Across the room, I saw a tall man in a white dress, a jean jacket, and a long blonde wig. Men in dresses are not something I was foreign to by any means—between my old theatre hobby and work (not to mention watching Monty Python), I know several men who will wear them for fun or profit—but it happens infrequently enough to draw my attention. I didn’t focus on him for long, however, for the next episode of Red Dwarf was starting, and I was eager to watch one of my favorite shows.
It’s fun to watch Red Dwarf with a crowd like this, where everyone appreciates kooky British Sci-Fi. The crowd was eccentric—the man in the dress wasn’t the most unusually dressed person I'd seen: there was a woman running around painted completely blue, and a man who looked like some sort of elaborate devil character. Plus, there’s the outlandish look some of these people have on a regular basis: the look that they spend all their time between their TVs and their computers (and don’t necessarily take time out to shower.)
This is what happens when you take several thousand science fiction, fantasy, and horror fans and allow them to take over a hotel for the weekend. Ever since my dad started taking me to MileHiCon when I was twelve, I’ve always wondered what the regular hotel guests must think—that they’ve landed on another planet, probably. I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere—this is the sort of place where you can be as silly as you want, and no one will look at you askance. In fact, they’ll probably play along!
When the show ended, I made my way toward the exit of the crowded room. As I moved through the throng, someone asked me if I was familiar with the story of Red Dwarf. I turned and found myself facing the man in the dress. I told him yes, I was familiar with the show, and he asked me if I could fill him in on what had happened: he hadn’t watched it in a while and he wanted to know what he’d missed. I launched into a description of the various quirks of the plot, which, according to the nature of the show, were as bizarre as they were entertaining. We weren’t talking for long when the next show started, and we were booted out of the room.
Our discussion of Red Dwarf led in other directions, and I found myself talking to this man in the dress and wig for over an hour. I learned that his clothing was not his normal attire, but that he had participated in the convention’s costume contest. I confessed that I didn’t recognize the costume, and he informed me that he was Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This also explained his friends, who were wandering around behind him, dressed as ghouls.
We learned that we were both fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation. We agreed on many of the good qualities of the show, and lamented the same mistakes. He had a great sense of humor, and our personalities fit hand in hand.
I found I enjoyed this man’s company. As we spoke, we discovered a mutual interest in many things, including the performing arts. I told him of my ambitions to attend a drama school in England, and he seemed quite impressed. He told me of his production company, One Eyed Pictures, and of the comedic sketches he produced. Considering their similarity to Monty Python, it was no surprise that I’d met him in the British Sci-Fi room. He asked if I would like to perform in one of his projects, and we exchanged phone numbers.
We spoke on the phone once or twice, but it took three months, a screen test, and one film-shoot before he asked me out. He was determined that “I’m a director” wasn’t going to be a line; however, this determination only lasted as far as the day we shot his film—he called me that evening to ask me out.
Twenty-one months after seeing the man in the dress across a dark room, I looked at him again across a park. He wasn't in a dress that time: I was. He wore a tux, and we were surrounded by loved ones. It wasn't his clothing that struck me; it was the radiant smile he wore that matched my own.
The events of that fateful October day took place exactly ten years ago this weekend. To our knowledge, it was the first, last, and only time MileHiCon had a British Sci-Fi room. To complete the picture, our first son, Zaxxon, was born three years ago this weekend. Due to the fact that our second son, Kal'El, refuses to take a bottle, we are unable to spend the entire weekend at the convention, sans children. However, we are spending most of our Saturday there, carting the smaller, easier-to-manage child with us as we go from panel to panel, enjoying the experience and the memories.
Happy Anniversary Honey!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!