I’m going to admit to something here. See, I barely consider myself a real geek. I’m more like geek-adjacent. I grew up on Star Wars but pretty much let that fandom go by the time I was a teenager. It’s something I’ve only recently rediscovered. In the meantime, I never became a real sci-fi fan. I haven’t watched a lot of the series that other people geek out over. Not any of the Star Trek franchises, not Dr. Who, not Battlestar Galactica, none of it. Hell, I’m just now figuring out that Joss Whedon is something of a god. That’s how behind I am.
I don’t do role-playing games of any kind. Much as I appreciate them as a type of storytelling, I have little confidence that they are a type of storytelling that I could be any good at it. I read a few comic books when I was a kid but at this point I couldn’t tell you which ones. Any interest in the recent spate of movies based on them has been based largely on who was in those movies. Liev Schreiber got me to see an X-Men movie, and Robert Downey Jr. is exactly why I love Iron Man.
I’ve picked up a lot along the way though. Enough of Star Trek and other shows has seeped into popular culture that I know why it’s considered dangerous to wear a red shirt. I vaguely know what tribbles are. And I know why the plural of TARDIS isn’t Tardi, much as I want to call it that.
So why the interest in cons? Well I do have enough similar interests that I feel more at home there than many other places. As long as a conversation is based on Star Wars or something Whedon created, I feel pretty safe. Short of that, I can fake my way through short interactions. I can recognize a Jayne hat at 100 paces and go on at length about how Dollhouse was just about his most incestuous project yet.
On a purely economic level, going to these cons is just good business. There are people who will buy anything related to Star Wars or Dr. Who. I’ve found my niche market and I’m going to work it for all I can.
But it goes deeper than that too. Because it’s not my goal to simply exploit geek culture. I’ve gone all out for fandoms and I respect that ability in others, even if they are different than my fandoms. You know, your fandom may not be my fandom but…oh yeah, did I mention the amount of crossover between the geeks and kinky folk? No? Well it’s totally a thing.
Because we’re the outsiders. The people who don’t completely fit in anywhere else except among our own.
There is a certain level of derp that can be expected at geek cons. It comes with the territory. Occasionally that level goes off the charts but that’s when you look at the other vendors around you, share a smile, and let it go.
And when my own derpiness surfaces, which it does often? It’s okay. Not because I can look at those who are off the rails and feel superior, but because no one judges me for it. My level of derpy blends in nicely with the rest of the derpy around.
We understand each other.
And that’s why I go back. I go back because, outside of the kink world – and believe me when I say the line is often thin – it’s where I fit in best. I am free to be derpy and awkward and for once, be just like everyone else.