Signs that you’re a Reenactor

Have you discovered more warning signs of reenactordom?  Let me know about them.

Thanks to all the contributors to this ever-growing list!  Including and especially the contributers to the original “You know you’re in the SCA when…”

  • You can’t pass the scrap skip outside the local sheet metal shop without raiding it for raw materials

  • Your “first car” is a transit van.

  • You can work out, accurately, how many crossbow bolts, arrows, etc. you  need for a weekend, but believe that a tin of Ravioli will feed you for three days

  • You hear an American tourist in Edinburgh talking about his family tartan, and proceed to give him a two-hour lecture on the origins of tartan.

  • You can’t watch horse-racing without thinking of withstanding a cavalry charge. 

  • You close every curtain in your house before getting changed, but will happily undress to get into kit in the middle of a public carpark.

  • You go to the fabric shop to buy some material for a caparison for your horse and a surcoat for yourself and the lady at the counter asks you how long you and your horse have been dressing alike.

  • You use a scramseax as a door wedge.

  • You use a Moniac Mead bottle to prop open your window.

  • You buy reproduction 14th Cheamware pots and use them as normal everyday coffee cups. 

  • You fix your watch strap using a scramseax.

  • You use the phrase “Bugger this for a game of soldiers” other than metaphorically.

  • You can sleep through drunken singing, gaming and three part harmony snoring echoing off castle walls.

  • You recognise people in battle scenes in TV programmes and films.

  • You have weapons stacked in the living room.

  • After getting back from an event you pop out of the house to post a letter and are halfway down the road before you realise you’re still barefoot.

  • You get completely confused when packing for a camping trip that isn’t a reenactment event and have this nagging suspicion all weekend that you’ve forgotten something.

  • You can’t sing without a drink in your hand.

  • You drive by some open land and think “What a great place for a battle!” 

  • Your idea of a fun weekend is sleeping outside in the rain.

  • You can spot 100% wool at 30 yards. 

  • You have a whole room of your house given over as an armoury.

  • You’ve ever said the words “only X more days ’til (some event)!”.

  • You’ve received cuts, burns, pulled out thorns, got poison ivy, and still look forward to camping at events. 

  • Life’s essentials are fighting and booze! 

  • Your dinner guests see your kit and ask if you’re in a play.

  • In the middle of summer, you dread wearing a short sleeved shirt in your air conditioned office, but you can’t wait to get to the next event, where you can dress in three layers of wool and sit round a campfire.

  • You’ve worn wool when the temperature tops 100 degrees Fahrenheit, repeatedly. 

  • You make a career decisions based on their effect on your weekends.

  • No one will attend a historical film with you.

  • You see the riot police on TV and start critiquing their shield wall.

  • People greet you on Monday morning with “So did you kill anyone this weekend?”.

  • You can’t use your dining table because it’s covered in half finished mail.

  • You have a table specifically for making mail so it doesn’t take up your dining table.

  • You suffer from post-battle depression.

  • You know every line in Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail by heart. 

  • You’ve stopped watching Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail because you know every line by heart.

  • Bad fighting and/or costuming has ruined an otherwise decent movie for you. 

  • You’re a burly guy who looks like a Hell’s Angel, but you do embroidery in public. 

  • At a formal dinner party, you politely grab your sleeve to keep it from dropping in the food, only to realize you’re wearing a suit. 

  • You can eat equally well with a dagger or a fork. 

  • You’ve decorated a cake in Celtic knotwork. 

  • You return to work after a weekend event, only to find you left all your money in your belt pouch. 

  • You sometimes wear your jackets closed only by the top button and without putting your arms through the sleeves. 

  • After a party you ask yourself “Hm. Now where are my clothes?” and you’re stone sober and fully dressed. 

  • You’re watching what’s been billed as the most romantic scene in any movie ever, and all you can think is: What kind of armor is he wearing?

  • You’re watching what’s been billed as the most romantic scene in any movie ever, and all you can think is: You can’t do that wearing that style of armour.

  • You can and do curse in Gaelic, but you aren’t Scottish 

  • You have more kit than clothes and the kit is in better condition. 

  • You visit a period castle, notice the draperies and bedspreads, and think of what lovely clothing they would make. 

  • You visit a period castle, museum, historical site, etc. and you can spot the mistakes in the tour guide’s lecture.

  • You get a Christmas card in the mail and you look at the shepherds and background figures with a magnifying glass to see the costuming details.

  • Your kid gets a cardboard punch out castle and you take it away from him and put it together yourself, point out the flaws in the architecture, and based on your assessment of the flaws in the architecture, figure out how you could, hypothetically capture it if it was a real castle. 

  • Your kid gets a bunch of plastic knights you swipe them to outline your tactical ideas for the next war/battle practice with your friends. 

  • You hide the really awful costume references in the stacks at the library, so future costumers won’t be led astray. Or, you write criticisms in the margins of said awful costume references. 

  • You watch Henry V (or the Zefferelli Romeo and Juliet) over, and over, and over, again – for the costumes/fighting scenes. 

  • Your immediate family consists of only two rather small, thin people, but you justify your purchase of a full-sized van/pickup truck saying “We’ll need the extra space for events!” 

  • You’re annoyed because the armor at the art museum isn’t displayed so that you can get a good photograph of the back/insides. 

  • Your reference section on your field of interest is better than the equivalent section in the local library. 

  • Your idea of a packed lunch is mince-meat pie, cold mulled cider and wafers left over from the feast the week-end before. 

  • Your hobby takes more of your time than your job. 

  • You name your pets after obscure historical figures. 

  • You name your children after obscure historical figures. 

  • People assume that you’re an exchange student/recent immigrant because they hear people calling you by the most outlandish names. 

  • You read a book that involves the plague and can diagnose which of the two or three types of plague it is from the symptoms. 

  • The decorating scheme of your home is “bookcase eclectic”. 

  • You take a medieval history course in college, and find out you already own the textbooks. 

  • You describe your company’s logo to the printer’s shop using heraldic terms. 

  • Instead of having dreams about being out in public with no clothes on, you have dreams about being at an event in mundane clothing. 

  • You catch yourself thinking “‘Gules, three chevrons or’. Nice tabard. Classic Anglo-Norman style, easily visible. Oh! I guess it’d better be visible, he’s a road repair worker! 

  • You go running up the stairs at work and reach down to hold the hem of your underdress up so as not to trip over it… and you’re wearing trousers.

  • You dress your decorative lawn elves/animals in period kit matching your own. 

  • You can cook an egg on a rock, but not toast in a toaster.

  • You can make a loaf of bread faster than you can program a bread machine. 

  • You make all your own bread and you don’t own a bread pan. 

  • Your mundane friends wangle invitations for Sunday supper so they can sample the feast leftovers. 

  • Your 8-year-old daughter gets a poseable Barbie for her birthday and you immediately see if she can assume all of the heraldic positions with an eye toward a future heraldry class. 

  • A student greets you in a Monday morning class by asking “So, did your wife kill anyone this weekend?” 

  • Your wife asks you “Do you want me to buy you some black tights for the wedding we’re going to this weekend?” and you say yes

  • Your friend invites you to a “dress nice” party, and you realize that your best looking clothes are your banqueting kit. 

  • Your friend tells you her new boyfriend works in a fabric store and your first thought is “How cool!” 

  • The only time you can see your living room floor is when your van is packed for an event. 

  • You buy a town out of rivets. 

  • Your bible study is going over the Armor of God… and they ask you to bring examples. 

  • You see a mother tenderly picking a splinter out of her son’s hand with a shortsword. 

  • You pull out a wax tablet to write down someone’s email address at an event

  • You buy a bottle of booze just for the neat pouch. 

  • Your buying black walnuts and ferrous sulfate from a health food store mean a new “dye” not a new “diet”. 

  • You go to a Catholic mass with your in-laws, and you spend the whole time admiring the garb on the priest and in the stained glass windows. 

  • You have to find something else to wear on Halloween, because your kit just doesn’t feel like a costume anymore. 

  • Your coworkers seem a little concerned that you’re planning a “period” party, and you’re male. 

  • “Dining room large enough for a dozen scribes and all their equipment” or “garden big enough to hold a battle practice” appears on the must-have list for your new house. 

  • You can’t decide whether to wear the Celtic kit or the Norman kit for a costume to your company’s costume ball. 

  • You go to the hardware store and ask for a drawknife for shaving rattan, only to have them explain that no one makes them anymore. 

  • Your “best china” consists of wooden feast gear and drinking horns. 

  • The worst loss of your flooded basement is not the washer or the furnace, but the scrolls you were framing… 

  • You plan your car-trip vacations around events happening in other areas and even pack accordingly. 

  • Your mum gives you a book about chivalry for your birthday, inscribed with the words “chivalry will never die as long as there are hearts as true as yours” 

  • You’re male and you see an attractive woman in a skin-tight black velvet dress, and your primary thought is “Wow!! What I wouldn’t give for ten yards of that!” 

  • You’re babysitting and you wonder if they’d give you the curtains as pay 

  • The gynecologist asks “When is your period?”, and you answer “Early 14th century (or whenever)”. 

  • You go to a funeral and spend your time looking at the great pavilion over the grave site and wonder where they got it 

  • Cleaning your knives (and axes, and swords and spears) is not only an entire evening’s work, but an entire evening’s entertainment! 

  • You start wearing your tankard and belt pouch around with your mundanes, because it’s so darn convenient. 

  • You don’t think twice about inviting all your friends over to watch “Scourge of the Black Death” on the History Channel, and have no doubts that almost everyone will come. 

  • Your future husband’s wedding garb costs more than yours, and has more trim. 

  • “Two helmets, Anglo-Norman style preferred” appears on your wedding registry. 

  • You’ve called your dorm ahead of time to ask if it’s OK to keep swords in your room. 

  • You realize you’ve used porta-loos more often than “flushies” recently. 

  • A gift certificate at an upholstery store was one of your favorite birthday gifts this year. 

  • The worst news you’ve had all year is that the leather store near you is closing! 

  • You’re disappointed that your British Literature textbook doesn’t have Beowulf in parallel text. 

  • You enter your lady’s boudoir for the first time, and the first words to escape your lips are “Nice sewing machine!”. 

  • Costumed people going into Rocky Horror have asked you about your “funny clothes”. 

  • You’re female and you’ve walked straight into a door on a Monday morning because you just expected the coworker you’re entering with to stop and open it for you. 

  • After viewing this list, your mundane significant other chuckles for days, while you mutter to yourself “I don’t see what’s so funny about that.” 

  • You show up for work on Monday with the most interesting bruises. (Or possibly a mail weave sunburn). 

  • You get mail as a wedding present. 

  • A man says “whoa! Nice legs! Hubba hubba!” and he’s talking about your armor.

  • You rattle when you walk, because you’re wearing a mail shirt under your shirt to save carrying it. 

  • Street signs look like armor trees, round shields, war shields…

  • If you’re bruised black and blue every Monday morning…. and you enjoyed getting that way. 

  • You pick up the bin lid and automatically snap it up to a defensive position. 

  • You’re wearing mail to the office hidden under your jumper because you need to get used to moving round in it. 

  • You sneer at sword fights in films because any fool can tell they’re not within striking distance of their opponents

  • Dessert is served in stainless steel dishes, you start speculating on how easy they would be to beat into shield bosses. 

  • You were asked to find a broom handle to work a jack with and couldn’t find a broom but came back with a longaxe and a spear. 

  • You can describe the tactics, strategy, weapons, armor and troops used in hundreds of medieval battles, but don’t know why they were fought. 

  • You can’t raise your arms above horizontal on a Monday morning. 

  • You’re daft enough to lock the keys in your van, but you managed to pry a window open with your sword. 

  • You find yourself incapable of small hand motions and can only move your whole arm, or at best, wrist flicks. 

  • You’re female and “You’re so aggressive!” is a compliment! 

  • You see a beautiful member of the opposite sex sitting on a Rattan seat and you realize that you are staring, at the chair. 

  • You would rather pack you halberd and your pike instead of food on your way to war. 

  • You are cleaning up after an event and all that you can think of is how great this aluminum table edging would be on a shield. And for that matter, drop the legs and put on a handle, it’s good light plywood, well reinforced, a little on the large side but maybe for war… 

  • You get your van stuck in a bog, but escape by unloading the shields and driving out over them 

  • After an event, while getting dressed in mundanes, you don your swordbelt and weapons. 

  • Your sweatpants have holes in the knees and rust stains, because you wore your armor over/under them. 

  • You’ve ruined your deep fat fryer using it to melt wax. 

You view the world as a reenactor when…

  • You see a van saying L.H.E. on the side and are disappointed to discover it’s some mundane builders not a Living History Exhibit at all.

  • Watching Blankety Blank the word Chain_____ comes up and you immediately think “Mail” and are really disappointed when it doesn’t come up.

  • You see a sign in M&S saying “AUTHENTIC UNDERWEAR” and are disappointed to find out it’s just a brand name.

  • You see a poster saying “SAXON!” and are disappointed when it turns out to be the name of a band.

  • You see a sign that reads “TANNING” and comment to your spouse “I wonder what kinds of skins and hides they have?”, 

  • You see a sign that reads “FENCING” and you wonder about their price their foils and epees. 

  • A truck passes you on the motorway labeled “MAKERS OF THE FINEST BELTS AND HOSES” and you think they’re carrying kit! 

  • You see an ad saying “LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BOWS” and are disappointed when you realize they’re talking about tying ribbons. 

  • You see a magazine ad that begins: “You wouldn’t take a period remedy for your headache…” and think, “What, leeches? Herbal infusions?” before you notice the rest of the ad reads: “So don’t take a headache remedy for your period”. 

  • You see a nun in the grocery store wearing the habit for her order and you think to yourself “what nice garb she has” without thinking twice about the fact that you’re not at an event. 

  • You hear there’s a new movie out called “The War of the Roses” and are disappointed to learn it’s about a messy divorce! 

  • You see “FIELDS OF ARMOR” listed as a program on The Discovery Channel, and are very disappointed that its about tanks. 

  • A magazine article titled “FULL ARMOUR” piques your interest, but when you start leafing through the magazine expecting to see pictures of helms, breastplates, etc. you’re disappointed to discover that it’s an article about a PC security package. 

  • Seeing someone in full plate, a tabard, and Reeboks does not strike you as odd. 

  • You see a large sign saying “COMING SOON: THE VIKING YOUTH ACADEMY”, only to be disappointed that it’s a daycare center. 

  • You see playground equipment (swings, seesaws, etc) and think “Siege Engines!”. 

  • You rush out to see a movie called “CELTIC PRIDE”, but storm out ten minutes in when you find out it’s about basketball. 

  • A “WEBSITE DEVOTED TO ICONS” disappoints you when it’s not about religious relics, but only about some silly downloadable bitmaps.

You know your child is a reenactor when…

  • They run away from being tagged, calling “illegal hit!” 

  • You have to warn your two-year old not to hit anyone with his sword that Isn’t wearing armour

  • While trick-or-treating, someone asks your son what he is, and he replies: “I’m Guy de Lacy, a pre-tabard 11th century Norman who settled near Cornwall!”…. 

  • They don’t know their right hand from their left hand, but they do know their sword arm from their shield arm. 

  • Your child’s “what I did last summer” paper describes how much fun it was to watch their best friend kill a complete stranger. 

  • They’re an early infant class, but decorate their work folders with Celtic knotwork. 

  • Their teacher complains that their handwriting is so bad that it’s illegible, and when you examine it you find it’s Norse runes. (YKYAR too if this makes you proud) 

  • Your six-year-old chooses to write her first book report on “The Pennsic Wars and Living Medieval”. 

  • Your kid can’t make the school baseball/rounders team because he/she swings the bat like a bastard sword. 

  • Your child writes an essay in school about a time when she “felt special” and writes about the time Daddy carried her favor in a tourney and how great it was when he won his first 2 bouts and how disappointed she was when he got killed in the semi-finals and then the teacher calls you and wants to know if your husband has died. 

  • Your child’s pre-school teacher asks the children to name one item they would take camping, and she pipes up with “A sword!”. (The little girl in question has never been camping except at events.) The Christian pre-school teacher was best described as “not amused”. 

  • Your 11-year-old is going over spelling words and shrieks in delight when she sees “parry”… and you suggest her sentence should be “A rubber chicken is an effective parry weapon”. 

  • Your kids make fun of the “square bread” at the grocery store. 

  • Your son is taking Woodwork so he can make toys, and Home Ec so he can run a feast kitchen… and his friends see what he’s making in metalwork and stop hassling him about taking Home Ec. 

  • Your child recognizes that tune as “Greensleeves”.

  • They correct their history teacher.

  • You ask your 8-year-old daughter what she wants for her birthday, and she replies “Kit like Mummy !”

  • She gets into an argument with her teacher over the fact that the color is GULES, not RED!

You know you are married to a reenactor when…

  • Your wife announces that she will be cleaning her skirt, then fills a bucket with sand (to remove the rust) 

  • You go into the bathroom to shave, and instead of nylons hanging from the shower rod, there’s a collection of helm bonnets. 

  • Your husband has more pairs of tights than you do.

  • Your husband, not you, is the one dragging you from fabric store to fabric store. 

  • The lady at the fabric store asks your wife if she needs help and she points at you saying, “He’s the one looking for material”. 

You know you’re a post-1800 reenactor when…

  • You watch a film and think “No, you can’t do that if the jacket/breeches/overalls etc are properly made.
  • You watch something like “Vanity Fair” and criticise the drill and marching of the troops in the background while totally ignoring the foreground characters.
  • You can find (or adapt) a quote from “Zulu” for any occasion.
  • You watch the middle (patrol movie) section of “Saving Private Ryan” in a cinema and have to be asked not to laugh so loudly.
  • You watch a film/video with a notebook to note the pros and cons of the kit.
  • You prefer old versions of movies because there’s more chance of original bits of kit turning up among the props.
  • You go to a performance of “Journey’s End” and send the wardrobe mistress a critique of the Uniforms & equipment and how they could be improved.
  • You watch the “Trooping of the Colour” thinking the lines need re-dressing and why can’t they do it properly, using the 1881 drill manual, in Slade-Wallace equipment and with long Lee-Enfields.
  • The News mentions “The Queen” and you have a half heartbeat pause to remember that it’s Elizabeth, NOT Victoria.