Cosplayers From Around The World Share Their Cringe-Worthy Convention Experiences
Whether you're into Doctor Who or Pokemon, conventions have something for everybody. Since the early '60s, conventions have grown into a massive phenomenon. Thousands of them take place yearly worldwide, bringing fans together. Aside from meeting new people, many con-goers seek out autographs from their favorite stars. They might also walk away with a rare action figure or comic book.
One set of con-goers that are always the center of attention are cosplayers. These individuals spend hours perfecting their costume play for photographers and fans alike. As expected, they can attract plenty of attention from people. Many times, they simply brush it off. Other times, they try to exit out of a potentially sticky situation.
This group of people talks about some of the wildest things they've witnessed at a convention. From wild cosplay antics to panel mishaps, their con experiences were unforgettable because of these incidents.
64. Cosplay Karaoke
Some girl asks me to sing a duet in the karaoke room which I agree to. 30 seconds in and I realise that it's some anime song that is sung in Japanese, and it's 8 minutes long.
Longest and most cringiest 8 minutes of my life while butchering the Japanese language in front of an audience.
63. It's Still Cool
More funny then cringey, but my husband doesn't really attend cons anymore because he feels he's too old for them. Before he stopped going we attended Anime Central in 2002 in Chicago. We passed by a group of Harry Potter cosplayers wearing striped scarves and my husband turned to me and said, "It's good to know kids still like Doctor Who."
62. Just One Kiss
I dressed as Rose Quartz from Steven Universe and a neckbeard type guy sort of dressed as a character from the same show approached me by coming up right behind me and said "Rose my waifu" while I was talking to a vendor. He had the greasiest hair I have ever seen and really bad B.O. He asked for a pic and I said ok and then he asked to pose with me kissing his cheek and I said no. He got upset and said that I had to because he loved Rose blah blah blah and I didn't lnow how to disengage. Funnily enough a Pearl cosplayer intervened and told him to beat it.
61. Did You Know
When I was in college, I went to a small cosplay event wearing a cardboard box that says "GUNDAM" on it. This middle aged suburban mom stopped me and looked to her fedora-wearing college-age son, and asked him in an almost baby voice "do you wanna take a picture with the Gundam?"
I agreed to it, but I felt like a birthday party mascot getting a picture with the kids. Except this "kid" was about my age.
Further back, in high school, my at-the-time girlfriend and I went to a cosplay gathering. I made some comment about Macross Frontier ("It's a show about pretty boys in giant robots" or something along those lines. I still haven't finished that show) and then some neckbeard with 10 years on us felt the need to sit down by us, whip out his laptop, and pull up 4chan to school us on mecha anime.
60. Hands Off My Cake
Had small cake pieces with me for friends, carried it in an open plastic box in my hands. In the tram to the convention I met an older lady, we started talking about my costume and why all these funny looking people are here for and so on. While I explained it to her she was suddenly looking for something in her handbag, pulled out a small plastic spoon and helped herself with my cake while listening to me. I was too confused to say anything and let her finish, I even jumped out of the tram a station ealier because I was worried about more cake being eaten. Weird story but looking back now I should have offered her more, I don't know what it takes to make you eat a stranger's cake in a tram without asking first if you can have some.
59. Ask First, Maybe?
Was cosplaying Black Cat from Spider-Man. It was a very tight and form fitting costume and I opted not to wear underwear because you could very clearly see the lines in the costume if I did. Had a guy come up behind me and unzip my suit , which wouldn't have been so bad if the zipper didn't go all the way down to the bottom of my butt cheeks. For about 10 seconds my pale back and ass was very much exposed.
58. It's Called Gatekeeping
Few years back my then-girlfriend was cosplaying Chell from portal at a con. It was mostly great, everyone and their mom wanted a photo with her. Except this one guy who decided to grill her on how much she really knew about portal. He was looking at her like he'd just found a unicorn, but she was more than mad that some stranger thought she needed to prove herself to him. I think he thought he was flirting.
57. They're People Too
So I went to my first con a few years ago...I wasn't brave enough to dress up so I wanted to take pics etc. I saw a really amazing Doctor Who cosplay so I asked him for a hug and pic. He was really enthusiastic about it and we had a pic ready to go until I heard a gruff "hurry up other people want a hug too", this large middle age lady in a tight tank top was giving us this glare. Legit the cosplayer went from happy to miserable as soon as we took a pic. Like....holy cow the cosplayers aren't props, they're people. Don't demand physical contact you have to ask. He definitely didn't give up a hug for her.
This year I'll be doing a dress up cosplay and I hope that I'll be fine.
56. Eyes Up
Went to a Comic Con with my girlfriend, who was dressed as Black Canary (I was Green Arrow). Naturally some people asked for pictures of us/with us, alright cool no big deal. What was weird were the amount of guys that wanted a picture of just her. One guy even came up, asked if he could take a picture with us, and after we agreed, he handed me the camera. Oh, ok, I see what this is.
But the cringiest moment was this one guy, maybe 20 years older than us. He asked for a picture of her, was used to it at this point so it's whatever, then proceeds to spend a good sixty seconds taking the photo. I don't know if he was taking multiple photos or trying to get the perfect boob pic or what, but ain't no way it takes you a full minute to take a single photo on a cell phone. Still, the day was super fun, and hopefully we get a chance to go back in the future.
55. Open Invitation
I was manning a table at Balticon, I was in costume all day as Baron Saturday. I'm a female and I was feeling pretty good in my costume, but a neckbeard came by to talk to my friend who he knew and in the middle of their convo he caught my eye and threw me the sleaziest wink I've ever seen. After he left my friend told me he's in an "open relationship" and that he and his girlfriend have swing parties at nearly every con they work. I try to avoid him but he stops by our table a LOT.
54. There Should Be A No Touching Rule
Had to stop talking to this super lovely Edward Elric cosplayer (it was her first con she was so sweet) because a guy she was with, who was wearing a clearly-for-children deadpool costume, would not stop flirting with my two friends. They're dating and were literally stood in front of this guy holding hands and referred to each other as girlfriends. He was just...so cringey. Had other people who would not stop touching my costume, which ok I wear real chainmail it's interesting, but I was just in line to pay for my drink.
53. The Worst People At Comic-Con
Not exactly cringy, but the worst interactions I've seen and been in are with non-con goers at events. People who hear about conventions so they show up to drink or ogle women. I've seen people feel up female costumers because they thought they were models and that's what they were there for. I've had people break props of mine because they were plastered and wanted a picture. People don't realize that we're not paid to be there, costumes aren't cheap or easy to make, and that we're there to have fun too. I know this doesn't really get at what the question is asking, but for me this kind of behavior is 10X worse than somebody with poor social skills trying to enjoy themselves.
52. Hug It Out
I got caught in a glomp circle because my friends were having fun. (If you don't know what a glomp circle is, it's a hugging game where if you get hugged, you run to the middle, and to get back to the circle you have to hug someone else.) I was smeared in unsealed grey makeup and very flustered. It was a bit fun at first, since I was pretty young, but it was a lot of older men hugging young teens. It was all fun and games until two cosplayers started an all-out fandom duel. People were casting fake spells, throwing cosplay props, screaming, and glomping everywhere.
51. Battle Of The Cringe
I'm usually a vendor so I often get people come up and talk my ear off about their fanfiction I don't care about. There was a lady doing just that and talking about how she was going to get one of the voice actor guests to act it out for her on a stage play or something.
Then I see a girl who was previously talking a lot and not getting the "you need to go" hint come over, so I "introduce" her to my new "friend". They both just happened to have fanfics about the same character. So they move off a bit and are both trying to one-up each other in the cringe.
I was just thankful they went away.
50. You Rebel Scum!
I cosplayed as a Rebel Pilot for the Rogue One release. Everyone in line clapped as I walked by, so I was feeling good about myself. Took it in stride when a guy across the aisle in the theater asked to get a pic with me later. I say sure, or we can do it now since the movie doesn't start for another 30 minutes. He doesn't say anything.
A few minutes later, he's like, "Can I get a picture with your helmet"? Just the helmet. That was awkward. I thought maybe I had misheard him the first time and didn't want to say "no," so I handed him my helmet. Thoughts of lice and who knows what else going through my head. You can take a picture with me as much as you want. But don't take pieces of my costume and try them on.
49. Ready To Rumble
This happened at Ireland's comic con. I went about two years ago. This was the first year where they had an official comic con. Everybody was really nice and I got a couple of good comics. But there wasn't much to do at it. This was in Swords which had a huge field outside were most people sat around talking to one another because there was nothing else to do, really.
Outside, they had a wrestling show. Surprisingly the girl wrestlers were actually the better wrestlers of the day. One of the "main wrestlers" looked about eighteen and did nothing but insult the crowd, and an eight-year-old outwitted him (not even joking, the boy got owned by an eight-year-old). The worst wrestler of the day was a guy who wrestled as a pirate; his pants kept on falling down in the ring.
48. Use Your Indoor Voice
Being my first con, and being pretty socially awkward, I didn't really get to ask for many photos since I guess I look like the stereotypical nerd, and people just kind of avoid me. But a few people were nice and posed for some. I took a break and this group of, I assume, Homestuck fans (I think they have horns and grey skin?) came in and started screaming through all the rooms, talking loudly, generally being obnoxious and ruining it for a lot of people just trying to have a good time, not really anything personal with me though, but I'm glad I didn't have to talk to them.
After that, I really wanted to go to a larger con, so I saved up my graduation money and some early birthday cash and went down to AnimeNext in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was awesome, and compared to the other it was a 100 times better, and I finally got the chance to cosplay.
So I went as Steven Universe, which was a pretty easy cosplay. I did get a few rude comments from people passing, but a few people did want a photo (I even bought his shield).
Thankfully since the last con, I built up some better self-esteem and I was able to talk to people about their cosplays and stuff (though I was still pretty nervous). On the second day, after waiting in line for about an hour to get autographs from the voice actors who were there, there were some obnoxious people who just didn't know how loud you should be inside, and just constantly talked throughout the whole line. Standing behind them the whole time really was horrible.
47. Take A Swing
I was at Colossalcon last year (awesome con if you live near Sandusky) with my girlfriend. I was dressed as Laxus Dreyar and my girlfriend as Aquarius from Fairy Tail. For those of you who aren't familiar, Laxus has a pair of spiked headphones on that are part of his usual costume, of which I made some pretty good replicas.
On our way to the Fairy Tail photoshoot, we ran into two guys who were also on their way there, also dressed as Fairy Tail characters. One as Gajeel, and his friend who I can't remember. Gajeel wants a photo of a fake fight with me, so I oblige. We take a couple of fight photos in different poses, and the last picture is going to be one of us punching each other in the face simultaneously. So I go to place my fist on his cheek, when he just punches the side of my head. Now, he didn't punch full force, but enough that it dazed me.
I wasn't too angry that I got hit, and his friend was apologizing profusely for him, but I was livid that he broke the headphones I made for my costume, just a few minutes before the photoshoot! Broke the spike clean off! So I had to run back to the costume repair station, which is an awesome thing the con has, only to find out that they just ran out of hot glue. Now I'm running back to my room, fixing the headphones as best I can, and running back to the photoshoot.
Didn't miss too much, but other people apparently had similar interactions with the same guy. Dude was completely oblivious.
46. Constantly Checking The Watch
I was at a con where there was a panel about doing cosplays. There were three girls that had a Powerpoint presentation and talked about how to make outfits and such. It would've been good, but the presentation lasted way too long. They got into way too much detail, about buttons and stuff and people were losing interest and were talking among themselves and not paying attention. The host stopped the presentation multiple times to, very rudely, tell people to be quiet. Yeah, that was very cringey...
45. A Supernatural Look-Alike?
I once cosplayed as Castiel from Supernatural when I was watching season four on Netflix. At the time, I had no idea how crazy the fan-base could be.
I made these really cool black wings out of real feathers and made them retractable. My costume was sweet! I go to the con and am waiting in line when somebody a few people behind me yells "MISHA!" (For those of you who don't know, Misha is the ACTOR who plays the character in the show.)
I turn around and see this hysterical girl looking over at me and saying, "I LOVE YOU MISHA! OH MISHA!!....blah blah MISHAAAAA!!!" She is squealing and screaming and basically in tears. At this point, I should mention that I am also female, and I DO NOT look like Misha Collins.
I kind of awkwardly wave at her, then turn my back to avoid eye contact. She continues freaking out behind me for several minutes as my friends looked on laughing and saying, "She's still going..." I can't imagine what she would've done if she had seen the real Misha.
44. Maybe Next Time!
I volunteered at Tampa Bay Megacon this past fall. I was working in the photo ops area with the third party photo company.
Some woman raced up at 2:30 p.m. begging me to sell her a photo op with Brett Dalton because she hadn't realized he wasn't going back to his autograph table after his photo op and she wanted to see him. I couldn't sell her one because the op was in session and locked. "My supervisor can help you if you want to wait?"
She stood there for TWENTY MINUTES repeating that she wanted to talk to Brett and then asked me if she could wait outside the back entrance and grab him as he left. I was like, "No... that's... not a good idea."
The supervisor came back and informed her that Brett had already left the building because only 30 people had done ops that afternoon. This woman went completely postal and ran away crying.
43. I Choose You!
My wife cosplayed as Daenerys from Game of Thrones. I'm a short, blonde guy and was not going to even try going as Drogo. So I went as a generic Stormcloak soldier from Skyrim. Easy to do, had everything we needed already. Done.
After arriving and walking around a while, we decide to get food. As we are stood there ordering, this HUGE guy cosplaying Pikachu comes over and just starts singing "The Dragonborn Comes" from the video game at me. I smile, being polite even though it's kind of weird. He just does not stop. Everyone around this hotdog stand is silent and watching. I stand there for what feels like an eternity (probably about four minutes) just dying inside as a Pikachu bark-sings at my face.
42. Contest Of Cringe
Went to an anime convention with a group of friends a few months ago since a friend was selling his artwork there. The whole thing was pretty cool but the cringiest thing was the cosplay contest. The contestants would go up on stage to do a mini-skit, or choreographed routine, or do like a catwalk kind of thing to show off their costume; anything to display their cosplay, basically.
I didn't know where to look for 90% of the show, to be honest. Unwatchable. It didn't help that the crowd wasn't really that into it either, owing to the middling quality of the contestants, and the host was really struggling to hype up the whole thing. Watching him trying to get some applause out of the crowd was like trying to wring a dry towel for water. Just ain't there, mate. And I distinctly remember a Cloud Strife cosplay holding up his sword... Which was 1/5 - 1/6 the size of what it should have been. Good God. A lot of the contestants also went with moe-related anime, which I wasn't familiar with at all. The whole thing was just bizarre.
41. Looks Can Be Deceiving
I dressed up as Mami Tomoe from Meguca. I was heading back to my hotel. As I waited to cross the street, some random dude came up to me and started chatting. He said to me, "Ah, you're Mami, aren't you? Sort of going for this more Victorian-era look, I guess, huh?" And like, the way he talked came off as super patronizing.
But the best part was when it finally clicked that I was a guy. He got real quiet and I could see him think... "Hold on, is that a guy?" He walked off in the opposite direction after that. I caught him looking back at me a couple times before he got too far away. I had a real good laugh about it afterward.
40. Lost At The Con
My cringiest experience comes from when I attended my first con as a little 10-year-old. My dad accompanied me (of course) for the one day I went, and I was planning to meet some of my internet friends I'd made through a forum. Cue the most miserable experience of my life.
I was on the phone with my friends for hours trying to figure out where they were as a 10-year-old who had never been to such a large and very busy convention center before. Eventually, my dad got fed up and asked to speak to one of my friend's moms. We found each other quickly after that — just goes to show you how clueless I was.
Eventually, we went to the Dealer's Hall to check out all the cool anime merchandise. We were in a big clump walking through until I noticed an Ikuto figure from Shugo Chara, an anime I was in love with at the time. I told my friends I wanted to see it and separated from them to check it out. Bad idea, because I turned around and they weren't there. I wandered around in the Dealer's Hall for an hour, at least, wondering where my friends were.
By the time I found them, my dad had been talking to a bunch of security guards. Guess he called con security to help look for his naive daughter, probably thinking I'd been abducted or something worse. It was incredibly embarrassing and shameful for me but didn't deter either of us from attending the same con for six years after that.
39. Friendship Is Magic
So I help out my girlfriend who runs a Pony store. I myself am not a brony at all but do it to support her and the coworkers I've met through these events are now good friends of mine.
This past summer, at one of the cons I am the main salesman of the main room we have and I greet a group of guys (probably around age 17) that walk in and instantly notice that one of them is wearing a green bow tie, brown jacket, and white shirt. Now it's not totally uncommon for people to cosplay non-Pony stuff at these cons. When I see him I remember the grass starter of Pokemon that got announced three weeks before. So I exclaim in my naivety, "OH! Rowlet! Awesome dude!" Only to receive a reply of "The [bleep] is a Rowlet?"
Taken aback by the gruff response and sudden confusion, I reply, "The new grass starter of Pokemon? I'm sorry, what might you be cosplaying?" And in the nastiest tone mixed with a demeanor of annoyance that I should already know who he is, he says "I'm Doctor Hooves! Duh!" Under my breath, I say, "...you're pathetic, duh," and then proceed to ignore the guy as he stomps around the room in an annoyed and arrogant fashion.
38. Not The Droids You're Looking For
I was dressed in Bioshock cosplay and Stormtroopers stopped me to do a "pat down security check". Literally four guys dressed up as Stormtroopers demanding I turn around and place my hands on the wall behind me. I noped out of that situation as well. I really don't like the Stormtroopers at cons. You have no idea who is behind the masks.
37. Bringing It To Life
I sell artwork at cons, and take commissions, etc. Most people just tell me what they want, then I do the best I can to produce it. Some of them admit they don't have any money and just want to tell me they like my work. That's okay too.
One time, though, I was watching my table when this guy comes over and asks if I do commissions. Yes, yes I do, I tell him. I'm about to show him my price guide when he whips out this business card-sized picture of a brown, anthropomorphic dog with a vine growing around one arm and holds it out to me.
"My character is very unique. His whole village is dead and he's the last of his kind. He's part plant. I want you to tell me why you'd be the best person to draw him for me."
This guy literally wanted me to beg to draw his character.
I told him my rates. He left.
36. The Force Is Strong With This One
There was this one kid who didn't quite understand the difference between real and fake fights. He would run at random cosplayers with a hard plastic lightsaber and hit them with full force over the head or in the stomach, then screech in victory and do a lap around them, taunting them with lines copied straight out of a Monty Python movie... needless to say, he got kicked out.
35. An Unexpected Tour
During Megacon in Florida one year, I was dressed as Merle from Escaflowne when I encountered a group of Deadpools. They asked for a picture with me so I did only seconds into the picture they picked me up and ran around the build carrying me. They eventually ran outside the con and dropped me off in the front of the build and ran off laughing.
34. Kids Say The Darndest Things
A massive and amazingly plotted out Sailor Moon panel was completely derailed by these two kids. They were about 10 and 12, a little young considering it was way late in the night, but it wasn't an adult panel so they got in.
Constant barrage of questions, anytime they started talking it lead to a five-minute rant on how their classmates at school don't understand what being an Otaku is like. The panelist was clearly flustered but wasn't sure what to do about this so she answered them and let them go on. She got to cover maybe 20% of her panel. About half of the room of 70ish people left because it was just too much.
33. It's Time To Duel
I was about 15 years old, and my friend ran into the dealer room really fast to pick something up, so I was just waiting for her outside the door. All of a sudden I see a dude in a really elaborate Kaiba (from Yugioh) cosplay so I go up and ask for a picture. He looks about 25-30, and proceeds to strike up a conversation about how his mom was embarrassing him, but he couldn't ditch her because she was his ride to the con. I don't know how long the conversation lasted, but the moment my friend was out of the dealer room we were gone.
32. Not His Kind Of Rock
Cringiest moment was during the cosplay competition. There was a couple that was dressed as Toph and Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. The (frankly annoying) host announced to the audience that "Zuko" has an important question to ask his girlfriend. Apparently, it's a thing to propose during the competition...
So they do their little show, Toph throws a foam rock at Zuko, and then they just stand there awkwardly. The guy gets cold feet or whatever, because like two minutes pass where it's not clear what's going to happen. They walk offstage, then the girl comes back and stands there for a few seconds... then goes away again. Zuko comes back and stands there, the host doesn't know what to say. She kind of ignores him and talks about how mean it is to throw rocks at your boyfriend. Zuko gets the hint and walks off. Then the host goes "Oh, looks like he changed his mind. Maybe we'll get a proposal next year."
31. May The Doctor Be With You
We were selling at a pretty busy con, but things slowed down around the time of a big event, as they do. This guy who'd walked past our booth earlier stopped back by. He was obviously into steampunk (which is what we sell) because he'd made his own "mechanical arm" with duct tape and gadgets and a bracer. We complimented his components, made general chit chat while he glanced at our wares.
He noticed we have some Doctor Who and Star Wars watches. So he spent the next 35 minutes telling us all about his fanfiction where his character is the Doctor on his 14th generation, how he uses the TARDIS to go into the Star Wars universe at various times to fix this or that, goes into a steampunk realm which is where his gadgets came from, then crosses into a series I didn't recognize, and may at one point have landed on Serenity and given advice to Captain Mal.
Because no one else was around, we were at his mercy. Finally, people started coming back to the vendor room and we made some excuse to get him to move along.
30. Gotta Catch Them All
At a panel on fanfiction writing, there was a middle-aged man going up to the people seated in his nearby radius, asking them to read a printed version of his latest Pokemon story. I was one of those people. The writing was awful, but I tried to give whispered constructive criticism.
Unfortunately, he wanted to discuss the pros of his story very loudly, all while the people leading the panel were trying to host a discussion and answer questions. I tried ignoring him, straight up telling him to lower his voice, and telling him I had nothing to say, but he would not leave me alone. Later that night, I saw him at a karaoke event where he attempted to sing the Digimon theme song... in Japanese. It went about as well as you'd expect.
29. With Great Power Comes Great Irresponsibility
Some Deadpool cosplayer was running around doing silly poses and trying to be witty and charming until he tripped in front of a large crowd and landed pretty hard on his knee. It was obvious he was hurt, so someone went to help him and he screams "[bleep] off" as you can see tears soaking through his mask. Full grown man, jumping around in the cringiest attempt at being Deadpool, smashes his knee, lashes out, and cries.
28. Q&A Gone Astray
Supernatural conventions are great for observing pure social awkwardness and complete lack of self-awareness. I was at the panel for the two leads of the show, and the format is basically Q&A. You're not supposed to tell personal stories, ask for hugs, or generally waste everyone's time. Just ask your question and go.
Chick dressed as a cowboy gets up to the mic, spends a couple minutes rambling mostly incoherently, and then pulls out a newly purchased baby outfit to give as a gift to one of the leads (who had either announced his wife was pregnant recently or the kid had just been born). Dude managed to make the awkward "uh, thanks" sound appreciative somehow and quietly handed it off to one of the staffers. Those guys are masters at dealing with cringe.
27. Not Fooling Con Workers
I've worked security at cosplay events. For me, the cringiest attendees are ones that take the character they're cosplaying way too seriously, coming up to is and trying to roleplay. Bear in mind a lot of the team is 40-something men that hate this stuff and are only here for the paycheck. They fully expect us to understand all the fandoms and get confused or even annoyed that I don't know niche characters from weird anime.
26. The Final Frontier Of Fandom
Many, many years ago, I went to a con dressed in a Babylon 5 Psi Corps uniform. I got cornered in an autograph line by the stereotypical creepy nasal-voiced Trekkie who went on and on and on and ON about all the reasons why DS9 was totally WAY better than B5 blah blah blah etc.
No amount of "that's your opinion" or "I respect that, I happen to prefer B5" would shut him up. Dude was mortally offended that I liked one show better than another. Thank heaven my friends showed up shortly thereafter and saved me from having to listen to the guy any further.
25. Top Of The Stairs
Every comic con in Arizona at least one guy will go as pyramid head, and whoever I'm going with will always take pictures with him. One year he brought two of the Silent Hill nurses with him and for some reason, everyone would avoid the trio. My family approached him to ask for a picture which he allowed, however when we got close my little sister looked up at him (she has never been to comic con nor seen pyramid head before) and asked, "Why does your head look like stairs for little people?" Pyramid head broke down laughing and afterward we couldn't even take the picture.
24. Gotta Take Some Notes
Applegeeks was one of my favorite webcomics, and the artist, Hawk, was there. He had just signed some artwork for me and I was trying to have a conversation with him when this guy comes up, stares at me, writes something in a notebook, and then tells me I'll be dead soon because he wrote my name in his Deathnote. He then proceeded to interrupt me anytime I tried to talk to Hawk and only wanted to discuss Deathnote. Have hated that anime ever since because that guy ruined my chance to talk to an artist I admired about his work.
23. You've Probably Never Heard Of It
I usually cringe the hardest during the masquerades when someone picks a super obscure character to cosplay, doesn't have a great costume, and does nothing but walk out on stage, pause for a second, and then walk back. These usually lead to no applause and very little acknowledgment, which our local MC tries to make up for by padding his script with a superficial compliment if he feels so inclined.
Seriously, if you're going to do an obscure character, make a presentation out of it so people can at least grasp something about their personality or who they are/what they do.
22. Battle Of The Century
The first GenCon I went to I was walking about and there was a guy dressed like the Doctor and he was "battling" a life-sized Dalek. That's not the cringey part. Actually, even though I wasn't a Doctor Who fan, I still thought it was really cool because they both had really good costumes and it was fun. The cringey part was the guy off to the side yelling, "IT'S JUST A STUPID ROBOT" because it slightly slowed down traffic in that area, even though literally nobody else was complaining.
21. Join The League
I was at PAX with my wife and made her sit through a few hours of the League of Legends playoffs (back when these were at PAX Prime). To try to get her interested enough to watch one more game, I told her about how one of the players posted on Reddit after getting kicked out of his house, but still managed to become a pro and now make tons of sweet gaming money. Just then, an interview with the player (Doublelift) happened on stage where he called the other team's ADC trash. This lead to my wife deciding that he was quite rude and she didn't like him much.
Later that afternoon, we saw him walk right past us and she loudly went, "Isn't that the weenie who was on stage earlier?" He looked at us, and I cringed because it was uncomfortable.
20. Bringing The Fight To Life
At the beginning of our Smash Bros community here in Brazil, we used to organize some tournaments at these anime conventions. One time I was playing with some friends and a girl wearing a Pikachu costume plugged her controller to play after the guy I was playing.
Okay, she picks Pikachu, of course, but every time I hit her with a move IN GAME, she made a really loud Pikachu cry like "PIKAAAAAAAA" or "PIKA PIKAAAA" by my side.
I cringe just thinking about it.
19. Don't Come Between Jedi And Their Meal
A few years ago I was in line for a grilled cheese dressed as a medieval Jedi. These two kids (13-14 years old maybe) walk up to me and try to pick a fight with me. "Big bad Jedi, you ain't so tough", etc. I really didn't even understand what was going on, I'm a full grown adult trying to get a grilled cheese. I mainly just ignored them, until they started poking me in the neck with their wooden swords.
There's something extremely primal about defending your neck from sharp objects. I'm very grateful I kept my patience with them. My death glare got them to leave.
Got the last grilled cheese the food truck had, it was great.
18. A Yearly Cringefest
Pax East. Every Year. After Jerry and Mike do their show-opening chat they open the mic to the audience. It is a parade of cringe: people crying because the internet comic meant so much to them. People trying to out-dictionary Jerry with random words for him to define. A fake cult that offers sacrifices. It goes on...
17. You Can Call Me Miku
The cringiest thing happened at the cosplay contest. While a lot of the cosplays were very average, we were overall enjoying ourselves, especially since the host was so awesome (Paul St Peter, for whoever is familiar).
Anyway, towards the end, a contestant came on stage, and I didn't catch what Paul had said she was cosplaying as, but from the long blue hair, I assumed she pulled together a last minute Hatsune Miku cosplay (other than the wig she was just in a plain t-shirt and jeans).
The girl pauses in the middle of the stage. Paul looks confused as to why she's not leaving, and then a song comes on. And the girl starts dancing on the spot. Nobody really reacts. Then the song ends and everyone starts clapping, except she doesn't stop. Another song came on and she's still dancing. This went on for like 10 minutes, with different songs starting and her still doing her crappy little dance on the spot. Everyone in the crowd started talking toward the end. Nobody was interested. Eventually, she finishes, but nobody claps at first because we aren't sure if she's done. After she steps offstage, a few people clap but most people were silent. It was so cringey and bad.
16. Made This For You!
I went to a con a couple years ago and during a Q&A panel, this girl had sat in line for hours to make sure she got to ask a question. She had made some crappy little animation of the actor whose line she was in on her DS and wanted to show it to him. When it was near her turn at the mic the person working the show turned her away because obviously it's not a question and she wouldn't be allowed to walk on stage to show him the animation while the audience looked on in awkward silence. The girl started screaming and crying and just had a meltdown because she was being turned away.
It interrupted the people in front of her currently talking to the actor and drew all the attention away. The actor felt sorry for her and tried to help by letting her walk over to the camera person to show it on the screens for everyone, again cutting in front of others who had waited for their turn because she had a tantrum, and it was just so awkward. The animation was so bad and just featured the actor in "chibi" form in different poses. Everyone just sat there awkwardly when it was over while the actor tried to compliment her efforts.
15. Try, Try Again?
A long time ago, at my very first con, I dressed as Itachi from Naruto. This was when Naruto was getting to its peak in the anime world. I was about 15 and 160 lbs so I was heavier than most girls my age. This woman who was larger, (maybe pushing 300) decides because she's cosplayed as a gender swapped Orochimaru that she would run up behind me, and jump on my back shouting "ITACHI-SAN -- GLOMP!!!"
I don't know if any of you remember the phase that ran through anime of chibi characters "glomping" one another, but it's basically when someone playfully jumps onto someone else's back and they both fall down in a fun messy pile of happiness or they get on them like a piggy back.
Needless to say, I did not fall into a playful pile and she didn't make it to the piggy back position. I ended up spraining my ankle and hobbled away from her as fast as I could without words. She then tried to make it look theatrical and (I guess) thought that I was playing along with her. She does it a SECOND time.
I screamed (my ankle hurt and I was mad) and security came. She cursed extensively at me saying I had gotten her into trouble. Ambulance was called for my ankle because now it was really messed up, and I now felt thoroughly embarrassed while everyone watched me get on a stretcher (I imagine Itachi on a stretcher was a sight to see). I have never fully cosplayed at a con again.
14. A Crime To Breakfast
I went to a large convention with a friend. The one day we didn't cosplay we wanted to go to a lot of panels and 'experiences' because the con had a cool interactive murder mystery set and game.
So we're sitting in line and just chilling when this guy slides over towards our little camp. He's older than us, two girls just trying to watch funny videos to kill time. And he starts talking to us. We're polite and we make small talk. As the line moves we try to say bye, but nope, he's looking for a group to join for the rest of the con. We lie about how we only have a day pass despite the obvious weekend passes on our bodies. We say our goodbyes and skedaddle as quickly as possible and we check our purses because the guy was sketchy and you never know.
My friend's purse was untouched, but mine was opened and stuff moved around. This guy acted like our best friend and then he stole my Pop Tart. Not the whole unopened pack that was my breakfast and lunch, he opened it and stole one. Just one Pop Tart. I took a selfie with my friend in the line and I have a blurred picture of the guy.
13. We Won't Be Seeing Him Again
I was at Fan Expo Canada meeting Temura Morrison (most famously Jango Fett). He had no one in his line. I approached and told him I wasn't a fan of Star Wars but he starred in and produced a Showtime exclusive movie called Once Were Warriors that really changed me as a person. His only response, "A bit dodgy that one..."
I was still super stoked to meet him and didn't let that bother me. Sometimes celebs don't like to gush about older projects. "Who do you want this to?" he asked.
"That'll be $40," his handler added simultaneously. Me turning and handing my money to the handler apparently took too long so Morrison piped up with, "So I guess to NO ONE!" He never made eye contact. The handler looked at me sadly and mouthed the words, "I'm so sorry." So I gave him my name and he wrote it out.
"It would mean a whole lot if I could get my picture with you sir," I said.
"You can take a picture of me, but not with me," he replied. Still no eye contact. I said no thanks and limped away.
12. Just A Shy Guy
I was at my table at SDCC pushing my comedy comic book. This guy comes up to my booth, young-looking guy, lanky, awkward. Maybe late high school/early college-aged. I start talking to him and chatting him up about his con and cracking jokes. He calms down and starts to get comfortable. He opens up and says he's there alone and it's his first con.
I see beside him there's a pretty and peppy woman wearing shorts, a tank top, and a backpack, maybe two or three years older, and dressed in a cute Ewok hat. She's finishing her purchase at the table next to me. I ask her if this is her first con, too. "No, I've been here before a few times. It's a lot of fun!" "Well, HE hasn't been here before." She turns to him. "Oh, you haven't? What are you here to see?" He sheepishly responds as if this is the first time a girl ever talked to him.
And in one of my almost glorious moments, I said to her, "Would you be interested in showing him around? He's here on his own and would love to see some cool stuff." She looks to him. "Yeah, absolutely! What's your name?" And in this moment, I thought I would make this kid's first convention legendary.
Instead, he freezes up, resists all eye contact with her, and says, "I'm sorry. I'm 17." And he Napoleon Dynamites out of there as quickly as possible. As his dust trail settles, she looks over to me confused. "Okay. I was just going to show him around."
Poor kid. I tried to make him a friend or maybe more and he noped out of there so uncomfortably. Again, my fault for making the situation. It's definitely not as cringey for me as watching the awkward guys try to act "anime tough," but I'm sure I made it super cringey awkward for him.
11. Not Speaking My Language
Had a guy dress up as Lelouch and give the entire speech from the show via microphone to a crowd in a large public area (not a stage, not a performance venue)... in Japanese. It was five minutes long, no one understood it because despite being an anime con not everyone is fluent in Japanese, and it was awkward to watch as more and more people got annoyed at him.
10. Homestuck On You
When I was 15, myself and two other friends dressed up as different Homestuck characters at a local comic con. There was a girl around the same age also dressed up as a Homestuck character. She came up to our group and specifically asked for a picture with me (which was odd as me and my friends were kinda grouped together) but whatever. Anyways she sorta followed us around yelling the character's name trying to get our attention. I get why people hate Homestucks after that.
9. A Complete Disaster
Anime Mid Atlantic 2008. They got bumped from their original venue due to a double-booking, and the Virginia Beach Holiday Inn took them in. They had no idea what they were in for. I swear to God, no one at that con was over 18, there were herds of unwashed, overwrought 15 year olds who couldn't book rooms because they were too young sleeping in the lobby, and I'm pretty sure people used the pool as a bathtub.
When we got to the con on Thursday morning, the place was pristine. When we left on Sunday night, it looked like an outtake from Animal House and the pool water was cloudy and gray. There were far too many people for the space available, so a lot of people got cut out from panels, the masquerade, etc.
The cops were there a bunch of times, too. Once I saw some guy running from them and he ran into a van so hard that he bounced off the car next to it and slid under the van. (I still have no idea how that happened, or how to describe exactly what I saw.) Anyway, he crawls out from under the van and takes off and then five cops come running out into the parking lot after him.
8. He's Only Human
I was waiting in line to meet Tom Felton (AKA Draco Malfoy). The young lady in front of us wanted him to take a selfie with her and post it on HIS twitter. She wanted to affirm that "her friends" would "make it go viral". When he told her he doesn't do that she got exasperated, and started whimpering that he "just HAD to, she had promised her friends." He tried to be nice about it... He apologized and said there were many people in the line. She got angry and stomped off without her signed photo.
It's like she saw him as an object, not a person.
7. An Indecent Proposal
My girlfriend and I do Cosmo and Wanda from the Fairly Oddparents. Pretty simple cosplays and I was super excited. The girlfriend gets nervous in large crowds so we stayed on the outskirts of the crowd for the most part- a lot of people asked for photos and we had a pretty good time. During the end of the day the she was getting tired and so we relax in a chair- she sat in my lap since the chair was small- in the lobby of the hotel. Classic neckbeard comes up to us and makes it very clear that he is interested in a threesome and propositions us, even though we state multiple times that we are in an exclusive monogamous relationship. After denying his offers multiple times and him not getting the hint, I fake a call from a friend and claim that "oh- our Timmy cosplayer is looking for us- we have to go" and we promptly found a new place to relax on the other side of the con.
6. This Situation Stinks
OMG I still have chills to this day. So around 2 years ago I was at a pretty large anime convention, and this guy came up to me and asked for a photo. Anyone who's been to a con knows this is perfectly normal, but it was how he wanted me to pose that creeped me out. I gave him my standard photography pose but he was like "actually, can you sit on the floor for this photo?" I was a bit confused but didn't really question it and did as he said. It wasn't until he was crouching down with me and asking me to take off my shoes that I realized he was trying to take pictures of girls' feet for his foot fetish. At that time I was underage (17), and it still gives me chills to this day to think I could've ended up in his fetish folder, or worse, on some shady site without my knowledge or consent.
5. Not Cool, Dude
I cosplayed Frank N Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show at a comic con about a year ago. I had a lot of pleasant interactions with other cosplayers during the day, lots of "ooh I love that movie!", "hey do the Time Warp!" sort of conversations. A few people hit on me (I'm a woman in fishnets and a corset at a comic con...that was expected). Nothing to weird or uncomfortable.
And then there was this one dude and his friend. They kept following me around, talking to me about weirdly personal topics, and getting far too handsy. Eventually I started to get nervous, so I excused myself to the bathroom. I just wanted to distance myself from them a little. As I go to leave, the guy goes "Wait, before you go, can I get a picture?" Okay. Fine. Just take a photo then leave me alone.
So the guy grabs me, picks me up, throws me over his shoulder so my butt is sticking up in the air (in fishnets and bikini bottoms) and his buddy takes a picture. Then he drops me back on the ground, and the two guys take off. It all happened in about ten seconds so I barely had time to react. Some guy dressed as Deadpool helped me up and walked me to the security booth to report the guys, but nothing ever came of it. So weird, cringey, and terrifying.
I don't cosplay Frank anymore.
4. Expeliarmus That Camera, Am I Right?
I've been pretty fortunate in that most of the awkward interactions I've had have ONLY been awkward, and since I'm also an awkward nerd I'm pretty forgiving of that. Met a couple of people acting like dicks for no reason, but mostly everyone is just happy and enthusiastic and respectful.
That said, when I was a teenager I cosplayed femme Draco to one of the Harry Potter book release parties at Hastings. I was hanging out with my friends in the manga section when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a guy kneeling at the end of the row, reaching his arm around the bookcase and angling his phone in an attempt to get an upskirt photo of me (and almost definitely failing given the distance). Dude was easily in his 30s. Because I was only 16 or 17 and didn't know how to deal with that so I ran over to my friends, whispered to them about what was going on, and because they were also teenagers who didn't know what to do we just left to hide in another section of the store.
It was over a decade ago and I still remember everything vividly. If something like that happened now I'd have no problem standing up for myself, but I was a shy, non-confrontational baby at the time.
The funny/sad thing is, if he'd asked for pics instead I would have posed for him. Like, don't be weird at me and I'll play along, to a certain extent. It's really not difficult to not be a creep.
3. A Hulking Hero
This was cringey and hilarious.
So at my first con I was dressed as Silk Spectre II, comic book version. I was still using my cane because I was only a year out from my accident and this guy decides that obviously I'm his one true love or something and I'm not able to hustle away fast enough to escape easily. I lose him a few times but he keeps popping up hitting on me and making comments about how I should have been Silk Spectre I. This is at least two or three hours of this "Romeo" following me around.
Well, somehow I manage to lose him and I end up asking this beefy old dude if he minds that I take the unoccupied chair at his table since my hips and legs are acting up. Half an hour later we're chatting and having a good old time when my Romeo shows up.
Romeo looks at me. Romeo looks at beefy old guy.
Beefy old guy looks at me and I guess I must look scared or creeped out or something because beefy old guy just stands up and leans real close to Romeo's face and says "can I help you with something?"
Romeo backs off and runs away.
I eventually get up and walk away when the table gets busy. Glance at the banner above the table as I walk away.
Beefy Old Guy was Lou Ferrigno.
2. Not Too Tall To Get Jumped
Myself and a few friends occasionally go to local cons just to hang out, drink, and buy some merch. But I'll never forget a local con in early fall of 2008.
We usually never went in cosplay but Gurren Lagann was still in a fever pitch of popularity at the time and one of my friends was really big on it and went dressed as Kamina while the rest of us still went in regular clothes. (It is worth noting that said particular friend is a decent looking 6 foot 4 fellow and was training for marathon running at the time so he pulled off a pretty damn good Kamina.)
From the moment we walked into the main hall he was assault in nearly every manor by girl and guy alike. Tons of people wanted pictures with him or of him posing. Endless pictures. And countless times random girls (and a couple guys) would run out of nowhere and jump onto him. Which resulted more often then not him nearly dragged to the ground by these random attackers. I can actually still to this day remember one girl screaming "Kamina-san! I love you!" as she flung herself at my friend.
He did his damnedest to be nice/friendly for pictures while the rest of us spent more time acting as impromptu body guards for him then enjoying the convention.
Needless to say he doesn't care much to cosplay these days.
1. The Crossplay Cosplay
I cosplayed Winter Soldier at a few different conventions and generally it went pretty well for me. I'm a fairly curvy girl (hourglass curvy, not overweight curvy) but with the jacket, pants, boots, and having cut my hair shaggy to match his (along with so many body formers) it wasn't immediately obvious I was female.
Most interactions were actually nice and pretty fun. Right after the Winter Soldier movie came out, a couple of teenage girls saw me, one started crying, and went "oh my god, I'm so sorry, but can I hug you?" I said yes, and she did, saying "I know I'm so weird but I just feel SO BAD for Bucky in the movie, I had to hug him!" and we laughed, again, so not bad.
But then when I went out into the food court area to take a break from walking the floor, I sat down, peeled off my goggles and face mask, and unbuttoned the jacket to relax a little (black leather is not the most comfortable thing to wear in the deep South in August). This...rather greasy dude sitting nearby who had been sort of eyeballing me but not really saying anything had his eyes nearly pop out of his face when boobs became apparent.
"Oh man, you're Bucky AND a girl! That's SO hot!"
I...think that was meant to be a compliment? But the fact that he said that while staring at the boobs kinda killed any goodwill it might have offered. I just sort of smiled awkwardly and immediately retreated to another table for lunch. I saw him a few more times during the day telling other girls who were crossplaying that they were "hot" for playing as male superheroes.
All I can say is that I hope he's come to terms with his preferences by this point.