Last week I went to the Renaissance Festival. That might sound really dorky if you don't happen to live in Michigan or have one near you. Actually...it sounds really dorky even if you're familiar with the Ren Fest. But let me clarify: I attended the Ren Fest. I patronized it. I did not participate in the whole costume-accent-Medieval vernacular sense. Some friends and I hung out for the day.
I have a soft spot for the Renaissance Festival. I think it's fun and quirky and ohhh my the people watching. It's top notch people watching. You see things that you cannot unsee. I think one of the biggest reasons I sort of enjoy going is that in retrospect, I can trace my questionable decision making back to that grove of trees. Sometime during my high school years, I found myself wandering around there with a couple of my best friends. That day, in the hot August sun, I flirted with a strange boy for the first time ever. He was wearing a kilt, had a great smile, I didn't know his name, and I wrote my phone number on a dollar bill he pulled out of his...satchel. Pouch. Whatever you call the bags they wear on a kilt.** My friends shook their heads as we walked away. They sighed the couple times we crossed paths that day and he winked at me. (Seriously. A teenager in a kilt winked at me.) He didn't call, of course. He was never going to call, and I probably knew that. I don't know what I would have done if he DID call. But that very sketchy decision was fun and he was really cute. (A sentence I find myself saying pretty regularly, let's be honest.)
Interesting choices and douchebags aside, I think it's a great place. It's an outlet for people to be as weird as they want. (Weird being relative, I realize, but I'm talking mainstream society here.) I love the idea that there were so many people who loved making their own chainmail and carrying swords that they were like, "You know what? Let's go find some dusty wooded area to hang out in and eat some turkey legs. Ale, anybody?" It's fascinating. A secret little world where I was the weirdo, in jeans. There's a whole other set of social norms, and it's awesome. For heaven's sake, a guy in a cape tipped his hat at me and called me "m'lady." (I ignored him because even though it's kind of a boost to be blatantly checked out, I've been there and done that--no phone numbers on dollar bills this year, my friends.)
However...no judging or anything, ladies and gentlemen, but...just because you can wear a chainmail bikini top or a corset that squishes your boobs up to your neck...doesn't mean you necessarily should. Fun fact.
**EDIT: A friend informs me that the kilt bag is called a sporran. She credits her Scottish heritage for that innate knowledge.