Crossing the Rue BiCon
A Fresh Meat’s Guide for those thinking about going
This article is guaranteed 100% fresh; I’m currently sitting here on the last day of BiCon 2002 being called a ludicrous geek by 50% of delegates and being outgeeked by the other half. It is also 100% unofficial, as I’m not sleeping with any of the organisers. Well, not at the time of writing.
First thing to say; it’s fun. Even with heatstroke and hangovers, even being a newbie with some degree of uncertainty. It’s worth going to, as you have a free choice of just what you want to make of it. You’ll always find someone willing to show you the ropes, or failing that, the chains. But no-one will, or is permitted to, force or coerce you to do anything you’re not willing to, so don’t let yourself get too nervous. It can be fairly hedonistic, but more generally it’s just really friendly.
Critically, there is no “You must be at least this Bi to attend” requirement. Straight, queer or bi-curious, it’s open, although the sight of the Token Straight Bloke in drag can cause the occasional quadruple-take. While perceptions seem to be that 117% of attendees are Goth Poly BDSM-praticing cyclists (that was an interesting workshop) the fact is that bi’s are immensely varied. Goth/trendy, BDSM/vanilla, birth-gendered / transgendered/genderqueer / asexual/anythingelseyoucanthinkof, Poly/mono, etc, etc, it’s remarkably difficult to fill in the “All Bi’s are…” question in the fitting/misfitting workshop. Expect to see people in more shapes, sizes and styles than you’ve ever seen in one place before.
Nor is everyone here a “confirmed bi”. It seems that many people find that their “tendencies” vary with their moods, health, phase of the moon, or that uncannily cute thing that just wandered by. Excuse me a moment…
Anyway, the plot. There isn’t one, you can make it up as you go along, go to as many or as few sessions as you wish, tart, hide in the corner, all by choice. You are not compelled to do/ smoke/eat/touch/say/listen to/score anyone or anything. Failing that, there’s generally a bar, and counselors if you need them. I’m going to have to pause here. Blame Kay Dekker. When my mind returns, how to find out more…
First place for the official info is of course the Bicon Website. Slightly less formal is the BiCon LJ, together with various UKBi LJ’s and those of various attendees. There are also newsgroups and things, but I can’t think of them offhand. It also helps to have some mundane info on what to pack and
what to expect. Bear in mind that BiCons tend to be held in Student Halls to keep costs down, and that these can be very variable. This generally means appalling 60’s architecture and very thin single beds, but with some self-catering facilities (and the occasional sticky floor). Generally, bed linen and towels will be provided, but beyond that, you’re on your own. Thus, I recommend the following survival kit:
- Crockery – mug, plate, bowl, spoon, teaspoon.
- Wash kit.
- Tea bags, milk, sugar and coffee.
- Condoms and sex toys by choice. You might not go intending to pull or play, but it can still happen.
- Something to wear at the discos – quite a few people like to dress up for this.
- Clothes for the rest of the time.
- Small cuddly toys, or in extreme case, an inflatable penguin. No-one knows why.
- An open mind and a tolerant and mature attitude. You’ll looks silly if you’re the only one without.
- Any medication you need – even going three days without the hay fever meds can be a mistake.
Feel free to bring books to read, a laptop to check your email (some sort of modem/network connection is usually possible) but you won’t generally get much time to use these.
Also bear in mind that BiCon is held in August which – believe it or not – can get hot, even in Britain. No, really. So, ensure you’ve got something light to wear, drink a lot of water, and bring sunscreen if you might need it. Heatstroke can really ruin a good disco. Trust me on this.
Ok, enough of that. The purpose of BiCon is to meet new people, learn a bit about yourself, and to enjoy. The jury’s still out on whether pulling is a primary objective of BiCon, people who’ve been here many times before still have conversations of the following variety:
- Damn, I didn’t pull.
- Did you need to?
- Didn’t I?
- I dunno.
The rules of “what you need to do” at BiCon are ever-changing, even for the same person at the same event. So make yours once you get there – there are plenty of new people to help you out with that, who you can meet at the introductory sessions, the “getting to know you” workshops, at the discos, in the bar, or by helping out on the registration desk.
Wechsler was the one with the frog, a geek and occasional bisexual. He is a Goth Poly BDSM-praticing cyclist, but that’s just coincidence.