How To Pick Up Girls At Comic Cons

Don’t.

 

Wait, you want more than that? Shit. Fine.

“What are you talking about, Dr. NerdLove?” I hear you ask. “Sure, we see the wisdom in your last post on a similar subject, but surely this is different!”

“Yes,” I’d say. “And quit trying to bait me into that old-ass joke.”

I’ve been in comics and anime fandom long enough to remember the old adage “There is no sex at the comic con”, back when the odds of finding a girl – that wasn’t someone’s mom and/or ride – at a fandom convention was roughly as likely as finding Henry Rollins nodding along to a Michael Bolton song. But now, especially with the rise of manga and anime, girls have started flooding into fandom! Geek girls, even! Cosplay encourages otherwise shy, retiring girls to dress to accent their most common super power! Anime cons have the surprisingly co-ed hentai rooms! The dances! Men in kilts and women with leaf-blowers! The black-market Hello Kitty vibrators! Surely comic conventions must have become Hedonism for Nerds, right?

And I reply “I told you I’m not going to make that goddamn joke, so stop trying.”

Here’s the thing: I have had a lot of experiences at conventions, as attendee, panelist and vendor. In spite of my own guidelines, I have had several hook-ups at conventions that went quite swimmingly. I’ve also had several that didn’t go nearly as well. Occasionally quite violently and all over the place. And in my experiences and never-humble-opinion, comic conventions are a poor place to look for sex and especially for any relationships that are going to last longer than that weekend.

So as every geek-related industry gears up for Nerdi Gras (aka San Diego Comic-Con) this week, allow me to present

The 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Try To Pick Up Girls at Comic Cons

5) The Logistics Are Against You.

Comic conventions, especially the larger ones, are loud, crowded and almost absurdly expensive. Even with the convention discount, travel and lodging is going to eat up a not-insignificant amount of your money before you even get to the con. And the most common way of defraying expenses at the convention?

Sharing a room with half a dozen of your closest friends. And their halitosis, questionable bathroom habits and the occasional semi-intelligent life form that evolved out of the melange of junk food and soda you and your buddies brought with you to the con, contributing to a mess that will send most hotel maids screaming into the night.  So you’re going to have to coordinate with all your friends to get even a vestige of privacy – many of whom who have the same goal you do. And even if you do manage to get some alone-time, you’re going to have to convince the girl you’re with that she really does want to get naked in a room that looks like the aftermath of a Delta party before they get set on double-secret probation.

No problem, just go to her place, right?

Yeah, not so much, Romeo. She’s in exactly the same boat you are. And while you may have convinced your friends that helping you get laid is a noble goal, her friends aren’t going to be quite as obliging. If you thought a girl’s friends were roving cock-blocks in bars, you’ve never seen girls trying to protect their friend from making a mistake at the con.

Are there exceptions? Of course there are. But honestly, do you really want to bank on having somehow stumbled into a wacky teen romance instead of reality?

4) They’ve Heard It All Before

There’s nothing like taking poorly socialized nerds and attractive women – geek or otherwise – and cramming them into the pressure-cooker environment that is your average con. Somehow this convinces even the most femme-phobic guy that he can win over the heart of his favorite webcomic author with the right combination of arrogance, disdain and an encyclopedic knowledge of Tennant-era Dr. Who. Meanwhile, the model-actress-whatevers who’ve been hired as booth babes to shill for which ever corporation is trying to cynically milk the nerd-dollar are developing that dead thousand-yard stare that is normally found in Vietnam vets as they try to keep their rictus-like grin pasted on while posing for photos with increasingly handsy (and sweaty) nerds as they run down the list of poor life-choices that lead to them being on the con floor and praying for the sweet release of death. And the cosplay girls may like the attention, but it only takes one or two bad pick-up lines based on poorly-thought out puns about their character’s powers before they start wishing they could kill people with their brain.

And then there’re the guys who got their ideas on how to pick up women from anime. Anime of all things. Why would you do this? WHY? Oh God, someone bring Daddy his special medicine. It’s in the bottle marked “Jefferson’s Reserve”.

(ahem)

Basically, there are very good reasons why most women at conventions are not going to appreciate your hitting on them; you may think that you’re Studly GoodNight, but to them you’re probably #6557 in a series of dudes who’ve already pissed them off that day. You’re behind before you even start.

3) You’re Competing With Everyone Else’s Mistakes

Let me take a second to talk about the idea of “male privilege”. Male privilege means never worrying about being alone in an elevator with a stranger. Male privilege means not having to do a calculus of risks whenever you’ve been invited to a party. It’s not having to deal with people having pre-supposed rights to your person, or having to worry what messages you might be making about your sexual availability. You aren’t going to have people assume you’ve gotten to wherever you are in the industry by sleeping with someone, have your work denigrated because of your sex and  you’re not likely to be harassed in what should be a safe space.

I’m not bringing this up to be the White Knight, protesting against the horrible things that are done to women, but to bring up a certain point: these are the sorts of things guys don’t have to think of. Women do. And all of this is going to inform everything a woman does, especially at a convention.

Remember what I said above about poorly socialized nerds and high-pressure environments? Yeah.

There are a surprisingly large number of nightmare stories for women at cons, ranging from the misguided (The Open-Source Boob Project) to the boorish (being sexually harassed by guests) to the hideous (stalkers, sexual assault). Every story a woman will have heard about someone being groped, harassed, or in some cases raped at conventions? Guess what, chief? These are the standards everything you do is going to be filtered through.

One of my good female friends spent a convention hiding in her room when a guy she met – and liked, initially – crossed the line into creepy-stalker when he didn’t seem to process that she wasn’t going to hook up with him that night. He thought he was being charming and seductive. She was legitimately frightened by his unwillingness to take “no” as a clue to stop pushing. You think you’re being charming when you’re asking for her e-mail, but the way you’re coming across if you’re not careful is asking “Does this smell like chloroform to you?” You think you’re inviting her to a room party (in the hopes of eventually clearing the room when the Enigma track comes on *wink wink*) can sound a lot like “Wanna come back to my rape dungeon?”

Is it fair? Nope. But you wouldn’t think that people would seriously try to implement the Open-Source Boob Project either.

2) Someone Sent Us Up The Drama Bomb

So taking a step back from the loaded topic of privilege and women and look at another aspect of why cons are bad places to try to pick up women:

Conventions are like hot houses for drama. It is like some sort of experimental lab that develops new, stronger and more virulent forms of drama that occasionally manage to escape and infect the general public. I have seen lifelong friendships end and marriages dissolve. I have watched entire relationships start and end over the course of a weekend. There was one con where I saw a guy and girl meet cute on Thursday night. By Friday, they had declared that theirs is a love that shall last FOREVERRRRRRR! By Saturday he caught her flirting with the cute guy in the HalloweenTown Sora costume and by Saturday night he’s crying into his Coke Zero that he’ll never love again, while she’s busy wondering what names she and Sora are gonna give their kids.

The larger the con, the greater the drama. Everybody’s been running around all day. They’re insanely busy whether they’re a guest of the con, a vendor or an attendee. Everyone’s suffering from little sleep, shitty food, entirely too much booze the night before and the vague feeling that money’s draining out of their pockets. Nobody is firing on all cylinders. Nerves are frayed, tempers are on a hair trigger, I’m nowhere near making my table fees back, my girlfriend is laughing a little too much at that guy’s jokes and why is she rubbing the chest of some dude dressed like Hawkman and I just can’t deal with your shit right now do you fucking mind??!

(ahem)

1) That’s Not Why They’re Here (or: You’re Missing The Point)

Going to cons to get laid is a lot like going visting California in order to go panning for gold. You can do it and maybe even find something but that’s not really the reason to go. The vast, vast majority of people at the convention aren’t there looking for love or even a good 30 minutes between panels. They’re there to hang out with friends, see some of their favorite creators, dress up in costumes, connect with their fans, sell their work, pimp their art, find a job… Focusing on trying to get laid (or finding a Nerd Girlfriend) is missing the forest for the trees, and your insistance is possibly hindering others from enjoying their con experience. While you’re busy trying to flirt with the cute author of your favorite webcomic, she is likely wishing you’d wrap it up and buy something already, or at least get out of the way and stop driving off the other potential customers. Time spent stalking the con floor looking for love is time you’re not spending in panels or meeting that artist who drew your favorite comic or finally tracking down a bootleg of that TV show you loved as a kid.

Do people get laid at cons? Yes, of course they do. Do people meet their future spouses there? Again, yes. But that’s not the point of going to them, and you’re doing a disservice to yourself by trying to treat it like the club scene with added otaku and Twilight knockoffs. Don’t go to cons with the intention of trying to score, and you’ll probably have a much better time. And get me one of those limited editionLocke and Key model keys while you’re there, will ya?

Comments

  1. "Focusing on trying to get laid (or finding a Nerd Girlfriend) is missing the forest for the trees"

    I've never thought about it like that before. I've been going to comic con since I was 13 (San Diego native) and every year I have always been looking for that nerdy girl. Maybe I'll actually be able to enjoy it this time.

    Also quick question, I've read your other articles and in one you said high school is not a crucial time in ones life. I agree, but would you say college is?

  2. Boatloads says:

    Wait, what joke are you talking about? This I gotta hear.

  3. Are you kidding? you've never heard that joke before, Boatloads? Surely, you must be kidding…

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us '0 which is not a hashcash value.

  4. Barbara says:

    In fandom, it definitely pays to be a girl. We're outnumbered by the guys. The only problems girls have is that sometimes guys have a totally unrealistic idea of what girls are ideal for them. I know of several guys looking for bablicious booty when you just know that the superficial cheerleader types are just not going to go for these geeky guys. Geeky girls like geeky guys, and once they actually look at us, we're pretty damn good. I found my guy through fandom, but not at a convention; however, we just had a couple get married in our club who met at a convention, so it does work.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us '0 which is not a hashcash value.

    • while i agree with your point, i just want to say that just because a woman is "babilicious" does not make her stupid. these things are not exclusive.

  5. THANK YOU for talking about male privilege and the things women have to think about that guys don't. I've dived out of an elevator as the doors were closing because a skeezy guy got on and there was no one else in it — better to wait for the next one than to take the risk.

    One of the reasons I've always gone to cons is to meet up with old friends and make new ones. Some of those friends have turned into more than friends, but that's something which can't be forced.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us '0 which is not a hashcash value.

  6. I have 2 storys for you. The first one is fairly short.

    1: I(a male) have been taken advantage of by would be admires of my cosplay (last year a ran around with a computer monitor on my head). Just hanging out with some single serving weekend friends i had made at the begging of the con when a female comes up and asks for a picture and a hug, this having happened several times before i thought nothing of it. after the picture she hugs me and as she's pulling back she decided it was a good idea to grope me, by massaging my chest. she then precedes to hug my friends and leave. after she had left i ask them if they too had been groped, with the collective response of no i had no idea whether to be flattered or violated.

    2:Its the middle of the night and im still at the con i run into a guy i met earlier cosplaying as Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop), and he tells me this story. He decides, for a laugh, to go to the anime speed dating, while hes there he meets this girl who sort of clings to him even after speed dating had ended. She ends up following him until she is distracted by a furry and according to him "the stars aligned… or some shit" as the crowd in front of him parts enough for him to quickly make his way through and escape to the rave which was going on at the time. and he meets this sexy scantily clad cosplayer who he starts getting frisky with. However before he's able to make a solid move he hears the "you cheating son of a bitch, you know i have abandonment issues". looking over he sees the girl who he previously had escaped. the girl he was dancing with now disgusted leaves. and he is now tired and annoyed. (story aint over yet, and thank you for flying air eden) The con has ended and im ridding to the airport( to drop off a friend) there are three of us in the car, my friend who i knew from high school, this girl who i had met earlier through the high school friend, and I. So i decide to break up the dull tiered silence with Spikes story, and as i reach the climax my friend proclaims aloud "that psycho cock blocking bitch!" and right then the girl punches him in the arm and thats when i realized who the story was about.

    The End.

    P.S. thank you for reading all the way through (if you did)

  7. SHOGUN OF SPILL says:

    IDK I sat next to a HOTT AZN dark phoenix for the whole day @ Hall H & we played batman & catwoman (cat& mouse) @ SDCC floor the next two days now we are friends the blueprint of meeting this girl was geeking out having a good time Harris is right. Be settle Confidence is KEY but too much confidence leads to arrogance which is a big mistake

  8. I've never tried hitting on women at conventions because I'm to busy trying NOT to die by being crushed to death. That being said, I've made some good friends over the years male/female just from shooting the shit with random people while in lines. The "Man's Privilege" thing however is why I ALWAYS make sure female friends are never alone when I can help it and why I gave my sister a pepper spray and spring loaded baton to keep in her purse at all times…

    • Props for being a good friend and bro.

    • Good idea on the pepper spray, but maybe not so much on the spring loaded batton. Those things are usually illegal to carry around if you’re not a cop or a licensed (and on duty) security guard. Trust me, I’ve been arrested for having one.

  9. What about girls who go to anime conventions who want to be picked up?

    • Dr. NerdLove says:

      Anime conventions seem to be their own beast. I'm old enough to remember when "There is no sex at the anime con" wasn't irony. Then the last time I went to A-Kon it was like nerd Hedonism.

    • Along with what Dr. NerdLove has already said in reply and in his post about not trying to force it and just have fun.

      Have you thought about making the first move? I'm a very shy person myself, but if I want it as badly as it sounds like you do…I gulp or shake nervously or whatever it is and just say it "I'm not expecting anything, but I'd love to go out sometime if you want to"

  10. Thank you for #3. Look, guys, we know it isn't fair, but we're a bit too burned and shy.

  11. Gotta say i couldnt have heard it better myself. I've been going to cons for nearly 10 years now. Never went to get laid, actually went to see all my old friends i get to see once a year. And yes the truth hurts!,Most wont get any tail unless they bought it from a vendor. even more so some of the girls there may be underage so WATCH OUT!! Non the less enjoy every con you go too with wide eyes and see all the crazy things that really happen when you least expect it. Gotta say this year at radcon was the first time i ever attempted a toga, yup we got pictures. but that memory will last a life time. And if you do get lucky do yourself a big favor! keep it to yourself..your friends dont wanna know about it and it causes less drama! Anyhoo thanks for the lesson on Cons, it was epic!

  12. I've never gone to a con looking for love or other, I just love showing off my Cosplay skills. But I got lucky and met my now husband at Sakuracon 2 years ago. We met at the Masquerade Ball on friday night. It worked because neither of us was looking for a "hookup", and he did not act like a creeper. He protected me from the bad kind of attention for the rest of the con because he was carrying a giant gun, so it all worked out!

  13. i have 2 short stories for you lonely gentlemen.

    1. one of my good friends met her now boyfriend of 2 years at a con. long distance relationship but they enjoy each other. all they did was start talking about how much they love each others costumes.

    2. i was grabbed and held tightly by a stranger who only laughed at my obvious discomfort and *fear* at that same con one year later while just waiting in line. that aint how you pick up ladies.

    so basically don't be afraid to talk to a girl! you could have a hook up (or more). treat us like people and you will probably stand out from the other drooling misogynists. its really sad but true. respect is all we want. BUT KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF.

  14. It bothers me a little at the assumption in the comments that women are going to cons specifically to get attention or to get free drinks or other freebies from male admirers. I go to conventions and nerd events because I'm a nerd. I'm in a relationship but even if I wasn't I would still be going to cons because I want to see the stuff at the cons. And yeah, I like meeting people and having conversations with guys (and girls) at conventions but blatant attempts at hitting on me are going to be met with rejection because it's skeezy.

  15. After reading this article and looking back on my convention travels, I can safely say that these words are cornucopia of truth. If a still-reforming serial-offender can offer any advice, it is to not go to these conventions for the sole reason of trying to get-laid. Hang-Out, have fun with friends, fulfill your Press Pass Requirements, market your talents, network with like-minded people, sell your product and win your Convention-Related Rewards. I'm not sure whether doing this stuff with get you laid or not, but you'll you won't put yourself in a place where you don't get a goodnight's sleep for 7 days because you feel so fucking guilty over the situation.

  16. Amen to this, and #1 beong the most important point, also applies to women working in many other situations. E.g. don't hit on waitresses at hooters. Sadly, it's a lesson people just don't learn.

  17. I think the crux of the matter is that at comic cons there are going to be a lot of unattractive guys outnumbering (mostly relatively attractive) women. That factor alone is the overwhelming cause of the dynamic that exists at comic cons. The other reasons listed in this article are just by-products.

    The unattractive and the over-supplied have to consider a lot of things and think many times before making a move.

  18. I think that it is reasonable for a guy or girl to have the subconcious desire to get laid at any kind of social gathering, especially Cons, I mean what are the fundamentals of the datig scene? Finding things in common happens to be up there IMO and I think that if people of either gender cant figure out the line between a harmless flirtation(and gauge a negative response) they just aren’t doing it right. Picking up anyone requires you to know a lost cause and to not be a total goober about it. Example, I may strike up 20 or 30 conversations with different girls before I find one that I think I can talk to long enough to even want to spend the night with, and as a rule, if I feel comfortable chatting to a girl for more than 10 minutes then I think I’m I’m with a reasonable chance. Play the odds and don’t be a tool. I thought I’d add some positive advice on here.

  19. You know, I wish I read this before I made a move at the con. I mean I am somewhat attractive but I have unfortunately created a negative rep over the years because of me being a shameless handsy nerd.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] to meet women, and how to avoid the friend zone. Of particular interest this week is “How to Pick up Girls at Comic Cons“, which begins “Don’t.” He’s got five good reasons to think twice [...]

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