Part of immersing oneself in the fairy fantasy world – at least for a weekend at FaerieCon – is to be able to act out what otherwise can only be experienced when reading a fantastic Fantastic book. There is real seduction in the idea of possessing magical powers and being a hero, of being untouchable, or fey. Part of the fun in fantasy is that you have more power and you can get what you want.
When I sit in the session rooms, I am struck by the variance in attire. I am in jeans, but the front row is populated with be-winged adults. And by Day 2, my conference companion’s ears became decidedly pointy.
Why do people come and dress up? It’s not dissimilar from that widely known, and oft-mocked (unfairly!) Trekkie subculture where people really get into it. It doesn’t take a psych degree to understand why getting caught up in a fantasy subculture is so attractive – and barring those few on the extreme fringe who drop out of life in favor of total immersion in the subculture, this is not an unhealthy pursuit, despite what your mother may say.
It may be that the woman three rows up in a yellow satin bodice and shimmery wings and matching headpiece and make-up is completely out of touch with reality, but I don’t think so. I think she is having a lot of fun. I’d venture that down to a man, woman (and elf?), every last person’s life outside of this conference is almost certainly full of more drudgery than wings might bespeak. But this harmless role-playing has a level of magical heroism to it. This is about fun. It’s about allowing space in your life to get caught up in world that is particularly appealing. Some people re-enact Civil War battles. Others would sooner miss family Thanksgiving than skip the Renaissance Faire. The fey folk flock here.