1: What was your first time cosplaying in public like?
My experience was neither bad, nor was it good. As I more or less expected the general public around me was curious, though they maintained a distance met with a few stares my way. Still, I was nervous. Even though there are tons of sites filled with excellent stories about people sincerely curious about cosplay I was still focusing on the 10% that told tales about awful experiences that they'd had with people.
I was surprised how indifferent people actually were to it.
2: Whats the weirdest experience you've had while cosplaying in public?
I've never actually had an experience that could've been dubbed weird [considering the circumstance that I'm dressed up in cosplay to begin with.] So I will just say one of my most rememberable.
This actually happened a few weeks ago at Anime Detour. Myself, my boyfriend and a friend of mine after some deliberation had decided to convene to the nearby family restaurant for some food when we started getting hungry. I had expected that maybe with the con going on there would have been a consistent flood of cosplayers coming and going that day. But really-- it was just us in there, and everyone that was there had seemed to have been either workers out for lunch or seniors hanging out with friends. Again, there were curious stares, though they had maintained a distance away to more or less gawk at us whiles we ate. Completely understandable, cosplay is meant to be looked at.
It was toward the end of our meal however that an older gentleman had joined us. Grandfather age certainly--- but young in spirit. He took a seat next to us.
"Okay you guys, you've got my interest. I was just wondering why you're in costumes. Is there a party going on somewhere?"
He was genuinely interested by the tone of his voice. We explained that there was a convention across the street going on and that yearly people attend it in costume to roam around the hotel and partake in the activities there. It was only then he laughed and said he dresses in costumes as well. [Dressed up as pirates with his friends as it was, and biked in marathons to do charities for MS.] It was probably one of the most positive reactions I got from cosplaying. And he was very kind and interested in what we were doing. It was a sharing experience for us both. I was sort of sad to see him go. He'd asked if there was any way for him to get tickets so he could go as well but the convention had met it's attendant capacity months prior.
3: What should I expect?
To expect reactions you have to understand the nature of cosplay. We wear costumes for a reason; we wear them so that they can be looked at, admired and sometimes judged by the critical eye. Still, the primary nature for this all stems for an amount of attention that we seek.
Be aware that outside the convention these rules still apply. If you are in costume people will still be looking at your cosplay. Chances are they'll be more surprised than con-goers, because it breaks the repetition of everyday life. You're going to get stared at.
Despite the notion that there are jack-wads around every corner there really aren't. These sort of instances only make up a small percentage of your cosplaying experience. It's very rare that you will end up running into those sort of people. And if you do-- the best thing to do is ignore them. Don't give them what they want and bark back. Not because you're incapable of retaliation, but as a representative of the cosplaying community you're attempting to provoke reactions, not responses.
We already walk a fine line with a lot of people that don't understand cosplay. We should show them that our community is made up of logical, civil people. Not a clan of weebos chomping at the bit that screams and cries anytime our honor is sullied.