Peer Fear

Casey Weed nextristan at
Thu Dec 19 07:36:17 PST 1996

 At 04:59 PM 12/18/96 -0600, Britta wrote:
>Well, I guess I was lucky. When I joined the SCA only 4 years ago!
><baby comments here> I was fortunate enough to catch a laurel I knew
>mundanely being invested. Or risen, or what ever you call it. She
>quickly informed me I was to call her nothing else but her name. 
>  Now certainly there are nobility and such that I'm very tongue-tied
>around, and ones I wish I could just casually talk to because I admire
>them. But, because I can't find anything *important enough* to start a
>conversation with, I tend to hide in the background and keep quite.
>  Do I think many peers encourage the *stuffier than thou* attitude, no.
>Those that do aren't worth my time and aren't the ones I admire anyway.
>Britta the Red

Dieterich Hier,

Britta has really struck a chord in me with her post for a number of reasons
that only loosely fit the peer fear subject. 

Although I whole-heatedly agree with her on the idea of the unbearable
"pomped-up" peer, I feel that too many of our peers have, in their long
association with familliar folks, lost a bit of the ritual of rank.  This
counterpoints the main theme of this thread in that I admire a peer whom I
feel comfortable addressing only with the proper rank. A good instance would
be one of the peers of the realm I admire most, my knight: although we have
known each other for over six years, I still attempt to address him as
'Sir'.  He does me the favor of accepting this- although I think he'd rather
I just called him by his Christian name- because he knows that I *enjoy*
recognizing his peerage... it reminds me every time I say it just _why_ I
took a belt from him.  His comportment and actions make it easy for me to
do, and because of that ease, make it _natural_ to do.  And this doesn't
just apply to him, but to ALL the peers I admire.  Sure, there are times for
friendly discourse, just Casey to Jimbob- but I can do that when we're in
t-shirts and jeans at fighter practice or tearing down the site on Sunday...
not when I'm playing at being a 15th century squire and they're being
Master/Mistress/Sir/Dame/Viscount/Duke/King Whosisbottom.

On a different tack, I don't always agree or even get along with some peers
(no really, its true). In this instance, it is *imperative* that I make the
effort to give the person his rank.  It reminds me to respect their position
even when we disagree.  It reminds me of the miles they walked to get where
they are.  It reminds me that they speak from expeerience.  Pride and ego
are two of the largest foes we face (Lord knows they whoop-up on me
regularly) and in these instances the rendering of honors- even in this
small way- is a good sword with which to smite them.

The bad side of all this is that it can make them larger than life to those
who are susceptable to peer fear; it can make them seem unapproachable.  But
how bad is this really?  I like having heros... and I find that peers
usually wind up finding those shy folks and bringing them out of their shells.

Someone once told me a 'golden rule' for these instances: "Treat those below
your station as if they were your peers; those of your station as your
betters; and those above your station with the respect due them."  I like it.  

So, how do the rest of you squires, apprentices, and proteges feel about
this one?  And you peers?  Input please!

Guten Tag!


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