So last time I gave a bit of my background in the SCA. Now let me tell you what the lady customer at Gulf Wars said. The kingdoms have been changed to protect the guilty. She said, “I currently live in Kingdom B, but I moved there from Kingdom A. They do a lot more late period in Kingdom B, but it is mostly badly done, with a lot of very unfortunate fabric choices.” She was obviously sad and we chatted for a little while. I assured her that she would find kindred spirits and her place in Kingdom B. Just being able to commiserate with someone who has dealt with inter-kingdom issues before made her feel better. But what else would I say to her if we really had the time and the privacy to speak frankly? I would tell her that there are probably kindred spirits already in her new kingdom, they may not be obvious, but they are probably there.
But, just in case they aren’t, what do you do then? Well, you keep up your own standards. You set a good example, and if anyone comments, you cheerfully inform them why you made the choices that you did. It will not help instantly, but over time it will affect some people. Some people will see the wisdom in your choices and want to improve their own presentations.
When we moved to the West Kingdom the Brewer’s Guild was not requiring documentation for their competitions. We thought that was wrong. We are supposed to be a historically based organization, and promote the learning of historical things. Part of that learning experience in Brewing is learning what they actually made and then making it. The Guild was concerned that if we required documentation no one would enter the competitions. So instead of requiring it, we gave extra points if you had it. When people would come to drop off their brews, I would ask “Do you have documentation?” If they said no I would offer to help them write a page of documentation on the spot. I would pull out a sheet of paper and we would run through a basic list of questions: Where did the idea for the brew come from? What were the ingredients? What was the process? Would you do anything differently next time? The points for documentation could easily make the difference between first and second place. We had a competition at least four or five times a year. It didn’t take long for most people to come with that page already written out, and over time the documentation became progressively better.
I would tell the lady at Gulf Wars to wear clothing from whatever period she wanted to, but to do it impeccably. Make sure that the fabrics, the embellishments, the accessories, were all spot on. And if necessary, carry the documentation with her. Teach classes on how to do it right. When I teach my Viking Women’s class I encourage everyone to improve their outfits over time. Every time that you buy something, every time that you make something, try to make it better.
Next Time: Long Distance Assistance