Mixed Metaphors

>> Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yesterday, DH, Toddler and I went to the Renaissance Faire with our Dear Aunt. Due to family chaos and other things, we had not been able to go for the last three years. In many ways, nothing changes in three years, but in other ways, three years gives a little bit of different perspective (as does parenthood).

Here were the things I observed that I wanted to share with you.

First, the time period of this "village" is supposed to be 1500-something. I never remember exactly what year, but it is allegedly an English Tudor Village.

The first thing I saw when I walked through the gate this time, though, was a short woman (I think) dressed in all black leather with (no joke) a spiked mohawk that was at least 15 inches long in each spike. Nearby, and scattered throughout the festival, were many people in "goth" clothing. These were the first stereotyped people I noticed, and they felt a little bit out of place to me. I don't know ... I see how the weaponry and the metal look might go together, but I just don't get the motorcycle gear among all these guys in tights and waistcoats. Being completely shallow, I'm thinking do these people come here because of a secret love of Tudor History? A desire to stand out in a different locale? A feeling that among other oddly dressed people they are not so oddly dressed? Did their significant other make them do it? Or, are they here for the dope? .... Because ....

The second thing I noticed as the day went on was the overwhelming use of incense -- generally being carried around (lit) by individuals and not, as one might think, being contained in an incense burner. Okay, people, we weren't born yesterday. The middle ages were not the most pleasant-smelling era of world history, but certainly the servants were not walking around burning incense over the castle midden or out behind the stables. We all know what you are trying to hide behind those smouldering sticks of incense. So ... are these reefer tooters coming to the festival for the ambiance? To wear long dresses while stoned? Or because they think it is somehow "period" to smoke dope? Or possibly the festival looks a little more authentic with reefer. Yes, I'm sure that is it.

I saw a lot of people I think might have looked equally comfortable dressed up as a Vulcan at a Star Trek convention (and I've been to one of those, too). I saw a lot of families with dads who seemed to have a thing for swords. We bought some really yummy honey, and we played with some musical instruments (Toddler wants a drum). I saw some people who looked like they might be a bit stuffy and tense no matter where they were. I saw women using the place as an excuse to go as topless as allowed in this country by squeezing their coconuts so hard they nearly explode out the top of their dresses.

And then, there were the "free spirits". This, of all the things I saw, is what puzzled me the most. Where did the Renaissance Festival groupies ever get the idea that free thinking, free love, free spirited people roamed the middle ages? This was the era where it was death to speak ill of the King, women (and men) were bartered and sold into marriage by their fathers for the good of the family, land, or national politics. If you weren't rich enough to hire someone, you worked for them, or you scraped a living from the land and starved when the weather turned against you. Yes ... lots of free spirits in that life, wondering where the next meal was coming from. I see the connection.

Well, either way, the Renaissance Festival is a nice place where children can watch grown men beat each other over the head with swords and drool over wood female busts wearing chain link bras, where King Henry has whichever wife the scriptwriters prefer that season, and where hippies and bikers with piercings alike can wear flower garlands.

Peace out!


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