When Grown Adults Get Weird

Yesterday social media was abuzz with Star Wars Day. More likely than not, you probably observed on either Facebook or Twitter someone posting the phrase “May the 4th be with you.” However, Star Wars Day wasn’t just observed in the cyberspace of social media. Hardly. Rather, it was celebrated with vigor and enthusiasm in gatherings across the country. Adults who dressed up as Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker hit the very public streets and swung around light savers as if the word “maturity” didn’t even exist.

This display of grownups acting like little kids reminded me of a weird ordeal I watched play out over a couple days this past summer…

When Sidney and I pulled up at our hotel in Baltimore last August we already felt a little sketched out. Our lodging was in a tough part of the city and the entrance had all sorts of non-guests loitering outside of it. As we scoped out the situation a little more, I saw what I thought was a poor mentally ill person. The lady was dressed in some type of torn pink animal costume that looked like a tattered pajama jump suit. She carried a stuffed animal with her and it looked like she was shuffling aimlessly outside of the hotel. Now this is interesting, I thought.

Despite a slight consideration that we might try to find someplace else to stay, we walked inside the hotel lobby to check in. The lady in the pink ensemble was just a tiny preview of what was to come. A group of “uniquely” dressed humans in brightly colored costumes occupied the lobby. By this time we knew something was going on. We asked the hotel employee at the check-in desk for an explanation.

“It is BronyCon weekend,” she informed us.

She then translated for us that BronyCon was the national convention for “My Little Pony” fanatics. Not only was the hotel we were staying in booked with “bronies” but so was every other hotel in the downtown Baltimore area. It was time to get down with our inner-weird.

The whole weekend while we explored the streets of Baltimore we did it walking side-by-side people dressed in weird suits, colorful wigs, and over-the-top hats. The only time we weren’t around someone dressed as a unicorn or decked out in a one-piece hooded costume was when we were in Camden Yards watching baseball. Other than that, the whole city was overtaken with bronies.

You might think that adults living out their My Little Pony fantasies comprised the minority and the festival was instead attended predominately by tweens. Oh my, you couldn’t be more wrong. From what we saw walking the streets, this convention was 90% dudes in the 18-40 age range. While walking to a baseball game, Sidney and I talked to a mom and her young daughter (probably 12) about the event. The mom told us that she was from California and she was chaperoning her daughter on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. She confirmed that BronyCon was in fact a mecca for adult dudes and that she wouldn’t in a million years let her daughter go alone. We didn’t dare ask how much this excursion was costing her.

Of course the typical questions circulated in my head. What was it about “My Little Pony” that fascinated many so-called adults? What could possess anyone, let alone a 30-year old male, to dress up in a hot, ridiculous costume during a Baltimore summer day? Do any of these people even care what their friends and family think?

But then, just like yesterday, I realized something. We all have some weird in us. Heck, look at me. Although this took away a lot of my scorn, I don’t know if I can completely get over the fact of grown men dressing up as ponies or going on a mythical quest to become a Jedi Master. I think I just need to file this one as an anomaly of our society. Don’t Blink.

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