King · Queen · Royal Peer · From the Newsroom · Advice · Knowne World

Goody Advice: Allies, royalty, and more

Do you have a burning question about a situation that happened in the SCA and want to ask Goody? You can write to Goody at this form. Questions may be truncated for publication, and submitted questions may not be answered.

Dear Goody, 
I’m not part of the LGBTQIA+ community myself, but I want to support my SCA friends who are part of that community, particularly during Pride Month.  What are some good substantive ways to do that?  
— I Know That the A in LGBTQIA+ Isn’t For “Ally” 

Dear Ally, There are so many ways you can help, but I can think of two really important ones:

First, make sure people know that you are an ally and that you are a safe person. Possibly find a way to display a rainbow or other ally token to make it very clear. Recently I have seen new rainbow peerage medallions, rainbow knight chains, rainbow ribbons and brooches being worn by LGBTQIA+ and allies. This visibility brings a lot of comfort to those who could use it. 

The second way is to help call out bigots when they are being awful, especially during Pride. It’s sad, those who need to hurt others just to feel better about their own lives, but they are always out there. When they speak, answer louder. There are more allies than deeply terribly people and it might be good for them to know they are in the minority now. Maybe it will be helpful for them to experience some of the discomfort they enjoy causing so they can learn a little empathy. Well, we can hope.

Hope this helps,

Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
I’ve been playing in the SCA for many years now but I am still confounded as to proper interaction with royalty. I cannot keep straight how to address them and what the protocol is, and by and large try to steer clear of them as much as possible, as they seem to be this rarified and unreachable group who swanks around events in a cloud of retainers. Any words of advice? 
Stupefied Serf

Dear Stupefied, 

It happens to the best of us. There are a lot of royals and royal peers, especially if you attend an interkingdom event. At wars it’s just hats galore and with standards of different kingdoms, well, good luck? If you are ever stuck, try this absolute truth: “Hi Your… um, I’m sorry, I don’t know your proper form of address, will you please tell me so I have it correct?” Trust me, they will tell you and probably won’t be dicks about it. If they are, note that name and let a few of your friendly neighborhood peers know about it and the problem will magically work itself out.  

Also, there are some good guides on hats and regalia available online. Print them out and play “Royal & Count” (yes, that is a pun) with your friends. Rack up points for each bestowed peerage, Roses, Count/ess, Duke/Duchess, Prince/Princess, King/Queen, Territorial Noble and Court noble. Maybe the winner gets help striking camp or a nice beverage of their choice. 

Hope this helps,
Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
People keep asking how a friend introduced his wife into the SCA. Truth is she started playing 35 years ago, and he found it through her 8 years ago, people keep referring to her as Ulric’s Wife and forget she has a name. Is this a common problem? 

Dear OfAthelwulf, 

Fantastic Atwood reference there. Seriously, <chef kiss>. Now, on to the advice: It really sucks when one member of a couple or family becomes more SCA-famous than the other or others. The best rebuttal to this is that any time you hear someone referred to as “Ulric’s wife” or “Caitlyn’s kid” interject the person’s name and interrupt the conversation. “Alys, you mean Alys, Ulric’s wife. That’s her name. Let’s use it.”

It seems painfully simple and a bit rude, but sometimes you have to squash down the polite and just make a firm point. Everyone deserves to be their own person, with their own agency, and their own name. Humans are not accessories and good on you for paying attention to this issue. No matter if m’lady “Alys” has been in society for 35 years or 35 minutes, she still gets to have her own name rather than just being someone’s other. 

Hope this helps,
Goody Advice

Advice · Audience Participation · DEI · From the Newsroom · Rapier Combat

Goody Advice: Feasts, Fencing, and more

Do you have a burning question about a situation that happened in the SCA and want to ask Goody? You can write to Goody at this form. Questions may be truncated for publication, and submitted questions may not be answered.

Dear Goody,
I pride myself on being a feast cook who makes sure no one goes home hungry from anything I cook, and I make sure that the posted menu always says “the cook begs that you tell them about food sensitivities so that they can accommodate at [email].” A couple of weeks ago, someone complained after feast that they couldn’t eat anything but dessert. I posted the menu over a month in advance, I asked people to email me about food issues. This person didn’t talk to me beforehand or even at the event – they complained to my servers. And with their stated food issues, they should have been able to eat everything but the dessert. It hurts me that I had someone go home hungry, is there anything else I could have done? 
-Compulsive Cook

Dear Cook,

You are an incredibly careful and considerate cook who goes above and beyond to feed your diners, even if they have difficulties with various ingredients. What you are not is a mind reader or omniscient deity of food who can rain down precise nectar and ambrosia. You are doing all that you should and then some, but it is not your problem if an attendee cannot take responsibility for themselves. 

Our volunteer culture often lavishes the most remarkable foods and best service upon our SCA diners. However, there are those who repeatedly forget that they are getting an incredible meal for less than $20 a person, and that no one making or serving the meal is being paid for their work. As a cook, you do not work for these people. Rather, you create an experience of flavor and time and culture with your body, mind and soul and at the end most will be thankful, but there’s always ‘those people’ who will bitch.

If anyone complains to your servers about food, remind them that they are not in a resturaunt. If they still have complaints, give them their allotment of food on a tray and ask them to excuse themselves so everyone else can continue enjoying the meal. They aren’t paying you. They aren’t tipping your servers. They are not going to blast your business on Yelp. Just boot them.

Personal responsibility, care, consideration and manners are for everyone, not just event staff.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody,
I’m an Olympic level fencer. Been playing about 8 months or so, mainly while serving as Queen’s Champion. I got authorized during the week before that event. My question: I should be expecting to be made a MoD at step down, right?
-Mighty Sword

Dear Mighty,

Mighty may be the sword, but mightier is the pen so please, read closely. Your prowess is delightful. It really  is. Everyone is quite impressed by it. However, prowess and fighting does not (or should not) a Peer make. If this were just about sword prowess, you would still be standing in an echoing gymnasium full of white jacketed fencers or an empty field of sweaty and dusty fighters with sticks of rattan. However, you chose this medieval club and want to become a member of its highest awarded ranks.

A Peer must possess prowess in their primary form (fighting, art or service) but also be an adept leader who understands the SCA on a deeper level. Peers should know how to negotiate the Society’s requirements and needs to make local groups, events and Kingdoms happen. Otherwise, there is no SCA. Peers are often called up to hold offices and run events when others are unable or unwilling. So are the people who should be Peers, but that is for other advice.

Peers should teach. Without moving their primary form to the next generation of the Society, a person has merely been a bright flash. What we need is small fires that are kindled and added to, expanding into communities with teaching and inclusion. Peers start things that grow and take root, changing the SCA. This is often the path to peerage, not just the role of a Peer.

Peers must also be known. Your renown in prowess, leadership and training others in these fields should take your name far beyond you local group. This does not require a constant spotlight, but it does mean a bit of time and not being a dick. Consider that as you move forward in the Society and meet new people. You are constantly creating an impression and that memory will follow you for many years to come. 

So no, you will likely not be a MOD at the upcoming event. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what the populace, peerages and Crown will be looking for in you and can move forward with a deeper understanding.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody,
I came out to my SCA friends as being trans and with that came a change in pronouns.  That was several years ago, but I keep getting people insisting that my pronouns are the ones they think I should use.  I’m tearing my hair out and about to sell off my gear and start raising goats in my backyard. How do I deal with people who don’t respect who I am?

Dear They,

Individuals can legally change their last names when they get married and SCAdians sometimes change names and personas like the seasons. If your ‘friends’ cannot try, and try hard, to address you correctly, then are ‘they’ the sort of friends who ‘you’ should put your trust, care, effort and time into? Of course, people will make mistakes and slip up. I bet you understand that and are kind to them, even if you have to clench your jaw a bit.

Moving to they/them pronouns seems to be especially hard for many people to grasp because they have little experience with not gendering a person or, it can be linguistically awkward at first. Still, these are small barriers to break through. The issue of properly addressing a friend, no matter the name or pronoun comes down to being a good, kind and thoughtful friend. If someone wants to change, they can but may need help. If they ask for help, try to be lenient and teach. If someone does not want to change, well, it does become a bit glaringly obvious, no?

Make the choices that are best for ‘you’, not for ‘them’ even if it may mean a few less ‘friends’. To be very honest, in the end you will still have precisely the same number of friends. It will just be more obvious.

Hope this helps,

Goody Advice

Advice · Arts and Sciences · Audience Participation · From the Newsroom · Laurel · Peerage · Pelican

Goody Advice: Wall art, competitions, and more

Do you have a burning question about a situation that happened in the SCA and want to ask Goody? You can write to Goody at this form. Questions may be truncated for publication, and submitted questions may not be answered.

Dear Goody,
I have a large empty space on my wall, which has been reserved for my Laurel and Pelican scrolls. After nearly 30 years of waiting for them, should I just give up and use the space for pictures of my grandchildren?  Failing that, do you know any calligraphers/illuminators who’d be interested in a paying job?
-Illuminated Admirer

Dear Illuminated,

If you have been a peer for 30 years and not gotten peerage scrolls, then yes, it is time to take matters into your own hands. Find out what your Kingdom requires for a scroll to be ‘official’. Gather the dates of elevations, events, and Crowns. Make a list of the things you like best- heraldry, colors, creatures, symbols, something to represent people who helped you. Have your full arms and blazon. Go look at what kind of art you like and make a collection of images with the book and page details for each manuscript. Then find a scribe. 

Start with your kingdom scribal guild or college. Try Laurels in scribal arts. Throw the project out on social media with what you are seeking. If you don’t get local hits, there are multi kingdom and society wide interest groups for everything, including scribal arts and that will probably be a pond with many fish. If someone is interested, ask to see some of their previous work to make sure you like their styles. Not every scribe is the same. When you find the right person, negotiate and put together a contract that includes payment and deadlines. Give your scribe all of the information you have collected and talk with them about your likes and dislikes. 

Together, you will make beautiful art.

Hope this helps!

Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
I entered an A&S competition and had a really bad experience. The judges didn’t know us much as I did about my project and didn’t give good feedback. I don’t want to compete anymore, but I’m not sure how else can I advance in my art and get recognition.  
I had a Bad Experience

Dear Experience,

You had what Granny would call a learning experience. They suck. Hard. So, rather than a bad experience, you had an experience in which you discovered pitfalls of the arts and sciences program of the SCA. Judging is subjective. Each judge has a different opinion and bar they feel you need to exceed. Some judges are just dicks. 

You have options, and a lot of them. So, time to choose your own adventure. 

Work on your art or science by yourself and maybe meet some people along the way who also find it cool. Ignore the arts community at large and just become painfully skilled at what you do. This road is very lonely.

Seek out the others who also enjoy your art and join their guild or form a new one, even if it is informal. Work together to elevate the art and knowledge of every member and start teaching so you can catch new members for your group. Reel them in. Research. Become subject matter experts and fantastic at your art or craft. This is far less lonely and works better for extroverts.

You can find yourself a decent Laurel to work with. Having the protection of a peer can be very helpful when navigating the Art/Sci system. Improve and research and use the guidance and mentoring you are given to focus yourself and hone your work.

There are display only Art/Sci events. If you don’t have them near you, start one! No one is scored, but you can receive validation verbally if you stay with your entry. You may also receive tokens from those who pass by and enjoy your art. Some may have notes attached. Extensive notes. Make friends with those people and plot more exhibitions for artists.

Demos! At events, a small group of people or a single artist can demo their work by setting up a table or small area and working on their craft. You can just talk to people who walk up and are interested. Hang a sign that reads “[Insert art here], come talk to me/us!”. This actually works. Make sure to check with event stewards to obtain a spot at the event for your demo and to make sure that you can do what you want, or if you will just have to present static pieces and speak to people. Some sites prohibit water, flame, dyes, ink, glass and more. 

Also, there is the option of changing the system from within. You can become part of the Art/Sci community that runs competitions and works with Art/Sci ministers. Start with paperwork or signup sheets and work your way up. Find solutions to problems and present them in a helpful way, rather than just state problems. You will gain much more traction this way.

So, there are a few options to get you started. Feel free to mix and match. Do be sure to surround yourself with the type of people who will help create positive change and new opportunities. Be the change you want to see in the SCA.

Hope this helps!

Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
I’ve been embezzling money from my local branch for years and the members have had the gall to bring charges against me. How do I convince them that fraud, embezzlement and theft are documented Period Practice?
-Pending Laurel 

Dear Pending, 

Would you be so kind as to send me your contact information? Your research is fascinating and I want to make sure that you are recognized for your efforts! I am certain there are people who will deeply appreciate the depths of your endeavors. Let’s make sure you can receive the proper rewards for your deeds! 


-Goody Advice

Advice · From the Newsroom · Laurel

Goody Advice: Letting go, celebration, and more

Do you have a burning question about a situation that happened in the SCA and want to ask Goody? You can write to Goody at this form. Questions may be truncated for publication, and submitted questions may not be answered.

Dear Goody,
My spouse recently passed away and suddenly SCAdians we haven’t spoken to in five years are messaging me asking for their belongings and saying things such as, “They would have wanted me to have this.” I have no intention of giving them anyway, but what is the courteous way of telling the populace to stand down? This is very overwhelming and I’m ready to just quit and set it all on fire.
– Mistress Arson

Dear Arson,

So, there is no courteous response to this largely because you are not being extended any courtesy. When others stop being polite to the point of being offensive, trying to insert themselves into the process of grief and shove through it as vultures must do when going out for supper, you are not required to be sweet to them and speak with kind words. Keep those for other people that you randomly meet on the street or in line getting coffee. They probably need it more.

The possessions of your spouse are yours. Period. End of statement.

Letting go of the belongings of a loved one is an emotional minefield with lots of extra and nasty surprises. You’ll find feelings and memories you did not know you had, or had entirely forgotten. It will break you over and over again. You have a lot of work ahead, so let’s address how to handle them. You only need to use a single word, written or spoken.

The word is No.

If you have to, say it louder. Type it in a bigger font. Use all caps and comic sans at the same time. You do not need to justify anything. Simply say no at the person until they go away. Ask your friends to do the same in support. I bet they will. If this happens at an SCA event or meeting and the person seems especially dense, say NO very loudly and repeatedly. With gusto. From the diaphragm. Project. Become a spectacle if you must because that will bring all the medieval kids to the yard and then bad behavior is on glorious display for everyone to see.

When a large number of people are staring at you and look horrified, it usually cuts poor requests off. Or, someone may help them along with finding their quiet. Remember that one word. Just say no to assholes.

Hope this helps!

Goody Advice

Dear Goody,  
It’s the SCA’s birthday and I’d like to celebrate, but I have a crisis. If I make a cake there won’t be enough people sharing it. Like, less than one half of one percent of the membership. That is so not fair. What do I do? 

Dear Pondering,

That is quite a pickle! Maybe just make a cake that is not very large? Perhaps cookies or cupcakes? Mini bundt cakes might be an option! It is easier to parcel out whole items if they don’t get eaten at your next SCA celebration. Handing out slices of cut cake to people who did not see the cake be cut is just very strange. Skip that. I believe petit fours are your best answer.

Hope this helps!

Goody Advice

Dear Goody,
I joined the SCA because I have an interest in history and historic costume, yet, every time I go on a group to ask a question about how to improve my garb a bevy of screechers descend upon me shrieking about how it’s only about having fun and how it doesn’t matter.  This IS my fun, and I am at a loss about how to enjoy my game when I cannot have a conversation about history with others over that perpetual, unpleasant din.  
-Loves Historic Garb

Dear Historic Garb,

Oh my, you found the screechers. Back away from them slowly and quietly. They are attracted to noise and motion. Once they have found a new target, run for the hills. Go straight to the Arts and Sciences person for your local group, or at your Kingdom level. Get on social media and look for your tribe. Ask if there is a tailors or garb guild of some sort. If there isn’t, ask to be pointed at the rabid garb Laurels. There are LOTS of them. Soon you will find yourself surrounded by improved company and having elevated conversations about historic costuming. Some of them may have to be paid, bribed or given baked goods to stop talking. I think you will be quite happy.

Hope this helps!

Goody Advice


Goody Advice: Vaguebooking, status quo, and more

Do you have a burning question about a situation that happened in the SCA and want to ask Goody? You can write to Goody at this form. Questions may be truncated for publication, and submitted questions may not be answered.

Dear Goody,
I’m really bad at vaguebooking on social media about SCA stuff.
Any advice on how to get better at it? 
– #Vague

Dear Vague,

If you would really like guidance and community standards for best practices in vaguebooking, I can only suggest you look to the highest levels of SCA leadership for examples. 

If you would like to be a better SCAdian, quit vaguebooking.

Hope this helps, 

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
Why can’t you just leave well enough alone and let the status be quo? You’re hurting the Society.
-A Good Ol’ Boy’s Club Member

Dear Ol’ Boy

Am I though? Am I?

Are you pining for your Good Ol’ Days of off-color jokes and being a big man?  Do you miss all the little ladies who you thought needed your defending? Are those golden days the brightest part of your memory?

Or, did you peak years ago and are holding on to a title to retain some semblance of the power you once thought you wielded? Hint: you never had any. Those jokes were never funny and people laughed because they were super uncomfortable or as painfully out of touch as you. The little ladies probably didn’t need your help, but every so often it’s nice to have someone carry your crap so they rolled with it. Those days were only golden for you but if you nick the surface of those Good Ol’ Days, you will find they were only barely gilded. Only microns of fake gold is keeping you from reality. 

The reality is that we have moved on without you and if you can’t keep up, we really are ok with that. Your Good Ol’ Boys can eat our Good Ol’ Dust as we work toward a future better for everyone, not just you and your dudebros.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody,
I have a shameful secret: I’m not good at crafts. Patterns are a mystery to me, and my hands do their own thing no matter how often I try to tell them to stay in the lines. I love history and learning, and I contribute to my group by volunteering for officer roles and event staff, but it often feels like if you’re not making something or hitting something, the cool kids don’t see you. How do you get “in” if your skills are all in your head and not your body?
-Taking the “Create” Out of “Recreation”

Dear Create,

The work of officers and event staff is the bedrock of our Society. Without people like you, there are no events where artists can gather to make things and fighters can compete in tournaments. You are creating the world in which all of us come together and make the SCA.

Forget the foibles of the Board, the dumb politics, and the needless drama. They may be our sad present and sometimes sadder past, but it is the work of our volunteers and our dreamers to plan our sustainable and enjoyable future in this hobby and to make it better than it is now. So right now, we need you most of all. As we move forward, it will only be the work of our volunteers and people with skills in their head that can create change.

Never belittle the work you do because we need you to believe in the worth of your work. Create better events, improve our structure, work with transparency and understand that we need you. Collect the help of others and with them, create a future for all of us. As you make connections, tap members of the arts and fighting communities and invite them to assist behind the scenes. Let them see and touch the efforts that create the game side of the Society, and I am pretty certain that you will find yourself at the center of the in-crowd.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice

Advice · Board of Directors · From the Newsroom · Lochac · Service

Goody Advice: New volunteer, Award-a-holics, and more

Do you have a burning question about a situation that happened in the SCA and want to ask Goody? You can write to Goody at this form. Questions may be truncated for publication, and submitted questions may not be answered.

Dear Goody, 
I’m a brand new SCAdian, and I want to help out as much as I can. The only problem is that people in my local group and my kingdom won’t let me help. I volunteered to embroider the new royal pillows, and I was told no, even though I’m an award-winning embroiderer outside of the SCA. I asked if I could help in the kitchen for events, but I got turned away. I promise that I’m just really excited to get in and help, but no one is letting me do it.  What do I do?
-Excited to Assist!

Dear Excited,

First, let’s take a nice deep breath. Being new is hard! You are working to break in to a fairly tight knit community and sometimes if you lead with your arts and offers swinging, it will scare the hell out of people. You see, no one is supposed to be that excited to do an onerous project or hard work so you might want to start by dialing down the volume on your enthusiasm just a wee bit until you get your feet wet in this new community. First you have to meet people and let them know that you are A) sane B) pleasant or kind or interesting to work with C) competent in the arena where you have offered your help and D) someone they want to work with and E) not going to make them completely nuts with drama.

Have you ever been part of a group and someone new has showed up with a really big personality or a scary amount of enthusiasm and everyone shies back from the new waves in the pond? You may seem a bit like a boulder tossed in to placid waters if you come off to strongly. So, back up a few paces and wade in a little slower.

If you want to embroider, put together a photo portfolio of your work and start meeting the string people on a local and kingdom level. Show them what you can do and volunteer for a small task first. Complete that task in a timely manner with high quality results and play well with the rest of the community. If this is within your capabilities, they will want you back. Instead of showing up and trying to get deep into a kitchen with what is probably a very tight knit crew making feast, instead start by offering to do simpler tasks that make their lives easier. Offer to help with dishes, vegetable chopping and other entry level tasks. 

Show people that you are reasonable and able to perform the service you have offered by your deeds, not just your excitement. Each time you come back and help, your word fame will grow and people will learn to trust you when you make an offer of assistance. With trust comes acceptance and greater responsibility. Just ease in and you will find your welcome once you prove that you can live up to your offers.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody,
I’m really worried about my friend. I think she’s an Awardaholic. She volunteers a ton, which is just part of why she’s fantastic, but if her contributions aren’t formally recognized in court with a scroll, it really seems to take a toll on her mental health.
I want to help her get back to enjoying the SCA for more than just getting gold stars. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Concerned,

Well, this one is a bit tough, because everyone has their own language in which they best give and receive  appreciation. Some volunteers best thrive on public thanks and rewards for their work. It’s just how our weird brains are wired. This is one you need to address directly, as a friend. Gently, so gently, let your friend know why you are concerned, how much you respect and appreciate them, and offer to help them find a way to reward themselves because you want them to stay for the long journey.

A service or project scrapbook or blog can help document projects or achievements and help your friend build a body of work portfolio. This is something that they can look back on later and remember all of their hard work and successes and record who thanked them, gave them a token, or if they received an award for their efforts. Even just a journal or photo gallery that can be kept on a digital photo frame at home can serve as an incredible reminder of the difference on person has made and how they have been appreciated already. When you have this to look upon all the time, it’s easier to see how you are being thanked without awards and what difference you have made.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody,
I tried to propose a US Board of Directors Meeting drinking game, but people told me I might die of alcohol poisoning. How do I tell them I’m not an alcoholic, just Australian?
– Mulling over my cider

Dear Mulling

In Australia specifically, play this drinking game with a Coopers Pale Ale and not an espresso martini, even if you live in Melbourne, because you will die. Get your cappuccino in the morning to save yourself some hangovers and regrets. 

As for your reasons, you don’t need to explain. We understand all too well. 

Hope this helps

-Goody Advice

Advice · Audience Participation · Community Standards · Knowne World · Letter to Editor · Real Life

New to The SCAllion: Audience Participation!

Unto our loyal and also our disloyal readership, greetings upon this the 27th day of April, Anno Societatis 57. 

We have, up until this point, relied on the staffroom, interns, and the lurkers who support us in email* for questions and comments for our various pieces. Today, we’re changing that. 

In the section called “Contact Us” here on our website, you will find three new forms: 

Letters to the Editor

Goody Advice


Community Standards

We encourage those of goodwill to submit Letters to our Editor or to Goody Advice for answer upon these electronic pages – though please be aware that our interns are the ones sorting through this slush pile and only the most choice of texts will be passed on from them as a gift to our valued staff. 

You may have also noticed the new series called Community Standards. What are the unwritten community standards of your kingdom, that should never be violated upon pain of sanctions, as per the perspective of the current Board of Directors? (We wish we could have used Non scripta non est, but we noticed that the Board has embraced the concept of unwritten standards these days. Unfortunately.)

We ask only that you be pleasant. Funny, snarky, and salty posts are encouraged; nasty, mean, or doxxing responses will be ignored and promptly deleted. Particular egregious examples may result in Jaws pulling out their letterhead. Jaws is particularly hungry, and we would like to keep Jaws from not only eating opposing counsel, but you as well.

Come, play with us, remember the joy of the Dream, and help us to polish it back to brightness one small piece of fun and whimsy at a time. 

In Service to the Society, 

The SCAllion 

*Or in the comments sections

Advice · Arts and Sciences · From the Newsroom · Real Life

Goody Advice: Cookies, A&S, and more

Dear Goody, 
Beer, cider, scotch, or cookies? I owe you. My knight read one of your pieces and backed off on his own.

Dear Grateful,

Good Scotch, excellent cheese and decadent chocolate are always accepted. Or, just buy a SCAllion shirt and wear that shit loud and proud. Tell them all that Goody Advice sent you. That will give me a real hoot.

Hope this helps!

-Goody Advice 

Dear Goody, 
I see people in the SCA doing some really cool and complex A&S projects such as casting metal and lamp working. I have no idea how to try this stuff and live in an apartment, so have no space for a workshop. 
Am I doomed to admire from afar or is there something I can do to learn these skills? 
-Lonely Artisan 

Dear Lonely, 

The advice I have for you will solve two problems at once. To misquote John Donne: No artist is an island, Entire of itself; Every artist is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. 

You do not have to do your art alone! You do not have to find all of your own supplies and sneak a whole workshop with a torch into a second floor apartment. In fact, please don’t try that. Smokey the Laurel states that “Only you can prevent craft fires.” 

Instead, start by asking around your local group and those near to you. Find out who else participates in the artforms that interest you and ask them if they would be interested in teaching or sharing their workspace with someone who would like to learn in exchange for payment, barter or service. Not having to buy all of your own equipment is absolutely worth the price of a studio fee! You may even find yourself some new artsy friends solving both the ‘lonely’ and ‘artist’ parts of your query. 

If there isn’t anyone in the Society local to you who is active in the art that interests you, look for modern guilds or other groups who work with historic arts. There are a fascinating number of these. You can find pottery studios, glass art studios, stained glass classes, metal work enthusiasts and blacksmith organizations where you can expand your circle of acquaintances, maybe make some friends and learn from people who may live and breathe their art as a part or full time gig. Local community centers and art groups in larger towns often have dedicated studio space for multiple arts and also teachers who guide sessions monthly or weekly.

Do not let the SCA be your limit. The size of your home is not a restriction to trying and finding and loving new arts. This is the part where you need to find the Creative in your anachronistic interests. Tap your local artisans and ask them for leads. We are all nerds down here and will happily talk your ear off if you show even a hint of interest. Use this to your advantage, network and art to your heart’s content. 

Hope this helps, 

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
I read that article and I know it was about me. How dare you write such about me and put it online? Now I am real pissed and want to pay you a visit. 
-Angriest of All

Dear All, 

Whichever article you read, I can assure you, it isn’t about you directly. However, let’s unpack this a bit and break the fourth wall. 

The newsroom reprobates don’t really write about individual people. Editorial and Legal don’t approve stories like that. No one really wants the Editorial Board irritated with them, because they fear a column assignment like “Under the Shield Wall- an Expose of Sights and Smells” or “Most Alarming Period Recipes Prepared, Tested and Reviewed”. Being reassigned to a desk like that is the one of their few fears. They don’t have many nightmares, but here are the ones I have gleaned around the newsroom in ascending order of scary. 

  • The end of all coffee 
  • Cloaked and hooded members of the Editorial Board appearing to discuss one of your articles.
  •  Finding a weathered sea glass bottle on your desk after lunch containing a tattered memo of “Dear writer, meet me at the beach at midnight. We need to talk. Come alone. -signed Jaws from Legal”

They write satire mostly about situations of current import, archetypes of people, unfortunate situations which seem to happen repeatedly and the just plain ridiculous.

But, if you still think an article is about you, I would like you to read this next bit slowly, with care and possibly out loud to yourself then really reflect on it: 

It is unlikely The SCAllion writers know you. It is highly unlikely that The SCAllion writers think about you at all. If you identify strongly with a group that you feel has been wrongly satirized, you have no problem with the behavior being satirized and are proud of yourself for being part of that group or of exercising that behavior… then I am not someone who can help you with advice. Just lace up your asshole boots and wear those bitches loud and proud. Know that you will see a mirror of yourself in The SCAllion stories far more often than you will find comfortable and you should maybe have a long think on that if self examination ever becomes attainable for you as a person. 

Hope this helps!

-Goody Advice

Advice · Arts and Sciences · From the Newsroom · Real Life

Goody Advice: big booms, try everything, and more.

You okay? Your filters seem to have been turned off. The latest post is brutally awesome.

Dear Concerned, 

You know, I really do appreciate your concern and it’s nice to know kind people are still out there. Also, I enjoy the flattery, so keep that shit coming. My filters, well, sometimes they just catch fire in the glow of my incandescent bewilderment produced simply by reading questions I have received. Often, I close my eyes and try not to sob, or howl with laughter, or gibber in madness at the words I am considering. My filters, they might be ash. The questions and answers that you read in this column are the ones I have been able to answer reasonably and with limited swearing as the Editors do not allow me freedom with my full lexicon of invective, so I must be a choosy Goody. So, send your questions but if you FA you will FO what happens when my filters are truly missing. 

Hope this helps!

-Goody Advice

Hey Goody, 
People keep saying that they want me to bring my period gunpowder experiments to events but don’t understand that I don’t because I want them to be safe. They’re saying I’m being selfish with my knowledge. How do I navigate this?
-No Boom Today

Dear Boom, 

I find that the very best way to explain to people why something is a terrible idea is to show them in flamboyantly graphic detail. Make a sign, note card or trifold brochure! When people ask about your art hazard, simply take out your prepared sign or pamphlet and wordlessly hold it up or hand it to the querent with a great big smile. If you can find some, include photos of what the item can do to the human body along with the most vivid and in depth explanation possible. Leave no bit of gore out and cheerfully explain all of it to show how much you appreciate their enthusiasm. Suggest they are welcome to begin work with this fresh hazard at any time that you are not supplying to possible cause of legal action. 

You may presume this now educated person won’t ask again about this danger. Wish them a good day and sashay away! 

Hope this helps!

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody,
I’m brand new to the SCA and have been told by some long time members that now is the time I should be picking the one aspect of the SCA I base my entire personality around. 
Which one should I pick?
-Blank Slate

Dear Slate,

No! It’s a trap!

Use your honeymoon period in the SCA to fall more in love with the dream of it. Meet new people and try everything that seems interesting to you. Try it all once, even if it seems intriguing but you think it might not be for you. New experiences can light up bits of your brain, heart and soul. Occasionally you will discover hidden talents that even you did not know existed. 

For the first year or three, just explore. Make no long term associations and take no belts. Accept hospitality with grace and allow yourself to meet new people with an open mind. Form your own opinions, but remember advice or the warnings of friends because they likely have your best interests in mind. However, should anyone ask you to be cruel, unkind or even unpleasant to another person or avoid an aspect of the Society because they didn’t enjoy it, that is not the company to keep. 

Remember you are playing a game, so are all the other people you meet. Play the game on weekends, but remember that on Monday morning, we all go back to work. 

Have fun. Try it all. Find joy. Keep perspective. Be open to everything and see what embraces you.

Hope this helps!

-Goody Advice 

Advice · Editorial · From the Newsroom

Goody Advice: Relationships, replacements, and more

Dear Goody, 
I’m an officer of a community group but people keep saying I should be replaced just because my appointment term expired a few measly years ago. How do I convince them to leave me alone to rule my little domain?
– Glorious Leader

Dear Glorious, 

Might I helpfully suggest you <redacted> and after that you might try <redacted>. If you choose to take my advice, please let me know as I would dearly love to watch and bring s’mores to your auto-da-fé and bask in the warmth as the embers burn low. 

Hope this helps!

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
I’ve been married to my wife for 20 years, and people still tell me that we won’t last because she isn’t in the SCA. 
How do I politely tell them that we each have our own things, and a relationship built on trust and mutual respect? 
-Never Gonna Give Her Up. 

Dear Never, 

Congratulations on your anniversary! 20 years together with another human is a hell of an accomplishment. I hope that your next 20 years are filled with love, happiness, and comfort. 

As to you detractors, I can offer this polite suggestion: Square up your shoulders, stand up straight, give a great big smile and tell them to ‘With all due respect, please piss off. I didn’t put a ring on you.’ 

Finish with a big smile and tell them to have a nice day. That should cover everything they need to know! 

Hope this helps!

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody, 
There is a person of color in our kingdom who just put her hair into braids. She was at dance practice last night, and as she went through a hay, her dance partner reached out and touched her hair. She left shortly thereafter, very upset. Why was she upset about that? Doesn’t she want people to admire her beauty? 
-Argent Dancer

Dear Argent, 

I’m not sure how you do not see a problem with what happened but let me explain. 

No, that will take too long, so let me sum up. 

Part 1. Consent: Did the dance partner first ask and receive permission to touch the hair of the person of color? Let’s go with NO as the answer. The dance partner touched another person in an intimate way without consent. 

No consent equals no touchy! This goes for patting short people on the head, women grabbing a man’s ass, touching a pregnant woman’s belly, or laying hands on any person without consent. Unless you are attempting to keep a person from being hit by an oncoming truck, help catch someone who is falling, or give first aid to an injured person just follow that simple rule. 

I like to use small words so everyone understands this: NO CONSENT EQUALS NO TOUCHY! 

Even though, as a dance partner, you have consent to touch the hands or arm of a partner, you have not been given permission to caress their face, play grab ass, or pet their hair. 

Part 2. Touching hair: How hair is styled and what a person wears are two of the most obvious ways a person can express themselves. This is extremely personal. 

Hair is an actual physical part of a person and made of keratin, just like finger and toe nails. Would you like someone to pet your toenails as a surprise and without consent? Does that seem really intimate? Does it seem creepy as all get out? That’s because it is! 

Just like someone petting you on a subway or on a sidewalk, being petted in a dance class isn’t ok. You would probably freak out if a person started touching your hair without consent. 

Part 3. Racial history and inequality: As recently as 1906, an African man was displayed as an attraction at the Bronx Zoo. 

Ota Benga sat on a stool inside a monkey cage in the monkey house and stared emptily at thousands of zoo visitors. This Congolese teenager had been captured and kidnapped from his home tribal territory by slave traders, forced into agricultural slavery and was then ‘purchased’ for one pound of salt and a bolt of cloth by an American missionary. This was accomplished with the blessing of the Belgian Secretary of State, speaking on behalf of King Leopold II, who ‘owned’ the property of the Congo Free State at that time. Benga had previously been displayed at the St. Louis World’s Faire where visitors could even touch him and pet his hair. In what year were you born? Does it start with a 19? When were your grandparents born? Did they live within a thousand miles of New York City or St. Louis? Do you now have any questions about why a person of color does not enjoy being treated like a petting zoo attraction?

It’s very real and in recent memory that this crap actually happened to live human beings. If you need more explanation, just Google ‘touching a black person’s hair’ to read SO VERY MANY articles written by people smarter and more well written than me. 

Today, people of color still experience gross racial inequality and also generational poverty in the US. Asking to touch or touching someone’s hair sets them aside as different and other. Even when asking, some people of color may feel unable to refuse if the requester is in a position of power. This is a microaggression and super unpleasant in general. 

In short: It’s unsanitary to go around touching people with your hands that have touched who the hell knows what. You would not like it if it were done to you so don’t do it to another person. Don’t ask. Don’t touch. It’s super creepy and degrading. People of color have put up with enough bullshit so let’s not add ‘Being randomly petted’ to the list. 

I hope this helps you understand, 

-Goody Advice