CONvergence Presents: “How to Talk to Girls at Cons”

GeekParty thought it would be exciting to check out at least one panel during CONvergence this year, and the one that particularly caught our eye was called “How to Talk to Girls at Cons.” I mean, we’re some pretty sexy guys here, but learning some tips and tricks to sharpen our skills with the ladies could never hurt, right?

The lovely ladies leading this panel were Sigrid Ellis, co-editor of the book Chicks Dig Comics; Alexandra Howes; Jenne Hayden, who apparently has “a long history of dating geeks;” Eryn Hildebrand, who “grew up at conventions” and told us that “flirting at conventions is all I know;” and Kristina Halseth, who “married a man and turned him into a geek.”

As the panel was getting ready to start, a guy dressed as “The Dude” (Jeffrey Lebowski himself) pulled out a case filled with White Russian ingredients, serving drinks to all five speakers. The Big Lebowski, alcohol, and women? Okay, by this point we had figured out that we’d probably stumbled into the coolest panel at CONvergence.

This probably goes without saying, but “The Dude abides.”

Eryn opened the panel, explaining the point was to discuss some of the “successes and somewhat hilarious failures that fandom engages in with flirting.” That sounded good to us.

After introductions by the five panelists that included stories about romantic encounters and foibles from past conventions, the audience was allowed to get in on the discussion. Through various conversations, confessions, and anecdotes, we got a lot of advice that the typical male convention attendee probably hasn’t figured out yet.

Here’s a list of things we learned at the panel. If you’re still a virgin at the age of thirty, you’re going to want to pay attention. In fact, you should be writing this down:

  • Hygiene is important. Seriously, guys, don’t try to pick up chicks if you haven’t showered yet. And don’t chew on your toenails. Yeah, this was an actual thing that someone actually saw happen at a con, and it’s disgusting. (Though we must admit that we admire the dexterity required to pull off such a feat.)
  • Confidence is also important. If you don’t think you’re worthy of a particular person’s attention, you’re probably not. Fix this, or prepare to spend a long, lonely life trying not to get caught looking at tentacle porn in your parents’ basement.
  • Don’t be a dick. On the flipside of the confidence thing, don’t try to lord over your potential ladyfriend by doing that Alpha nerd thing. Remember the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons? We all love that guy’s condescending one-liners, but none of us wants to sleep with him. Ew.
  • Being a geek is okay. Sure, you’re probably not going to impress anyone at the office with your exhaustive knowledge of Dr. Who, but at CONvergence, you are surrounded by like-minded people. Your chances of getting laid have increased dramatically.
  • With that in mind, when you’re at a con, you are encouraged to talk to people. That means the door is open to introduce yourself to lovely ladies. You need an ice breaker? How about complimenting someone on their costume?
  • Having hobbies is awesome. You want to meet people? Take up a hobby that you can do in public. If someone’s interested in talking to you, proudly displaying your hobby can give that person the opportunity they need in order to initiate a conversation. (Of course, if your hobby is looking at tentacle porn, the whole “in public” thing might not actually work in your favor here. Just saying.) This piece of advice was brought up when Kristina pointed out a guy in the crowd who was knitting, saying, “You have a skill that attracts a lot of women; you knit.” To this he responded, “That’s why I do it in public.” Yeah, pretty sure he’s one of CONvergence’s few attendees who isn’t a virgin.
  • It’s generally the males who have to make the first move in a heterosexual flirtatious encounter. This goes back to that whole confidence thing.
  • However, guys aren’t allowed to touch ladies until the lady initiates it. Don’t be a creeper. (This issue is complicated in homosexual relationships, especially between lesbians. Who touches first in these situations? The talk was long, exhaustive, and controversial. Unfortunately, we stopped paying attention for a while. Sorry.)
  • You want to stay out of the infamous “Friend Zone?” Man up and tell the girl you like her. You see, you’ve got this narrow window of opportunity from the time you start hanging out with a lady to the time you get put into the “Friend Zone.” If you miss that window, you will regret it for the rest of your life, move to California, and become a total douche bag. (Or maybe that was just the plot of Just Friends with Ryan Reynolds.)
  • More on that “Friend Zone” thing? Well, as Sigrid so eloquently put it, “Girls are not a machine that you can just drop friendship coins in until sex pops out.” To this, one guy said, “Where can I buy this machine.” Another guy answered, “It doesn’t exist.” Guy #3 said, “It does in Japan.” I promise you, this conversation actually happened.

Now, a lot of this advice may seem contradictory. If that doesn’t make sense to you, then you’ve obviously never had a girlfriend.

“Seriously. If these guys tell one more joke about tentacle porn, we’re shutting this panel down.”

And during all this, we somehow learned that the Doubletree elevators have mirrors on the ceilings, drastically improving the angle at which you can look at cleavage. We’re not entirely sure why these ladies gave us this pointer, but we of the male gender would like to collectively say “thank you.”

Also, I think I’m going to take up knitting in public.

  • Ray

    Sounds like a great discussion/panel. One that should have not been missed.

  • Moot

    Respect yourself and go in with the mindset of meeting people and having fun; not getting in their pants.

    The “timed friendzone” thing is only an issue if you’re a douchebag or she’s really shallow. Arguably the friendzone doesn’t exist: she’s just learned stuff about you that she does not like or she was never physically attracted to you.