10/18/2003 Entry: "On Costumes..."
I feel guilty at conventions sometimes. I really like most of the people, but I have "issues" with certain people who wear costumes. After seeing this collection, I think I have narrowed it down to two problems.
First, I can't stand people who are too "into" the character. I am not talking about what they wear, but they get some sort of persona that makes them hard to interact with. It's like they think they are real. At the Renaissance Festival, I expect that: they are paid actors. But at some media convention, some guy dressed as a Klingon who certainly ACTS like he thinks he's really a Klingon gives me the willies. I also hate it when certain people become snobs through their character. Here's an example:
Punkie: Hey, do you know where the elevators for the south tower are?
Hagrid: (dressed as Hagrid from Harry Potter) What be these towers you speak of, Muggle?
Punkie: I need to get to the PanduExCon party. I heard it's in room 405, in the south tower.
Hagrid: Oy, man! Why party with Muggles? That's what Dumbledore told me!
Punkie: If you don't know, just say so.
Hagrid: Have you heard? Harry and Hermione are making out near the Quiddich field!
Punkie: I... oh, forget it.
I once was talked at by a girl at a Trek con who vomited massive tales about android cats being allowed into the Federation. One of the scariest hours of my life.
My second beef is that some people just can't wear a costume. I am not talking about fat people in spandex (I happen to like big people, especially the ladies), but I am talking about the *people* in the costumes. There are two things I see wrong with a lot of people in costumes: confidence and personal detail. By confidence, I mean, if you are going to wear the costume, man, don't wear it like a weight on your shoulders, or that you're half embarrassed to be seen like that; I get embarrassed for you out of sympathy! So stand upright and smile! And by personal detail, I mean, if you wear the costume, clean your hair and wear makeup. I am especially looking at some anime people out there. You're imitating animation, for God's sake, make clean lines! Ladies take note: eyeliner, lipliner, and bold colors really improve the look. Especially on a base foundation. I learned this in basic theater, that you have to make makeup so that people in the back row can read your expressions onstage. Same at a convention. I bet it wouldn't hurt you men, either. Dear God, at least shave!
I just get sick of seeing slouchy people who throw on a costume like it was in bed with them when they got up. I don't even know why they bother. You wear a costume to get noticed, so if you are going to be noticed, think deeply about the impact of the whole costume and you in it. I have judged costumes for years, and if it's a choice between a perky costumer who doesn't slouch and did their hair in a half-assed costume versus someone in a technically perfect costume but looks like they'd rather be elsewhere... I am voting for the first one!
One last beef I have is people who have no originality. This is more of a problem in anime cons, but I see them in other cons as well. In any large anime con, I see about 20 - 30 Sailor Moon costumes. For years. I have only seen one Domo Khun costume. I loved it! It wasn't technically great, but the fact the person thought to be original and clever with some brown felt and a carboard box impressed me!
And a final sidenote, I know that some of us can't help how we look. Acne, glasses, weight, chest size, nose, whatever. God made us all different for a reason, so don't be ashamed how you look. I don't mind a fat person in spandex if it looks like THEY don't mind. I saw a costume were a teen girl used her acne as part of her Borg costume. Brilliant! I never notice back acne unless it's on the back of a slouchy person. It's all about attitude, and if you have a terrible attitude, every "flaw" seems more noticeable.