I had a very interesting weekend, this past Saturday. Let me tell you all about it…
I had decided to take my daughter on a field trip. With summer slowly coming to an end, and school starting in September, I thought it would be nice to do a few last-minute family fun activities. That morning, my dad sent me a text message, telling me that there was a My Little Pony Convention happening downtown. I immediately wanted to take my daughter. She’s a huge fan of the show. She’s seen every episode probably five times each. She’s really into it, so I knew I couldn’t let her miss this opportunity.
Because I’m a visionary, I imagined there was going to be a huge hall with My Little Pony stuff galore! There would be balloons and glitter at every table. Vendors selling all kinds of stuffed animals, comic books, movies, and official My Little Pony gear of all sorts. I just knew there would be Pinky Pie and Flutter Shy characters walking around, taking pictures with kids, and giving out hugs and high fives. I thought I was going to be getting myself some funnel cake or cotton candy. I mean, what’s a kid’s convention without cotton candy, right? There was going to be an amazing band on stage singing all the songs from the show, and right in front of the stage, would be a big dance floor, where little girls and maybe a few little boys, would be rocking out to their favorite My Little Pony songs. And of course, I was expecting cute little girls running around dressed like their favorite pony pals in tutus and pink wigs and rainbow wigs, having the grandest time of their lives. I could see it all so vividly in my mind.
So, after I got my dad’s text, I went straight to the website to see how much the tickets would be. I didn’t browse around the site too long. I had already decided we were going. The prices were not what I expected though. The convention lasted for three days and Saturday was the most expensive of the days, priced at $50 a ticket! That meant I was going to be spending $150 for my daughter, my husband, and myself. I didn’t expect to have to pay that much, but it did last for several hours, and I knew this was going to make my baby super happy. I thought to myself, “I’ve got a little extra money in the kitty. We can swing it!” So, I called my husband to tell him the plans. He was NOT happy about spending $150 on a kid’s event, but he’s a good papa and I explained that we had a little extra money to spend, so he said, “okay, let’s do it.”
My husband cut his day short, and I jumped up and got dressed. I rushed through a few chores, then knocked loudly on my daughter’s bedroom door and yelled, “Get dressed! I’ve got a surprise!” I was super excited for the moment when I saw her face light up when she realized that she was knee deep in Ponyville. Sadly, that moment would never come.
When hubby got home, we were dressed and ready to go! We hopped in our SUV and drove to downtown Baltimore. But as we approached the convention center, expecting to see other little girls dressed in their finest pony attire, the reality was extraordinarily different. We did see the finest of pony costumes. But they were being worn by MEN.
Initially, I wasn’t worried. I assumed, “Hey, okay, a few adult fans as well. No biggie.” After a seriously long walk to the venue, right in front of the building, we see a huge sign that reads, “Bronycon.” My daughter gets a big grin on her face because she realizes this has something to do with My Little Pony.
During the course of these events I got a lot of signs that something was not right with this convention. Let’s explore these signs before we proceed.
- When I checked the website for the ticket prices, I notices that it was called Bronycon. I had no idea what a “Brony” was exactly, but I knew it had something to do with My Little Pony and I wanted in!
- I saw full-grown men dressed up as ponies…self-explanatory.
- My mom said to me, earlier that day, “I saw a lot of guys caring their little ponies on the local news this morning.” I assumed that she was referring to Fathers carrying their daughters to the convention. She said no, “pony purses.” “Pony purses? On men?,” I said. And she replied, “Yes, and their stuffed animals.” Hmm, I paused for a moment and thought, “that seems weird, but who am I to judge.” I missed the big ass red flag waving directly in my face. I am amused but also ashamed.
- The security guard at the door, an older black lady with short curly dreadlocks, looks at us and says, “Where do y’all think y’all going?” We looked at her like she was crazy. “What do you mean?” my husband says. Apparently, she assumed we were trying to sneak into the convention. (More on this later)
Back to our regularly scheduled story…
So, we walk in through the big double sliding doors to a surprisingly sterile event. “Okay, maybe the actual event is being held on another floor,” I say to my husband. We go inside the room designated for registration. Registration included filling out a form on an iPad that asked for our full name, age, and gender, and then paying our whopping $150. We were then given badges to wear around our necks, and a schedule of events. So, we take our instructions and head up the escalator. As I’m slowly rising up the escalator, I noticed around this time that we didn’t see many kids, or hear any music. The place was pretty clean up to this point too. Not at all like what I expect a kid’s convention to look like.
When we landed on the next floor, all those signs I told you about, suddenly started to align at the same exact time.
No loud fanfare music blasting from the speakers, no little girls running around in tutus, no big dance floor with tiny jammers jamming, and no funnel cake for mommy. Nothing. But, believe it or not, in that moment, I decide to continue to “keep hope alive.” Because in my mind, we just hadn’t found the right room yet.
Well y’all, we never did find that room. In fact, in every room we looked in, there was a seminar going on. That’s right My Little Pony seminars. I can’t tell you what they were about, because we didn’t stay to find out.
But that’s not the most interesting part.
The most interesting part…
THEY WERE ALL MEN!
That’s right. Wall to wall, fully-grown, mostly white, both bald and bearded men. Short ones, fat ones, old ones, young ones. Men. Dressed as My Little Pony characters. Some in dresses, some in makeup, some in wigs, and some in all three. They were making stuffed ponies, they were wearing colorful tails on their backsides, while others chose to wear pastel colored wings on their backs. This, I’m told, is called cosplay, when fans dress in playful costumes to depict different characters from movies or TV shows, especially during conventions like these. I bet a few of those guys are doing it more often that. But, I digress.
So, it all starts to come together for me at this moment. I turn to look at my daughter, and I nervously and hypothetically ask, while surveying my surroundings, “What exactly is Bronycon about?” And she responds, very assuredly, “Well, I know a Brony is a boy pony.”
Me and my husband simultaneously look at one another as we finally put two and two together. We’re surprised that Bronies are grown men and not little boys. We go between looking dumbfounded and paranoid as we take in the scene. A six-foot man dressed as Twilight Sparkle; a young teenage boy dressed in a pink wig, yellow dress, green stockings, and pink shoes; a middle aged man carrying around life size stuffed animals; and young adult men wearing tails attached to their rear-ends.
I was extremely disappointed having spent $150 to what I thought was a children’s event. I looked at my husband and said, “I don’t think they’re going to give us our money back.” And he looked at me, very much confident and in charge and said, “Let me handle this, baby.” (Drool) Secretly, I turned into the emoji with the heart-shaped eyes and did a shimmy in my head.
Back to the story…
Let me just say, I have nothing against Bronies. They didn’t bother us, and we didn’t bother them. We just took our butts back down that long grey hall, back down that escalator, and inside that registration room to get our money back!
My husband politely went up to the registration table and explained to the manger that we thought this was an event for children. The manger seemed to understand completely, and gave us no problem. I was thinking to myself, we can’t be the only parents this has happened to. And in that moment, from a distance, I see two mothers with their small daughters. The girls were wearing bows and tutus and looking super excited to meet all of Ponyville. I wanted to run full speed in their direction as I saw them bend the corner to the escalator, and at the top of my lungs yell out, “No! Don’t do it! It’s not what you think! Get your kids out here while you still can!” But, I didn’t want to make a scene, so I hesitated. And as I’m still in deep thought over the two young mothers, my husband walks over to me and snaps me out of my trance. He tells me that thanks to that lengthy registration procedure, the manager was able to look in the system to confirm that we were only there for a short while. He happily returns all 150 of our dollars, confiscated our badges, and sent us on our way.
Okay, remember I was telling you about the security guard at the front door assuming that we were sneaking in? Well, as were walking back to the exit, she came over to us. She wanted to know if we got caught sneaking in. I quickly informed her that we did not sneak in, but we did think it was for children. And because it’s not, we were leaving of our own accord, and not because we were thrown out. But my husband didn’t care about any of that. He wanted to know, why she didn’t tell us it was for adults when we first got there. She saw we had a child with us, and yet said nothing. He gives her a playful but stern reprimand and she responds by saying, “Well, how am I supposed to know what kind of weird stuff you’re into?” Hilarity.
Well, that was that. We made it out of that building in one piece and with our cash in hand. We decided to make the best of the situation by dining at one of our favorite restaurants close by. We get plenty of sushi rolls, avocado eggrolls, and pan seared dumplings. We laugh about it while we enjoy our dinner and everything gets blamed on me. I’ll take the blame on this one. I acted impulsively, which is out of my character. I didn’t listen to my intuition when I received those signs, and I dragged everyone down with me. But, no one went home mad, we had a lot of fun laughing about it and remembering all the craziest outfits we saw. We had to do it quietly though because some of the Bronies were sitting in the booth behind ours (giggle).
And the laughing didn’t stop there, once we told the story of our involuntary Bronycon experience, most of our friends and family had a nice laugh too. I tried chastising my parents because I really feel like they dropped the ball on this one. It was all over the news, which they watch about five times a day. First, my dad, for sending me that text, which started this entire chain of unfortunate events. And next, my mother for not explaining to me fully, that not only did she see lots of men, she saw only men. Though, I’m not sure either of them felt guilty because they were both laughing hysterically and so was I. Morals of the story…Follow your intuition, do your research, don’t take life too seriously, and DON’T take your kid to Bronycon!
Being that I am inquisitive by nature, I was curious about the Brony movement. I went on YouTube and found a few good videos that cured my curiosity. As for me, my Brony days are over! But if still you’re curious, check out the video below!
Until next time!