Creepers are everywhere and I’m not talking about Minecraft. I’m talking about the obnoxious jerks who think that they can hit on, take pictures of, or just randomly touch and grab anything or anyone they find remotely attractive or interesting.
Much like cosplayers, creepers can be anyone. Young, old, married or single, it doesn’t matter. They can be any race, religion or even sex (yes, there are plenty of female creepers out there). Unfortunately, there are even creepers within the cosplay community. Creepers are everywhere, not just at cosplay conventions. For some reason, cosplay conventions seem to bring out some of the best (or worst) of the creepers.
Cosplayers are a cohesive group. We might not always get along, we may not like how so-and-so portrays our favorite characters, we may even hate how some people seem to oversexualize every character they portray, but there are certain times when cosplayers will close ranks. Creepers are one of the few reasons that even rivals will stand side-by-side to fend off creepers.
Unfortunately, there are several out there who get classified as creepers simply because of their own ignorance, stupidity, or naiveté. To avoid being classified as a cosplay creeper, there are some simple rules to follow, most of them are common sense and apply to more than just the cosplay world. You can these general rules in everyday life.
The number one rule is ASK. Ask before you do almost anything.
Let me further clarify;
- ASK before you take a photo. On a noisy con floor, you can’t always be heard, so lift your camera (or phone) in their direction and wait for the nod. If they are already standing and posing for a group of photographers, you are probably safe to take a photo. However, if they are only posing for one photographer with a good camera or setup, you might want to ask permission in case you are interfering in a photo shoot.
- ASK permission and engage them if you want get close up shots of their makeup or zoom in on particular costume part. Always ASK them. Let them know what you are doing and why. You may be interested in the intricate detailing of their coat tail, but all they see is someone shooting pics of their butt.
- ASK before you touch something you want a better look at. You may absolutely love their necklace and want a better look at it, but it is part of them and their costume. Not only are you now invading their space, you are touching them without permission. Even if it is a prop such as a sword or staff, you still need to ASK permission; some of these props are very fragile and these people spent either money or time creating them. If you ASK, they may even be willing to tell you where they got it or how they made it. Cosplayers love sharing their craft.
- ASK before invading their space. If there is a slew of people going up and posing with a character, then odds are pretty good that you can go up to them and pose too, but it’s still polite to ASK. And remember to take your turn and pay attention to their costume. I don’t know how many times I have pushed or pulled someone away from a costume because they were crushing part of it. Also, before you approach the big intricate costumes, look around for a handler and take cues from them. As a handler, I always let the kids pose before the adults and I will deliberately ignore anyone that is rude or pushy.
- ASK if there are children involved. Children that are dressed up are adorable, but just because they are in costume, doesn’t mean you can take their picture. Look for their parent or guardian and ASK permission, especially if you will be posting the pictures anywhere online. Some parents don’t mind, some even encourage it. But I have also had some that have asked me not to post pics of their kid without the mask or hood, or they want me to show them the pic or the website before they grant permission. It is their children, respect their wishes.
- ASK before you follow around with someone all day. It may be the best thing in the world that you found the Link to your Zelda and maybe they asked you to pose with them for a bit, or even to walk with them, but don’t make a pest of yourself. Don’t be clingy. If you legitimately like them and would like to hang out with them more, then ASK. ASK them for a name, maybe ASK to meet up with them later at a public location. Just because they are being nice and social towards you, doesn’t mean you are now besties or that they are into you. They could just be thrilled that they found a match for the day. Give them a chance to break away if they want to.
If you have been told NO or the person hems and haws about answering, then the answer is NO. If they didn’t say YES, then it is NO. Some people don’t want to be rude, so they won’t come out and say NO, but any answer that is not yes is NO. This may be a little redundant, but remember that NO means not, negative, do not proceed, do not pass go. Just turn around and walk away.
Everyone crosses a line occasionally and we don’t even realize it but to do it continually, despite warnings, earns you the Creeper title. You don’t want to be given the Creeper title, it doesn’t come off easily.
What other ideas do you have to avoid accidentally earning the Creeper title?
**Original Article published on PopCultHQ in 2015**