From the people who brought you the SCA Pop Psychology Quiz, The Quarter Presents...
Since you first joined the SCA, you have been taught to revere romance. Sure, it SOUNDS pretty. Fighters in shining armor, beautiful ladies in pavilions, flowery speeches, Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, yadda yadda yadda. Remember though, these are fairy tales, most of which have not-so-happy endings!
SCA romance must be handled with care, lest it lead to obligation, commitment, guilt, and other unpleasantness. Romance can take up your precious time at events. It gets in the way when other opportunities (read: a new handsome knave or wanton wench) present themselves. Worst of all, you could get — gasp — emotionally HURT! You don't need this. Why take the risk? Once again, The Quarter comes to your assistance.
Remember, the key to avoiding love, and its ugly sister, commitment, lies in keeping physical and emotional distance between yourself and your current romantic interest, save for those few instances when you see fit to take exception. If you don't, you may find yourself pulled into more than you bargained for, and then you're lost for sure. Let's start with physical distance.
Rule number 1: Make sure all of your
romantic interests are OUT OF YOUR
AREA, preferably at least 100 miles away.
Here are some guidelines.
Over 100 miles — proceed, but, as always, use extreme caution. (Refer to "Emotional Distance".)
50-100 miles — risky, undertake carefully. If your interest has a car, or is on a bus/Amtrak route, DESIST.
Under 50 miles — forbidden! Limit yourself to a bare minimum of nods and handshakes. Remember, you have to see these people on a daily or weekly basis. That cramps your style. They might — Heaven forbid! — want to do something outside the SCA like go to dinner or the movies. Such gestures are not your cup of tea. FUHGEDABOUDIT!
Rule number 2: The ideal circumstance for you is to see your interest only twice a year — say, at Gulf Wars and one other major event. Don't waste more than one night with that person. You've got other places to see and people to do.
Rule number 3: Limit your correspondence to Twelfth Night cards and "Dear John/Jane" letters. No birthday cards, definitely no Valentine cards. Don't give out your e-mail address. Say that you live in the back of a van that travels between Atenveldt and Drachenwald, and that you never know where you'll be. Or, say that your persona doesn't know how to write.
This is sticky, but work on it and it will soon come easy. The idea here is to keep the person at your beck and call, while still remaining free to pursue your own interests. It CAN be done. To maintain emotional distance, you must project an attitude of ambivalence. Throw your lord/lady a bone once in a while, just to maintain the other party's interest. Otherwise, keep 'em guessing! You can't let the person think you might really care!
WARNING — some situations are more romantic, and therefore more dangerous, than others. If you aren't careful, you could get carried away. Approach these circumstances with the utmost care and consummate skill. Let's deal with each situation separately.
TOURNAMENTS — It's easy to buy into the idea of fighting for someone, or being fought for. Be on guard! The most dangerous phases of a lyst are giving or receiving a favor, saluting or being saluted, and winning. Follow these tips —
FEASTS — Candlelight, wine, and soft vocal background music can add up to results you can do without. Be Shrewd! Remember that candlelight is very flattering. Your love interest is not that good looking in honest sunlight. Don't be fooled, or taken in.
AFTER FEASTS — Relatively simple stuff here, compared to the others. Just ignore your long-suffering love interest — after all, if you've followed the other hints here, you've already given a few seconds of attention to him/her at the event — what more does this person want, anyway? Neck with other people. Constantly shark during "Hole in the Wall". Just disappear. Don't worry about that old romantic interest.
The time will invariably come when you will have had enough of your hot romance. Tell your old love interest off in style. Say that you've changed your persona, and that it was your old persona who was involved in the relationship. Don't return the person's favor — say that it was lost somewhere. Be somber. Glower and say, "We never had a romance." Say that you've taken a vow of chastity — and then be seen with a romantic rival. Become a herald. Accuse the other person of having an affair; that's always a good one. Send dead flowers. Or, just forget it. Let the old love interest dry up and blow away. You don't have to explain yourself. After all, it's a free kingdom.
Forget any tripe you may have hear about guilt being natural or healthy. That's utter nonsense. Why feel guilty for ending your romance? What you have done is provided the person with a learning experience and a chance to pursue personal growth. The lord/lady should be grateful to you for this chance, and for the moments of your time that you so generously gifted. Remember that "it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all". There's no reason to feel guilty, just because you're smart. You're eligible, you're free, go forth and conquer!
(Editor's note: This was inspired by an article from a publication called The Ice Dragon, back in a.s.xviii. The author is said to be flattered — obviously she's never seen a copy of The Quarter!)