Drinking at Conventions

Drinking at Conventions

If you listened to Episode 18 you might have heard me telling the audience about a few of the amazing room parties that I attended at the Steampunk Symposium that weekend. I stand by my statement that cons are the only place where I have attended parties that are anything like the ones in the movies. In real life sometimes parties can be really fun and sometimes you end up watching youtube videos of cats (which can be fun too actually) but they are never quiet the crazy debauched affairs that teen films have been promising us ever since Animal House. I always blamed the lack of whipped cream wrestling at the parties that I went to on the fact that I was kind of a geek and considered non-alcoholic beer to be edgy until I went away to college. With the wisdom of age, I can look back and realize that the so called “popular” kids were not having those kinds of parties either, but its still hard to avoid feeling like I was missing out on something sometimes. But when I went to my first steampunk con I quickly realized that I was in another world. A world where you could be invited to a total stranger’s “bloomers and boxers” party and a woman had hit on a friend of mine before he had even finished picking up his badge. But as easy as it seemed to find myself living the life of a social butterfly at cons, I did realize that there are some guidelines to follow. Calamity Dawn has written a very good article on how to host a room party, but I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the more broad topic of socializing and drinking at conventions outside the realm of hosting.

Don’t be Afraid of New People: It takes a lot of courage to walk up to someone you don’t know and start a conversation but the social structure of cons seems to make this a bit easier. Everyone is there because they are interested in similar things and almost everyone will have something that serves as an ice breaker, be it a costume or a pin or even just the basic “Having a good time?” When you are at a convention that has room parties you will often see them advertised with fliers or signs on the registration desk. That means that they are open to all and the host will be expecting to meet new people. Go in, be friendly and seem interested in people and you shouldn’t have a problem fitting in. But it’s always nice to bring some food or a bottle of wine to share just to be polite. Actually sharing alcohol in general is a good way to meet people at a con but don’t forget what your mom taught you about accepting drinks from strangers. I wouldn’t drink from a closed container of someone I didn’t know at all, especially if I was by myself.

Be Discreet: Some cons have rules against open containers and bringing in food or drink from outside the convention center. A lot of times these might just be a C.Y.A. (cover your ass) kind of rule that won’t be strictly enforced so long as you aren’t making it obvious that you are flouting the rule. Even if there is no rule against bringing your own alcohol it’s polite to keep your flask discreetly tucked away. Not everyone at the con appreciates adult beverages and even those that do are usually not interested in partying like a frat boy with his mommy’s credit card. All cons have (or should have) rules against being a drunken asshat and disturbing other attendees. So that means keep any adult activities, loud profanity or battle-shots games to a private room and leave the halls, lobby and con floor safe for families and others who just want a good nights sleep. I know it’s hard to contain yourself once you reach a certain point of drunkenness (oh Lord do I know) so if you do mess up and get called out for your lack of discretion be contrite, apologize, and try to do better.

Choose Your Weapons Wisely: Going to a convention is a lot like camping indoors. Restaurants and bars at hotels are expensive and anyway you can go to a bar anytime. Half of the fun of a con is breaking up your routine and trying new things. Because space and money are limited I have found that certain drinks work better than others. Boxed red wine is you friend. No corkscrews or refrigeration necessary and the chances of spilling are greatly reduced. Although Ice and soda are usually easy to get at hotels they are fiddly and make drinks harder to transport from room to room. Drinks that taste good on their own and at room temperature are a blessing and this would be a good time for you to start developing a taste for straight liquors. Rum seems to be the easiest place to start in that regard, because even the cheap stuff can be relatively palatable. I think that one of the reasons that Calamity’s Kraken Delight has been so popular is that it is a recipe that is not only very strong but also very tasty on it’s own. Just be careful not to over do it because in my experience red wine and dark liquors give the worst hangovers.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of when it comes to parties at cons. As I continue to conduct my exhaustive research I will keep doing my best to keep you informed and ready for a party. And since I am still a relative neophyte in this arena please share your own wisdom in the comments section.

Thank you to Stephen Klein of Airship Passepartout for the pictures.

2 Responsesto “Drinking at Conventions”

  1. Calamity Dawn says:

    Nice job, Ginny! You’ve touched on some points I plan to make in a future article of mine own! :-) Anyways, you give great advice there that everyone should heed!

  2. Don says:

    That Dixie cup shot photo slays me LOL. I am usually the bartender so I approve of this article 😉