While Hypable likes to think of ourselves as nerd connoisseurs, even the most devoted geek can find the sheer intensity of something like last weekend (July 24-27) San Diego Comic-Con overwhelming. So many fandoms and so little time!
Don't worry, we've got your back. Here's some handy tricks for how to blend in with your all your cool, fandom-savvy friends at whatever con you get to attend.
Step 1: Smile and nod.
Silence is your friend. You will do yourself no favors by actually opening your mouth and trying to form coherent words to articulate why exactly "Game of Thrones" is an allegory for the End Times. When possible, avoid speaking altogether lest you reveal that you actually know nothing, Jon Snow. The best thing you can do for yourself is to agree with the loudest and most obviously obnoxious fan in a friendly, but non-committal way by smiling and nodding your head at appropriate intervals. But note: beware of phrases like "character assassination," and "twincest," at which point it is appropriate to shake your head in disgust.
Step 2: Always initiate.
In the extreme case that you are actually called upon to speak, it is best to preemptively avoid looking like an ignorant fandom-plebeian by always initiating, and thereby taking charge of the conversation. The best way to do this is by asking a question the other person is forced to give a specific and direct answer to. This will allow you the opportunity to immediately put Step #1 into practice again, which let's face it, will always be your go-to safe-zone. If you are at a loss as to what exactly to ask, there are a few standards that are always safe. "Who's your favorite red-head?" and "Which brother do you think is the hottest?" are two staples that will apply to just about every fandom. There are always cool redheads, and there are always sexy sets of brothers, and if you are very, very lucky, the fandom will even have cool, sexy, redheaded brothers (we're looking at you, Weasleys.)
Step 3: When forced to answer, be vague, but excited.
Unfortunately, however, this is the game of life (you win or you die!), and you will not always have full control over what happens. There may be a time when you are called upon to speak and will not be able to direct the conversation exactly your way. In this case, it is best to answer positively. People who sleep outside for days and stand in the sun for hours and are forced into close proximity with sweaty Whovians who forget to reapply their deodorant usually, USUALLY, are not hate-watchers. So unless you get a thrill out of starting geek riots (don't do it! Way too many people show up to cons with swords), respond positively in regards to the fandom, but remember to BE VAGUE.
WHOVIAN #A: Who's your favorite Doctor?
YOU: Oh, I think it's pretty obvious. (You smile knowingly and motion to your outfit as if it illuminates a great mystery. It does not illuminate a great mystery.)
FAN 221BA: Do you have a favorite episode?
YOU: It's so hard to pick! But I think that last one, yeah, probably. It was really good.
In these cases, your demeanor will be the most important thing in faking it successfully. You must appear appropriately excited, but not SO excited that the local evening news will feel compelled to interview you for their Con segment.
Step 4: Scream when appropriate.
Hint: At a con, it's almost always appropriate. Fortunately, when it comes to Cons, in the end, blending in starts to happen naturally thanks to Mob Mentality. Who was that man with the face of an Angel running past the Hall H line? Who cares? Just embrace the Con lifestyle and scream!
This is the one time a year when you will be surrounded by your geek-brethren, in an all-encompassing, suffocating way. For a few days, we, as a collective, are kind of cool and kind of terrifying. We are proud and we are strong. And though we may not all come from the same fandom, we are united in our geek-love and mutual dehydration. So let your inhibitions down! This is our party.
Fandom Cheat Sheet:
"The Walking Dead": If you tie a leash around your friends, this seems to amuse people.
"Game of Thrones": Just answer Peter Dinklage to every question asked. Who's the sexiest man in the Seven Kingdoms? Peter Dinklage. Who's your favorite secret Targaryen? Peter Dinklage. Why does everyone have to die? Peter Dinklage. See? There is literally no "Game of Thrones" question that cannot be simply and appropriately answered with this glorious man's name. Alternatively, this works surprisingly well with "Hodor," too.
"Teen Wolf": There are a lot of clean-shaven, chest-waxed men on this show masquerading as (ridiculously) good-looking teenagers. So just pick one to gawk at and you'll fit right in.
"Once Upon a Time": Pick a side: "Frozen" was SUCH a good idea/"Frozen" was SUCH a bad idea. Additionally, this is the one line where it is sometimes appropriate to insinuate that someone is a Hooker.
"Supernatural": Are you a Dean girl or a Sam girl? That is literally the only question any Supernatural fan will ever ask you. It doesn't even matter if you are a girl or not.
"Doctor Who": Wear a bowtie. Talk about how big things are. But only on the inside.
Marvel: It's not the Puerto Rican flag. I know, it's confusing. Go out for shawarma.
DC: Just complain about Ben Affleck.
How do you keep up with the fandom frenzy?
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