Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adieu, Sweet Amaryllises...

On Thursday, after hours of calls, shuttling back and forth, fighting with office administrators and insurance lackeys, I finally made it to a plastic surgeon for my breast reconstruction consultation. Just before I went into the appointment, I called my cousin to chat a bit. Aifa Cat, as she goes by, helps to run a booth at the New York Renaissance Faire, and she mentioned that if the kids were home, this past weekend was a kids-go-free weekend. Unfortunately, the kids weren't home yet, however, a thought crossed my mind. I've always enjoyed displaying the corseted girls at the Faire. I've been going to the NYRF since I was 10 years old, and I've spent close to 18 years showing them off. So, I mentioned to Aifa Cat that it would be fun to take the "girls" out for a last "Huzzah!" at the Faire. Kind of like taking a dog for a final walk before putting them down for old time's sake. Aifa Cat thought it was hysterical, and it was a done deal - especially since I was just told I wasn't needed at the bike shop on Saturday.

Friday night, I got my favorite Renn Faire costume together - a costume I'd designed for myself when I was 21 with leftover material from my recital ball gown I'd had made for my Senior Recital at Oberlin and from 50 or so costumes I'd had to make for the Oberlin Gilbert & Sullivan "Three Princess Project." It was based on Spanish/Portuguese Rennaisance Costumes and portraits of Dona Gracia Mendes, the personae I adopted for it and based on my relative.

I last wore it 3 years ago for my son's birthday party, adapted with accessories which took it from a royal costume to a pirate queen. He was really into pirates, and the Renn Faire had a bunch of newer pirate-based features. My cousin helped us with a place to leave stuff, group tickets, and permission to bring our own food, as we had to bring kosher food with us. One of my son's friends came, which meant a tremendous lot to him, because his father was fighting cancer. That afternoon, his father came to the Faire after spending a very long hospital stay. It was one of his first, and ultimately his last, days out of a hospital bed. It seemed right that I take that costume with me.

The costume had served me well, earning me Best Costume at Faire awards, as well as many A+ grades for my cleavage.

I made the drive, and chose to wear a t-shirt and jeans in the car with the intent to change in the parking lot. I'd figured that changing into the costume wouldn't be any more difficult than changing in and out of a cycling kit. I was wrong. Especially when the costume that had served me so well all these years decided to literally break while I put the corset on. The corset itself cracked and several of the hooks and eyes were damaged in the last cleaning, and the loops which held the lacing that covered the hooks and eyes broke. So there I was, lying in the backseat of my car, topless. And alone. Thankfully, I'd had my LIVESTRONG yellow pashmina, and I wrapped that around my top and rushed to the Faire. I texted Aifa Cat to find out which boutique had the absolute cheapest corsets so I could get a top and, as soon as I entered the gates, I rushed to C.S. Designs.

Thank goodness, they had a great black velvet corset and a top that worked very well with the skirt and my costume. I finished getting dressed and headed to my cousin's booth, Lundgaard Productions - Guild Hall & Guild Pins. I realized, after chatting with her and her friends, that this was the absolute first time that I'd gone to Faire alone. I'd never gone without family, a boyfriend or a posse of friends. I remembered going with a group of high school friends - some of my favorite people from Fox Lane. My best friend, who just moved to Chicago, another dear friend who now lives in Boston, another who now lives in a very different world in Los Angeles, and Aaron Cass, four months before he'd be dead. I remembered the picture of us we had taken, arms around each other, the girls and one guy wearing costumes & accessories, Aaron smiling awkwardly. I remembered the drive we took down, where we got lost, and my costumed male friend hopped onto the roof of a car while everyone else stared at a map, ignoring my directions from memory.

Then, I remembered why I was there. This wasn't about hanging out with friends. This was about bidding farewell to my bosom. This was about parading the girls, soliciting awe, head turns, and one last chance at my natural endowments to turn heads. Not any scars that might be coming my way. Not because chemo may take away my hair and leave me bald and eyebrowless. Not out of pity. It was my last chance to grasp the attention of strangers, forcing girlfriends and wives to smack the arms of eye-wandering boyfriends and husbands, with my  natural D-cups overflowing. So, with that in mind, I set off through the Faire.

Sure enough, there were at least 3 "boyfriend slaps," a number of "Huzzahs" from merchants, a handful of cast members who, passing by, bowed their heads to me, greeted me, but with eyes very clearly focused on the chesticles, and several remarks from women who were aghast, but secretly jealous, that they simply couldn't understand why anyone would wear a corset displaying that much cleavage. I so badly wanted to turn back, call them on their remark, and say, "No, you can't understand. But allow me to explain..." But I didn't. I kept walking, smiling at the irony that these women weren't really horrified, but, after assessing them, they were upset they couldn't create the "shelf" (though they were trying with what they could pull together as a costume) and yet, secretly, I knew that they wouldn't want my ill-fated cleavage. I was displaying sick breasts, with the right one already invaded with an alien batch of cells consuming it. They didn't know what was below the surface.

Aifa Cat had told me to meet her back at her booth by 5:30 for a special show. I figured maybe she'd gotten us seats at the joust in the stands instead of where the crowd usually sits, or something. I grabbed a "Beesting" - a combination of mead and hard cider, and saw a large group of Ren Rats hanging around the booth. Aifa Cat then told me to follow her to the back of the booth, and there, I was greeted by a large circle of men, which was strange, especially since one had his hand on a grill. Then, one by one, each rogue walked towards me with a rose or two (a mix of fresh, yellow roses and yellow or black feather roses - for LIVESTRONG), seductively paying me compliments, and handing me the rose. This continued until every, very sweet man, had presented me with a rose. As you can see from the photos, I wasn't entirely sure how to react. It was rather warm, and I was so embarassed, in a good way, that I was perspiring and just really didn't know what to say, so half the time I had a very strange look on my face.

But, inside, I was so blown away that Aifa Cat had arranged this, that these guys were doing this, and how sweet the whole rogueing ceremony was. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

If you'd like to celebrate by proxy with me as I defy this disease by riding in the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Austin, TX in October, please consider making a donation to LIVESTRONG here: http://austin2011.livestrong.org/faf/donorreg/donorpledge.asp?ievent=442672&supId=291580630

Brian presents his rose

As does Eric...
And John...
Atreides made quite an impression
Huzzah for the Stripper!
Geof presented a very heartfelt message with his rose
Raith's eyes and smile just made me happy
As did his presentation
Aifa Cat presents me with a custom made "F*CANCER* pin she had made for me
A closeup of the pin
Getting pinned

And then the signings began...

And for some, continued...
And went on...

"Eat At Joe's"

Geof asked if he was signing too low... Did it matter at that point?

Robin was so sweet...

As was John

I bent over so John had some more material to work with...


Let the cousin-on-cousin fantasies begin! LOL!

So that's how we bid Adieu to the girls.


  1. May God bless you and give you a full and speedy recovery. I'll be the the Faire this Saturday, and will make a wish at the fish fountain for you.

    Huzzah & GSTQ ♥

  2. Heal well! I don't know you, but I'd be willing to bet this won't keep you down for long. Hope to see you in Austin.

    Brenda Coffee


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