MomoCon was this past weekend, and I didn’t go at all, even despite future wife and I having free badges, courtesy of a friend who worked for the con. We had a lot of wedding decorations to do over the weekend, which consumed pretty much the entire three-day weekend, but the thing is that even if we had no plans, I can’t say that I really would’ve gone anyway.
I didn’t really know of that many people who were going that I’d have wanted to hope to run into. And frankly, I had little desire to fight the traffic to go into Downtown Atlanta on a holiday weekend, and I didn’t really feel much desire or inspiration to get my camera out and take pictures of costumers.
The thing is, this time last year, I was in a position where I had wanted to go to MomoCon, but couldn’t, because I had to entertain guests in from out of town. I had undeniable FOMO as the weekend trucked along and I wasn’t there and I was disappointed that I didn’t get to go when the weekend had passed.
However this year, I felt no FOMO at all, and I simply didn’t care that didn’t go. I thought maybe it’s because my weekend was so booked up was why I felt that way, but as I said, there’s no guarantee that I would’ve gone in the first place even if I had the free time.
What I’m getting to is that I think I’m over conventions again. I say again, because for those who’ve known me for a long time, might remember a stretch of time where I was kind of burned out on conventions, and I really stopped going and actively sought out alternative things to do during them so I could deliberately distance myself from them. There was part of me that was just being a hipster about things growing in popularity, and there was another part of me that was growing jaded by the increasing notion that conventions were turning into vehicles for attention-starved narcissists to be fake, and some really unsavory clique culture forming.
I eventually got excited about them again, because I had a lot of friends who started becoming the people that ran them, and gave me a little bit of preferential treatment if I showed up to them, and that I also had other friends who were very inclusive of adding me to their costume groups and gave me real drive and objective to wanting to participate and attend. For a couple of years, cons were fun again, and I was enjoying them again.
But then much like the first burnout, it started happening again. Either friends were too busy running their cons to be present to hang out with, or the ones I’d group with, our likes began deviating and we’d have little to no reason to group up with. The narcissists never went away but began becoming more prevalent and obnoxious, and the bottom line is that I just wasn’t having fun at conventions anymore.
Dragon*Con 2018 was kind of a litmus test to see if I could find enjoyment at all, and it was unfortunately a bust. I haven’t even touched the photos I took there. I blissfully ignored when 2019 rooms went on sale, and as I’m typing this, I have zero inclination to go, as I have no registration or a room booked.
As this past weekend soldered on, I was curious to know if I were going to feel anxious or FOMO for not being at MomoCon. I didn’t.
I thought about if I were there, I’d probably be in an agitated mood having to either deal with traffic to get there to pay $20+ to park, or pay an egregious amount for an Uber or Lyft. The weather was steamy and hot, and I’d inevitably want to be outside because I like taking pictures. But then it’s dawning on me that as I get older, they all stay the same age, and by they I mean the attractive girls or talented costumers whom I typically gravitate towards taking pictures of. I’m 37 now, and all these talented and attractive costumers are barely in their 20s, and the bar is getting higher and higher, and the culture between people having fun costuming versus those who are trying to really market themselves as talented hardcore fabricators grows, and it’s just an awkward scene of divisions and cliques, when they once were just one giant mixing bowl of counter-culture and where the nerds came together in more harmonious ways.
So I ask myself, am I aging myself out of being able to find enjoyment at conventions anymore? Is there no coming back from this, this time? Or should I just say never say never, and perhaps this just another passing phase of being a smarmy hipster?