Considerations On Wearing Garb in Mundania

Based on my reply to a posting on

Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 02:18:12 +0200
Subject: Re: freeking mundanes..good? bad? Neither?

Mandy wrote:

It has come up in our area that the idea of getting together in garb in the public eye (seeing a movie together in this case) would be devastating to SCA/public relations [...]
The question that arose was what do we do if we were asked if we were a part of the SCA? [...]
What would be good advise for such a situation?

I am slightly surprised that wearing garb in mundania should damage the public perception of the SCA (I assume you're talking garb here, not chain mail bikinis and bunny fur). I never encounterd any such problem when wearing garb in mundania, in fact, the only commentary I heard was neutral ("Are you in a play?") or positive ("That looks great -- are you part of this-and-that festival/market/whatever? My cousin is, I always meant to go there..."). I know people who went to work in garb (The Viking SysAd).

We have held fighter practises in the park and on campus, drove home in garb and went to restaurants on the way, went into town to go to a bank, and if people reacted in any way different then they would have had we been wearing jeans and t-shirts, they were more polite and generally interested. I don't see how going out in decent, well-done garb can damage the SCA's reputation in any way. Sure, you will be noticed, so you'll have to behave -- but again, I assume that you would behave even if you were wearing mundane clothes. Sure, people will ask questions -- have some informative and polite answers ready.

But if you live in an area where you can damage your image seriously by being 'different', I'd stay 'in the closet' all the way, meaning, SCA or none, I wouldn't wear garb on the street. So there'll be no questions I do not want to answer.

I also wouldn't wear garb on the street if it made me uncomfortable and I have the (real or imagined) impression that people are staring at me and disapprove. Again, if you're different you will be noticed, and if people see you looking ashamed for being different it's bad PR.

And the third possibility: You don't mind being different at all and people's disapproval doesn't mean anything to you, but you want to protect the rep of the SCA -- then I'd say, keep your mouth shut but don't lie to a direct question (the person asking the question could be the King's sister, for all you know!) and don't go and justify yourself ("we're not at an event"). It sounds as if you have something to be ashamed of, which you haven't. Instead, answer truthfully and politely.

In short, don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable. This is not a dare.


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