I've been a long time fan of anime, I think it was around 1987 that I started collecting tapes etc. At the time I think Akira had just been shown for the first time in LA or something. And for the longest time, almost no one I knew was into it. It was really hard to find anyone that when you mentioned anime didn't think it was just Robotech and Speed Racer. So it was verra cool when more and more titles came to the US and it gained popularity and there were other folks that liked it too.
A few years ago I went to anime-expo, like in 1998 I think? And I'll be frank with you, I was embarassed to be there. I looked around at people wandering about the hotel and realised I would never go to another anime convention again, since the freaks were knee-deep. I know why the word Otaku is an insult in Japanese, I have seen them with my own eyes. ;)
Besides, these days there's nothing there that I cannot order online anyways, and cheaper.
It might sound harsh , and there are certainly plenty of people I knwo who aren't freaks about it (so don't put the shoe on if it doesn't fit), but I find myself always initially leary when someone tells me they are into anime.