Prior to joining the SCA I knew, of course, what protégés, apprentices, and squires were in their historical context. After attending my first SCA event and seeing a variety of different colored belts, the meaning of those belts and their associated titles within the SCA were explained to me: Yellow for protégés on the path to Pelican, green for apprentices on the path to Laurel, and red for squires on the path to the Chivalry and knighthood. And now, with the creation of the Order of Defense, there are collars to add to the list.
Not everyone chooses to follow the path to peerage, but many do. I am very fortunate to be “belted” to a good man, a good Peer, here in Meridies, Master William Scrivener. At the time I was belted to Master William I was given a bright yellow belt, the standard symbol that an individual is in a Peer/Protégé relationship. I am proud of what that yellow belt stands for.
There was just one problem: I hate belts. All belts. I never wear them, even in my mundane life except on the rarest of occasions. I find them uncomfortable in the extreme, and chafing around my waist. And I might as well confess that I just feel that belts worn over dresses or tunics make me look like a lumpy sack of potatoes. I also feel that there is no more obtrusive anachronism than wearing a bright yellow or green belt over a lovely period gown. Said belts stand out like a sore thumb, and unless that individual’s persona would have worn them in period they are historically inaccurate. I found this rather oxymoronic for a group whose focus is historical re-creation.
So . . . what to do? I wanted to honor my Peer/Protégé relationship, wear something that marked me as a protégé, but at the same time was less anachronistic. Finally I hit upon a solution. I dug out my jewelry making supplies and made a necklace. It had lots of yellow, but used natural stones, mainly citrine. I found some wooden beads with letters on them and spelled out “Protégé.” When worn it hangs mid-chest, just above the breasts. I liked it so much I decided to make some Viking “bling” to wear with my apron dresses. (By the way, to me belts over Viking apron dresses look ridiculous.)
When wearing one of my protégé strands it is pretty darn clear to anyone I am speaking to that I am a protégé. Sure, the wooden initial letters may not be period correct, but they are far less blatant than the traditional yellow belt, which also wasn’t period correct. I have received a good deal of positive feedback, including from various peers. Some of my friends have expressed an interest in making similar jewelry for themselves, and I have gifted a strand to a fellow protégé.
I must add that I spoke to and received the permission of my Peer before wearing my protégé necklace. Master William gave it the “thumbs up.” Other peers may not. That is their choice. I am lucky enough that my Peer was understanding of my dislike of belts, and allowed me to come up with a creative solution.
If you like to wear belts, I applaud you. If you want to try something different and your peer agrees, you have a simple alternative.
And there you have it, just a little life hack that might make another protégé’s life a tad bit easier.