Cosplay is a weird hobby. There, I said it.
No but seriously, jokes aside – whenever I tell new people what it is I like to do in my spare time, I can quickly judge where the conversation is heading from just how high their eyebrows go as I explain I spend a ridiculous amount of my time, money, sweat and tears on this hobby, making fictional character costumes so that I can spend a day at comic con pretending to be said fictional character. The word “cosplay” alone should be enough of a clue to begin with as it is literally an amalgamation of the words “costume” and “play.”
Although, to be honest, when you break down any activity or hobby like that, they can all sound pretty damn strange.
“Hello! I like to strap planks of wood to my feet, climb to the top of a mountain and then let gravity do the thing.”
“I like to throw myself into a sweaty crowd of people where there’s music playing at such an extreme level I can’t actually hear it that well and then we all just throw ourselves violently at each other until the song is over.”
“I like to watch men kick a round product made of thick animal skin in between two posts at opposite ends of a field… No, I don’t like to actually PARTAKE in this activity, I just like to watch and cheer them on.”
“I collect various versions of dead trees that have been mashed down into an unrecognisable form, stare at the markings contained within and hallucinate for hours on end.”
I could try make the argument that cosplay might not actually be the weirdest hobby out there but… pfft, I ain’t trying to defend my dorky interests here. A cosplay-related incident happened this week between me and my father which got me thinking. You see, to me, everything that happens at in the process of making a cosplay and at con has become pretty normalised; late night panics the night before con, the glue gun burns, the tears when the experimentation didn’t quite pan out the way I’d hoped… yup, all pretty standard. However, to an outsider, cosplay must sometimes appear to go beyond ‘quirky creative hobby’ to ‘I think it’s actually a cult send help.’
My father is such an outsider. Everything he knows about cosplay is the bare minimum that he has picked up through exposure to my hobby; he doesn’t really know what comic con is nor does he have any particular interest in going, and in terms of the various media relating to my cosplay, he can get about as far as distinguishing that I’m making a “Disney Princess” dress but wouldn’t be able to tell you which one. My Mum will always happily help me out with my cosplays – I’ve learnt everything I know about sewing from her, so she kind of gets it and will often be good natured enough to let me take over a room in the house when I’m on a new project provided I don’t accidentally fill the washing machine with loose glitter again (it was ONE time, ok??!) but when it’s all going on, my Dad has to inhabit this space, on the fringes of a world he has pretty much no idea about.
So for today’s blog, I have decided to switch the perspective a bit. Everything mentioned below are genuine examples of things that have happened to me during the cosplay process (although they’re from over a range of years as opposed to one each month) but all to explore the idea – is cosplay really that strange a hobby? (Yes. Yes it is.)
Continue reading “Alice’s Adventures in Adult-Land – Cosplay from an outsider POV”