixed up.
Comic-Con is a place where every person who got a wedgie in high school deliberately goes out in the costume that could justify every jock delivered wedgie a thousand times over. There are every imaginable alien, comic character, sci-fi movie character and custom creatures from every possible imagination. Unfortunately, “every possible imagination” also includes incredibly overweight, bearded men in a slave Leia costume (do an internet search for the original, or, if you hate yourself, the scene I just described).
Not all people in costumes are trying to embrace some inner character or life style. Some people are trying to do some good in the world, or at least good as they can. Some people make robots that they take to children’s hospitals. Others develop game controllers for the use by the disabled. There is a group of Star Wars fans who make (mostly) stormtrooper outfits and perform at many charity events. You can find them here . They have a lot of fun, but they also are required to perform at a couple charity events (at a minimum) every six months. Most perform at children’s hospitals, “Make A Wish” events, and other similar events. It is a very impressive organization… that makes you want to scream “Nerd!” at all of them.
I love going to the “Artists Alley” and seeing art of every imaginable type. I usually try to buy a couple prints. This is incredibly interesting, but only to me. On to the next thing.
This year I decided to go through a traumatic process called “sci-fi speed dating”. Speed dating is where a group of women sit down, and then a group of men cycle through and talk to the women, one after another. The hope is that you will make a connection after talking for three minutes (surely enough time to delve into most people’s souls) and trade information. In order to keep it a bit safe, each person wears a number. At the end, the people who liked your number put their contact information on a blank sheet of paper that contains your number (usually at a separate table).
Speed dating is fun for all ages (over 18, anyway). If you want to feel a bit of rejection, try to hit on someone in a bar, bookstore, or event. If you want to feel like a disposable person who can be replaced by the next person in line without hesitation and be rejected by 75 members of the opposite sex at a time, then try speed dating. It is like taking your self esteem and kicking it over and over in the crotch while mocking it’s mother. The first time I tried it, 3 years ago, I received no phone numbers/email. Apparently, my costume of a hideous creature was a little too enthusiasticly put together. I paid $30 to be informed that I was not worthy enough to buy food for another person. Strangely, that did not improve my mood about dating.
This year I decided to try it again. See, self esteems need to be nurtured and cared for. If you let your self esteem grow and blossom like a healthy creature, it will leave you and go have adventures without you. In order to keep my self esteem from leaving, I like to crush it every once in a while, and keep it chained to me. Okay, I keep it chained in a basement below me, but it is pretty close.
I decided that I would like to practice talking to people if I want to try some stand up comedy in the future. I thought, “I know, I will tell funny stories and jokes and try to build another five minutes of material.” I started telling a funny story to the first woman. I realized, mid story, that it would be incredibly inappropriate to just go in there and tell jokes. Some people really wanted to meet someone in the event and start a dating life. I could not be the jackass that was mocking the event. I decided to just have conversations.
I am bad at “flirtatious talk”. I always mix up what I am saying when I try pickup lines. I have a sense of humor that completely interlocks my mouth and will not allow me to say something polite when something funny is right there, waiting to be said. This is why my pickup lines get a bit twisted. The line “Did it hurt? [wait for response] When you fell from heaven?” turns into, “Did you fall from heaven? Is that how you messed up your face?”. The line “Is your dad a thief, because he stole the stars and put them in your eyes” turns into “Is your dad a thief, because someone stole my radio and he kind of looked like you”. Strangely, these lines generally do not elicit great romantic feelings from the person I am talking to. Some people just can’t hold a romantic conversation, I guess.
I ended up doing multiple trips through the speed dating lines. I had paid for a friend to go through the soul crusher as well, but he didn’t show up. I talked to about 60 women during the events. That would be about 70 more than I would have talked to at the con by myself (some women preemptively strike by shouting “Don’t talk to me” ).
One small issue with the sci-fi speed dating is that there is no age group. Approximately 80% of the women were between the ages of 18 and 23. I cannot begin to describe how awkward it is to sit across from a woman who is literally young enough to be my child, and remember that I am at a “dating” event. Apparently, “Do your parents know that you are here?” is not considered “romantic”. Also, phrases like “I have a windowless white van full of candy and puppies out back, would you like to see” were also not deemed “appropriate”.
I don’t remember most of the women that I talked to. If I felt there was some unfortunate level of connection happening with one of the younger women, I would say something like, “When I was growing up in the 80’s…”. I would watch them do the math in their heads and realize that I was as old as one of their parents. Usually, any sort of connection would fade into what I call “the standard nothingness”.
I did meet a few oldies, er women approximately my age. One woman worked out quite a bit. That sentence does not do her justice. At about 5 foot 5 inches, her arms were almost as big as mine, only much better defined. She looked like someone had taken a pro wrestler action figure and pull the arms off and put them on a barbie. I asked her, “So what do you do besides work out?” Next to her, a college age woman jump up and starts into “How dare you speak in such a misogynistic manner? Don’t you know brawk ba kawk bawk bawk (I don’t know, i lost interest)”. I said, “well, I don’t know if you have figured out how this works, but we only talk to the one right across from us”. I then asked Muscle Beach Barbie, “So besides picking heavy things up and setting them down again, what do you like to do?” The social justice warrior jumped in again. Rather than listen to the interminable squawking of an idiot, I interrupted her. “Do you really think that a woman with guns the size of those things attached to her shoulders needs any help defending herself? I have respect for her, but would like to speak with her right now, and not you.” The Caucasian she-hulk laughed and then told me that she works out at the same gym I go to. She also mentioned that she starts her workouts every day at 4:15 am and works out till 7:30 am every day. I said, “Ok, now listen to me very closely…if you ever see me at the gym at 4:15 am, please call an ambulance because I am obviously having some sort of psychotic episode.” We laughed, and the timer was called and I had to move on…to the squawking idiot. Rather than listen to anything she said, I decided to take a gamble. I had a feeling that the “queen of defense against all males” would not have what we like to call “a scientific mind”. I started the conversation with, ‘I was watching a documentary on astronomy and I learned that there is a star that spews water into space. It was fascinating. I wondered how, on a quantum level, fusion could generate that much water and not split into the basic elements. Now, I have to say, yes..I was deliberately being mean and pretentious while trying to pretend to have a normal conversation. It was a gamble. If she had known a lot about quantum physics, I would have been out of my depth. She didn’t. I talked for three minutes about science, and then moved on.
I forgot to mention something about comic con. Some of the costumes show a bit of skin. I think the politest term for the costumes would be “incredibly slutty”. One woman was literally wearing lingerie and a lab coat (slutty Doc Brown from Back to the Future). Another woman was dressed as a Batman villain. She had a corset that pressed he breasts up to just about touch her chin and a skirt short enough to be a belt. I am not sure where one is supposed to look when talking to women in those outfits. Apparently, you are not supposed to applaud and yodel like the Ricola man.After the event, I used the restroom . The Batman villain was in there, fixing her makeup. She saw me and said, “Oh am I in the wrong bathroom”. “I hope so, because I just used that urinal… but it is 2016.” I am always funny.
During the sci-fi speed dating, each person wears a number, for example “40”. As you talk to the people, if you like them, you write their number on an index card that was given when we started. However, it is a little awkward to suddenly write (or not write) a number on an index card in front of someone. After the event is done, there are two tables with numbered sheets of paper, one per person.. One for men, one for women. The men go to the women’s table and the women go to the men’s table. You write your contact info on the sheet that corresponds with the numbers of the people you are interested in talking to. Not rocket science, or so you would think. Many (far more than I am comfortable with knowing) got confused and wrote their number on the sheet that matched their own number. Some of them got confused and went to the wrong table, and then wrote their number on their own paper. So, that is sad, they made a connection with themselves.
After the sci-fi speed dating, I kept talking to all sorts of people. I was talking to complete strangers. I guess that after I break the seal on the whole “talking to people ” thing, I can’t stop. I talked to people while riding the “light-rail” train, like some kind of lunatic. The proper behavior for public transit is to ride silently, contemplating your terminal loneliness and wondering why society exists. You aren’t supposed to just randomly make conversation with strangers. That is wrong. I met a nice couple who make their own costumes. They were a lot of fun. I am pretty sure it is a fluke, most people are horrible horrible people, right?
In the end, it was actually quite a bit of fun. I got a scratchy voice. I actually met a woman and have been on a few dates. Our second date was to see “The Fifth Element”. We both won free tickets because we knew separate answers to trivia questions. I am pretty sure Satan bought a snowmobile and is setting up a ski resort.