If I say "nerds", what do you think about? Nowadays, nerd is pretty damn hot. If it's not sexy, at least it's cute, as seen in The Big Bang Theory. The nerd species has evolved, and they have adapted into being less smelly and more sociable (or, less asocial, perhaps). This must be the case, because why else would there suddenly be so many girls on the nerd scene? And why would London Comic Con have 60,000 sold tickets if the nerd-scene had not become mainstream?
Nerds will be nerds, and I have always been one of them, I foolishly thought when putting some spray-dye in my hair and skipping towards the train on a sunny Sunday afternoon. My grand expectations of beautiful cosplay displays (especially the steampunk ones) and cute kawaii-fans offering free hugs were soon shattered.
There were admittedly some very dedicated cosplayers at the scene, the hottest one being a long legged young man dressed as Lara Croft, but the main body of visitors consisted of 20-something video game fans that had not bothered to dress up for the event. Maybe it is unfair to judge them for being smelly on a warm afternoon in May, but I just can't help myself. I have never been to fashion week, I must admit, and I couldn't tell you what it smells like, but I just can't imagine it's the same.
The visual stimulation I was most excited about, steampunk, proved to not be nearly as impressive when presented in the context of non-steampunk. One can expect them to look out of place, just like the other characters inspired by fiction, but steampunk mostly looks silly when you know their gadgets won't actually work. If I were to go again this year, I would be excited about the Game of Thrones fans that are likely going to flood the place.
Just like the rest of the expo, the steampunk area was surprisingly under-dimensioned. After one and a half hour, three spins had been taken around the entire expo-area and there was not much left to experience. Both me and my equally excited partner in crime concluded that the most interesting part of this event was to have a seat in the food court and look at different fictional characters having lunch. Sadly, they didn't use their weapons for this, and I'm starting to doubt that anything these people carry around is useful what so ever.
It is clear that this is an event made both by and for the same narrow demographic, and though the rest of us are invited to drop by and take a peak, it seemed nearly impossible to actually participate in any way. Participation has to be the charm of it though. If not, then I plainly just don't understand. Are there 59,999 people who do understand, or did half of them feel as alienated as I did? Next time, I should stand outside with a survey.
All in all, the only people I would recommend this to are those who already know all about it, and are planning to go. If anyone else wants to give it a shot anyway, then I do prescribe you at least three shots of peppermint schnapps before attending. Not only does it make you tipsy, it also blurs your eyesight and makes everything smell just a little nicer. Brave souls, unlike myself, should take a chance and not buy a ticket online, but rather stand in line and pray to higher powers they'll end up behind one of the pink haired girls wearing jean shorts and red stilettos, whatever piece of pop culture that is from.
In retrospect, after the shock settled and I got home to my own little nerd-world, which is nothing like theirs, it was probably a good experience. I am not one of them, I admit, but I don't have to be. The number of asses hanging out of hotpants and "weapons" worn as jewelry tell a tale of their own, and the fact that there are women there does not mean that the old school nerds have changed, but rather that girls have entered the scene on equal grounds. Right or wrong, I instantly asked myself. I don't think it's my place to say, to be honest. They're most likely making fun of me as much as I of them, and as long as we're not face to face, I'll keep pretending they're as cute as the characters in The Big Bang Theory.