Back when I was a kid, my parents always told me never to accept candy from strangers.
I don’t know why they told me this. I grew up in a town of 242 people; there were eight kids in my middle school class, and it was the largest class the school had seen for years. Nobody was a stranger. In fact, not only did everybody know everybody else, everybody had rather strong opinions about everybody else’s business, and shared these opinions, daily. Passing commentary on the business of other folks was what served the town as a social venue in place of going to a mall (and speaking of malls, I never saw one until I was almost in high school). But I digress.
It wasn’t until much later in life that I learned “don’t take candy from strangers” is terrible advice. Strangers have absolutely the best candy! So when a stranger offered me candy at Frolicon (and folks at Frolicon are often stranger than most), of course I accepted. Mmm, stranger candy.
This is the stranger who offered me candy.
Of course, stranger candy is not without its risks. Strangers who offer candy often want something in return for their candy, like for example want you to pet the cute puppy they have in the back of the van.
Somehow–I’m still a bit hazy on the details–after I had the candy, she ended up with my booty. I think it was–
Wait, I best back up a minute here.
One of the ongoing Frolicon “things” is booty. Booty in this case is a small coin attached to a pin, which you get one of when you register for the convention. The objective of the game is to collect as much booty as possible; at the end of the convention, the person who’s plundered the most booty gets a prize of some sort or something. The details of the booty-related transactions are, of course, left up to the people involved.
Anyway, I ran into her while waiting in line for the elevator1, and somehow, within a few minutes, I had candy and she had my booty. I think it was her sexy voice; imagine Demi More, back in about 1984 or so, when she still had that low, growly voice guaranteed to loosen your necktie at 120 paces, only with a British accent.
So she gave me candy and took my booty. And, as it turns out, she recognized the name “Tacit” on my badge and mentioned that she’d wanted to buy some of my posters of the Map of Human Sexuality, and I mentioned that I’d brought some with me, and this precipitated much mad dashing about the hotel to collect the posters and a shipping tube and all that sort of stuff.
So as it turns out, her name is Maxine and she does a Web comic and does painting and portraiture and is organizing a Frolicon-like event in London and gives good hug. Really, really good hug. And I’ve never before been hugged by a stranger dressed as the Easter bunny in a top hat after taking candy from said stranger and giving up my booty.
Frolicon is cool.
1 Note to con-goers: When you are budgeting time to do things like check out of the hotel, get lunch, and/or snog that person you met in the dungeon the other night, allow for at least 20 minutes to get on the damn elevator. It will come more often than that, but it will mostly be full. Mostly.