Convention Survival Guide, Post #8 –
or Why Does the Convention Give Out Soap With Dice In It?
There are variety of strategies one can utilize to make sure that you are at least minimally hygienic and socially acceptable for a convention. While con goers are extremely forgiving and accepting of others, there are limits. The picture I’m about to paint is not a pretty one and hopefully it does not apply to you.
A few years ago at one of the larger Anime cons in America, Anime Central in Rosemont near Chicago, there were a number of fans without rooms who became so pungent that a group of fans got together, rounded them up, and took them to one of their rooms and told them they could come back out once they showered.
Only one of the people rounded up complained. All the others were extremely appreciative. This started the mystic “got soap” campaign. The convention came on board the next year and it has been a subtheme of that particular convention ever since. They started giving out convention soap. Soap with dice in it has since spread to quite a number of other conventions. Speaking properly, there is only one die in each bar of soap and they’ll usually only give you one per year.
Okay, so if you’ve read my previous blogs such as, “Where to Stay at the Con or Don’t Mind Me, I’ll Sleep in the TARDIS,” then you’ve got some idea of how to plan for a convention. Still, you may be planning to sleep under a table or behind some chairs in the lobby or you might have plans for rooming with other people who back out at the last minute, leaving you without reservations or enough money to get a room. In either case, this can leave you without access to a shower.
If you have friends who have a room, you may be able to get them to let you use the shower, or a lot of hotels have showers in the dressing rooms for the swimming pool. In the winter this is only really useful if the hotel has an indoor pool.
If you have a room, you automatically have a shower. You just have to make time to use it.
Admittedly, this problem is more prevalent among young males than any other group. Now personally, I tend to shower and use deodorant before I leave for conventions or immediately after checking into the room, and I tend to use Lavilin, which means that generally speaking I need to use deodorant about once every week or two.
At Anime Central, they regularly have a yearly “Got Soap” slogan contest. If you haven’t checked out Anime Central’s website, I would recommend it. It’s also very good convention except that they don’t have a Con Suite. : (
You will actually hear me say some more about hygiene in general on the blog about dating, tentatively called, “Dating – How To or Hi, I’m an Alien; Would You Like to See My Spaceship?” which will be posted soon.
Okay, at least starting the convention with clean clothes, having had a bath, with deodorant, and with your hair combed should be both obvious and easy to accomplish. Okay, yeah, there are some people who hitchhike from one convention to another with just enough money to buy a badge or a plan on how to panhandle for enough. But let’s be honest, there aren’t that many people in this category.
If you’re dirty and you smell bad it is going to adversely affect your social life and most gamers lack the social skills to be subtle in their suggestions that you jump off a cliff into a lake that has a green Dragon sleeping on the bottom. Green Dragons have a chlorine breath weapon.
Hint, if you can smell yourself it’s way too late. If you have a tendency to get into gaming or some other activity and fail to sleep all weekend because you lose track of the time, it might be a good idea to set an alarm to remind you to go back to the room and bathe once in a while. You might also want to take a nap in between games. If you have a good friend who also has the same problem, you might want to keep an eye out for each other.
Another hint: if you’re wondering why that girl doesn’t want to talk to you, it might be the same reason that that plastic plant next to you just wilted.
Some people at conventions try covering this problem by pouring a bottle of aftershave, perfume, or cologne on themselves, but as some girls have mentioned in front of me, “that shit smells so bad it just compounds the problem.” Honestly, as a disproportionately high number of con goers have allergies, this approach just adds injury to insult. Furthermore, even though I am one of those people with severe allergies who can smell very little, even I have noticed that half the time you can smell the person over the aftershave, cologne or whatever.
If one of your friends is hopelessly unaware of having this kind of circumstance going on, you might want to hit him over the head with a bar of soap.
Fascinatingly enough, it is never the people dressed like zombies who smell like something dead and rotting. Okay let’s be honest, you have to be clean to put on all that makeup and if you’re oily the adhesive will not stick.
At the very least, you should be able to wash off a little bit in the sink of the restrooms and dry yourself with paper towels or the air blower.
In conclusion, if the other people at the con grab you and throw you in the outdoor pool with a bar of soap in the middle of the winter, you may need to consider bathing. If they throw you in without a bar of soap, you may just be an asshole.
Copyright © 2012 Julian Thomas Reid III