Written by Scott Murray
The running joke about this is one of hygiene. The idea that, in our excitement, while minimizing our time spent in our hotels or homes, we all tend to neglect personal bathing for the duration of the con. I’ve heard many a joke about the “unwashed nerd” stereotype and about people not showering at conventions, most of these used in a semi-ironic, self-deprecating manner. But as I returned home after my first day of my first con, which would prove to be a very hot one, and peeled off my shirt which was clinging to my body with sweat, something occurred to me: maybe it’s not a question of the people, but of the clothing. Or, more specifically, of the cosplay.
You see, after I emerged from my shower, fresh and clean and no longer sweaty, but smelling like whatever arbitrary scent my soap company had decided was manly (Wolf spit? Motor oil? Flowers? Clint Eastwood’s poncho from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly?) I examined my shirt once again. It still stank of sweat. It smelled worse than I had before my shower. Not a problem, really seeing as I had a closet full of clean shirts to choose from on the following day.
But what if I didn’t? What if I’d been cosplaying? I might have put on my same cosplay gear from the day before, pungent with sweat and body contact, and return to the con. And no matter how nicely I smelled, I would have this cloak of funk literally hanging off of me. After all, most cosplay getups probably don’t stand up to water very well. And on Sunday it would just be worse! That’s when it occurred to me: maybe the “not showering” joke was really just a joke, and the costumes alone are all it takes to generate a significant con funk.
Then again, maybe not.
…maybe we should rig garden hoses to the entrances next year?