I've known Rotrude since she was, oh, 8 or 10 years old. She's definitely her mother's daughter, especially in body type. And she's being having some odd conversations where people remark on her slenderness (though she calls it "skinny" which sounds more pejorative). I've noticed this stuff before.
It's actually a formal pattern of female-to-female conversation. I call it Social Grease. Because I have no social radar to pick up these things organically, I had to learn this "mainstream communication pattern" by rote--and it's quite fascinating.
This doesn't work all that well with Geeky/Nerdy Women. But many of them get soaked in the same pattern solution as the Mainstream Women that the shadow of the dance is cast on them, too. I've found it's especially effective with female newcomers to the SCA, especially mundane visitors who aren't Geeks themselves.
Social meeting of Two or More Women
After the initial "hello"s are over, there's the Casual Conversation Mode. This is where most conversation is Rote or Canned, in prefabricated decision trees. People have a few Mainstream Options:
1) She's carrying a baby. If there's a baby, all other conversation starters are secondary. Ask about the baby. Let her talk as much as she wants about the baby. Then talk about baby weight, if she brings it up or wants to go on about it.
1b) Unless she's carrying a pet. If there's a pet, then ask about the pet. Let her talk as much as she wants about the baby.
1c) If she definitely wants to talk about something NotBaby (some women have talked about Baby enough today, thank you), revert to 2. Let her lead to a topic.
2) She's carrying a book or shopping bag. "What'd you get at __________(name of store, if seen)?" There will be some dismissive talk where she frequently undermines her own enthusiasm for her purchase. This is a request for Opinion Bolstering "Oh, I totally see why you picked that up. It's adorable/really brings out your eyes/totally matches your nails/etc."
Ask about the book (or Kindle). If it's one you've read, discussion follows. If not, it's question and answer time: What d'you like about it, etc.
3) Physical commentary--Comments about weight, hair, clothing, jewelry, etc. This is where women frequently coo over each other's shoes. It doesn't mean anything--they may or may not be enchanted by the shoes. It's just part of the pattern. There's also "love your hair," or "you look great" (implying weight loss, if they haven't see each other for a while).
This one can be tricky, but people think it's easy. I don't recommend that guys use it at all, even if he's gay. It's safest to comment on shoes, bags and other accessories. This also offers Shopping Discussion and Opinion Bolstering, in case you have to stay engaged in talk for a while.
4) Conversations can dwindle off here or--if there's a true exchange, they can flourish. You can end the conversation by commenting that you've gotta run (or she might do the same). Frequently, that's true. It can end with an exchange of emails/phone numbers if the convo is picking up but you genuinely don't have time for them.
It sounds so horrible, doesn't it? But it *works* for me, 98% of the time, while having a female-to-female convo in mainstream society. I've sat at enough tables alone, watching women greet their friends, and seen the dance over and over. I've tried these things out on my coworkers, especially the ones from other departments where I don't work with them all the time, and it's functional with people you're not spending a lot of time with.
The key to all of this, for me, was to believe what I was saying while I was saying it. Some people can be more facile, and sound sincere while they're not, but I've never been able to master that. :P
Lest the gentlemen snicker up their sleeves, let me say Mainstream Guys have similar conversations. Only, rather than cooing, there's chestpuffing. When guys haven't seen each other for a while, they engage in similar Social Grease. I'm not capable of having a male-to-male conversation (my gender and social sex is too obvious), but I've navigated the very Male World of SCA heavy fighting. This is what I've observed.
After the Strength Test handshake, Manly Backpounding or Chin Thrust of Acknowledgement...
1) There's the status jockeying via Prowess. This is usually physical, but physical can also include (among geeky types) video gaming like World of Warcraft. This measures where each one is on the totem pole between/among the group of guys. The highest status guy controls the conversation. He is free to interrupt everyone else and be heard.
Often the Highest Status Guy is acknowledged by the other guys at this point. So is the Lowest Status Guy. If Lowest Status Guy is the comedic type, he is also free to interrupt conversations...in order to make jokes, often at his own expense.
2) If none are invested in Prowess, the conversation can turn to (or be turned by someone with Low Prowess) to Status. A guy can display his own Status (vice president of marketing), or if he's affiliated with a High Status (have you met Duke Guy, my Knight?), he'll raise his own by affiliation. This can change the totem pole positions among the second to second-last guys.
2a) If he's affiliated or follows a team, he will likely turn the conversation to sports in order to converse about the latest game and the success of his team. Especially if he's wearing a jersey or team cap. This can be fascinating if one guy follows football and the other baseball. Watching them talk past each other is like a slo-mo train wreck.
3) Wife-and-kids. (As a female, I've always tapped this topic first. It helped cut down on flirting, which I wasn't comfortable with, but was also a socially safe topic.) This lets guys showcase their families' accomplishments. This can reflect well on the guy, increasing his Respect rate.
4) Conversations can dwindle off here or--if there's a true exchange, they can flourish. The guys can end the conversation by blaming the Little Lady "Hey, my wife wants to get home" or by doing the "I gotta split, seeya later man" and there's a fist bump and a parting. These things can even be true. Guys will more often say "I'm on Facebook, look me up" rather than exchanging addresses.
I'm sure there's more nuance in the male-to-male communication that I'm just not privy to. This is what I've observed. This is the Primer I made for myself in order to ease through the mundane mainstream world. It doesn't always work. But it frequently works.
Hey Vesta--have I said or done anything rude after I have legged you in fighting?
The simple answer--the one requested, however implicitly--is "Of course not."
The problem is...This is the Wrong Question.
The question should be: have you ever seen me behaving dishonorably on the field?
Because this kind of finely tuned question always comes from those who know, deep down, that they have done wrong but they can't bear to look at that part of themselves, so they must hem it in with particulars. Like politicians do.
I did not have sex with that woman... if I define sex in this particular way.
I did not behave dishonorably on the field... if I define dishonorable behavior in this particular way.
Because every fighter has made that error. Every one. At least once. Where they don't feel it because their blood's up, or the f*cker won't take a shot from anyone without a white belt, or they're too good to die to N00bs in Crown, or, or, or... And it's one thing to make a mistake. Because we all do. You fight long enough, you'll make that mistake.
The honorable fighter will resolve to not do it again for the rest of the tournament, and holds true.
The dishonorable fighter always has a reason for why it wasn't a mistake, really. The other guy should have--well, whatever the Other Guy was at fault for.
There are always, too, the true flowers of chivalry: the ones who make sure, great tournament or small, that when they err--they publically acknowledge it. To both their opponent and to the crowd. "I didn't feel that at first--the fight is yours. Well struck!"
How do I answer? How can I say, No to the question I'm asked and Yes to the one I should have been asked?
We've started another year. Only this time I'm an OfficialOfficerallyPerson(tm).
Would tracking my mileage to Official Principality Events be deductible?
That would be March Coronet, June Investiture, September coronet and 11th Nite. With the possible addition of An Tir/West War, depending on whether I do OfficiallyOfficeralltThings(tm) there/then.
(I don't have a house or children, so I need all the help I can get.). :p
The Minoan Gown, with wig and mask, for the Ball
The curls have pearls hot glued into them :)
Thanks to hrothgar1 for the piccie.
ETA: THIS outfit I made.
The Tudor, worn on Saturday morning until Closing Court
Thanks to missypumpkin for getting me this piccie. It's the only one I have of the Tudor that shows the full dress.
ETA: THIS was made by damekaris
The Red Dress, worn on Saturday night at the parties.
This picture is old -- but there isn't a pic of the whole dress from last weekend.
I don't have any notes as to who shot this for me....
ETA: THIS outfit was made by my friend Jamie (from Rampant Squirrel), who does not have an LJ...
So, I've been emailing with a .. retread? reboot? in the SCA, one who is very anti-Peers and anti-Peerage.
Since I love all my friends (and ghu knows how many of all y'all are Peers), I asked *why?*
This is the response I got:
> And that's just the fighter's side, from the periphery I'm getting the
> If you don't, or if you associate with the "wrong" people, or heaven forbid
> It's not the way it was meant to be, and while I'll admit it is very
Now, I'm not quite sure what to say in reply. Of course, I'd love to change the attitude, but I'm not sure how. Or even whether I should. Suggestions? Helpful hints?
My tent stayed 98% dry (getting some seam leaks on my 8? 9? year old Panther), I slept very warm (yay sheepskins!), I had good clean fights and got to see some warm fuzzy moments. Yeah, it was cold, but the fire was warm. I wasn't lonely at all and I only had to escape the drumming once (there's just something about those big doumbeks that hurts).
Friday, I was the last of the group on-site.
After that loss, I was out, so I was free to think of the other thing I'd had planned for the weekend.
Sunday, the pack up
I suggested to ya_inga that maybe it was time for the outlying areas to talk about what some of the problems are -- comparing notes. copper_oxide asked if Inlands could be included in this sibling rivalry.
Let's see what the issues in common are, and which ones seem to be unique to their particular regions. Then we can identify causes and possibly offer solutions.
I'd like to ask that this not turn into what's been sarcastically called "mom and dad love us least" contest. That's not to say "no complaints." Because what we're addressing are going to be addressing complaints. But we don't have to make it into a case of hopelessness.
Kingdom A&S 2008 Barony of Dragon's Laire
May Crown 2008 Shires Briaroak, Myrtleholt, GlynDwfn and Southmarch
(Principality of the Summits)
September Crown 2008 Barony of Madrone
Holy FREAKIN' COW!
We GOT IT! We FREAKIN' GOT IT!!!
This is MADE OF AWESOME.
First event I was taken to -- the last Kriegstriber. But I was in Amtgard at the time and didn't really pay attention. I remember admiring Titus' breastplate.
2. What was your first war?
An Tir West War in Eugene.
3. What is your favorite part of an event/war?
Depends on the event, actually. And depends on the participants. Like I'd rather stand through a court during Amalric & Caia's reign than sit through.... a number of others. I'd rather fight in a bar brawl or a holmgang than a pas de arms.
4. What A&S skill/talent do you have or wish you had?
... There are two primary ones: wish I could play a musical instrument and wish I had the patience to do fine needlework.
5. Why did you choose the elements of your Coat of Arms/device?
I don't remember. Sad, but there it is.
Possibly, I picked things I could draw.....
6. Favorite SCA song?
Anything that isn't The Brave and Bonny Host. I really, really dislike that song. That's why I wrote the An Tir March. Also, Ladies in the SCA by Master Ioseph is fun...
7. Favorite garb?
Mine or somebody else's? I like Francis' doublet (reminds me of my mother); Laurellen's stuff is astounding. For me, my favorite garb is the stuff that takes me the least amount of hassle to get into and out of. For fun and dressy stuff? My Minoan still rocks.
8. Best advice received/given?
a. Sir Morgan going "Whoo-HOO!" the first time I hit him in the head.
b. Listen twice as much as you talk.
9. What is one thing you would like to change about the SCA?
Courts. With certain personality types on the throne(s), they can be horribly boring and interminable. I'd rather go through an Investiture or Coronation ceremony than sit through the "waiting for" people to get their butts to court for their awards. (Burns my biscuits, it does, it does. Unless you're working -- constab, gate, fixing dinner, etc. -- get yer butt in court.) Court's the only place I need to be entertained. The rest of the time I can entertain myself, but during court it's considered rude to play with one's toes.
10. Why do you do this hobby?
Because the voices in my head tell me to?
Because Vesta is the best parts of myself, the parts the mundane world has spent a lot of time, effort and energy trying to squash, to cram me into the boxes it has?
Because where else can you have an evil twin named Skippy who has its own evil twin?
I always do an outfit for the 12th Night Costumers' Guild contest (if I'm making it to 12th Night). It's a convenient deadline that makes me stop researching and implement, dammit, and lets me write a research paper.
I'm usually inspired by some obscure portion of a culture's garb, which sends me off on TehCah-RAZE-y researching.
I've done Minoan and Sumerian. The Minoan is all about the sheer risk. Plus the pretty hair. One is allowed to be daring, risque even, and yet, tasteful. The shock value, perhaps. The Sumerian was all about the jewelry. *huggles Sumerian 'nodding lilies' headdress* Plus, who wouldn't want to wear that much lapis?
This year? Well, this year was more along the lines of persona development. Yes, 2007 was the Year of the Roman.
Or, more specifically, the Vestal Virgins.
Oh, I adore the Vestals. So interesting! Such paradigm-breakers! The first page of my research paper was basically an "ode to Vesta and her Vestals." Then I talked about the power of purple. Then went from the skin out (yep, even did the underwear!)
You won't be seeing pictures of the underwear. Trust me, you'll be happier. And I'll be happier.
So, without further ado: Vesta the Vestal!