peer fear

Jeanne C. Stapleton jstaplet at
Mon Dec 30 08:46:44 PST 1996

> First, many thanks to Countess Berengaria for starting such an
> interesting thread!
You're welcome!  Glad someone's enjoying it...didn't mean to seem to 
monopolize the list quite so much, though.

> I have to confess -- I've been a Laurel for 8 years now, and no one
> would call me shy, but there are some peers who scare the bejeezus
> out of me, but upon reflection, I think they'd scare me whether they
> were peers or not.......
I know people like that--using "scare" in both good and bad terms!

> Several times I have tried to approach new or shy people, with mixed
> results.
>  On one occasion, I walked up to a young lady in a very nicely done
> Elizabethan and started a conversation about her tailor.  She turned
> crimson, looked agonized, and replied, "I can't do this type of
> thing," and fled.
>  Never one to take "go to hell" for an answer, I followed the lady,
> apologized for causing her discomfort, and complimented her
> clothing.  She now will occasionally even initiate a conversation
> with me.  However, this experience has led me to believe that
> sometimes truly shy people don't particularly want to be singled
> out, and in fact, an intended act of graciousness can have a quite
> different effect.  
Yesyesyes!  This is exactly the sort of thing I'm thinking about, but 
don't necessarily have the articulation to express at any given 
second...its' partly things like this that lead me to ask honest 
questions about the nature of shyness.  Are there grades of shyness?  
It seems so, from speaking to a number of people in cyberspace and 
real life over the past couple of weeks.  There are shy people who 
just want someone to approach first, give them a bit of attention, 
and "prime the pump" as it were.  There are those who want no 
attention whatsoever (those are the ones that I don't understand 
coming to a group activity like the SCA).  Let me unparen to 
elaborate on that thought:  there was the lovely lady who mentioned 
that shy people have the same interests as I do.  True!  However, the 
SCA is by its very nature a *participatory* activity.  Its members 
make or break the success of any given event, and set the tone.  
Also, maybe this isn't so apparent to newcomers at the first pass, 
but given that an attempt at garb is the one requirement laid on us 
for attendance at events, your clothing by its very existence is 
going to attract attention,f or good or ill.  this, it seems to me, 
is taking a risk in even setting foot outside your door clad in 
non-modern clothing.

> An approach that the household I was "brung up in" in Meridies had
> an excellent method:  The various associates in the household (who
> were presumably less intimidating the the peers who headed it) were
> sent out to find one or two unattached, new souls and invite them to
> eat with the household.  I've always wanted to adopt the tradition
> myself, but my apprentices terminally overcommit and rarely sit down
> through a feast.
>  Please, anyone interested feel free to swipe the idea.
> Best wishes to all for a wonderful new year!
> Mistress Siobhan

Have done so, actually!  My household (which in its days of 
flourishing numbered 65 active members in various kingdoms) always 
invited "strays" (usually newcomers, sometimes more experienced 
players who were sans lord or lady for the event) to sit and eat 
feast with us.  Strangely, even the shyest of people seemed to unbend 
in the act of breaking bread with us--the fact that we were usually 
noisy, verbose and when able to get away with it without causing the 
cleanup crew heartache were known to chuck the occasional bits of 
bread seemed to actually help, because we weren't ultra-solemn and 
self-conscious over dinner.

But it is a really excellent point.  The act of dining together is a 
common ritual for almost every culture--we still have "going out to 
eat" as a major part of socializing with friends, especially in areas 
where we may have tiny living quarters and not enough room for 
entertainment.  It's a great way to include people!

Countess Berengaria de Montfort de Carcassonne, OP
Barony of Caerthe
Kingdom of the Outlands

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