Sharing a room? Work out a signal! Photo: Nevit

Hooking up at conventions and LARPs – it happens. I’ve had a few people ask me if there are rules for this kind of thing.

It’s more a matter of etiquette than rules, as you’re not just hanging out at home when you’re at LARPs or conventions (even though these places might feel more like home than any other place). My perspective on this is a bit removed as I’ve never been single and/or ‘hooked up’ with someone random at an event, but I’ve made a lot of observations and here are some tips based on what I have learned.*

Besides, as far as rules go – it’s your body, so you shouldn’t really listen to me or anyone else concerning what you should or should not do with it! This is merely a list of things to think about and ways to make the whole experience go smoothly (except for the safe sex and safety stuff; always listen to that – always).

Consider the atmosphere. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of an event, and if you’re cosplaying or LARPing, people are amazed by your character – which probably reflects your interest or a part of you. It’s easy to just ‘go for it,’ and in some instances that’s awesome, and you should. However, you should think about whether this is what you really want to do. Is it just part of some fantasized ‘things you do at conventions’ checklist, or are you really looking to hook up?

Safety first. Okay, so it’s not likely that the hot guy cosplaying Freddy Krueger is actually going to disembowel you and sell your organs, but it’s always possible. If you’re going to be alone in a hotel room or tent with someone you just met, at least let your friends know what’s up and where you are, and agree to check in with them via text after the deed is done.

Prepare! If you think there’s even a remote possibility that you might hook up at an event, bring some condoms. It’s possible that the other person might not have planned for it, so at least one of you will need to be prepared. If you’re looking to hook up, pack a mini-bag at multi-day events with one change of clothes in it.

As a general rule, I always separate out my costuming and out of game clothing for multiple events before I pack. Each day or costume gets its own bag. This could come in handy so you’re not caught without something to change into, especially if the costume you wore the night before is particularly unwieldy.

Room sharing. At home, you probably have your own room. At LARPs and conventions, you usually share rooms. As someone who has shared a room with a sexually active roommate in college, I promise: it prevents challenges, whether it’s a one time thing or a relationship. Additionally, space is limited and rooms are expensive, so it’s not always feasible to get your own room. You need to consider the feelings of your roommates.

  • Talk about the possibility of a hook up beforehand. What are the rules?
  • Create a ‘signal,’ like a sock or ribbon on the door. Or a Bat signal if you want to be more obvious (kidding).
  • Communicate and keep in touch using phones to prevent someone from walking in on you.
  • The one who stays over should go back to her or his room to shower if there are roommates, or at least wait until those who have paid for the room are done showering before they use it.

Think about the future. There’s nothing wrong with two consenting adults getting together for fun. That said, you should still think about the future. You know how you generally see the same people here and there at various geeky events and LARPs? It’s likely you’ll see the person you’re hooking up with again. Will it be awkward? Will you want to pursue a relationship? Before you leave, talk about it. You’re at least going to run into this person again online, especially if you go to the same LARP or share the same fandom.

Keep in touch. This might sound weird, but no matter what happens, it’s always good to exchange contact info with others, especially at conventions. You never know where you’ll be in three to five years. If you’re a comic book illustrator and you just slept with someone who will work for Marvel in five years, it’s probably in your benefit to stay in touch. Things will get less awkward over time if they are now – I promise.

*I was intentionally a bit vague in this blog. I wrote it from the perspective of what I’ve observed. Even though it’s on a site for and about geek women, this content is intended for everyone and I specifically wanted to make it friendly for GLBTQ and male readers.

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