If you’re one of the fans who visits the videogame, sci-fi, comic, and “furry” conventions that draw millions across the world, you’ve probably seen your share of “Cosplay.” For example, if you happened to attend Worldcon in Reno, Nevada this year, you might have noticed some young women dressed as Princess Leia or what looked to be a fully functional Cylon suit walking straight out of a Battlestar Galactica set. Or, if you were one of the hundreds of thousands who attended PAX in Seattle, you might have run into some characters from Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, or even the more obscure Bonk’s Adventures or Ecco the Dolphin. “Cosplay” is “costume play,” and it’s a pretty wild time.
“Cosplayers” are a more dedicated, vocal subset of the millions of fans who attend these “cons” every year. Some spend scores of weeks and hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars designing and building what look to be perfect replicas of costumes and characters from popular (and not so popular) videogames, movies, comic books, television shows, and Manga.
Then there are some cosplayers who draw more guffaws than oohs and ahhs. While many convention-goers are able to appreciate the sheer chutzpah it takes to walk around in a Chun-Li outfit eight sizes too small, you get a sneaking suspicion that some of these people might have benefited from some tough love from a friend or relation. Below, we’ve listed five common traits that doom a cosplayer to a convention full of sniggers behind his back.
The guy who tries for too much with much too little
There are always dozens of examples of these guys littered throughout your average cosplay event – dudes who love their comic book characters, videogame heroes, and scantily-clad anime vixens as much as everyone else there at the convention. Unlike the others, however, they don’t have the budget, creativity, or self-awareness to pull off a good costume. Sure, a low-budget costume can absolutely be pulled off, so long as you’ve got a great idea and a skilled hand at taping and cutting cardboard, or a delicious sense of irony. The last-minute half-assing job like wrapping up your roommate’s ironing board with a few hundred feet of Reynold’s Wrap and calling yourself the Silver Surfer, however, just won’t fly. It is better to plan for next year, spend your time at this year’s event enjoying the skill and creativity of other costume creators, and save your fragile ego from the horrors of the crowd laughing at the guy covered in sandwich wrap.
The guy who tries too little amongst so much
The guy who tries to marry his love for cosplay with something that shouldn’t see the light of day
“I love Darth Vader, my BDSM leather sorta matches the cape, and the cosplay event is this evening… I’ve got a great idea!” No, you don’t.
The guy who’s clearly there to ogle women
Dirty old men, even dirtier young boys, and the dirtiest of all—the 18-45 year-olds who clearly have no excuse but have been tempted into attending the event by feverish months of darkened rooms and the glow of a grimy laptop. They hang ‘round the entrances, gamely perusing a program of the day’s events or snacking on some trail mix, pretending to be engrossed but really priming to be engorged. Target acquired, they follow, waiting for a moment when the costume that already shows 60% skin might show a few percentage points more. Sneak-eyed, slow-footed, they infest cosplay events like pervert wolves in sheep’s clothing.
The gal who, if we’re honest, shouldn’t be in that costume
Cosplayers are a welcoming bunch, a forgiving bunch, and perhaps best of all, a non-judgmental bunch. It’s a great thing, their open-mindedness. Amazing, in fact. It encourages their fellow cosplayers to try for some amazing costumes. When a group is so willing to reach for such elaborate, exciting, fun costumes, there are going to be some who try and fail. Amongst these failures are some very earnest cosplayers who would probably benefit from a little more self-awareness, or someone close or trusted to tell them that this particular “look” is a bit too far out of their grasp.