Where this is coming from: A Peer, in the SCA, is someone who:
- Excels at either service, or A&S, or heavy combat (or other bar, such as having served as Queen)
- Possesses and demonstrates Peer Like Qualities (PLQs)
I am of the opinion that everyone in the Society is expected to act with PLQs. Then, those who also meet the first requirement are thusly elevated. It should be exceedingly rare to have someone who would be deserving based on requirement 1, but doesn’t rise due to the second point. Should be. Should be.
I have been working on this post, summarizing what “Peer-Like Qualities” are for about 2 months. I set out one basic rule for myself: be positive. As in, “Don’t gossip”, being a rule set in the negative (“don’t…”) eventually found its way to “peddle in truth”. I was surprised by how difficult the task I laid out for myself was. I talked to a lot of people and came up with a lot of wishy washy opinions. The best I got (because it was one I came back to over and over again) was “It’s like pornography: I know it when I see it.”
I honestly thought I’d get a list that was about 10 items long. But, here is what I have come up with. Comments, suggestions for more, etc, are most welcome. Feel free to disagree with me and provide discourse to that end.
- Speak in the light and always truthfully. (This is what became of “peddle in the truth”). Think of it this way: No matter what you say, just assume that someone you didn’t think would hear it, will hear it. And, well, it’s much easier to remember what you’ve said and to stand behind your words if you always speak the truth.
- Treat everyone with respect. Not “the respect that you feel they are due” or “respect that you think they have earned” but RESPECT. Period. If you are unable to be respectful towards someone, then acknowledge this as the negative that it is, and remove yourself from the situation.
- Speak up for what is right. Immediate addendum to this: not for yourself. There is a lot wrapped up into this, including an assumed humility. But the most important corollary to this PLQ is this:
There will be times, because we are all human, where we will lose our cool. The best way to ensure that you have lost your cool in a justified way is when you have gotten that angry in standing up for someone else, or for a greater good. If you are getting that angry in a harm done to you alone, then before you lose your cool publicly, find a trusted level headed person and discuss the situation with them. You may be wrong, or even if you’re right, there might be a better way to handle the situation. Not that these may not be true if you stand up for someone else (or a greater good) but it is human nature that this is less likely to be the case in these situations. I’m not saying to never speak up for yourself, of course. But if we all focus on standing up for others, then that will become a moot point, so I am simply not including it as a PLQ.
And…. That’s it. That’s all I have. Just three. I surprised myself.
Recently I saw someone tell a Lady of the Rose to “shut up”. There was, as there should be (see PLQ #3), a lot of ruckus raised over this. But invariably the protestors said things like “don’t be mean to a woman” or “don’t tell a Lady of the Rose to shut up.” This doesn’t sit right with me. I fail to see why it’s worse to tell a woman to shut up just because of her gender. Or a Lady of the Rose due to her status. If anything, LOWER status should be treated more carefully….. you gotta figure that a Lady of the Rose has developed a skin thicker than the average new person and because of PLQ #4, she isn’t going to listen to that rude advice anyways.