If you’ve been to a Vaping Expo you’ll recognise these stereotypes. Maybe you’ve relished pointing them out or scorned their Expo etiquette - even though deep down you know that they’re just as legitimate a part of the e-cigarette world as you are. But you’d never admit it: they’re the characters you love to hate.
- Facebook Vape Group Vaper
These guys are the vaping scene equivalent of that crew at school with a strictly-enforced clique uniform of JD string bags and wearing their ties comically short and fat. They’d decided they were cool, they acted like they were cool, but were they really cool?
The Facebook group vape crowd will be seen wearing bored scowls and matching t-shirts bearing their crew’s moniker, congregating together like they’re just a little bit more ‘vape’ than anyone else.
Like most self-appointed in-groups, they are defined almost entirely by the existence of a contrasting out-group: in other words, by near-arbitrarily excluding others from their clique. So when they get home that night they’ll lie awake reliving the time they kicked that noob Kev off the group for his terrible opinions, terrible taste and, frankly, terrible chat. Why this fantasy? Sweet, sweet consolation for that harrowing day ten years ago when they were brutally ejected from the crew because their mum didn’t buy them the right Reebok Classics.
- Expo Virgin
The Expo Virgin’s been to their local shop a few times now and they’re pretty into it. They’re even getting most of the words right now. So they’ve decided: it’s time to take their hobby to the next level.
But they hadn’t quite anticipated the scale of the scene into which they’ve dipped their toe. You’ll spot them wide-eyed in wonderment, squirreling away items of clothing quickly and quietly in case the whole glorious spectacle dissolves into nothingness before their eyes.
It’s easy to mock the kid-in-a-sweetshop naivety. But everybody had a first time once – and for many it probably wasn’t as long ago as they’d care to admit.
- Freebie Vaper
This stereotype needs little explanation: the freebie vaper is all about the haul. They fall into the exact same category of cringe as the people who post a photo of everything they got for Christmas on Facebook (how old are you?!).
Worse still are the sneaky loops of the arena. Who do they think they’re fooling, with their jangling pockets and unwillingness to make eye contact? The freebie vaper thinks they’re gaming the system, but actually they’re just creating embarrassment on everybody’s part.
- Crazy Mod Vaper
How do eccentric individuals stand out in a subculture that’s already pretty characterful? In the vaping world, apparently, by collecting obscure objects from every corner of modern life and fashioning them into mods. At Expos you’ll see Pokeball toys, motorbike handles, BB guns... even Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine sacrificed to the cause of “quirky” vaping.
This shouldn’t be irritating, but for some reason it is. Maybe because you don’t feel the need to merge your own outside interests with vaping. Or do you?
- Vape Chick/Model
E-cigarette companies hire stunning female models to rep their brand. The models are handed a vape and told to blag it. Their presence draws lots of attention but none of it towards vaping or the brand in question.
This convention lends a surreal character to the whole Expo, like it’s some kind of Victorian gentlemen’s club at which the men talk shop whilst the women stand around looking pretty. Come on, guys: it’s the 21 st Century. Women vape too.