The thermometer said 98 degress Fahrenheit, but the heat index was more like 115. Welcome to June in Texas!
The Scarborough Faire Chapter of Tights Junkies Anonymous hauled out our bell-bottomed tights and proceded to scare the natives. Standard garb for the ladies this year was a Pendragon bodice and an overskirt from A Wardrobe in Time worn over the loudest, most outrageous, bell-bottomed tights possible. Of course there are a few exceptions. Tights Junkie (T.J.) Teek, hid her bell-bottoms under her wench costume. T.J. Debra did away with the skirt altogether. And T.J. MaritaBeth, Tights Goddess (T.G.) Ginger and T.J. Stephanie wore retro-bodices decorated with peace symbols, flowers and smiley faces.
The guys, with the exception of T.J. "Wild Tights" Larry (who wore bell-bottomed red & black crushed velvet tights) and T.J. Frank (who wore gold lame') were out there in florals, cat fur, and plaid. In fact, plaid bells almost caused a riot among the Scots! T.G. Ginger had a momentary scare when a band of blue-painted Scots arrived at the Faire Pair booth to register their displeasure with that particular pair of tights.
Several of the guys also wore hand-painted retro codpieces. This amazing fashion trend was started by T.J. Terry and T.J. Great Horned One at The Slashed Shoe. They even named their codpieces! My personal favorite was T.J. Marshall's "Captain America" codpiece.
And then there was T.J. Snowflake. Snowflake is the original Tights Junkie. 'Nuff said.
Wearing bell-bottomed tights means you must parade about the Faire. No staying in shops or behind counters where you can't be seen. So we all got out and worked it. My tights are a particularly loud pair of lime green, yellow, orange and magenta bells. By far the most common reaction on seeing my tights was to cover the eyes, stagger backwards and ask, in a weak voice, if I could turn the volume down.
I spent the rest of the day begging bigger and bigger chunks of ice from boothies and drinks vendors. I loved the expressions on their faces when I stuffed the ice down my bodice. The last piece of ice was from a drinks vendor near the Safer Swords booth. He gave me a chunk of ice, an iceberg really, bigger than my two fists put together. And I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head when I stuffed that hunk of ice down my bodice. Then my friend Theresa took a chunk of ice and proceeded to stuff it down her bodice. The crowd applauded.
The leather of a bodice acts as insulation. By mid-afternoon there was condensation on the outside of my bodice. Hugging became a chilling adventure. I would hug a gentleman (or a pirate, or a rogue ...). He would mention how cold I felt. I would reach into my bodice, pull out that chunk of ice and show it to him, and then put it back in place. The responses ranged from stunned silence, through "Don't do that to me again" (always said in a slightly breathless tone of voice) to Cromwell's single word said with great feeling. And no, I won't repeat that word here!
But, no matter what anyone says, I have never carried a camera in my bodice. My Yashica is too square (it's a box camera). And the lens on my Minolta is just too long.
"What for?", I asked.
"On getting married," he said.
"I didn't know I was getting married," I said, "I just got divorced." (Well, it was several years ago, but it was the last known change in my marital status.)
Bill stammered and said, "But you ordered a wedding broom and I thought ..."
"That's a wedding present for my friend's son," I said. "Besides, who did you think I was going to marry?"
"Oh, ... Pickles!"
T.J. Pickles is a cutie who works at the Pendragon booth at Scarborough. But, marry him? I don't think so. "I'm going to tell Pickles," I said.
Bill got a wild look in his eye and said, "Yes, do!"
Well I wandered around the Faire a bit more, and finally, after saying goodbye to Unka Roy and Shark of the Free Lancers and the guys at Starfire Swords, I made it over to Pendragon. T.J. Pickles had just left, so I told the story to T.J. MaritaBeth, T.J. Kyle, T.J. Loree, T.J. Stephanie and everyone else there. Much laughter. However, by the time I finally caught up with T.J. Pickles over by the Crown Meadow Stage, several other people had congratulated me on my betrothal and he had heard already heard the story. In fact, T.J. Lisa was agog over the idea! And T.J. Kat couldn't keep away from all the possible bad jokes! Rumors sure do travel fast!
T.J. Pickles was not pleased. He had already discussed rumormongering with Bill. Suddenly, I wasn't sure if I should be upset or not since he obviously didn't want to marry me. My vanity was wounded. But I can't stay mad long, especially with someone who gives hugs as well as T.J. Pickles does.
This was the first time that all of us had been together the entire day, so everyone had stories to tell. T.G. Ginger told about the cabriolet breakdowns. She and T.J. MaritaBeth also claimed their places as maid & matron of honor for T.J. Pickles' and my non-wedding. Everyone was so upset that we had not invited them to the non-wedding! T.J. Pickles told how through the judicious use of a mug of ice water he took his revenge on Bill for that particular rumor. Someone (I don't know who) wondered if T.J. Pickles and I had children, would they be little gherkins? T.J. Larry suggested that anyone wanting to go ice diving needed to get a permit from T.J. MaritaBeth (who is the manager for Pendragon at Scarborough). We finally decided that it needed to be a specialized permit, and not only that, but that I should create a new icon for my web site ... Ice Diving with the Junkie! Most of the suggestions, in fact all of the suggestions that were offered were not suitable for a PG-rated site. Ahem. I will have to think on this.
14 May 1999
Although I do photography and web sites for several of the merchants and entertainers at Scarborough Faire, I am not affiliated with the Faire itself. The opinions expressed on this page are my own.
The photo of T.J. Larry & T.J. Liz was taken by Evenstar (she's not a tights junkie yet, but give us time). Check out Evenstar's Scarborough 1998 page for more great pictures!
The photo of T.J. Frank was taken by T.J. Kat (aka Miss Kat). Kat is one of the Shreveport Crew.