A Real Flog and Pony Show

by Mike McHugh
For most of my life, people have viewed me as being a bit eccentric. I don’t see myself that way; I don’t even have a tattoo, for Pete’s sake. Still, I feel compelled to occasionally to prove to myself that I’m really an Average Joe. That’s what drives me to attend the Renaissance Festival every year. When I see a group of people there who make Kiss look like a group of opera tenors, I feel about as peculiar as meat loaf.

For this year’s pilgrimage, I decided to bring along my friend Doug, who moonlights as an investigator for that world-renowned Cajun think tank, Boudreaux and Thibodeaux Research Associates, LLC. He’s got a nose for all things absurd, and on this trip he did not disappoint.

141211 Catwoman

Flog me, baby, and I’ll rest well tonight!

On the first night at the festival campground, Doug wasted no time in scouting out the Flogging Camp. Here is where, should you be so inclined, you can find any number of leather-clad ladies armed with whips, who will gladly perform sadistic acts on you in full public view. Hearing this, I figured that the festival probably pays these women so that, once inside the gates, their clientele would consume lots of mead at inflated prices in order to relieve the pain.

Doug reported that he found a surprisingly long line of patrons anxious for services that the Flogging Camp had to offer. In an interview, one willing victim confided to Doug that he quite enjoys a good flogging in the evening because it helps him sleep at night. “Gets my endorphins going,” he said. And here the rest believed in herbal supplements as the trick to beating insomnia.


Every man’s dream?

Inside the festival, Doug was the first to spot the Horse Woman. I’d have probably not noticed her myself, she blending in so well with the rest of the human zoo. But as I said, Doug has an eye for such things. Here was an attractive woman, wearing a black body suit complete with horse’s tail, hitched with a bit and bridle a to a cart, prancing about the grounds with her man in tow. I could sense the thoughts of the other men who viewed this spectacle, waiting outside the shops while their wives gaily squandered their retirement accounts—“If only I could be so lucky. These pirate boots are hell on my bunions, and what’s more, hay I can afford.”

Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against folks who like once a year go to someplace where they can unapologetically indulge in their fetish of preference. After all, our forefathers fought so that we Americans could have the right to be flogged whenever and by whom we wish, instead of it being done by some agent of the Crown who may not even be in leather, at times that might be inconvenient.

I must say that this year’s trip to RenFest did the trick for me. Again I feel like just an average person. I can sit back in my average lounge chair, pop open an average beer (or a Lone Star if I’m feeling a bit on the freakish side), turn on my average TV, and get a dose of the reality that the networks are feeding us 24/7.

Just a few minutes watching The Real Housewives of Wherever and I think—if that’s reality, then the whole world’s a Renaissance Festival.

© 2014 by Mike McHugh

Fleur White Small

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