All right. We've all been there. Your summer job crashed and burned. Unemployed, strapped for cash and screwed six ways from Sunday, you realize it's midsummer and there are no jobs. What do you do?Swallow your pride and bitterly ask, "Would you like fries with that?" Luckily, connections save me yet again!
My dear friend and genius jewellery designer Jeanie Schlegel recognizes my dire straits and graciously gives me a helping hand. She runs a booth at the annual Ontario Renaissance Festival in Milton and introduces me to a vendor there.
I get the job on the spot and begin my induction into a phenomenon I would otherwise never have experienced. Admittedly, at first the whole concept of the festival feels a little weird to me. How can I go from über-club kid to leather wench in one swift move? How can I know as a first-timer that popping my Renaissance Fair cherry will be such an amusing and enlightening adventure?
Like many of you, I thought it was all some sort of medieval Disney World where out-of-touch-with-reality gamers come to play make-believe.
Although I encounter briefly a few people who need to relax a little, this is not the nerd-fest you may think it is. On my first day in costume I have to take a moment to snicker. With my platinum blond hair, I looked like a 70s Russ Meyeresque milk maid on the set of some Benny Hill porno. My boobs are hiked up so high in my bodice I can put a mug on them like on a shelf. Yo-de-lay-hee-hoo! Welcome to Swiss Chalet!
Because I'm not permitted to show any tattoos, I have to wear a chemise. With my leather bodice (must wear the merchandise) and a humongous skirt, the outfit gets really uncomfortable in the summer heat. I haven't passed out in the 30C weather yet, but if I do I hope I fall into the arms of a very single, very strapping young lad! Hmm, maybe just this once it would be OK to fake it?
I have, however, discovered a wicked invention. It's called a Bodice Chiller. It's like a portable form of air conditioning. Out of context, it looks like a hollow glass dildo, but fill that puppy with ice, pop in a cork and shove 'er down your cleavage and you'll be feeling goosebumps as it rests against your solar plexus. It also acts as a great conversation piece for those endearingly obvious gents who so desperately try to maintain eye contact while talking to you. All hail the boob fridge!
Now you'd think, with all this imposed pomp and circumstance, I'd be a little wont to interact with patrons in the same way Janeane Garofalo did at Medieval Times in The Cable Guy. Believe me, at first it was tempting. Trying to wrap your head around "ren-speak" for the first time is a little bizarre. Feeling a bit sheepish my first day, I decide to give it a try. The instant the first sentence leaves my mouth, I have to excuse myself to go chuckle it out of my system.
But you know what? With each passing day, I notice the lingo sneaking into my vernacular. One day, out of nowhere, I catch myself in mid-curtesy exclaiming, "A-hey Nonny, Nonny!" Yeah, keep laughing. I'm beginning, however, to understand and appreciate the whole appeal of the Renaissance Festival. It's the romanticism, the whole concept of lords and ladies, wenches and rogues -- it's all so damn sexy!
And ladies, let me tell you, there are quite a few hunky gents I'd like to take to the haystack! You see, the interaction between the sexes (a bow here, a kiss on the head there) is a dynamic I'm sorely unfamiliar with. I'm used to the modern-day crap we girls are constantly bombarded with. You know, getting your ass grabbed while some oafish loser intoxicatedly spits in your face while proclaiming you're "hot snatch!" ("Oh yes, good sir! Please tame me with your sword!")
Stand back, grabby: I'm going back to the 16th century!