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Galen: courtly behavior
Poster: "scarlett goode" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While it is true that I have only been in the SCA for a little over a year, I have found a surprising prevalence of lords who offer graciously to help me carry a sewing basket, trays of food, my chair, or anything else I happen to be carrying... and unlike Miri's observation, I am not one of the "pretty young things", nor do I feel that I look helpless, although I am of small stature.
When I first began noticing these offers of help, I must admit I was so shocked that I stammered a no-thank-you response, not understanding the chivalrous nature of the queries. Being a newbie, and mundanely used to a very physical job where proving my ability to do-it-myself was always paramount, I hope I did not offend any of these gracious, kind lords who made these offers. Also, in my studies of the middle ages, most women of my era (the eleventh century) were capable, hard working women, even the nobility. I suppose coming into the SCA, I half expected to be asked to tan leather and scald chickens at every event.
My point is that I may not be alone in my expectations and misunderstanding of chivalry. As women coming from a mundane world where any offer of help is seen as an accusation of one's inability to meet the standards of men, and thus we are still paid less and receive less frequent promotions (although I admit this is getting better), I imagine many of us have said no-thank-you enough times for some of the lords to stop offering as often, in an effort not to offend us. Regardless of garb, decoration and activities at events, we are still people from a harsher mundane world, and the lines we walk there carry over to our version of the middle ages.
In conclusion, I think the ladies as well as the lords should be educated to the ways of Society Chivalry, to let the true nature of it be revealed so that there will be less misunderstanding on both parts. Perhaps there should be someone to teach a class on it at University...?
Lady Elsa Grettisdottir
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