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9 Patrons That Every Rennie Hates

September 3, 2012

Who knew that doing posts about Ren Faire would turn into an education on the Rennie subculture?  Hopefully the build up to the next two posts was worth all of that reading.  I’m still trying to decide if it was worth all of that writing.

The Purist

While everyone can agree that Stormtroopers are clearly out of place at a renaissance festival, and most history geeks will get a little testy when a festival has a young girl playing Princess Elizabeth while Henry VIII is still married to Katherine of Aragon [1], The Purist feels the need to nitpick any aspect of the faire which is outside of the established time period of the faire.  Purists have mistaken the ren faire for a reenactment event and feel that anything outside of their particular view of the Way It Should Be is a deep offense.  Native American characters are downright silly.  Robin Hood and his friends are an insult.  Elizabethan bodices during the reign of Richard the Lion Hearted are an absolute scandal.

How To Handle Them

If your faire has them, ask The Purist how they feel about the fairies.  Or the flush toilets.  Or the electricity.  Or any modern convenience invented after 1700.  Which is pretty much all of them except for deep frying. [2]  Purists rarely care about whether or not something is actually historically accurate, they just like to show off the supposed superiority of their historical knowledge.

The Disbeliever

The Disbeliever is out to prove that the person in the costume isn’t really a fairy, the king, or a gypsy princess.  They insist on asking questions like “No, where are you REALLY from?” and get very angry when you won’t drop character in order to answer.  The Disbeliever may grab parts of the costume to prove they aren’t real, especially hair and wings.  The Disbeliever is probably the same kid who told all her classmates about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

How To Deal With Them

Stay in character as much as possible and try to flag down help from a fellow worker.  Bonus points if the fellow worker is dressed up as a security officer.  If you simply can’t manage to put the patron off, duck into a nearby shop and give the booth worker the “Please for the love of fuck help me with this asshole” face.  Chances are good they’ve dealt with similar assholes and will gladly lend a hand. Or at the very least an escape route through the back door.

The Wet Blanket

The Wet Blanket is distinct from the Disbeliever in that they don’t actually care whether or not you are in character, they just don’t want to play along.  The Wet Blanket is typically someone who has been dragged along by a friend, family member, or significant other and they entered the gates determined not to have any fun at all.  Teenage wet blankets will trail roughly 10 feet behind their parents while texting their friends about how lame everything is, spousal wet blankets may hang around outside of booths making the “my wife is shoe shopping and I’m stuck holding her purse” face, and friend-type wet blankets will spend the whole day complaining about everything from the weather to how much their feet hurt.

How To Deal With Them

A true Wet Blanket can be a hard sell.  Pull out all the stops and get the whole the group involved in a big show of trying to pull the Wet Blanket into the fun.  If you don’t manage to break through to the Wet Blanket, at least you’ve helped everyone else have a good time.  Friends and family of Wet Blankets should consider investing in some age appropriate amusement aide, such as a slice of chocolate dipped cheese cake, an absurdly large turkey leg, or a nice big glass of Beverage Of Choice.

The Tightwad

The Tightwad bought a ticket to get in the front gate, and that is all the money they plan on spending.  They will watch the shows and leave before the hat passing starts.  They’ll demand free samples from food booths, extra tickets to any free raffle, insist they be allowed to wear your products around to “show them off,” and get very upset if any booth that has the vague label of “entertainment” won’t do free demos.  And if the Tightwad can be parted from enough money to buy a Beverage Of Choice or food, they never, ever tip.  The Tightwad may even complain loudly if the bathrooms have a tip jar for the poor soul who has to clean up the stalls and change out the toilet paper.

How To Handle Them

A Tightwad and their money are rarely parted.  Play with them, but if they aren’t specifically rude, don’t agitate them.  Unless they bring up the tip jar in the bathroom.  Feel free to give that asshole a detailed description of what it’s like to clean up drunk vomit on minimum wage.  If you don’t know, try asking the person staffing the bathroom.

The Inappropriate Costume

The person inside the Inappropriate Costume is a secondary consideration to the costume itself.  Whether it’s Lawn Aerating Boots, Corset Malfunction, Pointy Armor of Doom, The Loincloth, Nazi Diesel Punk, or Underage and Underclothed, the Inappropriate Costume will definitely get attention, but perhaps not in the way the wearer intended.  The Inappropriate Costume knows no boundaries of weather, age appropriateness, or even basic common sense.

How To Handle Them

Work out some hand signals with your fellow workers to alert them to the presence of an Inappropriate Costume.  Unless you’re the sort of person who is comfortable yelling “Hey, get a load of what this asshole is wearing.”  In which case, come work next to me.  In the case of Underage and Underclothed, designate a parental type (actual parenthood not required) to suggest that they might want to go change back into the clothes they left the house in before the nice people in security uniforms call their parents.

The Toucher

The Toucher just wants to feel the fabric of your skirt.  Or your armor.  Or your sword.  They want a hands on experience with the workers and they won’t bother asking permission.  The Toucher may morph into the Creeper without warning, especially when The Toucher is male and the worker he is touching is female.

How To Deal With Them

The Toucher is one of the many reasons why all workers very carefully tie down any sharp or pointy objects on their costume.  It only takes one asshole pulling your own eating knife because he “just wanted to look at it” before you get really good at knots.  Try to stay positive, but be firm that The Toucher needs to ask permission first.

The Wench Hunter

The Wench Hunter is on the prowl, and they’re going to find themselves a wench!  And it doesn’t matter what character she’s playing, if she has exposed cleavage, she must be a wench.  Gypsy?  Brightly dressed wench! Pirate? Wench in a hat! Princess? Wench in a fancy dress!  Fairy? Wench with wings!  Troll? Funny colored wench! Barbarian queen? Wen…  OW OW OW, I’M SORRY, I’M SORRY!

How To Handle Them

Take a tip from the Barbarian Queen.  Unless you’re actually playing a wench, correct The Wench Hunter politely, but firmly.  Once.  If he insists on calling you a wench after that, he has clearly labeled himself as path show bait and all bets are off.  Incidentally, Wench Hunter behavior is not just limited to men.  Women can (and will) attempt to mislabel any exposed cleavage as belonging to a wench and may view the bearer as being open to invitations to join their swingers club (which may just consist of them and their partner).  Women who do this to guys wearing kilts give new meaning to the term “skirt chaser.”

The Chauvinist

The Chauvinist is quite similar to The Expert in that nothing a booth worker says will convince them that they are wrong.  The difference being that while The Expert will hold forth to a booth worker of either gender, The Chauvinist will gladly accept the expertise of a booth worker, so long as said booth worker is not is possession of certain secondary sexual characteristics.  The Chauvinist engages in rampant Mansplaining, and can be entertaining, so long as you don’t mind being talked to as if you are a child.

How To Handle Them

Explain as best you can, and then go grab a male coworker.  Make sure that the male coworker starts off with “Well, she’s our expert, so…”  Bonus points if the male coworker answers all of the guy’s questions by turning to you, repeating the question, and then repeating your answer to The Chauvinist in a deliberately deeper and slower voice.  And while it does occasionally occur that a female patron will do this to a male booth worker, it’s not nearly as common.

The Creeper

One thing The Toucher, the Wench Hunter, and the Chauvinist all have in common is that they may morph into The Creeper with little warning.  The Creeper may hang out by the booth or follow a performer around for hours.  The Creeper may honestly believe that they have a relationship of some kind with the worker in question, even to the point of coming back to the faire repeatedly, just to see the object of their devotion.  The Creeper may even try to track down a faire worker’s campsite and try to imply that they were invited.

How To Handle Them

Unlike most of the people on this list, The Creeper can actually be dangerous.  Especially if The Creeper believes that they are in a relationship with the worker.  It’s important to trust your instincts and the instincts of your fellow workers when it comes to potential Creepers.  As with many of the other types of patron on this list, Creeper behavior is not limited to male on female interactions, but is definitely more common.

Next Up: 9 Costumes That Rennies Make Fun Of

[1] Look it up, damnit.
[2] Yes, really.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. BtA permalink
    April 8, 2014 3:49 pm

    May I please add one? The Linguist – the person who is determined to speak ‘in character’ and to do it by completely misusing every thee, thy, thou and so forth out there. Aggressively, to show they know how to do it right, except they don’t. Sadly, this sometimes includes the Rennies themselves. It’s the verbal equivalent of the wrong kind of tights.


  1. 9 Terms (And Then Some) Rennies Use With Other Rennies « Crossed Wires

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