<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Renaissance in the City

I have discovered something interesting: there is nothing like wearing a Renn Faire bodice on the subway to draw some interesting looks.

There was a Renaissance Faire of sorts at Casa Loma today, Toronto's friendly neighbourhood castle -- sort of a stop gap measure, I'm guessing, scheduled during a time when the Ontario Renaissance Festival had not yet found a new home. Though it was sort of last minute, I ended up deciding to attend with my friend Jana and some of her friends. Dressing this morning, in something of a rush, I took a look a the green bodice I'd bought at last year's Renn Faire and thought to myself "Ah, what the hell?" After all, it's not often that one gets to wear such things.

So with a pair of jeans and on top of a pale blue shirt (a fitted t-shirt, no less) on went the bodice. Now, granted, this is not exactly my usual style of clothing, to say the least. In fact, generally I'm fairly anonymous. So walking down the street, and riding on the subway, it was something of a novelty to have people turning and staring, or giving me startled looks, etc. It was something of an experience -- and not my imagination, either.

"You're right," Jana said to me as we walked up towards Casa Loma. "You are getting some stares."

Now I thought that it was simply that I was wandering around in public wearing a bodice that was drawing the attention (and though I was not the only one, I was far from the majority); however, a later conversation convinced me that perhaps it was not the bodice itself but concern for my health that prompted some of the looks.

"Excuse me, miss?" a vendor called to me sometime during the afternoon as we wandered the gardens and the various merchants' stalls. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure," I replied.

"I was just wondering," he said, and after a brief pause, continued, "Can you breathe?" And this from a man in full costume.

This made me laugh, and I said yes, I could breathe just fine, thanks, even fairly deep breaths, though mentioned that if I tightened the bodice as much as I was "supposed to" then there would be ... issues. Not so comfortable.

"I was just wondering how tight you had to cinch that to get your waist ..."

"Na," I said. "Just got a small ribcage."

My high school sewing/fashion/home economics teacher once told me that I was, and I quote, "barrel chested." To this I reply: HA! Clearly, the woman has never seen a barrel.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 10:01 PM


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