With Magfest and Katsucon right around the corner, I want to take some time to remind con-goers to be safe. One thing in particular I would like to touch on is using the buddy-system while at cons.
Last year, I was walking by myself from the hotel I was at (The Loft) to the Gaylord to a panel I was co-hosting. I was wearing a full-length formal gown under my winter coat. A man proceeded to come up to me and ask me very personal questions, such as where I lived, where I was from, what my name was, and if he could have my number. After several terse responses, he eventually gave up and stopped walking with me...only to come back not moments later. He repeated his earlier questions, asking me why I was being so cold and if he could see me later. He was so persistent that I was more than convinced that he would follow me into the Gaylord. This man was not a part of the convention; in fact, he didn't even know why there were so many "weird people" in town, as he called it.
Miraculously, I escaped unscathed. I can't help but think that had I been with even just one more friend, this wouldn't have happened to me. Even though nothing physical came of it, I still get jitters thinking about it; I certainly was frightened while it was happening. I ask that should you keep a friend with you while walking around, whether just in the Gaylord or out and about Crystal City. If a friend of yours has to run an errand somewhere and was planning to go by him or herself, offer to go with them. It might be an inconvenience, but we'll all be the safer for it. (Also, do this for other conventions you attend!)
Stay safe, and have fun!