If you’re new to the Larping for Couples article series on the SnW blog, you won’t be surprised by this article. If, however, you’ve already read some of the articles (listed at the bottom), you’ve already noticed that I assume both (and all) members of your relationship have been larping for some time – be it as a couple or separately. This time, though, I’d like to mention a few things of special interest if one of you is just starting out. (If that’s the case, you can always check out the beginners category, or this lovely post.)
If your partner is new to this larping thing…
#1 Go easy on them – you were just like them a while ago. I know, it’s easy to forget that, but there are people who probably still remember you as a newbie larper.
#2 Share the love – do stuff you love about the hobby together. Find something in larping (or preparing for larps) which you think they might like, based on their usual preferences, and steer them in that direction. It might be as simple as going to a werewolf larp because they’re a fan of big fluffy animals (not that I know of any such larps, but I’d be the first to join) or choosing outfits in advance if costuming is what they usually like to do in their everyday (or geeky) life.
#3 Let them try out stuff. Show them different play styles and pictures from over-the-top costuming larps. Take them to nordic-inspired and more ruleset-oriented (what I’d call “traditional” in Croatia) games. Try different event lengths, different scenarios and – quite important – different GMs. Design different character concepts together – even when you cannot personally understand why your partner is attracted to a charachter type you find boring and/or strange. You’ve got a better chance of getting them hooked on the hobby if you show them the richness and diversity of it.
#4 Answer their every question, no matter how tiny or huge or theoretically unimportant it might seem to you. You’re their first contact with a huge, diverse and basically awesome hobby (I will most definitely not apologize for being prejudiced), and at the moment probably their only gateway into the world. It’s a great power you’ve got – and we all know what comes with great power, right?
#5 If they don’t like their first experience – better said, if they dislike it deep enough not to want to try further – be transparent and honest with them – and talk to each other as long as it takes to figure it out for both of you, whatever the outcome. There are numerous couples who function quite well with one of them larping, and the other not – and it’s just a matter of what works best for you. (My opinion resides in the dating geeks range, but I’m genuinely happy for couples whose relationships work no matter their differences.)
If you’re the newbie…
#1 Read the damn post, will you? You’re welcome.
#2 For your first larp, choose a lighter one. You may be overwhelmed with the idea of deep immersion, possilibity of bleed and all the other shiny things you hear about from your partner, but you’ll do yourself a favour by starting easy. And no, you don’t have to be a fan of camping to enjoy larping – you’re perfectly welcome to try chamber or urban larps, as well as those set in a modern setting.
#3 Listen to your partner, especially when it comes to sane advice – but call your own shots. You’re the one making the calls – be honest with yourself and never push yourself into things you suspect you might not like just for the sake of your partner. Say no when you need to – and be transparent about your reasons and feelings.
#4 There’s always a chance your opinions on larping – once you try it – might differ. And there’s nothing wrong with playing separate games or even exploring different playstyles than your partner’s. As I said before, larping is diverse and quite huge – there is a big chance of finding different parts of it attractive among the two of you. You can still prepare for events together, gossip about characters or go flea market shopping as a romantic Sunday field trip. Being in a relationship does not mean you’re glued together at the hip – in larping as well as everyday life.
#5 Above all, have fun! And if you don’t – which is perfectly possible – be transparent about it with your partner. You’ll figure something out.
Photo by Višen Tadić (The Elder Scrolls Chonicles, Croatia, March 2014.)