Archive for the ‘Courtly Graces’ Category

Reputation in the SCA

Thursday, February 9th, 2012


Today I want to talk about reputation in the SCA, and how important it is to have a good one. I have spent 21 years in the SCA (since I was 19) doing everything from being a belly dancer to a fighter to artist to Peer. I’ve come a long way, baby! In all of those 21 years, I have learned what it means to have a good reputation (both in and out of the SCA).

It’s quite simple, really. Just remember back to when you were little, and think about what you were supposed to learn.

Be truthful. Honesty is a big deal to me, it always has been. A friend of mine says that I will tell her when she has broccoli in her teeth when no one else will, as a euphemism for how honest I really am.

Be kind.


Play nice with others.

Be chivalrous, honorable, and use your manners.

Support (physically and emotionally) others.

Teach others.

Learn as much as you can.

Be thankful to those who taught you.

Be thankful and kind to volunteers.

Forgiveness is another good trait to have. Especially if there has been some sort of misunderstanding.  It is always a good idea to go directly to the source of a rumor (if that person will actually talk to you about it, and they usually will), and see if it just a misunderstanding. Most often it is.

Also, never say anything to someone else about a third party that you would not say to that third parties face. I know gossip is a fun pastime for many, but it can also be hurtful.

Learn the art of the apology. Even if you don’t mean it (like when you were little and your kid sister was being a brat), make it sound like you mean it. It’s amazing what a genuine apology will do! Do NOT, however, say “I’m sorry but you made me do it.” If the other person did not “hold a gun” to your head, then they did not make you do it. (Even then you have a choice.)

I have a friend who has elementary school age kids (well, several, in fact). This particular one tell them she loves them, and also cheerfully tells them “Make good choices!” everyday when she drops them off at school.

All these things are common sense, but it never hurts to have a reminder every now and again. We are all human after all, and mistakes do get made.

Remember to make good choices.

Hopefully Helpful,


Courtly Graces Hint 4

Monday, May 23rd, 2011


Using Courtly Graces on a daily basis is optional, but it does add some Stardust to the game.

Do you use correct Titles for everyone you come in contact with?
• People will usually politely correct you if you’re wrong.
• If someone get’s your title wrong, politely correct them if it’s that important to you.
• m’lord, m’lady for people who you either don’t know or who have no Awards that bear titles
• Lord or Lady for anyone who you know has an AoA
• Your Lordship Your Ladyship for people with Grant level Awards (Grant of Arms, Defender of the White Scarf)
• Your Excellencies for anyone with a Coronet, (Court Barons/Baronesses, Landed Barons/Baronesses, Theigns or Bantheigns, Viscounts/Viscountesses, Counts, Countesses)
• Your Grace for anyone who has served as King and Queen 2 or more times (Dukes/Duchesses)
• Sir for Knights
• Master (male), Mistress (female) or Dame (female) for Pelicans, Laurels and Masters at Arms

Do you use Common Courtesy?
• Please and Thank You, go a very long way
• Holding doors open
• Helping others carry their stuff
• Helping set up or tear down at events
• Do not fight with your spouse or children in front of everyone, take it outside or home to deal with the situation
• Take the screaming, loud (happy or sad screaming, loud) babies/kids/people acting like children, out of Court. Yes, you’ll miss stuff, but others will fill you in, and everyone will be very thankful to you.

Last but not least, Courtly Graces are as much about what you don’t do. We all have long days, and get tired and grumpy, and can say the wrong thing ant the wrong time. It happens to all of us. However, we are all in this game together. If we do not even try to be kind, helpful and courteous to each other, who will be? If you see someone struggling with something, or who is grumpy, and you don’t offer to help or find help (if you’re physically able to assist), then you are not using your Courtly Graces.

Courtly Graces are some of the things that make the SCA a wonderful place to play on the weekends, so please use your Courtly Graces.

Hopefully Helpful,

Courtly Graces Hint 3

Monday, May 16th, 2011


Aaah! Making announcements and presentations in Court. If you remember only one thing, remember to speak up and project so that all may hear. There are worse things than sitting in Court trying to listen, and not hearing anything, but in the moment, it can be a real stretch to find one.

To Make an Announcement in Court:

• Enter Court the same way as last week’s post, then instead of kneeling on the cushions; give a slight bow/curtsy and ask if you can make an announcement to “their” populace. “Your Majesties, may I please address your populace?” or something like it, it doesn’t have to be those exact words. But do remember to ask.
• Make sure you step slightly off to the side so you are not blocking Their Excellencies/Majesties view. Face kind of kitty corner so that mostly the populace, but also so that the Court can hear you.
• Make your announcement as quickly as you can, and project your voice as much as you can.
• When finished with your announcement, turn back tot he B&B or Crown, bow/curtsy and thank them. Then exit Court the same way as last week’s post. (There is no need to curtsy to the populace.)
• If you need to, take a small piece of paper with notes on it so you can get through your announcement quickly and without forgetting anything. Yes, you can take a reminder paper into Court with you, just don’t read from it exclusively. If you’re supposed to be the expert about what you are announcing, then you should look like you know what you’re talking about. Reading directly from a cue card and faltering automatically takes you out as the expert.
• If you can do it without notes, and not forget anything, that is acceptable as well.

To Make a Presentation In Court:

• Enter Court the same way as last week’s post, present the gifts to Their Excellencies/Majesties as quickly as you can. Try to speak loud enough so that the populace can hear you. There’s nothing worse than taking up Court time when the populace can not be involved. This is a pet peeve of the majority of the populace. The populace comes to Court to see the show.
• Then exit Court the same way as last week’s post.

When you have a presentation, please make it quickly. It is inappropriate to make anything (a presentation or announcement) overly long and drawn out during Court. Court is the time for the B&B or Crown to do what they want or need to do, and time can run short if it is taken up by overly lengthy things. If you do want to make a long, drawn out presentation, make arrangements with the Court Herald or Their Excellencies/Majesties to do it during the Feast (if there is one) or some other time during the event. Long drawn out presentations or announcements can also make Court run too long, and the Crown may have to delay giving someone a much deserved award because they need to end Court  to get off site by the deadline time.

If you don’t want to share the presentation with the rest of the populace, then give it to Their Excellencies/Majesties privately. Court is a public venue and is not the right place to make private presentations. Court is the show!

Hopefully Helpful,

Courtly Graces Hint 2

Monday, May 9th, 2011


I have seen a lot of people, new and not so new to the SCA, who have been unsure of how to enter and exit Court the “proper” way. I say “proper” in quotes because everyone has their own little flourishes, and not two people move the exact same way. Here is the basics.

Do you enter & exit Court appropriately?

Gentlemen always are supposed to enter Court un-escorted. Gentlemen do not need an escort into the Royal presence. It is considered a faux pas for a gentleman to be escorted by a lady into Court.

Ladies are always supposed to enter Court escorted by a gentleman. (Without being prompted, guys.) It is considered good form for a lady, any lady, to be escorted into the Royal presence by a gentleman. If they lady’s husband/fiance/boyfriend is present (and paying attention), it should be him.
If a lady’s significant other/partner is not a man, then a gentleman should offer to escort her.
If her significant other/partner is a woman with a male persona, she may escort her significant other/partner into Court.

To Enter Court:
• When you reach the front row of chairs (either on or off stage) you (both you and your escort) fully bow/curtsy.
If NOT on a stage, the gentleman will then take a knee off to the side of the aisle and wait for the lady to return to him to be escorted all the way back to either her seat or the aisle her seat is located in.
If ON a stage, the gentleman should assist the lady up the stairs (big dresses and treacherous stairs do not make for a smooth entrance into Court), both should bow at the top of the stairs. He will then take a knee at the top of the stairs and wait for the lady to return to him to be escorted all the way back to either her seat or the aisle of her seat.
• When you reach the kneeling pillows, it is appropriate to kneel on either pillow (or both if it calls for being funny). If you don’t know which one to pick, always pick the one in front of the lady, or pick the one in front of the person who is the same sex as you are. Use them, that’s what they are there for! If the Crown has a lot to say about you, your knees can get very sore if you are not using those lovely pillows.
• If you for any reason just can’t kneel, then ask the people who have called you into Court if you may please stand. Most will say, “Of course.”

To Exit Court:
If you’re NOT on a stage, after making the announcement or receiving an accolade from the Crown, bow/curtsy to the Crown, back up (if you’re a lady, gather your skirt so you don’t trip) to the first row of seats (if you’re a lady, gather your escort) bow/curtsy again (both of you) then turn and walk quietly back to your seats.
If you are ON stage, after making the announcement or receiving an accolade from the Crown, bow/curtsy to the Crown, back up (if you’re a lady, gather your skirt so you don’t trip) a few tiny steps, 3 or so, (if you’re a lady, gather your escort) bow/curtsy again (both of you) then turn a walk quietly back to your seats. Be mindful of where the stage ends! I have seen way too many folks turn into unintentional stuntmen/women in a matter of a couple of steps.

Next week, making announcements and presentations in Court.

Hopefully Helpful,


Courtly Graces Hint 1

Monday, May 2nd, 2011


Coronations come and go, and I see lots of Courtly Graces there, but at events in general, they are sometimes a little lacking. To that end, I wanted to do this months posts about Courtly Graces. I have posed these as questions and answers. I have been asked these very same questions over the years, and have given the very same answers.

Do you bow, curtsy and/or nod appropriately?
• While enjoying the event, you do not have to do a full bow or curtsy to everyone wearing a coronet or Crown. A simple nod while passing will usually suffice.
• While passing in front of the Thrones, a slight, quick (yet noticeable) bow or curtsy is appropriate.
• While passing the Baron & Baroness or the Crown, it is appropriate to either quickly bow/curtsy.
• If the Baron or Baroness or Crown passes you, it is appropriate to move off to the side and bow/curtsy until they pass, unless they have specified otherwise in the process of you making the motion.
• If you are seated, it is appropriate to stand when they come into your presence, until or unless they give you leave to be seated. If they don’t notice you and they are talking to someone else, it is O.K. to sit again.
• If it is before Court and they are on the Thrones or standing in front of the Thrones, you should be standing until they give you leave to sit.

Remember, you are not expected to bow and scrape to everyone, every time you see them. It is a sign of respect and genuflection, and is a small but important part of this game. If you just don’t like or respect the person, you could not bow/curtsy/nod, but that would not be gracious.

Granted if the person wearing the shiny coronet is a very close friend, it does happen that we just don’t see the “hat” and just see our friend. It happens to all of us.

Next week, entering and exiting Court. It’s not hard, just a little nerve racking sometimes. Just remember to breathe.

Hopefully Helpful,