The humble fandom convention is something of an exercise in contrasts. These ostensibly social gatherings are based around almost exclusively solitary past-times, creating an compellingly volatile mix of the well-adjusted and maladjusted for one memorable three-day weekend. That's why for every tale of blossoming friendship or love at the con, you'll hear just as many horror stories of people dealing with levels of awkwardness you only thought possible on television comedies. Feeling hungry for a little bit of schadenfreude, we went hunting through several threads on the legendary r/askreddit board for true tales of clammy fandom interaction.

1. 

creepy con stories cringiestf all

photo by Photo-Art-Lortie / shutterstock

 This opening salvo from Waywardcross is a window into edgy teen cringe:

Our first year tabling in the Artist's Alley at an anime con, there was this girl, probably 15-16, that wouldn't leave us alone. If you've ever tabled at a con or hung out with Artist's Alley people, you know the type--uninterested in what you're selling, just happy to have a captive audience so they can drone on and on about their project that they're never actually going to write down but "it's all there in their head", will never take the hint that it's time to leave.

She saw that we did commissions, and so she asked if we did NSFW commissions. My artist isn't super comfortable drawing that kind of material, and she clearly looked underage, so we said no. She proceeded to keep needling us about it, and seemed to notice that it made us uncomfortable. Well, this is clearly a reaction, which is all she's after, so she keeps on requesting increasingly fucked up commissions that we do our best to ignore while we desperately try to start a conversation with anybody else that will come within ten feet of our table.

By the time she's done, she has decided she REEEEAAALLY wants my artist friend to draw her the kids from Grave Of The Fireflies fucking each other, and also one of them is eating the other one's intestines. Eventually she decided she was bored and left.

What makes this interaction stick out from other encounters with Booth Barnacles for me is the guy that was with her, around the same age--never said a word the whole time, but I could see in his eyes that he was deeply embarrassed by this girl's behavior, and really just wanted to leave. I could just read the saddest short story in that kid's expression; he'd found the one girl in his social circle that was into anime, and he was too socially awkward to realize that just because someone's into the same geeky shit as you doesn't mean that they're not going to be absolutely INSUFFERABLE to be around. In retrospect, I really wanted to take that young man aside, and just say "I don't know you, I don't know your life, but I'm just gonna say right now, you can do better. RUN."






 

2. 

photo by TierneyMJ / shutterstock

BasicCarl has a close encounter, a little too close maybe:

When I was in high school I worked at the Dealer's Hall at Fanime Con in downtown San Jose. I worked the entrance of Dealer's Hall which meant I checked the badges of everyone entering to make sure they had paid for the event. During one shift this 6'5" rotund bald man wearing a backpack came up to me in the middle of a tiring shift and asked if I "wanted to be glomped". I had zero idea what that was and I was quite exhausted, but he seemed friendly so I left out a quiet "...yes?". With almost no effort he swiped me up in a bear hug and just kinda gently swayed me from side to side while humming. He kinda smelled like B.O., but I was 17 at the time and no one had picked me up in several years so it was somewhat calming. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing




3.

photo by focal point / shutterstock

doloresclaiborne22 gets in over her mane when encountering bronys:

Was dragged to a ponycon by a friend who promised 'it would be fun'. I don't even like my little pony, but I went anyway.

We stayed at the hotel that the con was being hosted at and the first day that we arrive we are waiting in the lobby when suddenly a random guy throws a pony toy in through the lobby doors. He then proceeds to run inside after it and squat into some ninja pose to retrieve it. He is wearing a 'free hugs' shirt. His friend follows him in equally as nerdy. They spot us across he lobby and realise we are there for the con (friend was in cosplay). They walk over, no fucking joke, pretending to be robots and say "hey ladies" and point to their 'free hugs' shirt.

I look at my friend like, no fucking way am I hugging these greasy boys, and she justs laughs and hugs them. I stand firmly with my arms crossed. She gives me the 'come on dont be an ass' look so I give in and hug them. They both hug me soul crushingly tight then leave. They had that lingering shitty pants smell on top of rodent killing B.O.

As they were walking away I heard one of them say "dude her titties felt so soft against my chest".

It's safe to say the rest of the con was hell, too.




 

4.

Darth vader Cringiest: My husband cosplayed as Darth Vader around the time Ep VII came out He was very popular because hes 6 4 and built like a linebackerlots of requests for pictures This guy who looked like he lived in his mothers basement came up dressed as a Jedi and by Jedi I mean he was wearing a bathrobe and carrying an expensivelooking lightsaber prop He wanted to be recorded fighting Darth Vader So he hands me his camera didnt even ask, takes his stance, and proceeds to have an aggressive lightsaber duel with my husband Where most people took about 15 seconds to get their poses photographed, this guy dueled for about 2 minutes My stomach was in knots the whole time from the awkwardness Darth Husband eventually had to force choke him to end it

photo by Stefano Buttafoco / shutterstock

AngelFire23 shares what happens when you come face-to-face with a true Jedi Master:

Cringiest: My husband cosplayed as Darth Vader around the time Ep VII came out. He was very popular because he's 6' 4" and built like a linebacker--lots of requests for pictures. This guy who looked like he lived in his mother's basement came up dressed as a Jedi... and by Jedi I mean he was wearing a bathrobe and carrying an expensive-looking lightsaber prop. He wanted to be recorded fighting Darth Vader... So he hands me his camera (didn't even ask), takes his stance, and proceeds to have an aggressive lightsaber duel with my husband. Where most people took about 15 seconds to get their poses photographed, this guy dueled for about 2 minutes. My stomach was in knots the whole time from the awkwardness. Darth Husband eventually had to "force choke" him to end it...




 

5. 

photo by aijiro / shutterstock

Here's an experience that's all too common from lesmau:

As a woman artist who used to sell in Artist Alley at a con, I know that feel bro. One year I had to hide under the table sporadically while my friend babysat my stuff because this one guy kept coming back/ following me to the bathroom or wherever I went. It's the worst when they come to stand between or at the sides of the tables all up in your personal space instead of in front of them. We used to try to build barriers to prevent it.


6.

photo by Paul Stringer / shutterstock

SupritaLimaye confirms that the best thing you can say to a nerd is that they're the GOOD kind of nerd:

On a positive note, everything I've head about Gen Con from locals in Indianapolis is great (biggest tabletop gaming convention in the US). One waiter said to me, "We love you guys, you're way better than the Pokemon convention. Those people have so many allergies."

Which is incidentally one of the funniest things I've ever casually overheard.

 


7.

photo by Pe3k / shutterstock

The oh-so honestly named Porn_is_my_bae has a infuriating tale of shitty enthusiasm:

This happened just last year actually. Me and my girlfriend were cosplaying Blitz and IQ from Rainbow Six: Siege at a relatively small con. Things were fantastic at the start. Lots of "oh hey guys can I get a picture?!" Just felt pretty good to get some recognition. We had worked really hard on the costumes and even made Blitz's flash shield with working lights. A few hours in and some guy in a costume I didn't recognize shouts "Blitz! I need to fight you!" .....sure dude we'll pose for some fight pictures. No big deal. Well he didn't really grasp the concept of posing and started actually punching my shield which was made of some relatively thin pegboard material and the view slot was just plastic. I told him to tone it down and just put his fist against against it so it looked like he was hitting it in the picture. His response? "It's a shield dude. It'll be fine." and punches the the plastic right out of the shield. I'm pissed. My girlfriend is pissed. The dude is ecstatic. He throws up his fists and battle cries before running off. Fuck you, dude.

 


8.

photo by Jose Gil / shutterstock

Finally a story of true awkwardness by Carionne:

I've only been to one convention, but here goes.

Cringiest moment was during the cosplay competition there was a couple that was dressed as Toph and Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. The (frankly annoying) host announced to the audience that "Zuko" has an important question to ask his girlfriend. Apparently it's a thing to propose during the competition...

So they do their little show, Toph throws a foam rock at Zuko, and then they just stand there awkwardly. The guy gets cold feet or whatever, because like 2 minutes pass where it's not clear what's going to happen. They walk off stage, then the girl comes back and stands there for a few seconds... Then goes away again. Zuko comes back and stands there, the host doesn't know what to say. She kinda ignores him and talks about how mean it is to throw rocks at your boyfriend. Zuko gets the hint and walks of. Then the host goes "Oh, looks like he changed his mind. Maybe we'll get a proposal next year.".

Other highlights include a cosplayer making a very serious 15min speech about how cosplaying changed his life and everybody should follow their dreams.

 

 

Bonus:

Echo5Romeo 21k points 1 year ago Uber driver here: I was driving in Atlanta during Dragoncon and I picked up a dude dressed up as a refrigerator

photo by Sashkin / shutterstock

Not every story has to be an epic tale, as Echo_5_Romeo proves:

Uber driver here: I was driving in Atlanta during Dragoncon and I picked up a dude dressed up as a refrigerator.