Convention Etiquette: “Couch Surfing”

20140723 144348 2 168x300 Convention Etiquette: “Couch Surfing”

An upward pinky is also always good etiquette.

By: Nick Eskey

With people arriving in droves from around the country to attend the San Diego International Comic-Con, the influx of hotel occupancy zooms to record highs for the city. However, not all convention goers can afford the extended hotel stays. Or perhaps they were too late in securing a room before they filled up. For those who know some locals with a spare room or even a couch, this isn’t a problem. It’s even a great way to save some dough for collectibles or the overpriced convention food. But just because someone is being gracious enough to give up part of their living quarters, doesn’t mean you get to treat it like a rock-star treats a suite. Here are some general things that should be adhered to if you are either a couch surfer, or the gracious host.

The Surfer

You’re probably going to be packing light right? Right. If you’re planning to attend the con with a different costume per day, or if you brought your entire Omnibus collection to get signed by your favorite artists, please be mindful of your stuff. If you can only imagine the look of terror on your host’s face when they see their guest room looking like something from a scene in “Animal House,” or their living room turned into a warzone. Keep everything that’s not in use in their designated cases. If that’s not possible, at least have everything neatly together in one corner.

If you are dressing up, there might be some level of makeup involved, and it’s possible that your friends only have one bathroom. Please be mindful of how long you’ll be occupying it, because you aren’t the only one there. Try not to leave it cluttered with makeup kits, wet towels, and remnants of other toiletries. Showers should be kept to almost military time minimums, because I’m sure they’d appreciate you not racking up their water bill. And if you use up the last of the toilet paper, please alert your host. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to take a shower because you realize a little too late that the paper roll is on empty.

Just because you’re attending the convention doesn’t mean your host is as well. And if they are, their scheduled panels might be entirely different from yours. Please keep them informed if you’re going to be coming back at some ungodly hour, since they might be the ones that have to let you back in. A loud series of knocks from a disheveled Harley Quinn and Thor standing on their doorstep at one in the morning isn’t hilarious. And for that matter, you don’t have to be silent as church mice when you are in their living space, but be conscientious of your noise.
It’s not like you’re paying rent right?

If you are mindful of these things, then next year there’s a good chance you’ll be invited back to surf on that couch again. If it doesn’t happen, well I guess you burned that bridge.

The Host

You haven’t seen your buddies in forever, or you’re being kind enough to let some space to your long time online friends. You’re a hero! But just because you’re being kind enough to let your friends share in your living quarters for the duration of con, doesn’t mean you should be a tyrant with it. Can; yes. Should; no. Give some cursory ground rules if you feel that they are necessary, but don’t be a Catholic school nun about it. They’re there for fun.

If your guests are unfamiliar with San Diego, the convention food can seem to them like their only choice. Give them some helpful pointers on where they should go to eat. They do want to save a little bit of pocket money on other things after all. And if you’re feeling really gracious, have some breakfast pastries set out for them in the morning so they can eat, get ready, and start their day right.

If you’re normally not a… cleanly type of person, you might have to break that habit for the weekend. You don’t want to gross out your friends with the cluttered living room that they are supposed to be staying in. And don’t get me going on about the bathroom and kitchen. They are guests after all, please impress them. If they are happy with the overall situation, they just might ask you again next year or perhaps invite you to their Star Trek themed wedding. You can be the best Klingon.
To everyone out there, happy conning!

Comments

  1. mar jo says:

    Oh….the best Comic Con I had was in 2003: I was invited to a private home 8 blocks from the ocean. I was treated so well by my hosts, I thank them every time I remember that con. It was a once in a life time treat.

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