Per my last post I covered the beginning basics of attending Anime Conventions when you’re Over the Hill. It’s time for us to continue. Please insert coins.
You now know how to deal with friends and make sure you get paid for the room. Your next step is to figure out a food budget for the weekend. It’s difficult but not entirely impossible to eat well during a con and hopefully I can help you figure out how to do so. You may be tempted to hit up cafes or local restaurants in order to soothe the rumblies…until you realize the prices are jacked up everywhere you go and EVERYONE HAD THE SAME IDEA AS YOU.
Con food is expensive and I say that with full confidence. It doesn’t even taste that great nor is it that filling. My first trip to Anime Central left me feeling empty from the lackluster food choices they had for catering. That and every restaurant in a 5 mile radius will inevitably be full of people in costumes clamoring for calories and I bet you don’t want to deal with that slaughterhouse. So to avoid all this we need to find some alternatives:
The easiest to get a hold of and easiest to fix. Most hotel rooms have a microwave and using reusable bowls ensure there’s little trash left over. They come in a variety of flavors and there are different kinds of pre-packaged noodles you can purchase.
Apples and Oranges and Bananas
These fruits travel well and can be eaten quickly on the go. They’re a perfect pick-me-up when you’re out and about and are super nutritious.
Pre-packaged oatmeal can make a nice breakfast. They usually come in portioned out packets that can either me heated up in the microwave or have hot water poured over them. Having a portable kettle is helpful for this one.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a surprisingly satisfying meal on their own. The peanut butter gives you protein and the jelly adds some sweetness. Sandwiches are a gift to starving con attendees.
Protein Bars/Trail Mix/Popcorn
Snacking in between meals is IMPORTANT. Always have a power bar or a bag of trail mix on your person. The last thing you’ll want to do is leave a panel early because you’re feeling like you’ll pass out. If possible eat a snack every hour and set a reminder on your phone to remind yourself to stay well-fed.
You might need to hold onto your seats for this one: potatoes are a good option. If you like baked potatoes and aren’t afraid to bring them to your hotel room you can make some baked potatoes in the microwave. If you want a recipe, click here.
If you want to eat a little fancier there are other options, just make sure you have a surge protector:
- Using a pressure cooker/crockpot to make foods like chili, soups, stews, and taco meat. You can click here for some ideas. You can also bring a rice cooker.
- If you have a mini fridge you might be able to get some sandwich supplies in there (meat, veggies, cheese).
- potato chips and dip
- canned soup/pasta
Make sure you’re following hotel room protocol and clean up after yourself. Organize your meal times around your expected con schedule to make sure everyone is well fed. To keep costs down everyone should contribute equally to the food selections. I also suggest bringing reusable bowls and utensils to cut down on waste. Bring dish soap and a sponge to clean bowls afterwards.
Drinking happens at cons. Room parties get started and the booze flows like the Nile river. So if you plan on drinking at all you’ve got to prepare yourself to deal with drunk people and being drunk yourself. I’ll lay out a few ground rules for drinkers of all levels and then specific tips for those levels individually.
- Make sure you eat before and while you’re drinking.
- Always hold onto your drink. Don’t give it to anyone. If you don’t feel like drinking anymore, pour it out.
- Stay with friends and avoid drinking alone. Make sure everyone has everyone’s phone numbers and phones are charged.
- Never let anyone leave alone with anyone.
- Avoid mixing alcohol and drugs.
- If you’re underage, don’t drink. It will cause problems.
- Don’t pressure others to drink if they don’t want to.
- If you don’t want to drink, DON’T DRINK. If you’re feeling pressure, it’s okay to leave those people and go elsewhere.
- KNOW YOUR LIMITS! If you’re not sure what they are, A CONVENTION IS NOT THE PLACE TO TEST THEM.
- DRINK WATER!
- Always know where the toilet is.
- If someone is making your friend feel uncomfortable, HELP THEM OUT AND INTERVENE. Leave together or (if you’re hosting in your room) kick the perp out. If you’re at a party, tell the host who the creep is before you leave. Hopefully they’ll listen and kick them out.
- Don’t let minors drink.
Whether you just turned 21 or don’t drink regularly there’s a few rules to help you navigate the world of drinking at cons. I mostly dislike being sloppy drunk and not being in control of myself so I have to limit my alcohol intake regularly.
- Hang out with likeminded people. If you don’t drink a lot or just have a few for social reasons, it’s always great to be around people who have similar interests. If a glass of wine will do it for you and a group of friends, great! Drinking isn’t a personality trait and hangovers aren’t fun.
- Decide what kind of drinks you want ahead of time. If you only want a rum and coke, don’t do shots. If there’s a party bartender, let them know how much alcohol you want in your drink. They’re usually pretty nice about this, especially if you tip them a dollar.
- Have a bottle of water handy. Alcohol dehydrates you and waking up with cotton mouth is gross. If you only have a few (1-2) drinks you might not have to worry about this much.
- You have the option to not drink at all. Not drinking is a valid choice.
- If you’re not comfortable drinking in large groups you can just have an intimate pajama party with friends in the hotel room and drink there. You’re with people you know, you know where the bathroom is, and there’s no pressure.
If you’re about that age where you can’t drink like you used to, or know your way around a bar you might be intermediate. Many of the rules from beginners applies here as well. You’re probably familiar with hangovers and have a few stories to tell about wild things that happen. Some rules that apply to your level are:
- Know your limits but don’t (try to) surpass them.
- Look out for your inexperienced friends.
- Make sure you all go in with a plan and stick to it. Nobody gets left behind!
- If one friend overdoes it, party is over. Everyone leaves and friend gets taken care of. This sounds harsh and a bit of a downer, but it really means a whole lot when everyone gathers around to help a fallen friend.
If you’re an expert drinker you’ve probably seen/done it all. From throwing up to stumbling home you’ve covered a fair number of bases and probably have that one brand of alcohol that reminds you of a time you nearly died. Guess what? You’ve got rules too!
- If you’re the friend who is well-known for getting wasted, this is not exactly a good thing. I’ll let you in on a secret: nobody likes you when you’re sloppy drunk and need a babysitter. Even if you can take care of yourself you’re a liability to others. Moderate yourself.
- Don’t start fights! If you know you’re getting drunk under the table and you’re not exactly sure what’s going on, the last thing you need is to fight somebody. If you know you’re prone to do this, moderate yourself.
- Don’t try to fuck anyone. If you’ve been drinking and feel like hooking up with someone, wait until you’re sober.
- If you know you tend to get loose lips when you’ve been drinking, you may want to rethink your entire strategy or avoid drinking altogether. Like the Beginner Drinker you may want to stick to just drinking with friends or not drinking at all. Drinking is not a personality trait. The last thing you need to do is have drama erupt over something “Drunk You” said. Believe it or not Drunk You and Sober You are the same person and you’re responsible for them.
Believe it or not some people attend cons just to get laid. I remember a guy asking me if I knew any single girls he could hook up with for the night. Yeah…that actually happened. That said if you’re a grown and responsible adult we should get around to tackling the subject of hooking up at conventions, because lets face it: that stuff happens.
If you and someone plan on hooking up it’s best to be prepared so I have a checklist you’ll want to cover:
- Make sure the person you’re banging wants to bang you and they’re in your age range. This goes without saying. Consent is just the standard. Minors cannot consent. End of story.
- What are the room rules? If the room says no hooking up, don’t do it. The last thing you want is to deal with a friend getting mad at you for not following the rules.
- Do you have protection? Always use protection peeps. If the person you want to bang doesn’t want to use protection, let them go. They aren’t worth the risk.
- Know your status.
- Don’t feel pressured to put out if you don’t want to. Make sure you’re with people who respect your decision.
- Keep it private. Exhibitionism is a kink that can get you registered as a sex offender.
- Do communicate properly to all parties involved. Do not do anything not already agreed upon.
- Make sure to take precautions to avoid injury and damage to yourself, your parter(s), and any objects in the room you don’t want damaged. Don’t damage or use items that are not yours.
- Make sure to enjoy yourself. If things don’t go according to plan, it’s okay!
- Don’t cheat on your SO(‘s).
I didn’t have as much to say about this because it all speaks for itself. You know what the rules are, follow them! Hooking up isn’t necessary to have a good time, but hey–whatever rocks your boat.
I’m going to have to make a separate post for cosplay meltdowns and how to take care of your hotel room because it would take up way too much space here. Plus this post isn’t embellished enough. I’m going to have to fix that one.
If you like what I’m writing please consider buying me a ko-fi sometime!