Thursday, May 10, 2012

Going to a Con...By Yourself?

Many of you often mention in your e-mails that while you'd like to go to a convention some time, you just don't have any geek friends to go with. I can totally sympathize; John and I can count our local geek friends on one hand, and I'm not sure either of us would be brave enough to go to a con alone.

But then I got this e-mail from Catherine, and no lie: I was so inspired I actually got a little weepy. Fortunately she's given me permission to share it with the rest of you, so without further ado, here 'tis:


Hi Jen (and John),

I just wanted to write to let you know how awesome I think your blogs are and how you encourage everyone to let their geek flags fly.

Like so many nerds, I am quite shy and hate large crowds. I also don't have any friends that share my love for all things sci-fi, so I never thought I would attend a con. Then I saw all your cool posts and pics about all the ones that you attend but still wasn't sure if I was brave enough to go alone.

I finally decided to take the plunge when I heard about the Calgary Comic Con and the fact that the entire cast of Star Trek:TNG would be there!

I had the most amazing time and met so many really great people who love all the same kind of stuff I do! Plus I got to meet Sir Patrick Stewart and listen to him speak in that AMAZING voice of his, as well as hug Wil Wheaton ( girly sigh! ). 

(I just had to include a couple of photos cause I have no one else to show them off too.)

So thanks for pushing me to try something new, now I want to go to as many Cons as I possibly can.  Maybe someday I'll meet you at one.



SHE HUGGED WIL WHEATON, you guys. (Sooooo jealous.) 

And you know what's even more awesome than the fact that Catherine went to her very first convention by herself?

The fact that she went IN COSTUME:

Oh yeah, she just crossed the Star streams - and I love it.

Now THAT is a magical moment. (Sorry, Disney.)

You know, having been to my fair share of cons I know just how friendly the people are - heck, at Dragon*Con if you don't make a new friend in every line it's because you're actively trying NOT to - and yet I still have this lingering fear of ever venturing out by myself. Seeing Catherine overcome that fear, though, and how happy she is that she did, makes me want to jump out of my comfort zone and try to get out there more. The fact is, cons are where "our people" are - so if ever there was a place to make new friends, it's at a con!

Also, if you're a bit shy like Catherine and me, then I really can't recommend going in costume enough. I know it seems scary, but costumes are instant conversations starters. Not to mention they'll attract fans of the same flavor, so you'll already have something in common to talk about! 

If a costume feels too ambitious, then at least go with a geeky t-shirt, bag, or accessory - the more obscure, the better. I've had people cross a crowded room just to talk to me about my t-shirt at conventions before - and I've done the same for an especially nice ray gun or piece of jewelry. It's all about breaking the ice, so don your finest geekery, and get out there!  

Thanks again to Catherine, my newest hero, and here's hoping her story helps inspire some of you out there, too!

So tell me, peeps, have you ever been to a con by yourself? How was it? Any tips for newbies?


  1. I went to What the Hell!? Con by myself, at 14. It's a small, local con though, so I'm not sure that counts. I've gone alone every year since, and come back with more friends than I had before.

  2. Awesome, Catherine! You go, girl!

    I've never been to a con by myself..I always go with my fiancee. He took me to my first convention as one of our first dates..and a year later, he proposed to me at a convention too. ^_^

  3. Woo HOO!! Go, Catherine!

    I've never been to a Con at all, but the family is going to Pax here in Seattle this August. I don't have my mind wrapped around a costume yet, but since it's a gaming con, we'll all just wear gaming shirts.

    Catherine, you have inspired me! I can't wait to hit my first Con in costume...I hope they do Geek Girl Con again this year!

  4. I'm more excited that she got to get a picture with Fred & George!!! :D

  5. I went to my first con just a couple of weeks ago. I was super nervous, but really everyone is there to have fun and make friends! I might even work up the courage to go to Dragon*Con this year. :)

  6. I'm all for going solo to conventions! I've been going to DragonCon for 15 years, mostly solo. Sure, I meet my con friends once I get there, but we rarely go to the same panels/events. And, yes, I wear a costume at least one day -- it's usually too hot for much more than that!

  7. I don't do the costume thing, but I can't stress enough the "at least wear a geeky shirt or take a geeky bag" thing.

    I go to PAX East every year, and I wear my "Rosie the Retro Gamer" shirt on one of the days. I have random guys and girls give me high fives, thumbs ups, compliments, or hugs for a big part of that day.

    And this year, my husband wore this shirt one day and found a guy with the same shirt. Instant friendship.

  8. I went to Wondercon by myself last year. I actually found I preferred it that way. I loved having the ability to spend as long as I wanted striking up conversations with fellow artists, discussing mediums and inspirations and personal backgrounds. I've run into the same artists several times since then, and it always feels like greeting an old friend who's in the same geeky club as me. I also felt like it really freed me to go to the panels I wanted or cruise things at my leisure, which can sometimes be a challenging task with friends who may want to see different things than you. All together, I'd say it was a very rewarding experience.

  9. A couple weeks ago I went and saw my favorite band since I was 12 (Eve 6) and got to meet them all by myself. The people I was standing next to for the show were awesome (though one of the girls was wearing giant heels and stepped on my toe, I was wearing flip flops, knew I should've worn the converse). I am the only person I know who is extremely geeky. I've decided that I can't really let my shyness hold me back from life experiences where I will undoubtedly meet awesome people who share my interests.

  10. Personally, I think going places alone is the best! Particularly if you're not blessed with a strong personality (like me) you'll be amazed how great a time you can have. You'll do and experience the things you want at a pace you feel comfortable with. I think it also kind of forces you (in a good way) to interact more with new and different people rather than moving in a self-contained bubble or group. But, hey, that's just me.

    I have not yet been to a con (unless Renaissance Faires count) but I soon will, and more or less alone (since I will be a chaperon for my 12 year old daughter and at that age having a parent IN PUBLIC is SOOOO mortifying.)

    BTW my daughter will be cosplaying Gamzee from the online comic Homestuck -- does anyone have any hints on making troll horns? I was thinking stiffened fabric instead of the Sculpy most people suggest. (Of course I can't imagine what Google will make of my search: plaid stiffy!) I appreciate my daughter's faith in my costume-making ability but, damn, this one is tricky!)

  11. I attended Celebration V by myself. My hubby and I were in Orlando for a conference and our hotel was right next door to the convention center. It was the best thing ever! However, we are raising our three kids with some geek-cred and I wanted to take them to their first cons. :)

    Kim in ID

  12. I've been to a variety of cons, but never in costume- not yet anyway!
    What opened me up to CosPlay is dressing up for a Ren Faire- my first time was last October. The crowds are loud and rowdy - but in costume, you're among your own and part of the Scene!
    The combination of ren faires and your steampunk tutorials helped me find my inner Steamer, and this past April i went full Steam ahead at a fantasy faire! Steampunk is still so small that it's intimate and non-elitist, and that's great for a n00b like me.
    At the end of this month I will be attending my first convention in full Steampunk gear and am dragging my boyfriend with me! I CANT WAIT!

  13. Go Catherine!! This is just awesome! It's a great example of really being true to yourself.

    With 3 kids and one income getting to a Con from australia is not the easiest thing. We're hoping to make it to Supanova here one day but it means saving a stack of the green folding stuff for accommodation and entry fees etc.

    My little ones don't let it slow them down though. Schools here have a thing called Book Week in August. Kids are encouraged to dress up as book characters for a day. Most just come out of school uniform. Mine though turn it into an opportunity for full-on cosplay and take the chance to proselytise geekdom among all their classmates.

    They are singlehandedly trying to turn School Book Week into a Con of their own and I'm so proud of them for wearing their hearts on their sleeves!

    This year they are going as nac mac feegles from discworld - if anyone knows a good place to get a light blue body paint I'd be grateful.

  14. My girlfriend of over five years and I met because we both went to Dragon*Con by ourselves. We were in line for the Firefly Shindig.

    So, I guess Jen is correct about meeting new people in line at Dragon*Con.

  15. I'm right there with you, Catherine! I go to the local anime convention, JAFAX, by myself every year and I LOVE it. Personally, I like it because I can wander about and look at what I want, watch what I want, or just sit and people watch at MY leisure. I've always had a blast, seen some awesome stuff, and always just had a great time, and all by my lonesome. :) So you keep on having fun at your conventions, and may you meet some awesome fellow geeks there!

  16. I got a little teary reading the letter and seeing the pictures. I've never been to a CON. I think it's time to go.

  17. Have been to 3 conventions by myself. The first one I was only kind of half by myself though. My 14yo son wanted to go to a very local (only few hundred people and no "stars" that I knew) anime and gaming convention. I wasnt sure I wanted him going, I had heard all manner of scary things about gaming cons and young teens. I aquiesced by getting my own ticket, getting in the gate, and setting him off with friends while I wandered around the vendor area, artists alley and a gaming room (OMGOMG they had EVERY type of game console, even some obscure foreign and kludged ones). we crossed paths a few times, I met some neat vendors and the organizer of another relatively local convention that DID interest me.

    The first convention I went to alone was Teslacon in Madison Wisconsin. It was its first year so there were only a 350-400 people and it was amazingly fun. I spent the whole weekend in Victorian/Steampunk costumes. I sat in on a few classes, bought a bunch of books, some pins and a necklace for myself made with old typewriter keys. I got my kids initials and a &,7 key for between them. I talked to a lot of people, took a few pictures and brainstormed for costume ideas for the next year.

    My second convention was again Teslacon though this time there were close to 800 people and though I shared a room with friends, I wandered about alone most of the time. sat in on a few more classes/talks, stayed up till 5am in the lobby chatting with a small group of new friends around a can of chocolate flavored vodka whipped cream. again in costume all weekend (7 costume changes in all from a Victorian swimsuit to a ball gown and everything in between, and a couple of pieces inspired by your dragon con outfit even!)

    I am glad to say, I just submitted my volunteer form so that I can work at Teslacon3 in the Tea Room. again I am going alone, but in 3 consecutive years I have made "con friends" and recognize faces and costume pieces from year to year.

    I had to overcome some personal fears to go by myself also, and yes, being in a costume is amazingly helpful for not only the reason of new people meeting you, but because you can leave all of your every day mundane person fears and flaws behind and become any character YOU want to be.

    I HIGHLY recommend that every geek should try to attend even a small local convention for even a day (usually Saturday is best), go in costume or not, talk to organizers, vendors, artists, authors and characters and let your curiosity lead. when I am in costume I LOVE when people ask me about it.

  18. Oh Catherine - I'm So happy for you! I am glad that you had a great time and met who you did. Maybe I'm a little jealous too. Really only a very small amount.
    Sometimes going in costume is easier because then it isn't "just you". Some people feel that by themselves - only them - "Me, I'm not worth it" - isn't anything. Unforunately they are wrong and miss out on so many things. This is where a costume becomes so important - because then you are not "just you"; you are something more. What do you think Jen?


    P.S. It was great to see you in Pittsburgh! (small voice - please come back soon)

  19. How about going alone in cstume and ARRIVING AT THE WRONG HOTEL!?!? You throw your shoulders back, hold your head high (hope Security doesn't arrest you for your sword), pretend that you're perfectly normal- everyone else is weird (and frantically call home and ask them to read you the address on the flyer you left on the desk).

  20. Awesome Catherine!!! I'm curious about where you are from... I'm from the Calgary area and my hubby and I were at the Calgary Comic Expo too! We met John Noble (Fringe and LOTR) and Jasika Nicole (Fringe) and got their autographs. If you are in the Calgary area, perhaps Jen could get our contact info to each other for future events. I'm not brave enough, or creative enough to go in costume, but maybe you could help with that ;-)


  21. Sadly, I've never gone to a con by myself before. Mainly because they involve a drive and I don't have my license. I've wandered around cons on my own as my friends and I always end up separated thanks to different things catching our interests.

    I will say that the most fun I've had has been while in costume. People seem to like Rogue and wonder where Gambit is(boyfriend didn't feel like wearing his kick ass costume.)

    Motor City Comic Con is next weekend in Novi, Michigan and then the World Steam Expo(OMG! Steam Powered Giraffe will be there!) is the weekend after that. I'm hoping I can go to both, even if I do end up on my own.

  22. Cons are still the best place to meet new nerdfriends, even with the advent of the Internet; pre-'Net, it was really the only way to meet not only other nerds, but nerds from other places. San Diego Comic Con was THE highlight of the year for me, a place where I saw old friends that I never saw the rest of the year, and met new friends and lovers (I was only of the only girls there back then; I worked that joint like a singles cruise, baby! ;) and felt at home with my fellow freaks for four days. Now, Comic Con is MASSIVE, and WAY too huge for me to deal with because of panic/anxiety attacks (I can't go anywhere by myself either. Big, fierce Klingon broad, and I can't go the to store by myself-- HA!)so I had to retire after 26 years, but I still manage to go to smaller cons with no problem. If someone sees media coverage of Comic Con and gets the impression that ALL Cons are THAT HUGE, I can see where they might get scared off of going to one alone, panic attacks or no! Try a smaller Con, one that is perhaps specific to your particular fandom. And yes, going in costume is the BEST way to make friends! When I put on my Klingon gear, I transform into K'Lannagh, the embodiment of fun FIERCENESS, the way a shy gay guy can put on his dragwear and just WORRRRRK! I was/am large, loud, brassy, and had screwy Scots-Irish teeth, so I worked that Klingon thing HARD, girl; before I got my teeth fixed, it was the ONLY time I EVER smiled in photos. Find a costume/look you can work, and work it HARD, that's my motto (another is "Don't costume outside your weight class"!) Being in costume totally opens you up to meeting all sorts of people, including other shy people who would probably not have to nerve to talk to YOU if you weren't dressed up, either! And don't worry about not being as polished as the old timers; just like in drag, the first con costume you turn out is gonna be a HOT mess, but folk'll respect your effort. My, I do go on, I'll bugger off now. Lovely blog. :)

  23. I'm kicking myself big time... My husband worked the Calgary Comic Con.. he hung out with John Nobel ALL weekend.. IF I had gone I could have MET him on a social level.... but it was the crowds that scared me away... that and the fact that I would have to have gone alone..

    How stupid am I?

    You're way braver than I

  24. What's particularly impressive about getting a hug from Wil Wheaton is the fact that he has very publicly and very frequently said he will *not* touch fans. Too many cases of ConCrud. So, hey! AWESOME! She's just that cute.

  25. My husband is a geek and shy and wouldn't ever go to a Con by himself, so we just grew our own geek child to go with him! Our 10 year old daughter loves all things SW, just like her daddy and they attend things together. Last year they went to a SW weekend at Disney. This year they're going to SW Celebration VI -- in costume!

  26. I've been to dragon*con 3 times now, and always go with a large group of friends. however, with the exception of when we all get together to watch the parade, I hardly see any of them. There's too much to do, and our interests are too varied. I always have a blast, even if I'm wandering by myself, and I wouldn't hesitate to go to a con by myself.

  27. You go Catherine!! I've been taking myself to geeky movies for a while, I have girlfriends that want to talk American Idol, but not Avengers. You've inspired me to venture out on my own some more, thank you!

  28. so fun, I cannot wait to try a con! I just am not brave enough to go alone, but hubby is the one that has always wanted to go, I just have to finish the outfit;)

  29. I love reading this blog for many reasons, though my sole claim to geek fame is that I'm married to an engineer. And, oh yeah, my 6 year old son seems to be totally embracing his inner geek with all things Lego/Star Wars these days (fully supported by me). I have absolutely no interest in going to a con, but I love being exposed to this world through what I see here.

    So it is through that filter that I write about how inspiring Catherine is about doing anything you want, if you need to do it solo. Life is just too short to not live it wholeheartedly.

  30. Hi Catherine! I saw you around on the weekend, and I was like "oh, cool, a female x-wing pilot!" because I've never seen anyone other than guys do that in Calgary. :)

    I always go with my husband cause we like to do stuff together, but we usually end up doing our own thing for at least part of the time. This year it was my Princess Bride t-shirt that generated conversations with strangers, which was fun.

    I was going to go in Steampunk costume, but I just didn't get it finished in time. But maybe Allie C and Catherine and whoever else from around Calgary should meet up next year and have an informal Epbot fangirl panel. :) Feel free to contact me!

    I'd love to go to Teslacon! Anyone have any blogs about it, so I can at least go in spirit? :)

  31. Agree with previous posters who said that when you go alone you can set your own pace - and decide what stuff you want to see. And it's kind of like when you go see a movie alone - you're focused on the movie anyway. At a con there is so much going on that draws your attention that you don't really think about the fact that you are alone.

    Anyway, I'm burning with jealousy over those pics. So glad she had a great time!

  32. I audibly swooned at the twins. WAY TOO MUCH HOTNESS IN A CONFINED SPACE!

  33. It makes me sad to think there are all these single con-goers, and none of us have met up with one another!

    I've gone to a couple by myself, and if you ask me, it's less stressful! Like, I can successfully navigate a crowded trade show floor and not have to worry about losing people. I haven't been bold enough to go in costume yet, since I get anxious when people notice me, but Catherine has almost inspired me to do it. You go, Catherine :)

  34. I usually go to cons with my boyfriends, but end up in line/wandering the floor my myself some times simply because we want to see different things! At fist, I was kind of nervous about it (especially at Dragon*con which is literally in a different country then I live, at least in Toronto its my city hahaha) but I've found line friends are FANTASTIC. Plus, you're guaranteed to have something in common, since you're in line to see the same thing.
    Anyways, I'd say rock that con with your bad self, and have fun!

  35. I've never been to a con, but I have been to a Renaissance Faire alone. Once I got up the guts to go I loved it. Sometimes I actually prefer being on my own so I can go where i want and do what I want without worrying or wondering about anyone else (I'm shy and reserved, but also a bit of a "mother hen"). I think I would love certain cons and once i got my courage on I would love it

  36. Way to go! I might just finally go to one, I have no one to go with either as my friends are not interested. I'm in Chicago and want to get to Cali some day :)

  37. What a great smile she has! She put one on my face. Thank you for sharing, Catherine!

    ~ Haiku Joy

  38. Thanks to YOU Miss Jennifer, I went to my very first Convention last Labor Day weekend.
    Dragon Con.

    I drove down from PA all by myself, dressed in my finest Geeky t-shirts all by myself, figured out where everything is all by myself (okay I did ask one hotel staff member where to go that one time)

    It was fantastic. I might not have made life long friends, but there were nice people everywhere I went. We were all hot, stuffed into corners waiting in line, tired and damned happy to be where we were.

    I got to see Brent Spiner and Garrett Wang. Plus I met you and John, Felicia Day, and my all time greatest geek moment came when I met Wil Wheaton.

    It was scary at first, but I had the best time!
    And I realized something as I drove the 800+ miles home.
    For the first time in my life...I was with my people.

    Congratulations to Catherine and the many others who have braved stepping out on their own.
    I'm so glad I'm not the only one.

  39. Yay, Catherine! I'm glad you went to your first con!

    I went to my first con- a Star Trek one way back when they were starting. I think it was The Committee's third con. It was not only my first con, it was also the first time I went up to NYC from Long Branch, NJ by myself.

    My suggestions for newbies is: GO! Remember if you don't know anyone, you'll meet them at the con. That's how I started. My first few cons I met a few people which led to more people.

    If you are going to a local con- ie traveling to it each day- don't go in costume or make it a simple costume if you do. IE Hogwarts school uniform, Star Fleet uniform. But if you are traveling a distance and staying at the con, then try for a bigger costume. Just remember you have to bring the pieces with you. The bigger, more elaborate costumes are for the Saturday night costume contest. And they can get very elaborate! But simple "hall costumes" are pretty much the norm at all cons.

    Do go to smaller cons first. The big ones- regionals like Philcon, Boscon, etc- or biggies like a Worldcon or SDCC can overwhelm you and might not be a good choice as a first con. I had actually gone to a lot of one day or weekend cons before my first Worldcon- Boston 1980- and I was *still* overwhelmed by it! The Dealer's Room was bigger than most cons I had been at!

    But go! You might have to go alone the first couple or three cons you go to, but you'll soon have friends you'll meet up with there and even travel to farther cons with!

    You'll only regret it if you don't go!

  40. This is an excellent timed post Jen! The Dallas Comic*Con is next weekend and the convention center is in my town, so I am forcing my sister to go with me as our first convention. :) She's not into comics or anything like that at all, so it's basically going to be me by myself lol.

    I'm excited, but kind of nervous. She doesn't want to dress up (even though she does every Halloween!) so I'll probably wear my Harry Potter's the nerdiest thing I own Hah!

  41. Denver must be the nerd mecca-- I would have to go out of state to find a con that half my friends hadn't already bought tickets to. Still, I'm very proud of the nerd who goes solo and those pictures of Catherine are to die for. I'm a firm believer in leaving your comfort zone as often as possible, every adventure I've had that pushed my boundaries was incredible.

  42. It was reading Epbot that got me and a small group of friends to go to DragonCon for the first time. We had such fun that this year we're making our own costumes and going again. I can't tell you how friendly everyone was. It's such a rush!

  43. My best advice for new solo con goers? VOLUNTEER. Volunteer to badge, or in the con-suite for at least one or two shifts. You meet LOTS of ppl that way. It's how I met m hubby- at my very first con- which I was dragged to by friends and then abandoned. And Jen is right- Go in COSTUME. or carry a puppet. Wabbit(my hubby) was too shy to flirt with me... but he was ok with flirting with the puppet! While we were volunteering at the art show. At Minicon where we got married seven years later. On April Fools day. It somehow seemed appropriate. It was the con's 30th anniversary, and the convention theme that year? "It seemed like a good Idea at the time!"

  44. I actually went to my first con last year by myself. There were only one or two people going to be there that I even slightly knew and we'd not made any fixed plans before hand. It was a small fan-run Harry Potter con here in the UK. None of my RL friends are fannish enough about the same things as me to go with me to things so when there was finally a con I could go to I almost jumped at the chance. Even though it meant going alone.

    I'm quite the introvert, and really have to take my time to get comfortable in certain situations but I made some great friends pretty quickly. It was great to know that we all had the geeky connection. The few times I ended up sitting by myself between events I was generally just taking stock and enjoying some alone time, but I think every time there was someone who came over and asked if I wanted to join them.

    I didn't have much of a costume, but I put it to use for the cinema trip, and I also had some badges that a friend had made and sent me to pin to my lanyard, so they were great for getting comments. I also had a geeky t-shirt although I need some more!

    When I've saved up the money I will make it to one of the bigger cons out in the US. It was a good first experience and I think my personal comfort with the situation will only improve with time.

    Go Catherine!

  45. Wait....Grace...from WA?! This is a weird moment seeing someone I know comment on the blog of someone I've never met. Thanks for facilitating this surreal moment Jen. :)

    I have always lamented the 'I don't know anyone as nerdy as me who will go to this event with me without being completely bored and wishing they didn't know me' thing. I think I've mostly used that as an excuse not to move outside my comfort zone. Or possibly for fear of 'by myself' equating to 'alone' in the public eye.

    I have a hard time doing things by myself that I haven't first experienced with someone else. For me it's more of an insecurity thing than a shyness thing. Sometimes I feel like a college senior still acting like its the first two weeks of freshman year.

    Thanks for posting this Jen. Proof that it can be done. :)

  46. My husband and I usually go to the Calgary Comic Expo, but unfortunately we weren't able to this year - and I'm so sad I missed Wil Wheaton!!! *sigh*

    Maybe Allie C. can add us to the list too, and next year go as a group! =)

  47. I'm so relieved to hear that other people freak out about this stuff too. I went to DragonCon for the first time last year -- my first big con, period! -- primarily alone, and it was a combination of amazing and terrifying. I was ok as long as I was with my friends from another state or sitting in a panel, but any time I was alone without somewhere to be I sort of got freaked out and depressed by the incredible crush of people and had to go back to the room and decompress for a while. I love going to my little ApolloCon in Houston, but I'm going to need a year or two before I tackle a big one again -- but I will!

  48. @Linda Gutierrez - you can use a paper towel/toilet paper/wrapping paper cardboard core as a horn. Just unravel the coil and rewrap it, overlapping the seams and you can end it in a point. Tape it all down well and you can cover it how you like. Much lighter than sculpey!

  49. I have gone to dragoncon twice by myself. The plus side is that you are unfettered. You can do what ever you want. Luckily congers are nice and being alone I mustered the courage to speak to other con goers in line. Most everyone is nice and fairly social. The main disadvantage I see is you do not have someone save your spot or run to get something. You also may miss something because if you want to see a big star or even you have to get in line early. To a newb I would say .. Get in line early for popular panels and bring a iPad or e reader so you are not bored.

  50. I can't recommend con-ning alone enough! I actually went to my first Con last year (Dragon*Con) with friends, however, our track interests didn't really intersect. So we split off, and I LOVED it! No "but I wanna do this session!" Or, "I don't care about seeing James Marsters talk about Apollo 11!" (Beats me why anyone wouldn't.) It was AWESOME.

  51. This is incredibly inspiring! A con is coming up in my area and I've been debating with myself about whether or not I should brave it. I tend to freak out in crowds, so it's nice to have someone familiar around or something to distract me. But maybe I'll give it a go, even if none of my friends want to geek out with me.

  52. I love going to cons by myself or with friends, its always a great experience. The last con I went to was a small one in Michigan called ConClave and it had some nice moments. I think the best was I grabbed the last seat for a coffee clatch with Seanan McGuire, which I wouldn't have done if I'd been with other people. Cons are really some of the best places to be a geek. I hope that my next con is with friends but I'll be happy even if its on my own.

  53. Thanks Shadow for the heads up about TeslaCon! I hadn't heard about that one. I would love to go! After all, our son is named after Mr. Tesla himself. :) Too bad we're moving overseas this fall - maybe when we move back. Better start planning our outfits now. :)

  54. While I do not wish to go to a Con, I would like to share something about the costumes. Worried you can't sew? Freaked out by fabric choices? Help is nearby. Like your local H.S.Theater Group. For a modest sum, there are young designers who would LOVE to make your costume in exchange for adding to their portfolio. All you have do to is ask.

  55. I wish I lived in the Calgary area. Catherine looks like someone I'd like to be friends with!

  56. Way to go, Catherine! As a fellow geeky introvert who doesn't know if she'd have the guts to do it herself, this is really inspiring.

  57. This is so inspiring!! I'm going to Comic con for the 1st time AND I'm going alone sooo scared and anxious at the same time I hope I have as much fun as she did and that I'm also that lucky

  58. I went to Planet ComiCon in Kansas City this year by myself. I also did a simple Chell costume. I had a blast! Met Amy Okuda and Robin Thorsen from the Guild, Edward James Olmos from BSG, and Billy Dee Williams from Star Wars.
    You meet so many awesome people! Enjoyed talking to a Han Solo while waiting in line for Billy Dee and had a great conversation with one of the guys behind Ben 10.

  59. My first two trips to Dragon*Con were by myself. I did go to a couple of panels with a friend that lived in the area, but I was all alone in the hotel room.

    If you're an introvert, this can be a great experience. There is no pressure. You can attend any panel you like no need to compromise. You can just sit and people watch. If you go into sensory overload, you can spend a few quiet hours in your room.

    When you go alone, only your desires matter.

    Okay, I now go with my sister after getting her hooked, but we still have afternoon naptime.

  60. Thanks to April for the clever horn construction hint and to Sam for the costume-resource one!

  61. It wasn't a con, but I made a shirt for the Avengers that said "made to be ruled by loki" and I was completely disappointed because I didn't make any new friends there. I dressed up for X2 as Rogue and totally had a great time even though I was the only one dressed up, and this movie was even more crazy, but the KC fans were just not the making friend with strangers type, I guess. Not like when I forced everyone I knew to dress up for Serenity, now that was a good time. Fans singing "hero of Canton" before the movie started and sharing popcorn ball "Ice planets" and passing out strawberries.


  62. I started going to cons a year ago. You go alone, but you're not alone there -- or only as alone as you want to be. At a big con, there's always someone else to make a comment to, or to compliment. At a tiny con, there might be only a half-dozen in a panel room -- and after three panels with the same expert and audience, the conversation flows rather easily.

    I've been in street clothes, with one or two relevant anime/SF buttons to make apparent that I'm not a random hotel guest. Some times I've worn a relevant T shirt. Last time, I also had "anime eyes" glasses in a pocket for suitable times, and a few similar props to play with.

    Another event is coming up, and I think I'll have my first costume ready in time. Anyone in a costume from the same series is prime target for conversation, but of course everyone in costume is there to interact (at a minimum, visual interaction).

  63. Catherine is awesome and inspiring! My partner in utter geekiness is not going to be able to attend Con with me this year, major sad face that I wasn't going to be able to know what? I'm going solo, too!!

  64. I totally saw you there!! in your X-wing gear. I was going to ask for a picture but wasn't able to swim across the crowds well enough before you moved on to a new adventure. If you are even in Edm. (maybe for Animethon in Aug) I'll have to keep my eyes peeled :)

  65. Some great advice on this thread, from oldtimers and newbies alike! May I also point out that if you're on any fandom boards/chatrooms/etc. and have online friends there that are from your general area or part of the state, a Con makes the perfect excuse for a real life meet-up. :)

  66. I lucked into Bubonicon (Albuquerque) a few years ago on their big anniversary. I went, not in costume, and had a lot of fun going to the panels and people watching (and sighing over the books and art sale tables). I only had a few hours, so I didn't get to go to the costume shows, movie parties or other things. Let's just say that when I'm standing in line to pay and a woman in full Royal Manticorian Navy uniform strides past, I know I'm going to have a good day. Bubonicon is not large, and has more a literary/science bent than some Cons I've read about, but it was great fun and no one batted an eye about my being a girl out of costume and on her own.


  67. What a great story and what FUN pictures! I'm super jealous that she got to meet Sir Patrick Stewart AND the Phelps twins.

    And I'd have to agree with one of the last comments--if you are part of forums and things, see if anyone else is going! Make a plan to meet up, get some lunch, or see a speaker. :)

  68. I am the only one of my friends that appreciates a good Con, so I've been attending on my own for the last three years. Not only attending, but I also volunteer at one of the local ones here in Qld. its a great way to get totally geeked out, or if you're like me, to discover that you are way less geeky than others. :-)

    I recently went to a con and met Edward James Olmos, who I love now, saw Wil from a distance (I'm really not a fan, sorry!) and Summer and Moreena from Firefly. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

    My dream is to one day attend one of the really big proper cons in the US or Canada. We have biggish ones here in Australia but dang it would be great to go to ComicCon!!!

  69. My first (and only) con was actually DragonCon and I went by myself. I found out about it on the scifi board while fangirling about BSG. I was so excited I booked a plane and hotel suite and flew my happy solo arse from Austin to Atlanta and proceeded to have the TIME OF MY LIFE. I can't recommend DragonCon enough. If you can't have fun there, you can't have fun anywhere. I made so many friends, real life friends as well as con friends, those that you really only speak with at con. Even with tens of thousands of people in attendance, you begin to recognize people every year. Everyone is so friendly. I can't describe the energy at DragonCon except to say it's my Nerdvana. I've been five years now and plan to never miss it. My 11yo daughter is really upset with me that I haven't taken her yet. Those of you who wish you could go, do take the leap. You will NOT be disappointed.


  70. My first (and only) con was actually DragonCon and I went by myself. I found out about it on the scifi board while fangirling about BSG. I was so excited I booked a plane and hotel suite and flew my happy solo arse from Austin to Atlanta and proceeded to have the TIME OF MY LIFE. I can't recommend DragonCon enough. If you can't have fun there, you can't have fun anywhere. I made so many friends, real life friends as well as con friends, those that you really only speak with at con. Even with tens of thousands of people in attendance, you begin to recognize people every year. Everyone is so friendly. I can't describe the energy at DragonCon except to say it's my Nerdvana. I've been five years now and plan to never miss it. My 11yo daughter is really upset with me that I haven't taken her yet. Those of you who wish you could go, do take the leap. You will NOT be disappointed.

  71. Being an Atlanta local, I first went to the DragonCon parade by myself in 2005. While waiting for it to start I met the friendly folks of the Doctor Who parade group. Joined up with them online later, and while I drive to D'Con alone, I've never been alone at DC again since unless I want to be!

    Definitely recommend the con-shy become friendly at online hangout for costumers of your favorite fandoms. Whether you come in costume or not, you can arrange to meetup at photoshoots and make friends there! One of my best decisions was to ask if an acquaintance wanted to meet up to wait in the badge line. We've spent half our 'Con time together since.

    Going to TimeGate, a small Atlanta Doctor Who / Stargate con, in 2 weeks. Looking forward to seeing my Con'Friends there! Small 'Cons are great for actually getting to talk to people.

  72. I am going to my very first Con in June. They have started a new one in Niagara Falls, Ontario so it's close to home. My 3 teenage boys are going with me. I've decided to go in costume but haven't quite decided as what. My oldest boy is all "meh" about the costume thing. My youngest is mortified that I would do such a thing and my middle boy is planning his own costume. Woohoo, can't wait. Just so you know,you have inspired me to fly my geek flag and just do it. Thanks.

  73. I don't do Cons. I'm a kind of un-nerdy nerd. Well, I guess I'm a Disney nerd (West Coast Style). I do Disney by myself. I like to go to special events at Disneyland. I was at Dapper Day in February, and I had the best time. I dressed up, and was a bit apprehensive about it at first. I arrived early in the day, and the Dapper Day events were planned in the afternoon/evening, so there weren't a whole lot of people dressed at first, and I felt a bit silly. I got a lot of compliments, though, met up with a lot of really cool people, and it was definitely one of my favorite Disney days. I don't have a lot of friends (or any, actually) locally, and these things are great opportunities to meet people, but they're also great opportunities to learn that you're allowed to have fun, you don't need to miss out on life just because you have nobody to go with. I take myself to movies, I take myself to Disneyland, and I treat myself to cupcakes. I don't let myself get in my way anymore.

  74. I've never gone to a con by myself (primarily because I don't know how to drive yet), but I've gone to three of them so far and always had fun. The last one I went to was Hal-Con and it happened to be in a rentable bunch of rooms . . . attached to a mall, attached to a hotel. Everyone stayed in the hotel and just walked through the mall to get to the con, and boy were there some strange looks from hotel-folks and mall-goers!

    I was decked out as Emma Frost (big six-inch spike heels, bustier, miniskirt, the whole shebang) and I got some very, very, weird looks. I wore a long coat to traverse the mall most times but ended up looking like a flasher. On the bright side, at one point when carefully clicking my way across the mall area, an ENTIRE BASKETBALL TEAM (who had no idea who in the hell I was supposed to be) wanted to take a team photo with me. I'm not sure what they thought I was doing . . .

    I also cosplayed Amy Pond the last day. I was going up in the hotel elevator (with my red wig and hazel contacts and full costume), and a nice older couple stepped on with me. They were very relieved that I wasn't 'one of those dressed-up people', and complimented me on how lovely 'my' hair was. I did a lot of mental snickering, but refrained from bursting their bubble.

    My favorite con moment of all time was at the first con I went to in costume (as female Skwisgaar from the show Metalocalypse). I was wandering about when somebody yelled from the other side of the room, "SKWISGAAR! YOU'S A LADY!". Best. Moment. Ever.

    Anyway, I'm going to my next con in July (actually as a vendor), and I'm doing female Thor because I adore Thor and whacking things with a plastic hammer sounds like my idea of fun. I've been doing insane amounts of weight training to get the requisite muscle tone, but I think it'll all be worth it!

  75. I've only been to two cons in my life (same one, both years, currently gearing up for year #3!) and both times went alone. For me, social anxiety queen and all-round awkward penguin who rarely ventures out of town, much less to a CITY, who is also extremely self conscious about my less-than-stellar looks and hates attention, going to a massive place full of strangers was the equivalent of signing up for a doomed space exploration. To go whole hog, I went in costume, too! Why not just mortify myself to death, right?

    And you know what? IT WAS AWESOME.

    Like Jen said I can't recommend going in costume enough. For one thing, you'll instantly find fans of your fandom, or people who just want to tell you they like your outfit. For another, there's something really freeing about dressing as someone else. Suddenly, you're not bound by your own weaknesses anymore. When I first arrived I literally wanted to turn around and run back to my hotel room. I was trembling, I was so nervous! But I thought to myself, my character would never run away from a new experience. So I wouldn't either. And before I knew it people were talking to me and I was responding, and it just got more awesome from there.

    In my experience, people at cons are, mostly, really nice. They'll ask you to hang out with them if you seem lonely, they'll strike up conversations about shared interests during panels, etc. They GET people like us. The awkward, shy, geeky people who hide so much of ourselves in regular society for fear of being judged. At a con, that part of us is WELCOMED. Your flaws and fears are suddenly normal, and rather than running away, people WANT to hang out for an hour and yammer on about season five of your favorite fandom. In real life you might never dare to randomly join in a group dance. At a con, suddenly it's not a scary prospect at all. (True story! I danced terribly, but had a blast!)

    Going to Supercon alone was possibly the best thing I could have ever done. Had I been with someone else, I might have been tempted to use them to hide. Going alone means no choice but to put yourself out there...and realize that it's not such a scary world as we think.

    Going to a con with a geek friend is awesome, and I'm hoping my BFF and I can go to one together someday. (We live thousands of miles apart, sadly.) But going alone is just as awesome. You will have an amazing time, meet new people -- maybe new friends waiting to be found! -- and maybe even discover a new side of yourself. =)

  76. I usually go with a group of friends and have to keep track of them all, or I have to leave when they want to, look at what they want...ect..

    But last year, when no one wanted to go, I went by myself to FanExpo and I had the time of my life! I sprent as much time looking at stuff as I wanted to, didn't loose anyone and talked to as many people as I chose to! It was a blast! I spent the whole day just being me.
    Gotta love it!

  77. My first con was Celebration V, and I went with my mom. I had so much fun I'm dying to go to Celebration IV. While I'd be willing to go alone, I'd rather have someone to share it with (especially the room), plus I have no car and live near Tampa. And going in costume is a must for me. I went as the Jedi Librarian last time and everyone stopped me to take pictures, unfortunately I did not win the costume contest despite the 20+ hours of work in the costume.

    But I know if I go alone I will make new friends.

  78. I am heela jealous! Thr WEASLEY TWINS and WIL WHEATON?!?!?

    I think I just fainted with geek love. Go Catherine!!

  79. Well I just went to my first con today. It was AMAZING! Luckily, I was able to get a friend to go with me, but I was still oober nervous. I didn't talk to many of the celebs, snap a lot of photos, or anything. But I did talk to James Marsters! And now I can't wait to go to my next con. But in costume. And be more bold about photos and such. Thanks though. Everything you've posted about cons really motivated me, and I'm super grateful.

  80. I went to my first con back in June and it was pretty awesome. I want to make it to a comic con one of these days because the one that I attended was more anime-related. I love Sailor Moon, but I love the Doctor more! ;) Definitely still fun, but I plan on taking my brother next time...he's as big of a geek as I am.

  81. I'm going to my first Dallas Comic Con in 2 weeks alone. I, too, do not have friends who share in my nerdy passions. I'm a little nervous but more excited to do all the things I want to do without having to wait around on other people. I'm not planning on dressing up, mainly because I don't have a costume, but I do have a Nightmare on Elm Street shirt I'm planning on wearing..( The cast is going to be there and I'm going to meet Robert Englund!)
    I'm hoping to meet new people and break out of my comfort zone a bit. Maybe next year I'll actually go in costume!


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