This is true:

Baycon is a very costume-based convention (or “cosplay” as the young, wide-eyed screaming anime fans are calling it). This means that everyone looks like a freak. Especially people like me, who don’t dress up. We look like the weirdest freaks ever. Even the hotel staff look like fairly normal freaks by comparison, because they’re dressed up in waiter and maid’s outfits.

And some people, look like incredible, dressed-like-Lara-Croft-only-with-chains-on semi-naked babelicious freaks. Not that I stare. Or even look, or think about them, or anything ever. I only know about their existence because when these people walk into a room, all the straight boys nearby give out this universal telepathic deflatory pained sigh. It’s like the sound of a wolf-whistle, only backwards, sucked in. Ooohhhhhh.

The sigh has a meaning. All my life, it says, I have been told by my superego that dressing like a Marvel superhero will not get me laid. And, here, here and now in this temporary saturnalia, surrounded by other males who are – at best – my equals in the ugly league division table: here is my perfect woman. But the world knows that this mad girl’s flickering eyes craves just one thing. A man dressed as Galactus, Eater of Worlds. And not only have I left my Galactus costume at home. I never made it. Worse, I threw those biro drawings of me in the Galactus helmet away the moment I’d drawn them, ashamed to show them even to (say) Dave. And now I know: I’m not a virgin because I’m a geek. I’m a virgin because I have pursued geekdom with a less than pure, directed gaze. I have faltered, and now I’m just another guy at Baycon. And some other guy in front of me will be Galahad with the Holy Grail because he spent two weeks measuring out huge papier-mache clamps to fit on the side of his head. And I did nothing but stare at my Lara Croft pull-out poster, in the belief that she was not real and that I could not ever meet her.

Pursue your enthusiasms. Because if you’re doing them right, you know exactly where they end.

Bacchus once went to Baycon, many years ago. Bacchus was a virgin at the time. Bacchus made this very noise. Repeatedly. It hurts a little bit when you make it, too.

Thanks to Danny O’Brien’s Oblomovka (drat that missing Russian-English dictionary!) for the excellent advice and to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing for finding it.