“I think it’s just as important, if not more so, than everyday living” (pg 32, How To Avoid Hara-Kiri)
Hygiene (especially at a convention) is very, very important. We’ll take it at my standpoint, considering I have a degree in Communication Studies.
When you meet someone for the first time, you want to make a good impression, especially if it’s someone you wish to speak to again in the future. First dates, parties, someone in line… these all apply. A convention is no different from these situations. People say actions speak louder than words, and it’s true. Nonverbal actions are something that people pay attention to more than the words that are just said. Words can lie, but nonverbal actions do not.
Yes, hygiene is a nonverbal action. And if you smell (to put in bluntly), not only is the other person going to want to try and get away from you as fast as they can, the potential to build any type of relationship has now disappeared. You may be the best looking person in the world, but if your hygiene isn’t in check (both odor and presentation), no one is going to want to do anything with you. This counts so much for first time meetings because people don’t know much about you, so you start with a blank slate. If the first impression is a bad one, even if you change, that’s the image others will have of you from then on out.
How you can fix this problem? For one, if you have the “Con Funk”, DO NOT put it off for when you get the chance to address this menace. There’s no way you’re not smelling it, and you’re probably down right ignoring it. Go take a shower. Take a quick shower. Use soap! Do not just let the water run on you. Keep in mind most conventions are during the summer time and you’re moving around a lot, which makes you’re prone to sweating a lot more than you think you are.
In 2009, for the first time ever, I experienced the “Con Funk” while cosplaying. My costume was hot, Otakon (Baltimore, MD) was hot, humidity factor was in full effect, I was running all over the place, doing photo shoots, meeting with people; you get the idea. When I realized my situation, the first thing I did was excuse myself from my friends, leave the con, and went back to my hotel room to take a shower. I changed into another cosplay and then went back to the con. If you don’t have a cosplay to change into, DO NOT wear the same cosplay you just took off. That’s defeating the purpose. Although if you do wish to wear the outfit again, Febreeze the hell out of that outfit and don’t wear it until the next day. Really spray vital areas (back, under the arms/sleeves, collar) of the outfit and let it air dry over night. If you just put the outfit back on without Febreezing it, you’re more than likely going to smell ten times worse.
So be mindful of yourself and the impression you may be making on people.
*photo by @Free/Roam/Soul