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Re: On Courtesy Classes
Poster: "Karen Lyons-McGann" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Alianora tells us,
> Personally, I don't care much about being escorted into court, although
> have seen it done quite prettily ...
I think it's charming and am not surprised to hear it is a southern
custom. At Ymir, there were moments of confusion when a lady's husband,
who was not sitting with her, couldn't escort her because of other lords
stepping up. An excess of courtesy! Seems to me that oftentimes a
lady arrives at the front of the hall unescorted because she was simply
moving too fast for the gentlemen who would have taken her hand. Perhaps
that's a result of "speed court". Perhaps it is because ladies are
unused to such courtesy in mundane life and forget to allow for it.
Taking a line from my mother, "If you want to be treated like a lady, you
must act like a lady." Ladies _expecting_ an escort should take a deep
breath and look for proffered hands before dashing full speed ahead up
the aisle. If the nearest available lord is was hit on the head that day
in battle and stands there dull-witted, it's appropriate to offer your
hand and request he escort you. However, if a lady is charging ahead
without pausing to acquire an escort, it should probably be assumed she
feels she can make her own way and gentlemen should avoid the appearance
of chasing her up the aisle. It is amusing to see gentlemen crashing
into each other in the wake of a lady who has just rushed, but the
clumsiness detracts from the mood of court far more than the arrival of
an unescorted lady.
> It also bugged me that the only way
>I could get through a crowd of people in a passageway while clutching my
>brand-new harp in my arms was to shout "Harp coming through!" because
>one was listening to "Excuse me, please."
Had you new bagpipes, "CLEAR" would have done the job. The pipes are
dangerous weapons, after all.
> However, it did bother me when I dropped a quantity of stuff in the
> front vestibule at 12th Night and had to get down on hands and knees
to pick it
> up while all around me chatted away.
Being newish, I was expecting more style than I found. Once I got over
that disappointment, I found the overall substance of manners to be
better than what I observe in mundane life. The general courtesy at an
SCA event exceeds that at our PTA meetings, for example. The level of
courtesy in SCA kids far exceeds what I usually see in my children's
classmates. I'm not saying that there is 100% attention to courtesy and
manners, but better than usual. At events, I've been ignored by others
too busy with their own interests but I have also had total strangers
take part of my load of baskets and packages off my hands and carry them
for me, gentlemen give up their seat for ladies and other such
courtesies that do not happen at mundane gatherings.
Speaking of "their own interests", a number of unmarried young gentlemen
can see unmarried young ladies quite clearly and pay much courtesy to
them, but treat older or married ladies as if they are invisible. The
MOST rude incident I've been involved in was such a man coming up and
starting a conversation with a young woman I was speaking with . He
literally stepped between us, and started speaking to her then took her
hand and led her away without so much as a by your leave. I was aware
she'd been wanting his attention, but I now doubted the value of it.
Barely to her credit, she did toss an "excuse me" over her shoulder.
I've observed this in varying degrees more than once since that time. It
seems some folk understand courtesy as an elaborate flirtation technique,
and perhaps as part of fealty if they are fighters, but they don't apply
it outside those circles.
(or should I say, Old Goodwife Anne? Somebody bring my cane!)
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