It was only noon, and already the pigtails were driving me up a wall. Why did gnomes have to wear such oversized, mutton-shaped clumps of hair? Sure, thanks to the temporary dye I had bought I was able to emulate that bright pink hue just fine, but now I was really starting to regret it as I felt the huge things pulling back on my scalp.
Well, nobody said cosplaying was easy, and so far at least the reaction I had received was worth it.
The guy who ran the turnstile at the entrance had really thought it was cute, and even said I was one of the best he had seen so far. I had accented the gnomish pigtails with a blue and white wizard robe to simulate one of the dozens of similar generic caster items in the game, and a plastic dagger I bought at the dollar store. It wasn't the most complicated or expensive costume at the Warcraft convention, but it looked all right.
For once I was grateful that I was just under five feet tall, it made it so much more believable.
Costume aside, so far the convention had been a lot of fun. I spoke with a few developers, posed for a few pictures with other fans, and by noon my cheesey plastic bag with the Alliance symbol was filled with useless junk. A pamphlet for a new game coming out, a few odds and ends with various Warcraft faction symbols on them, and a toy mechanostrider that I just had to buy for my desk at work.
For my first convention, the only complaint I had was that I didn't have anyone to go with. That thought struck me again shortly after noon, just as I had stepped to the side of the enormous crowds to once again adjust the pigtails. I plopped down the bag of giveaways and fidgeted with them impatiently, tugging and yanking at the pigtail clasps to make them fit more snugly.
As I messed with my almost painfully pink hair, I couldn't help but take notice of all the couples. The stereotype of the dateless male loser at these things was true to some extent, but a casual non-dork citizen would've been amazed at all the relationships flitting about. A shirtless, semi-muscular guy painted in green was walking hand-in-hand with a girl whose face had been flushed and pale, an adorable Horde duo now looking over a selection of posters. An older couple, far too mature for the nonsense of cosplaying, sat contently at a nearby table, sharing a basket of fries from the food court. And finally with a giggle I noticed a pair of young men dressed like Blood Elves, cuddling into one another while they watched a demo at a nearby table.
Hey, at least they picked the right race.
It was sweet to an extreme, but for all the cuteness of the duos I was forced to think back to my own partner, my own mate that was supposed to come along with me. He was going to go as his dwarf paladin, and had even gone so far as to purchase the fake beard in preparation for the event. (The idea of him growing his own so long was simply laughable, given his inability to even grow chest hair.)
But as things would have it, tickets you sign up for months in advance aren't always ones you'll use. By the time I had received them in the mail he was already gone, left for me some tramp he met at the comic book store.
There's something funny about infidelity when nerds do it? I guess it's because of the locations. We don't fuck around in a sleazy parking lot or at a seedy, smoke-filled bar. We cheat on each other in the library, or at the arcade, or at our parent's house while Smash Brothers melee is on pause.
My favorite is Kirby, by the way. And I was super pissed when I heard Brawl was pushed back to March.
At any rate, my boyfriend and comic whore first kissed right in front of a display of Magic: The Gathering cards, and with that kiss he tapped two black mana and used an instant to destroy our love.
Stop laughing, it was traumatic.
I graduated from college a few months later and got a job at a nearby retail place, and still saw him on occasion walking around with her. One time I even dared to speak to him, but he was so distant and unaffected it was clear that he moved on. So when the tickets to the convention arrived I resolved myself to go, even if I had to by myself. It had been what I was looking forward to for months, and I wasn't about to deprive myself of my first convention just because he couldn't keep his Meekstone card to himself.
You can laugh at that one, it was meant to be funny.
Just as I had let loose a tiny sigh from the back of my throat, it was absorbed by the noise of the people around me. Chatting about their characters, trading information like server and side and name, enjoying being in an environment where our dorkiness was celebrated rather than shunned.
The noise was louder down near the poster booth, and I turned my head to see if the orc and undead couple were posing for more pictures. Certainly there were dozens of flashes going off, but I was surprised to see that the Horde duo had long since moved on.
The attention was centered around a girl, no older than twenty or so, casually flipping through a set of page-sized posters the right proportions for putting at a desk or cubicle. She was unique in several ways, the first of which being that she had decided to come to the convention in one of the most attention whoring outfits imaginable.
A Night Elf sentinel.
A fake-metal bikini was accented by large leather boots that went up to her knees, and thick gloves that went halfway to her elbow. Large metal shoulder pads were almost the exact same size as the cups of the breastplate, which even I could tell was over exaggerating the size of her chest by a significant degree. The skin which could be seen; which was in massive abundance, had all been painted a rich deep purple, flawlessly matching in-game colors to a delightful level that allowed me to indulge in my appreciate for geek-riddled attention. Likewise her hair; if it was indeed her own hair and not a wig, was pulled back into an almost ludicrously long ponytail, and capped with an elvish-looking bead near the end to hold it all into place. A half helmet wrapped around her head, metal plates draping down either cheek with the face fully exposed. It was that sort of pure fantasy armor that would've offered no protection in the real world, but looked oh-so-stylish when worn on the body of someone that knew how to carry it.
This girl did, and the cameras were eager to see it.
I hadn't yet seen her face, but her body was quite appealing, if a bit clich‚d amongst our normal gathering. One of the simple rules of being a geek is that you're either overweight or underweight. I was the former, and she was the latter. Where my own slightly large hips ruined any confidence I would've had in such a skimpy outfit, her ultra narrow frame had just enough mass to stand with her rump to one side, allowing the waistband of the metal bikini to threaten dropping away. My own stomach had a bit of a pot belly to it, but hers was trim and delightful, and I had no doubt that she barely would've used even a single canister of body paint to cover all of that exposed flesh. As I mentioned her breasts were small, much smaller than the metal bikini indicated, and it was the one area where I felt a bit superior to this mysterious night elf. My own chest was ample thanks to one of the few blessings of being fat, while hers was so small as to be almost non-existent. As a final contrast the elf girl was tall, even moreso than some of the boys surrounding her, standing what had to be at least close to six feet, if not hitting that marker itself. A tall, thin girl dressed as a night elf...and a pudgy, short girl dressed as a gnome.
If we had met each other earlier, we could've signed up for the duos costume competition and been guaranteed a victory.
As the mysterious Night Elf continued to casually inspect the comics, my eyes drifted across the crowd to the various people watching her. There were a few of the stereotypical desperate teenage boys, gawking with obvious, slack-jawed expressions at a nicely shaped female that decided to parade around wearing practically nothing. They were the sort that were still at the age that it was cute to be charmingly inexperienced, and they had at least five years before their social awkwardness made them downright creepy to talk to. Speaking of, the much older variety were also peering at her, and in far greater numbers. Trying to be subtle about their staring they peeked from behind the edges of magazines, around the fringes of the crowd, and a few even dared to casually glance at the posters on the table, inching ever closer to her. Finally there was a rep for the convention taking his own photos with an expensive camera, and I could tell by the smirk on his face that he was just as entertained as I was by the clich‚s surrounding the scene.
The Night Elf turned around to walk away from the table, seemingly unknowing of the small following she had collected. At last now I could see her face, and I admit that at the same time I was both relieved and disappointed. If she had been a beauty queen of the highest level, I would've been confused to the point of going cross-eyed. Let's face it, we're not the most attractive culture in the world. Despite our wildly fluxuating weights we're usually slapped with eyeglasses and pimples, or disproportionate faces that are outlined by shaggy, maniacal hair.
True story. At the opening of the Two Towers, there were so many greasy ponytails I almost choked on my Milk Duds.
She was cute for one of our kind, but she wasn't beautiful like one of them. One of the outsiders that didn't understand our world, or our fascination with the bizarre, the arcane, and the misunderstood. To them she would be average.
She had bright blue eyes with thin blonde eyebrows, indicating the true color of her hair in contrast to the mass of startling white that clung around her head. Her smile was sweet and simple, with bright white teeth that stood in perfect formation. She had the sort of smile that put me in mind of someone who wore braces, which made me immediately wonder if perhaps she was just recently out of them. A nose a single size too small for her face was bent ever so gently up at the tip, and the entire face was covered in that same purple body paint, with lipstick a little bit darker spread around her too-large mouth.
The girl moved past the crowd and eventually drew upon me, and I blushed and smiled when she finally made eye contact. The look on her face was a charmingly, friendly sort of exasperation, and as the horde behind her continued to follow, she took the chance to roll her eyes, a humorous sign only I could see. Before I knew it she had moved past me and a door swung open, and I turned around to watch while the group let loose with a collective, disappointed moan.
The tiny embossed lady figure on the door was proof enough that no one from this crowd would be getting inside.
I slipped into the ladies' room after moving quickly past the crowd, curiously pursuing the Night Elf that had caused such a scene only to quickly vacate the premises. Noise from the outside filled the room but silenced into a muffled sound once the door was closed, and already I could smell the distinct odor of a burning cigarette. Moving through the tiny alcove past the door I came into the main portion of the room, and saw her.
It was almost a laughably ridiculous sight, an armored, purple-skin maiden sitting on the low windowsill of the bathroom, one leg up against the opposite side while she clutched a cigarette in between two thickly-gloved fingers. The mass of white hair was now sitting on the nearby sink, the long ponytail bunched up and folded over itself to avoid laying on the floor. In its stead I was able to see the girl's true hair, bright and blonde and falling down to near the bottom of her cheeks. As I entered she turned her head and gave me a small smirk, her wide lips turning up into a welcoming and friendly expression.
"When is that developer making his speech about the Witch King expansion?" She abruptly asked, and didn't wait for my answer before taking in another long drag of her cigarette. Eager to answer I set my bag of convention memorabilia on the nearby counter, and quickly rummaged through to find the schedule of events. I could hear my own voice echoing in the bathroom, but it almost felt surreal, as if I couldn't imagine myself talking.
"Well, let's see..." I paused, scanning over the chain of events. "At twelve-thirty there's the card game tournament, then at one o'clock the costume competition. Looks like they're not going to be doing the expansion thing until one thirty at the earliest." The girl chuckled a little, and pursed her falsely purple lips to let some of the smoke slip through the cracked windowsill.
"I'll sneak out when they do that, maybe by then the crowd will have died down some." She paused for a moment, and her blue eyes narrowed as she slightly turned the cigarette back and forth in her fingers. Musing mostly to herself, I had to strain to hear anything she said. "This was such a stupid idea, I don't know what I was thinking. All those people watching me, it's not my thing at all."
I smiled a little bit, and began to slowly make my way over to where she half-sat on the sill. My own short, large body leaned against the wall beside her, and I tilted my head to look in her direction. Even though one of those ridiculous pink ponytails was in the way, I could see her face enough to know she was looking back.
"You don't seem like the type." I offered, shrugging my shoulders a little. "Dressing up to tease and make a spectacle of yourself. Did your boyfriend make you do it?" To this the girl gave a resounding laugh, and she drew another long bit of breath from her smoke.
"Oh, gnomey, if you only knew the many things wrong with that question." She chuckled, and my eyes followed as tendrils of gray smoke drifted from her nostrils. "Nah, this was my idea. Thought maybe it'd be fun to get out of the apartment for a change, dress up all sexy, get a little bit of attention. I can't tell you how many guys offered to buy me an epic mount if I come play on their server." We both laughed, and she reached into a tiny pocket built into her fake-metal bikini, pulling out a list of several dozen character names and servers. With complete apathy she lobbed it lightly into the trash can a few feet away, and I smirked wide in response.
"At least people didn't spend their morning telling you how childishly cute you were." I replied, rolling my eyes up at the pigtails. "There's not really a whole lot of interest from the guys when you remind them of people that pwn them in PvP with names like Taffyhead."
We both laughed, and as she covered her mouth with one of her gloves I could hear a tiny snort from deep inside her. Cute.
We chatted for a while longer, completely uninterrupted by the outside of the room. Turned out her name was Karen, and-
Oh, wait. I never told you mine, did I? It's Samantha. Sam works.
Anyways, Karen and I talked for about twenty minutes. Turned out she wasn't the attention whore I had pegged her for at first, as a couple of times she mentioned her regret of dressing up so skimpy. She sounded like she had the same concerns I did about my own body, albeit from different perspectives. It gave us a common ground and we built on that with the superficial talks about the game, our characters, and how much a Warcraft movie would suck.
Seriously, it would. You know it would.
Before I knew it one o'clock had come, and we heard the muffled voice of the announcer from outside preparing to say who had won the costume competition. I gave a smirk to Karen and reached out a hand, poking her exposed, purple tummy with one of my fingers.
"You should be there for that. I bet you'd get all kinds of awards...and phone numbers."
"Nah..." She had just finished her second cigarette, and was preparing to light a third when she suddenly arched an eye, and looked up at me with a sudden wave of concern. "You don't mind, do you? Sorry...I was so stressed, didn't even think to ask."
"No, no...I'm fine." I assured her, lying that the cigarette smoke didn't bother me. She shrugged and lit up as planned, and leaned her head back against the frame of the windowsill.
"Half hour to go..." She mused, gazing up at the ceiling. There was a moment of quiet in the air, until her voice once more broke out into the echoing silence of the bathroom.
"Hey Sammy..." I looked casually over, tilting my head curiously. When she spoke again, her words hit me like a Pyroblast.
"You wanna have sex?"
I stood dumbfounded for a few seconds, staring ahead with my mouth wide open and eyes large with shock. Karen was still casually sitting against the windowsill, her eyes flickering now over the cigarette she casually twirled in her fingers, not even acknowledging my presence. After I had assured myself that I did indeed hear her correctly, I stammered out an answer as quickly as I could.
"Uh...s-sure!" I cringed at the sound of my own voice; it was hesitant and wary, not at all the tone of a confidant woman. For as much as my tone shocked me the words themselves held an even greater surprise value, for I suddenly realized what I had just agreed to. It was part reactionary response, part underlying loneliness, and perhaps part rampant curiosity. Whatever it was, it was out there, and I suddenly straightened by back to look steadier.
Karen's mysterious eyes drifted slowly up to look at me, the corners of her wide mouth turning into what was clearly an expression of confusion.
"I...was joking." She spoke with a cautious and careful tone, each letter of each word murmured with clarity.
Then came the awkward silence.
For about a minute neither of us said anything, and we both began to mindlessly fidget with pieces of our costumes. I had found a stray thread on the sleeve of my mage robe that merited attention, and from the corner of my eye I could see Karen adjusting the length of one of her brown leather gloves, tugging it down more so the fingers stretched the fabric inside. Neither of us said anything, and Karen even forgot about her cigarette after laying it on the windowsill.
I pretended to cough to break the silence, but it was transparent to say the least. By now my cheeks were flush with crimson, almost brighter than the hair dye in my pigtails. As I studied that fact in the adjacent bathroom mirror, my mind began to swirl with how to get myself away from the conversation. Karen had been a delight to talk to, but how could I possibly consider hanging out and chatting more after such a colossal embarrassment? Soon my rapidly drying mouth opened, and my voice croaked out a few broken fragments.
"W-Well, I really s-should get goi-"
"What the hell? Let's go for it."
Her voice cut me off, and my head swung so hard around to view her that one of my pigtails came free. My hair was suddenly unleashed from its bindings and cascaded across my shoulder in a blinding wave of hot pink, and this time I stood staring at her with the same slack jawed expression, but with much goofier hair. Her head had raised and she stared back this time, smile slanting to one side in a cocky and downright arrogant smirk.
I wanted her in the worst fucking way.
The next thing I knew the door to the nearby stall had been flung open, and Karen's surprisingly strong hands were pushing me back by means of a delightful grip on my shoulders. The back of my knees hit the ridge of the toilet and I immediately slumped down atop it, and the sound of the door slamming could be heard as Karen kicked back with one of her knee-high leather boots.
If I may break from the upcoming steamy sex scene for a moment, I'd like to paint for you a picture of just what the deal was. You see, it's not surprising that a lot of people within my delightful geek community have a distorted view of what sex looks like. Indeed, thanks to the Internet and the abundance of professional quality pornography, the average person's view on how smoothly and beautifully the deed goes down is horribly askew.