Such things pay academic dividends, however, as you get to introduce all sorts of information about music, technology, material culture, and medieval history that the little blighters would otherwise resist. It does tend to create children of greater than average pedantry, e.g. Jonathan and the Oxford comma, Ben telling the trivia judge to check her answer, but we consider that a plus around here. My younger brother and I still argue about whether Reduced Shakespeare Company stole the concept of 2-minute Hamlet from Tom Stoppard or he stole it from them (circa 1975). Not many folks would care one way or the other, right?
We eventually stopped going because of the witches. Two in particular, always complaining how they were persecuted more for their religion than their lesbianism – persecution being defined as other people’s children using stereotypical witches at Halloween – were eventually Just Too Much. SCA and its offshoots attract a fairly eccentric, and thus tolerant, clientele – parents who let their children run naked, guys who tell you the same story about Italian vs. Saracen armor every month. But eventually it all goes over the top, and you ease out of these things. One of my outfits was a monk’s robe, left over from playing Jacques Roux in Marat-Sade, complete with large rosary. “Ahh, Father, that’s a fine rosary ye have there” smirked one of the witches. “We useter hang them about the necks o’ th’ sheep to keep the evil spirits away.”
Didn’t work, did it? I thought, but did not say.
Apparently things haven’t changed much in the last two decades. A co-worker proudly directed me to her sibling’s website. The 6’4” sibling was originally her brother and is now her sister, and likes to do battle at Renaissance Faire in Southern California. My experience is that people who are that eccentric are usually very earnest and knowledgeable, and so gravitate to me for long periods. I am polite, and am sometimes even genuinely interested in their information, if briefly. They must not get a lot of that in their lives, or something. I do wonder at the irony that it’s the closed-minded, intolerant, evangelical Christian, the one who actually does disapprove of their behavior, is the one who spends more time with them. The tolerant ones seem to avoid them.