Last weekend I went to the annual Renaissance Faire. Of course it was during a heat wave, and the location of the faire was fifteen degrees hotter than my hometown, but I digress. I went with a friend who goes every year, and with a sister who, like me, might have gone once before and long ago, but can’t quite remember.
Wowza, you’d think I’d remember. It was something. The costumes, the food, the accents…these people do quite the job at recreating merry olde England. (Okay, the cupcake stand probably wouldn’t have existed in the sixteenth century, but I forgave that inaccuracy because, cupcakes.)
First thing I learned, it was totally fine not to go in costume. No scathing remarks or looks were cut my way. No tomatoes hurled. Second, I got a renewed appreciation for cutlery. Food on a stick, turkey legs, and hand pies all leave fingers and mouth greasy. The inevitable bit of food always seemed to drop on my shirt, shorts, shoe (hey, that bacon wrapped popper on a stick was messy, and cheese was squirting everywhere – don’t judge), and never just land on the ground. A knife and fork would not have gone amiss. I’d thought that by the Renaissance those utensils had come into use, but whatever. Everyone wants their giant turkey leg.
The jousting was fun, and that’s where I think I could legitimately write off the ticket price as a business expense (the IRS would probably disagree). Good looking guys thrusting long poles at each other and then rolling around on the ground fighting? Well, that’s a romance writer’s dream scene. I’m writing a Regency series (under a different pen name), but I could see going back another couple hundred years for my setting. Although in the back of my mind always lurks the knowledge of the poor hygiene of the time. It’s hard to make sexy the fact that women didn’t wash their hair but once a year and everyone smelled like livestock. I guess that’s where creative license comes in.