The other night I went for dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in (well) over twenty-five years. I’ll admit to being a bit, umm, nervous? before going. Completely silly, because I was the one who initiated the plans, but there you have it. What would I say? Talk about? Edit? Would she roll her eyes as I yacked about my non-writing, much as I was determined to not talk about it? Would the evening be a minefield of awkward pauses, as I thought about all. the. things. it would be best not to discuss? Would I recognize her (also silly, I’ve seen the Facebook photos)? As it turns out, I knew it was her from a block away, and she told me I haven’t changed. Aah, the beauty of aging vision. In any case it was a lovely evening and we gabbed for a solid four hours.
In keeping with the week’s theme of living in the past, pretending Nerd Child is not headed to college in three days, we went to New York’s Ren Faire yesterday. Because we are a family of nerds, this is something we’ve always enjoyed, and it’s been several years since all five of us were able to attend together. Who am I kidding, I love this freaking event, I don’t go “for the kids” and if I had the money I’d go every year–several times. Though not one of those who go and camp for the season. Mostly because
Why do I love this bit of nonsense? It doesn’t make sense, I couldn’t even read historical romance (when I read romance) because I couldn’t get past thinking about things like lice and scabies and body odor and the lack of indoor plumbing in days of yore. Seriously, imagine what that knight smelled like when he removed his armor. I’m thinking weeping, festering body sores.
Still, it’s a romanticized era, with heroes and fantasy blended together (because so much fantasy is set in a fictionalized medieval-like setting), fancy feathers and dresses wrapped in great gusts of dust and mead.
It’s true, the fantasy aspect in these fairs is stretched to the limits, and while some of the booths and displays, and actors work hard to achieve authenticity along with comedy, you definitely don’t attend for the historical accuracy.
All kinds of crazy, fun, and interesting sights.
I finally realized what the magic is for me, as I was talking to Man Child. Sure, many of the actors, attendees, and vendors are young and beautiful in the modern way–after all, it’s roughly 600,000° in that heat and it’s a seasonal gig for the majority.
Hell, the women at the booth selling hair ties downwind of the camel ring should be getting hazard pay. Many attendees go in costume, and there’s something about being there that makes people who are otherwise sensible decide that it’s completely appropriate to spend $3-800 on a full costume. That said, everyone is beautiful at the fair. Much like my Brooklyn beach, you can feel it as you walk around–everyone feels beautiful. Young, old, skinny, heavy, doesn’t matter. Full figured women are sensual, middle-aged men who haven’t seen a gym since their high school days in chain mail buying swords; if you haven’t had your wrinkles stapled into your hairline, if life has left you a bit ragged, well, so much the better as you shout, “Huzzah!”