[SCA-Dance] The Creepy, the rude, and the weird

Caitriona of Greenwood Isle ladycaitriona at gmail.com
Tue Jul 21 13:18:38 EDT 2009

These are some pet peeve areas off the top of my head. As with everything
else in life, YMMV.

Hygeine - We all have to scratch our nose from time to time, move our hair
out of our face, we suddenly get something painful in our eye. It happens.
And Pennsic is hardly the most sanitary place on earth. But if there's
anything you can avoid doing that would spread germs to or otherwise gross
out your partner, then avoid it.

Don't actively pick your nose or pull things out of it, or dig around inside
your ear or mouth or whatnot, and then expect people to want to touch your
hand. If you have to cough or sneeze, do it into your elbow or sleeve, just
like they taught you in the swine flu panic. Use the antibacterial goo after
visiting the portajohn, wipe your hands off if you've been eating the greasy
fries across from the dance barn, wash off the blood if you've been moving

Brushing your teeth and taking a shower every now and then doesn't hurt

Grabbing and dragging - If I'm struggling with a new dance and already
confused or frustrated, the last thing that helps me figure it out is for my
partner (or the dance teacher) to grab my body like a doll and point it
where they think it should go.

Gentle guiding by the hand, arm, or elbow is one thing. Grabbing me
forcefully by my shoulders, back, legs, waist, or hips(!) and roughly
dragging or shoving me somewhere as if I were a mannequin is another
entirely. As I often find myself saying to the children of friends, "use
your words".

This may be a regional or personal space difference as it doesn't seem to
bother some people at all, but when someone does it to me, I do everything I
can to make sure I never dance with that person again. To me, it's just
plain rude.

Flirting - A little flirting during dancing is encouraged. Sometimes even a
lot of flirting is encouraged. However, if the person you are flirting with
isn't flirting back, then perhaps you should stop. I think dancing is way
more fun with flirting, but not everyone does, and that's just life. Not
everyone wishes to flirt with a stranger, and that's just life.

I've known multiple people who will not dance with specific dancers in my
region because those dancers' level of flirting is so aggressive and over
the top that it makes some people violently uncomfortable. And yet I've
known other people who think those dancers' level of flirting is the cat's
meow. It's very personal; err on the side of being conservative until you
know someone better or have danced with them enough times to know their

Expectations - We've all been in that situation where we want to do a
favorite dance, but the set is one person short. Wait, look! A new person
over there on that bench! They would love this dance, I'm sure!

If someone who wasn't planning to dance gets up to help you complete your
set, be courteous to them. They have done you a favor. If they have told you
from the outset that it's a dance they don't know, and you ask them to join
anyway, then don't get angry with them if they get confused or don't do it
perfectly. They already told you they didn't know it! Use it as an
opportunity to help them learn this great dance, and you will now have yet
another person to dance it with. Use it as an opportunity to be a jerk, and
they will simply think you're a jerk.

My several cents...


Heather Cougar
Caitriona of Greenwood Isle
ladycaitriona at gmail.com
Seneschal, Barony of Carolingia

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