The Luv Doc: Barebacking SXSW

PEWOL (pronounced "pee wall"), which stands for "people without lanyards"

The Luv Doc: Barebacking SXSW

Dear Luv Doc,

My cousin is coming to town for SXSW and doesn't have a badge or wristband, so basically he is just going to be sleeping on my couch like a homeless person and drinking all my beer. What can I do to get him out of my house and into someone else's?

– Erdo


Well, Erdo, if you were any cousin at all, you would buy him a $1,650 SXSW Platinum badge, which would entitle him to just about every amenity in Austin short of prima nocta with the local citizenry. I haven't really checked the perks package, but I am pretty sure it comes with all-you-can-eat McDonald's french fries, bottomless Bud Light, and a Garth Brooks fanny pack.

If you're of more modest means ... say you have a sweet job at a local newspaper ... you might have to adjust your ambitions. Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about actual slumming (and by the way, you can do that by putting a $200 price cap on your Austin Airbnb search) I am talking about barebacking SXSW – also known as doing it without credentials.

The first important step in becoming a PEWOL (pronounced "pee wall," which stands for "people without lanyards" ) is to get in touch with your anonymity – sort of like Arya in Game of Thrones. Some people might see it as a burden walking around in the world without your name and profession encased in a waterproof vinyl pouch on your chest, but it can be quite liberating.

Imagine having a conversation with a random stranger at a party without them Googling your name the minute you walk away and then stalking you on Facebook until you block them after an awkward string of DMs inviting you to join them on Candy Crush Saga. What the fuck even is Candy Crush Saga, anyway? Why can't you just crush the candy and be done with it? Wait ... don't tell me. I don't really want to know. Not even at a party where there is bottomless Bud Light, unlimited McDonald's fries, and a special appearance by Hanson.

Happily for your cousin there is a whole shitstorm of social events during SXSW that don't require credentials, both official and un-. Here's the key: The whole clusterfuck of social events is highly interdependent on the whole shitstorm of companies who want you to get hooked on their products or services. Think of it this way: They're sort of like the douchey guy in your high school who used to throw parties all the time to get people to like him. Sure, he was a d-bag, but you weren't going to turn down free beer.

Therefore, before your cuz gets too cozy, give him the 411. Let him know that if he is willing to cozy up to some slightly or even obnoxiously douchey marketing types, he can drink their beer and sleep on their couch ... until the bouncers throw him out. In most cities this is called homelessness, but here in Austin we charmingly call it SXSW. OK then! Tell your cousin to go to austinchronicle.com/sxsw/unofficial and if that doesn't work out, you'll leave a key under the doormat.

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