I have these friends, a lesbian couple, who are off from work for the next several days attending a convention that they themselves organized. This is no ordinary convention, if there is a such a thing. Nor is it a comic convention, as I would sometimes go to. This is a Slash Con.
For those unfamiliar with the parlance, "Slash" is defined by Wikipedia as "a genre of fan fiction that focuses on the depiction of romantic or sexual relationships between characters of the same-sex... The characters are usually not engaged in such relationships in the canon universe." Basically, my friends write stories involving male characters from pop culture (They specialize in old, obscure and probably ridiculous Canadian sitcoms) fucking each other. Slash started out with Star Trek fans, who were so starved for anything involving the series that they decided to write stories about Spock and Kirk boning each other. With the internets, it has grown by leaps and bounds, and nowadays basically any two characters you can think of probably have a story written about them. As a side note, also stated by Wikipedia: "According to polls, most of slash fandom is made up of heterosexual women with a college degree, though it also includes males and lesbian women." this describes my friends.
Of course, what a person, especially my friends, does in their spare time is entirely up to them, and I am not one to judge. Glass houses and all that. However, in order to keep this seedy element of their lives a secret from their co-workers (my lesbian friends also work together), they told everyone that they have organized a "writer's conference," a feat for which they are universally praised for being so enterprising. However, those in the know realize the truth: that while the term "writer" is not an outright lie, what they are writing is actually porn, and this is not so much an actual writer's conference as it is a massive orgy. From what I understand, this convention is basically 50 or so housewives and a few lesbians getting roaring drunk and forgetting their troubles (and husbands). I've obviously never been, but I do know that a lot fo nefarious things go on at this convention. After all, how many writer's conferences end the night with a trip to Jacque's, a gay bar downtown that specializes in transvestite karaoke?
Now, we all do things in our private lives that we don't tell our co-workers. That's why we have private lives. But this is what rankles me about this whole affair; When I tell people that I am taking off for San Diego or New York for a comic convention, I open myself up to ridicule (good-natured and playful, but ridicule nonetheless), even by these two women who write and organize conventions around Slash. Again, glass houses. Because there are tons and tons of people who dress up as their favorite characters to attend these conventions, I am lumped in with them as a total dweeb who travels across state borders for something as frivolous as comic books. I mean, people who do not read comics themselves probably have seen footage on the news or whatever of these obese fanboys who dress up, and probably assume that I do it, too. But even if they don't, comics are considered pop art, anwyay, so it's really not a legitimate endeavor to go to convention after convention for something so silly.
So, the difference is that not only do my friends get to hide this huge part of their lives from the world like they were some sort of pedophiles, but they get praised for doing it, while I open myself to ridicule from the world because I read comics. I shouldn't even over-analyze this, but it just seems unfair in a way. But here's the real rub: one day, I referenced a line from one of the Star Trek movies in front of one of these women, and made sure to qualify that I don't usually broadcast the fact that I have lines from Star Trek memorized, because it's probably not a tremendous turn-on. This young woman, who is right now as I write this at a porn convention that she organized, said, "You should be more open about that stuff. you'd probably be a hppier person."
Riiiiiiight. I should be more open.