Blog, Comedy, Commentary, costumes, Faire, fairies, Fales, free spirits, heathens, insight, introvert, Irwindale, Jennifer Fales, make believe, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Renaissance Pleasure Faire, When in Rome
Yesterday, I went to Ye Olde Renaissance Pleasure Faire, to participate in the last day of festivities. It’s become an annual goal for me, my other half, and a few of our friends to attend the darned thing over the past several years. We slap on costumes and dive headfirst into the dirt-kissed, dusty fairground waters of the modern past before the vendors pack up all their tents and swords and turkey legs and hightail it out of Irwindale.
There’s a good deal to see at the Faire, of both merchandise and people. Much of it brings Shakespeare to mind. Once you hand that ticket over and walk through the checkpoint, all the world truly becomes a stage. Drunkards and braggarts, Puritans and sorcerers, wenches and royalty, and sometimes even Dr. Who and a companion or Marty and Doc or an ensign from Star Trek cross your path. And, whether they’re drinking the ale or not, damned near everyone is giddy from being part of this grown-up land of make believe.
What interests me most about the whole thing is the boundaries that slip away from us. Probably because of my status as a part-time introvert and gregarious loner aka writer. Sure, it might be easy to try and blame it on the shirtless musclebound Barbarians or the belly-dancers and wenches with their cleavage trussed and plumped like giant, juicy Christmas turkeys. Trust me, it’s not just them. It might be when you first walk in. But between all the eyeballing and laughing and general oh’s and ah’s from walking around, you open up and you start to feel like you’re a part of the whole deal. These are your people. It’s your stage and your time. And, of course, when in Rome you debauch with the best of them. It would be rude not to.
Like I said. There’s always something. Bawdy jokes, winks and glances, comments you wouldn’t normally hear or make in polite company, or the non-dancing types (me) breaking out into random jigs. Plus, there is enough flesh to give a monk a heart attack. And whatever your something was this year, it is bound to go up a notch the next.
This year, for instance, a lovely young woman lifted her top in a tent full of people to show me her adhesive bra and illustrate that, yes, it really did stay in place and work. She asked if I wanted to see and, because I was in Rome, I didn’t think twice and said sure. If you’re not familiar, with the concept, it’s a marvelous contraption. There are two separate cups that adhere just beneath a woman’s undercarriage (aka, each of “the girls”) and clasp together snugly in the center. Essentially, it lifts and squishes and lends the wearer the pick-me-up of an invisible push-up bra. A prerequisite if you’re planning to wear something skimpy and backless. For the record, she offered the view because I was looking at some rather beautiful but abbreviated tops. Not only looking, but bemoaning the fact that, where I to wear them bra-less, there would be little to distinguish the mighty apples (aka my “girls”) from those of a ten-year-old boy. Ask and it shall be given was her motto that day, I suppose.
Now. Before you read any further, I feel obligated to point out I pass no judgment on anyone. As a matter of fact, she was a lovely girl and an admirably free spirit. More power to her for being that comfortable with her body. I am nowhere near as comfortable with mine, but that has nothing to do with her. So…if you’ve been hunting down your robe and powdered wig and scrambling to find your gavel since paragraph one, Sir or Madam Magistrate, well, you’ve barked up the wrong blog-tree. I hear the Christian Science Monitor has some lovely articles these days and you might want to go check them out. Google the name and have it.
Where was I? – Oh yes. Slipping boundaries, when in Rome, bada bing bada boom, fan dancing and sleight of hand, heathen for a day in the land of the panty-less fairies, insert your own flippant rejoinder of choice here, etc.
On a slightly more serious note: For those who need the reminder, the Renaissance is considered a bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history. It was a cultural movement that spread across Europe – art, literature, music, all thriving and beautiful and bold. Why on earth wouldn’t you want to taste a little slice of that irrepressible pie? If you’ve never been to a Renaissance Faire, I encourage you to go. Go for the costumes, or the music, or the food, or the artwork and handmade soaps. Go for the novelty. Even better, go for the human experience. Go to learn something new about yourself and how you relate to others.
— Whatever the reason, just go.