Being Horny at the Texas Renaissance Festival

Being Horny at the Texas Renaissance Festival
Jef With One F

This year, as I do most years, I took the Wife With One F to the Texas Renaissance Festival for her birthday. Both of us have been going since we were teenagers, and it's very rare for us to miss the season entirely. However, this year something got on my nerves more so than ever before.

My wife almost always wears a pair of satyr horns when she attends. She bought them there, and it's pretty much the only time she ever gets to wear them. What no one tells you when you purchase the horns, though, is that a single joke is going to be hurled at you over and over and over again until finally you either take them off or just stop going.

"Hey horny lady!"

It literally never ends, and every single barker and shopkeeper that throws out the line seems to believe it's the first time it's ever been done. You can't walk past any section of the festival without at least one person using it as a bawdy attention grabber, and it happens year after year after year.

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It's not exactly catcalling, though that's still a problem with some of the people who work Ren Fest. My wife and I saw one girl in a skintight green leotard continuously yelled at with a variety of sexual innuendos. I mean, really "clever" bits like "I bet your first name is Daaammmnnn!" It's eye-rolling, but also a little creepy. I watched that girl laugh at the call, but she also changed from the direction she was walking and headed off in another. Wolf whistles followed her.

The "horny lady" thing isn't quite that, but it's still a holdover from some of the attitudes at the festival from back before they cleaned it up a bit. I mean, it's been years since I saw chain-mail bikinis with no underwear on under them, or a public spanking for that matter. Some people sneer and say it's become Disneyfied, but I like to think it's just grown up.

The Texas Renaissance Festival is billed as family entertainment. It says so on the website and everything. As far as I'm concerned, it always has been. I started going as part of school field trips. There are children's rides, toys, clothes, and entertainment all around you.

Which makes having people yell jokes about how "horny" you might be a little uncomfortable when you're pulling a wagon with a five-year-old behind you. When I responded to one such gentleman who did so with an icy glare, he mumbled that perhaps it was my wife's fault for wearing the horns...

That she bought there.

I get that the shouting is a big part of what goes on at Ren Fest, but I think it's high time someone took a closer look at what is being shouted and what it might be saying about the organization.

I was discussing this with some friends online, and an old acquaintance of my wife's recalled how once he'd attended with his then-wife and mine quite a few years back. Both women were wearing horns when he happened to sneeze. A nearby employee quipped, "I'd say 'God bless you,' sir, but it's clear the Devil has blessed you twice!" See? That's clever. It hits a slightly risqué note without devolving into adolescent vulgarity.

Is it really necessary for a flower seller to ask me as I'm holding the hand of a kindergartener if I want my wife to be even hornier, then I should buy her a flower? Isn't there maybe another trick in the verbal bag you might want to bust out for that particular scenario, or is the need to make a dirty joke really so overpowering?

This isn't a call for censorship or me wringing my hands over blue humor now that I'm a dad. Flirt with all the guests you want. Keep the Mud Show and Ded Bob full of toilet humor and the haunted castle full of discount tortures. There's a place for that and it is as it should be.

You can have a great time with kids at Ren Fest and avoid most of those things if you want to dodge awkward questions on the long car ride home. Far be it from me to deny any entertainment complex the chance to tell a dick joke, even a pretty tired one. I don't think it's unreasonable to maybe expect it to not be shouted at you across a crowded thoroughfare peopled with tiny babies in knit Viking helmets and grade schoolers in homemade fairy wings.

At least horn sellers could put up a disclaimer next to their selection reading, "May cause inescapable bad jokes regarding your possible promiscuity."

Jef has a new story, a tale of mad robot nurses and a man of miracles called "Sleepers, Wake!" available now. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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Texas Renaissance Festival

21778 Farm-To-Market Road 1774
Todd Mission, TX 77363

800-458-3435

www.texrenfest.com/home.html


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