S. J. Dudley & Friends for NorWesCon NeoFan 1995 used by permission
Convention participants often act and dress in an intentionally erotic fashion, creating an atmosphere of open and casual sexuality. But be warned, all is not as it seems. Understand that to most attendees a con is a "safe" zone where they can act in an exaggerated manner without fear of the normal consequences.
People at conventions tend to flirt a lot, but only about 10% of these activities approach anything serious. For most people here, flirting is little more than a game, and sometimes a show of friendly affection.
You will see many scantily clad people. This too is a game, and a lot of things that aren't on the market are heavily advertised. Don't touch unless specifically invited to. Hand kissing or bowing is usually the best first approach. In the same vein, people will frequently act more sexual than they are.
You'll find a lot of people wearing collars, leather, and/or other fetish paraphernalia. They may or may not understand the implications of these outfits, and even if they do may not really be interested.
While most attendees are 'straight', quite a number are gay, lesbian, bisexual and so forth. The very real possibility exists that you may be propositioned and/or flirted with by someone whose interests or preferences don't match your own. If you get an offer you're not interested in, refuse politely and clearly. Making a scene about it is one of the best ways to alienate yourself.
Do not take drunkenness for a yes. Given today's legal climate it is entirely possible for someone to wake up in bed with another person, not remember what happened, and decide that they were raped. While this may seem absurd it is never the less a fact that must be taken into account.
When in doubt, look for someone else. There are over two thousand people here.
Translate maybe as no. Be polite and leave the door open for later, perhaps give them your room number in case they want to reach you. If they reconsider, they'll find you.
If, AT ANY TIME, your partner(s) say "No," "Stop" or other such indicators that they do not wish to go any further with ANY act, STOP IMMEDIATELY.
AT THE DANCE:
Dancing is a mating display, and is almost as sexual as eating, but that must be kept in perspective. Obvious sexual activities will make some people uncomfortable, and may gain you a reputation you don't want. Being a mating display, it serves to demonstrate endurance and rhythm. If you are lacking these, don't dance.
CONCERNING COSTUMES AND DRESS:
If you have a poor or mediocre physique don't display it.
Guys, if you're really skinny or if you have a beer gut leave your shirts on.
Gals, if you are more than 20 pounds overweight please don't wear spandex. Unless you have really good legs don't wear short skirts and/or fishnet stockings.
BEST TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL FLIRTATlON
Appearances count for a lot, but not the way you might think. Body type has very little to do with attraction after the first 30 seconds. If someone's put off by yours, it's easy to find someone who's not. Aversion to a particular type can often be overcome by a personable appearance. Try to be clean and neat. Stand up straight and pay attention to personal hygiene. There's nothing worse than hugging or kissing someone who smells. Carry breath mints. Garlic kisses are really hard to take.
Make the first move, but don't look desperate.
Find a lead in to talk to the persons who interest you. You can comment on the surroundings or you can try to figure out what it is the person is trying to display about themselves and compliment it.
You can use pretentious or exaggerated mannerisms such as hand kissing and bowing or spontaneous poetry recitals. (memorized Shakespeare is OK)
Try adopting an affectation. Create some identifiable quirk of behavior that is uniquely yours.
Several come to mind: a gentleman who hands out Hershey's Kisses one at a time, a lady who offers carnations to gentlemen she wants to compliment, a gentleman who does magic tricks, and another young man who carries a stuffed teddy bear around as a puppet.
If you have some unusual feature or handicap/deformity play on it. Attempts to hide or minimize it will merely look like exactly what they are, thus gainlng you compassion and pity but no bed partners.
You can use Personality Invention: It is perfectly acceptable to lie about your background. 50% of the other people here do anyway. But, keep your lies consistent, don't take it too far, and be prepared to take public exposure of your lies without throwing a fit if you are called on it.
Stay in control of yourself. You'll go a lot farther looking like one of the people in control of the situation rather than one of the passengers. Don't get so drunk as to seriously impair your judgment or performance.
Just remember, people are here to indulge fantasies. If you can figure out what their particular desire is and present yourself as the individual to fill it you will go very far.
Courtesy of the Klingon Diplomatic Corps - I.C.B.