Follow your weird with purity of heart

Danny O'Brien, in the midst of a very funny rumination on science fiction conventions (I dragged him to BayCon last weekend), makes a very good point about following your weird.

Baycon is a very costume-based convention… everyone looks like a freak. Especially people like me, who don't dress up. We look like the weirdest freaks ever. Even the hotel staff look like fairly normal freaks by comparison, because they're dressed up in waiter and maid's outfits.

And some people, look like incredible, dressed-like-Lara-Croft-only-with-chains-on semi-naked babelicious freaks. Not that I stare. Or even look, or think about them, or anything ever. I only know about their existence because when these people walk into a room, all the straight boys nearby give out this universal telepathic deflatory pained sigh. It's like the sound of a wolf-whistle, only backwards, sucked in. Ooohhhhhh.

The sigh has a meaning. All my life, it says, I have been told by my superego that dressing like a Marvel superhero will not get me laid. And, here, here and now in this temporary saturnalia, surrounded by other males who are – at best – my equals in the ugly league division table: here is my perfect woman. But the world knows that this mad girl's flickering eyes craves just one thing. A man dressed as Galactus, Eater of Worlds. And not only have I left my Galactus costume at home. I never made it. Worse, I threw those biro drawings of me in the Galactus helmet away the moment I'd drawn them, ashamed to show them even to (say) Dave. And now I know: I'm not a virgin because I'm a geek. I'm a virgin because I have pursued geekdom with a less than pure, directed gaze…