by Jim Ridley
With the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention getting underway today at the downtown Renaissance Hotel and Nashville Convention Center — see Cass Teague's article in this week's Scene — some people may be attending such an event for the first time. Trust us, you don't want to walk into a Lolita Tea Party and holler, "Hey, Morticia called! She wants her party dress back."
In that spirit, we asked MTAC PR director Nicholas Qualls for some guidelines on anime-convention etiquette. He responded with a list of 10 tips worth scanning whether or not you know otaku from oatmeal:
Don't make fun of costumes or cosplayers. These people put a lot of time and love into creating costumes of their beloved characters. Plus you're probably outnumbered.
Don't avoid showers. Most conventions are three days of thousands of people in an enclosed space, rushing from event and event and dancing the night away. Body funk will happen. Don't help it. Shower.
Don't overcrowd the elevators. Elevators are a limited resource. Some people really need them, and too many people can cause them to break down. If you have the option, take the stairs.
Don't forget to eat. There's a lot of stuff going on at a convention. Tt's easy to get busy and forget to eat. However, when you're on your fourth hour of the rave or gave blood earlier in the day, you'll regret passing up that lunch break.
Don't go broke. Convention dealers and artists have a lot of great stuff for sale. You might find that giant robot model kit you've been looking for, or an awesome drawing of your favorite character. Watch your funds though, at least to be sure you can afford gas to get home.
Don't poke public safety. A convention's public safety staff is there to protect you. They work long hours all day long. Plus they can kick you out if you're a disturbance. Antagonizing them isn't a good idea.
Don't stalk guests. Convention guests come out to spend time with their fans and have a good time, but it's a lot of work and they need their personal time. They're people too, people who don't want to open their hotel door to groupies.
Don't forget to tip. A lot of people work long hours in the service industry for little pay, and then they get slammed one weekend by thousands of congoers. Be kind and tip well, as long as they deserve it.
Don't touch without asking. There are lots of shiny toys and cool costume props that scream "play with me" at a con, but they probably belong to someone else. Ask permission first.
Don't forget to have fun. Cons are eventful and hectic. It's easy to get caught up in the craziness of everything, only to find yourself on Sunday evening regretting missed events or socializing with cool people. Stop for a moment, take a chance, and enjoy yourself!