I’m a bit of a fan of Manga and anime, and have been since the 90’s.  I really enjoyed Fist of the North Star, Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D, and Full Metal Alchemist.   I don’t know that I would call myself an enthusiast, though, as I don’t have the near-encyclopedic knowledge that a lot of modern fans have. I have seen Fruits Basket, Moribito, Naruto, and other modern animes, and can speak intelligibly during conversation.  My attitude toward manga and anime is similar to my attitude toward all comics; I would consider myself an “anime hobbyist.”

One benefit of attending gaming/fantasy/science fiction conventions is the exposure to the cosplay.  In addition to marveling at the costumes themselves, I get an opportunity to talk to people about the characters they are portraying.  If the story seems interesting, I often jot down the name of the show and look it up right after the convention.  I get pictures of costumes, they get to show off their wares, the shows get more viewers, etc.  Everyone gets to wet their beaks.

Unfortunately, people aren’t always nice to cosplayers.  A friend of mine posted something this week that was kind of depressing.

Cosplayers Share the Creepiest Things Ever Said to Them at a Con

You know, I get that geeks can be socially awkward, and I know this has been a problem at gaming/comic/fantasy/scifi/etc conventions for a long time.  Such comments are horrible, and nobody should have to go through that during a show.

In most of these cases, I’d bet dollars to donuts that the people making the comments were just trying too hard to be cool.  There is a part of me that feels some empathy for the people that do this type of thing.  Why empathy and not sympathy?  Because I know what it is to try too hard to look cool and say something completely inappropriate.  In my case, it happened at a very early age, and after being called on it more than once, I learn my lesson through tears of embarrassment during my childhood.  Make no mistake: it was a lesson I needed to learn.  But I empathize with those that made it to adulthood without getting the appropriate smackdown.

Look,  I know that most people won’t take advice from someone else; we all want to learn the hard lessons ourselves.  But if I could pass one piece of advice on to the younger generation, it is this: every interaction that I look back on with embarrassment in my life came about as a result of me trying to look cool.  Without exception.  Every one of them.  Likewise, every interaction that I am proud of came about as a result of me trying to help someone else, or to lift them up.  This may

On the 19th of this month I will be attending KokomoCon.  If you live in Indiana, come down to the show and say “Hi.”  I promise I’ll say it back, and I might even sell you some art.  And hopefully I won’t have to witness uncomfortable experiences like those described on that link.