I learned early on that a science fiction convention isn’t the best place to hunt for hot, available guys.
A true geek I made plans to attend a Sci-Fi convention over spring break. Instead of tequila shots I’d be rolling multi-sided dice in a cramped hotel suite with pimply misfits. The 1994 Magnum Opus Con in South Carolina, held in the posh Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, drew my interest. I read it boasted a gay and lesbian regional sci-fi club. So at warp 9.8 I was off to South Carolina for spring break 1994!
My carefully arched eyebrows were meticulous and painted with a delicate stroke. I wore a snug green sweater over dark forest slacks and black boots.
I placed pointed tips on my ears with spirit glue. Across the sweater I wore a leather bandoleer adorned with a regal Bird of Prey. It was the second evening of the convention, and I was Centurian Momar, a treacherous member of the Romulan Intelligence Agency, the Tal’Shiar.
I was LARPing and loving it! LARP stands for live action role playing. There are many genres, be it vampire, fantasy or Star Trek. This day long event was billed as one of the largest LARP events in the southeast, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. There were seven different races represented with competing teams of dorks dressed in pointed ears, Klingon foreheads and Star Fleet uniforms, all holding Starfleet tricorders and foam rubber weaponry.
The Clarion Hotel was beamed into the future as Deep Space Clarion and an unprecedented democratic gathering of the galaxy’s super powers set the stage for intrigue, espionage and combat. A fat dweeb swilling a goblet of blood wine yelled in Klingon, cursing my Romulan hide and angrily shaking his foam bat’leth towards me.
“Filthy Klingon cur”, I spat at him but quickly continued on my course. I was to meet my superior officer, Subcommander Nevak, for my first intelligence briefing.
When I met Nevak, my passionate Romulan heart beat with green glowing blood. Nevak was a hunk! He wore a fitted green top and his thick dark blond hair was gelled into a crisp point that fell in the center of his forehead. He regarded me with condescending eyes, reprimanded me for being tardy and set about detailing our sabotage protocols against the rival teams.
Nevak and I became the Bonnie and Clyde of Deep Space Clarion. No mission was deemed too dangerous. When ordered to steal sensor logs from the Cardassians, we set about hiring three Nausicaan mercenaries to fight our way onto the ship’s bridge where Nevak and I cemented the Romulan Empire’s high score and first place finish at the end of the night!
During the course of our intrigue a less subtle cloak and dagger was at play. It had come up that Nevak’s real name was Troy. He was 25 and from Tennessee. To my excitement he was gay and a member of the aforementioned gay and lesbian sci-fi club. I was tickled pink. A Romulan cloaking device couldn’t hide my happiness when Troy invited me to the club’s closing party the final night of the Convention.
I took so long choosing the perfect t-shirt to wear and set out to the party suite with equal parts excitement and intimidation. Not only had I never been asked by anyone, gay or straight, on a date, but this was my first party ever!
My social scene in high school was limited to a best friend’s sweaty garage playing video games and watching Japanimation.
Here I was, fresh out of the closet and walking into an executive suite where two chubby girls in dominatrix gear flogged one another and a wall of gay men dressed as Dr. Who all laughed among themselves and rated the boys as they came to the party. (I scored high marks by the way.)
And there next to the Jello shots was Troy wearing an open front poet’s blouse and black leather pants. He was dressed as Lestat. We began talking and all the other gay geeks in the universe faded away.
Many hours, several empty beer bottles and half dozen crumbled Jello shot papers later, Troy and I staggered, arm in arm, through the comic book displays when he pulled me into a side conference room. It was empty and the lights were off. I was apprehensive and nervous, but didn’t want to pull away from him. We rested behind a table. I was so excited. I couldn’t stop giggling as we nestled into the brown carpet, hidden by the dark green table cloth of a squat table.
I kept looking away from Troy because I was so nervous we would be caught. And also I didn’t exactly know what to do next.
He handled everything. He pulled me close into him. He carefully removed his vampire teeth and looked into my eyes. He gently stroked my hair. There on the floor of the Deep Space Clarion, I had my first kiss.
We kissed the entire night and eventually parted ways, reluctantly returning to our hotel rooms and promising to exchange numbers the next morning.
The next morning fresh with purple hickeys on my neck and my first of many hangovers, I sought out a prime spot to eat my complimentary breakfast so I could say goodbye to Troy as he left the checkout area. I sat there the whole morning nervously waiting. What would I say? I had no idea. My muffin and orange juice long gone, I timidly creased a note with my phone number and a meticulously written “Hugs and kisses, Centurion Momar”.
As a river of nerds left with luggage and life sized, collectable action figures, I assumed I had missed Troy’s departure. Until he stepped off the elevator and looked right at me.
I beamed and stood from my table. He walked towards me and then quietly past me. My Romulan cloaking device deactivated, he simply opted not to see me. He left the Clarion Hotel and I sat down, crumpling my juvenile love note in my lap.