LIPGLOSS: How to make SXSW the SXSBest

Every spring, SXSW blesses our little city with movies, music and copious amounts of traffic. A lot of other stuff, too. Many Austinites flee, and that’s understandable. Nothing can quite ease that twinge of pain when you see your favorite food truck swarmed by people from not-here.

But if you’re looking to take staycation with a special someone, SXSW has you covered. In many ways, it’s pretty much ideal date material. That is, if you don’t mess it up. Here are my tips.

1) PLAN. Then plan some more. The thing about SXSW is it literally has something for everyone, and this can be a bit of a double edged sword. With so much stuff to do, it’s easy to lose track of time and miss some seriously cool events. Research event times, make a schedule and look at it periodically so nobody gets mad at you for missing the Wes Anderson movie.

2) Compromise. This kind of goes hand in hand with planning. When you’re doing SXSW with another person, there will probably be things one of you wants to see that the other does not, or vice versa. If potential schedules conflict, it might be better for one of you to give in than to split up and see different things. That way, the other person can never claim that you “ditched them,” and you get brownie points for being selfless and mature and great.

3) Embrace the free. SXSW is not the time to blow someone away with expensive dinners and dates. The frequency with which you will encounter free food, events, t-shirts and other random crap is ridiculous. I, for one, would take free kimchi fries over fancy tiny gourmet sushi any day.

4) Embrace the crowds. I know, I know. Crowded streets are largely considered the bane of SXSW, or any big event that comes to Austin. But crowded things are crowded for a reason– because other people find that thing cool, too–and there’s really no way around it if you want to see anything worthwhile. So yeah, maybe itll take you 30 minutes to move two blocks. Maybe you’ll have to stand in a line for literally everything. But a little chillness can go a long way–instead of complaining about the obvious, think of it as simply more time to hang out with your date! Ask them their favorite color. Play “I Spy.” Make elaborate dramas using your hands as puppets. Whatever gets you by.

5) Get excited! Nobody likes That Guy at festivals: the one who stands around looking totally nonplussed even as he’s surrounded by awesome things. One time at ACL, I asked one of Those Guys why he wasn’t more excited, and he responded with, “Well, I live here, so.”

I don’t really know where that assumption started–that if you’re a “real” Austinite, it’s somehow uncool to get excited about celebrities and movies and music and exhibitions coming here. Your date will not think you’re super laid back and cool if you pretend not to care about anything. They will think you are a primitive operating system incapable of feeling. So consider this your license to squeal with glee upon entering the Game of Thrones exhibit–I promise, it’ll be good for your relationship.