Friday, July 16, 2010

ApolloCon 2010: Fan flirting

I noticed ApolloCon Friday night panels have a certain rowdy tendency, if the fabulous "101 Uses For A Paperclip" from 3 years ago was any indication. It could be that a Friday night at a convention is some magic time when parties haven't started yet, and the people who would otherwise be partying go to less-than-seriously themed panels, bringing the atmosphere of mischief with them. This year's panel on flirting, "Con Season is in the Air: when a Young Fan's Mind Turns to Flirtation", confirmed the trend.

Every other SF convention I go to has a discussion on love or relationships (or their darker side, such as stalking) from fannish perspective. But unlike the earlier "Finding Love In Fandom", this was not a panel on romantic advice. This time "flirting" was just a shorthand for sultry stories from late nights at cons. I came away with an impression that I go to a very different types of conventions, as I've never witnessed anything like the situations talked about here.

K. Hutson Price, Kathy Thornton, and Cathey Osbourne

K. Hutson Price, Kathy Thornton, and Cathey Osbourne in the "Con Season is in the Air: when a Young Fan's Mind Turns to Flirtation" panel. Find more pictures from ApolloCon 2010 in my photo gallery.

One panelist told about a party at Soonercon (which, she promised, had stories to beat any other convention stories), where there was a grope box, made out of PVC pipe structure with black tarp placed over it. There were holes cut out in it for people on the outside to grope people who were in the box. At one time, a "lovely young woman of a larger size" got into the box. Unfortunately, she wasn't getting any takers. The panelist felt sorry for the girl, and started asking her male friends to stick their hands into the box. One by one, they refused. An hour later, she found someone who agreed to stick his hand in, only to scream: "there's nobody in there!" Apparently the girl had left long ago. Our compassionate panelist, having missed her exit, was sitting there feeling sorry for the empty box all that time.

Then the panelists attempted to give advice on how to flirt at conventions. Cathey Osbourne suggested an original approach that wouldn't be likely to work anywhere but at a convention.

"Say you are into very specific things, for example, duct tape," she said. "Stand in the hallway and tear a piece of duct tape. It makes a very distinctive noise. See who turns around. That's your marker."

Teddy Harvia and K. Hutson Price

Teddy Harvia and K. Hutson Price in the "Con Season is in the Air: when a Young Fan's Mind Turns to Flirtation" panel. Find more pictures from ApolloCon 2010 in my photo gallery.


Finally, to end the post on a romantic note, here is a story told by Teddy Harvia.

"The best pickup line was used on me at Soonercon," said Teddy Harvia. "I was standing in a group of 8-10 people. An attractive woman looked at my badge, and said "I dreamt your name last night". And then 9 months later we got married."

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