I went to a Renaissance Festival today.
I always have mixed feelings at them.
On the one hand, I love seeing the Nerd in its natural habitat. I probably said something about it last year, but it’s just so refreshing to hear nerds making their nerd jokes and vocalizing their nerd mating calls without fear of repercussion of what Mr. Cool will think.
It’s like…watching a kitten playing with its tail is cute, but seeing a kitten with a whole gaggle of kittens mewing and tumbling and hopping up in the air — Can life get better? I submit that it canNOT.
On quite the other hand, when Nerds get together…it’s all sort of awkward. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it may have something to do with my preference of being the nerdiest person in a particular place. I like it to be my little secret when I’m out with the Normies, that is until someone mentions something that catches my ear and I betray my secret, jumping feverishly out of my chair screaming “Han shot first, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a pawn of Lucas’ corporate whim!” And they’re all like “Calm down, Lauren, we were talking about mens’ tight European swimwear.” And I have to sit back down like a jackass.
What the hell was I talking about?
Oh, yeah, so that’s why I can never go to SeaWorld again.
So Nerds just have free reign at these festivals, which means that you’re usually guaranteed a friendly conversation, but may also very well stumble into one that’s uncomfortable for all parties present.
For instance, Figure A: The Employee Nerd.
This nerd is there because he’s selling his wares, but it doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be there anyway. I know they like to get into character, and that’s part of the neat ambiance of the place, but more often than not, the conversation goes like this.
Let me start by saying that I wore my Muggle shirt because I wanted to look like I was one of them.
Wizard Friar Sherrif Ye Olde Nerd: Good day to you, my lady.
Me: Yes, hello.
WFSYON: Wouldst thou partaketh in the nasally devouring of vapors?
WFSYON: This incense, my lady. Only 2 pounds!
Me: That’s a lot of incense.
WFSYON: Nay, my lady! The price be 2 pounds to the king for a pretty lass like you.
Me: Oh, I’m just looking. Thanks, though.
WFSYON: Quite all right. That’s an odd frock you don this day.
Me: My t-shirt? Yeah, I think I got it on the internet.
WFSYON: The what now? My, such strange words thou speaketh!
Me: Er, yeah. So I guess I’ll take some incense.
WFSYON: We accept MasterCard and Lady Visa! [laughs so hard he almost knocks over his flagon of mead]
Figure B, The Reluctant Employee is the one whose boss clearly told them that they had to come to this fest to push their wares on the public, but it’s glaringly obvious that it has little to do with either Renaissance or Festivals.
Sure, the Armory makes sense, the Fairy Wing store, of course, but the Honey store? The mitten kiosk? The candle store that features a design of a dragon riding a motocrycle? That’s kind of pushing the total immersion.
In this instance, the conversation is comically reversed when a RenCosPlayer steps up to plate.
Lady Ugly from Pittsburghshire: Good sir, what be this frightening beast within a translucent container?
Sir Jim: Uh, it’s a bear or something. It’s supposed to taste like honey, uh, thou.
LUP: And what of its clear prison?!
SJ: Look, it’s ye olde plastic. Do you want it? It’s a buck 50.
LUP: Indeed I do, my good man. Do you take MasterCard or Lady Visa? [laughs so hard, her breasts nearly explode out of her corset, killing several small children nearby.]
Figure C: The nerdy parents who dress their nerdy children.
This is on par with the creepyness of watching parents dragging 4-year-olds to a Star Wars convention dressed as Ewoks, while they stand in the back as Jabba and sexy gold-bikini Leia.
It’s good to get kids involved and nerd it up family style, but at that age, they sort of have that “terrier in a tutu” look of “I’m glad everyone else finds this amusing, but since I lack the motor skills to rip this off, can I at least keep my dignity?”
Figure D: The high school nerds in love.
These are two nerds who have dressed in matching Renaissance outfits and go around talking in awful British accents and making oddly inappropriate and uncomfortably loud double entendres at each other.
Lady High School: My that’s a large staff you have there, my good lad.
Master High School: Aye, milady. Would you like to feel how hard it is?
LHS: I could tighten my corset to see if that makes it any harder.
MHS: Well, if it gets any harder, I might have to bend you over this stump and —
Me: HAVE YOU PEOPLE NO SHAME?! THERE ARE CHILDREN HERE!!
The rest of the Fest goers run the gamut from having equally awful accents to having no accents and asking if there are any Nascar t-shirts for sale to being actually legitimately funny employees.
I particularly liked one fellow, who turned out to be the King in the Human Chess Match, who strolled past me as I was leaving my brother a message on my cellphone, and ran up to me screaming “Who are you talking to in that tiny box?! Have they no arms or legs?! Hello?! Hello in there, I say?! Why, you’re no Muggle. You’re a witch! I’ll see to it that you get burned later!” And then he ran off.
That was probably the highlight of my day, and I immediately called Ryan back and told him to never erase that message ever.
But to my dismay, when I went to see said Human Chess match, I overheard one of the Queens talking to her wench friend and referring to the bishop that she had just taken as “owning a noob” and a little part of me died inside.
I went to a Renaissance Festival today.