To say I’m bad with names and faces is an understatement. Every time I meet new people, be it at work, at a party, wherever, I almost never remember them. Customers at work always ask me “I was just here ten minutes ago, don’t you remember me?!” I was at a friend’s house once when I asked a guy if we’d met before, and his response was “Are you serious?” My freshman year of high school, there was even a girl who I walked with every day between classes, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember her name, and for the entire year I was too embarrassed to ask her to tell me again. Usually, it takes meeting someone about three or four times before my brain even registers enough to recognize them, and trust me, it’s really frustrating.
Cosplay and congoing makes this a trillion times worse. I can’t recognize anyone’s faces to begin with, and now pair that with the fact that everybody looks different every time I see them, and half the people I meet in cosplay don’t even go by their real names. I even know some identical twins that I have a sneaking suspicion swap cosplays halfway through the day sometimes (Yes I’m looking at you, you know who you are. I love you, but telling you guys apart is hell) The thousands of faces I pass by in convention halls get jumbled up in my brain, and I can’t keep anything straight. People run up to me all the time, screaming, “JEN!!!! HEYYYYYY, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN????” And unless it’s someone I have regular contact with, everything starts to panic, going “Oh my god, quick, person. I should know this person. Where do I know this person from, I SHOULD KNOW THIS PERSON.”
I don’t mean to forget people’s names or faces. I swear it doesn’t stem from some “these peasants aren’t worthy of my attention” attitude; I don’t know why it happens, it just takes me a lot longer to be able to recognize people. I try not to even let on that I don’t remember someone when I’m talking to them because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but sometimes I slip up and say something stupid. Even people that know me pretty well, something in my brain goes “I don’t know this face! This is an entirely new person!” or “I know this face, but have no clue when or where I saw them before!”
So I guess this is just sort of a PSA. If I’m around you at an event, PLEASE don’t be offended if I act like I don’t recognize you. I’ve had a couple incidents recently where someone has come up to me with the aforementioned “Jen, hi!!!”, and twenty minutes after they walk away, THEN I remember who they were. And I’m not talking ‘met them once or twice’ people; I mean a cosplayer I’ve known since my DeviantArt days, and one of my long-term Instagram followers. Every time something like that happens, it’s like… Well, let’s see just HOW FAR I can shove my foot in my mouth.
If you approach me at a con or other event, please help me out. If I know you pretty well or we’re in regular contact, a simple “Hey Jen, it’s me, so-and-so! How have you been?” might suffice. If we’ve only met a couple times, or it’s been a while, I’m going to need something more specific. The more detail, the better. I once had someone come up to me at AX and say “I don’t cosplay, but I was here last year. I had this camera.” A guy in plain clothes… With a camera… At an anime convention, in a crowd of a hundred thousand people.I need wayyyyy more than that: what we talked about, something eventful that happened, something like that. “Hey, I was that *insert cosplay here* from ALA last year, I took your picture and we geeked out over D&D for half an hour, then you tripped down the stairs and spilled all the breadsticks you stole from Olive Garden on the floor!” (not a real thing that happened, just an example) If I still seem like I’m struggling… I’m sorry in advance, and beg your forgiveness. Something in my brain is probably telling me I’ve never seen you before, but I’ll look back on my instagram later and feel bad when I find the selfie we took together or something.
To make a long story not as long, I ask for your patience if I don’t recognize you. It’s not because I don’t like you, it’s just that it takes a while before my memory kicks in. I’ll get there eventually, I promise. And if it makes it any better, think of it this way: meeting you the first time was so awesome, I subconsciously wanted to do it again… And again… And again.