800 years of Daygame

Notes from a Medieval City circa 1250

I just finished reading “Life in a Medieval City” by Joseph and Frances Gies.

It is about the city of Troyes in France, not too far from Paris, that was famous for its seasonal fairs. Really enjoyable book and it is shocking how little has changed in the last 800 years.

I couldn’t help but read it with a red-pill tinted lense, and I had to share a number of quotes, common knowledge for at least 800 years.

Read more history. I find it comforting to discover that things that are broken today have been broken for millennia, and it helps me tune out the noise and focus on what is really important.

Here we go, interesting quotes from the book, followed by my snarky comments:

The feminine ideal is a slender figure, blond hair, and fair skin—“white as snow on ice,” says a poet.

Chapter 3: A Medieval Housewife

Coco Chanel made tanning chic 100 years ago, but otherwise this has been pretty constant since 1250. Gentlemen really do prefer blondes.

Women work outside the home at an astonishing variety of crafts and professions. They may be teachers, midwives, laundresses, lacemakers, seamstresses, and even members of normally male trades and occupations—weavers, fullers, barbers, carpenters, saddlers, tilers, and many others. Wives commonly work at their husbands’ crafts, and when a man dies his widow carries on the trade. Daughters not infrequently learn their father’s craft along with their brothers. In the countryside girls hire out as farm workers. The lady of the manor takes charge of the estate while her husband is off to war, Crusade, or pilgrimage, and wives run businesses while their husbands are away.

CHAPTER 3: A MEDIEVAL HOUSEWIFE

The modern housewife trope of the 1950’s was not normal. Women were actually kind of an asset to a business – life was hard and they had to be. Marriage sounds like you at least get some free labor out of the deal.

A craftsman had status and was leading his family in the business. A patriarch. That sounds pretty good.

Interesting that daughters often also learned the craft of their fathers.

Among the landed gentry, women are better educated than men. In the romance Galeran a boy and girl brought up together are given typically different schooling—the girl learning to embroider, read, write, speak Latin, play the harp, and sing; the boy, to hawk, hunt, shoot, ride, and play chess.

CHAPTER 3: A MEDIEVAL HOUSEWIFE

Boys and girls have different interests and different strengths. Educating women in languages and music is a good thing. Educating women in STEM or MMA is kind of silly.

Wife-beating is common in an age when corporal punishment is the norm. But wives do not necessarily get the worst of it. A contemporary observer remarks that men rarely have the mastery of their wives, that nearly everywhere women dominate their husbands.

CHAPTER 3: A MEDIEVAL HOUSEWIFE

Sounds like an Eastern European stereotype…

Interesting to consider that henpecked beta provider husbands controlled by their wives was the norm. Been like that for at least 800 years.

Women are criticized for the way they look at people, like a sparrowhawk ready to pounce on a swallow. Take care: glances are messengers of love; men are prompt to deceive themselves by them.

CHAPTER 3: A MEDIEVAL HOUSEWIFE (CITING RULES OF CONDUCT FOR WOMEN FROM POET ROBERT BLOIS)

This is where the title of this post comes from. 800 year old daygame wisdom:

Women, be careful to whom you give IOIs, men will misinterpret them

Men: IOIs from women don’t mean much

If a man courts a lady, she must not boast of it. It is base to boast, and besides, if she takes a fancy later to love this person, the secret will be more difficult to keep.

CHAPTER 3: A MEDIEVAL HOUSEWIFE (CITING RULES OF CONDUCT FOR WOMEN FROM POET ROBERT BLOIS)

A gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell. Girls should also keep their mouths shut. But when women enter into validation and status competitions with one another, as they do, she is shamed when she is scorned, dumped, left, etc. Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a Furylike a Woman scorn‘d. But in this case, she kind of brought it upon herself.

A lady shuns the fashionable décolletage, a sign of shamelessness.

CHAPTER 3: A MEDIEVAL HOUSEWIFE (CITING RULES OF CONDUCT FOR WOMEN FROM POET ROBERT BLOIS)

I have no idea what a décolletage is, but it sounds slutty, french and I would probably like it. I looked it up and it is a low neckline. So a lady doesn’t show off her cleavage.

A lady does not accept gifts. For gifts which are given you in secret cost dear; one buys them with one’s honor. There are, however, honest gifts which it is proper to thank people for.

How did she afford to travel to all these places on her Instagram? Whether or not it is true, one can’t help but wonder at her honor.

Above all, a lady does not scold. Anger and high words are enough to distinguish a low woman from a lady. The man who injures you shames himself and not you; if it is a woman who scolds you, you will break her heart by refusing to answer her.

CHAPTER 3: A MEDIEVAL HOUSEWIFE (CITING RULES OF CONDUCT FOR WOMEN FROM POET ROBERT BLOIS)

It will break her heart by refusing to answer her. Women should ignore other women scolding them. Frame is powerful. As men, more women need to be ignored. It is hard to ignore some women who deserve it, especially when they are hot.

Cut your fingernails frequently, down to the quick, for cleanliness’ sake. Cleanliness is better than beauty.

CHAPTER 3: A MEDIEVAL HOUSEWIFE (CITING RULES OF CONDUCT FOR WOMEN FROM POET ROBERT BLOIS)

Rivelino is going to love this. Keeping clean was probably more difficult 800 years ago. Perfume was invented to mask odors. This was before the black plague in 1350.

Women must not swear, drink too much or eat too much.

One must know how to eat—not to talk or laugh too much at table, not to pick out the best pieces, not to eat too much as a guest, not to criticize the food, to wipe one’s mouth but not one’s nose on the cloth.

CHAPTER 3: A MEDIEVAL HOUSEWIFE (Citing Rules of Conduct for Women from Poet Robert Blois)

The greatest hazard in the life of a woman of the thirteenth century is childbirth. If she survives the childbearing period, she stands a good chance of outliving her husband.

CHapter 4: Childbirth and Children

We are a bit removed from this in modern life, but sex was literally risking her life 800 years ago… …it was a big deal. That is still hardwired into women today, whether modern men and women realize it or not.

An old superstition holds that when twins are born the mother has had intercourse with two different men.

CHAPTER 4: CHILDBIRTH AND CHILDREN

Wait, this isn’t true?

Well-to-do women rarely nurse their own children. The wet nurse is chosen with care, for all manner of qualities may be imbibed with her milk. She must be of good character, have no physical defects, and be neither too fat nor too thin. Above all, she must be healthy, for corrupt milk is blamed for many of the maladies that afflict infants. She must watch her diet—eat white bread, good meat, rice, lettuce, almonds and hazelnuts, and drink good wine. She must rest and sleep well and use moderation in bathing and in working.

CHAPTER 4: CHILDBIRTH AND CHILDREN

Don’t let a fat party girl nurse your baby. Makes sense.

Marriages, at least those of the wealthy classes, have a legal as well as religious basis, with a contract drawn up by the notary specifying the bride’s dowry. The son and daughter of wealthy burghers may start life with a house, one or two small farm properties, some cash, and the rent from a house in town. The contract may also specify what property will be the bride’s after her husband’s death; if it does not, she automatically inherits one-third of his worldly goods.

CHAPTER 5: weddings and funerals

Whatever happened to the dowry system? I speculate that marriage for love vs marriage within one’s social class changed this and became a contributing factor to the amount of divorce out there.

Interesting that common law was 1/3 of a husbands assets after death. The paragraph prior to this one explained that divorce was extremely rare.

After the contract is drawn up, the next step is the betrothal, a religious ceremony of a solemnity approaching that of marriage itself. […] sometimes couples consider themselves married when they are no more than betrothed, converting an engagement into a clandestine marriage, which one party may later find easy to dissolve.

CHAPTER 5: WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS

The “long engagement” has been around for a loooooong time… Imagine the scoundrel daygamers of 1250 promising betrothal, only to disappear come winter.

Another trade closely associated with the taverns is prostitution. The girls of the Champagne Fair cities are famous throughout Europe. When the fair is on, servant girls, laundresses, tradeswomen, and many others find a profitable sideline.

Chapter 6: Small Business

A medieval tavern sounds like a strip club. Some things haven’t changed much in 800 years. Oldest profession indeed…

Also, a servant girl in Champagne is literally a “french maid.” Sounds hot.

[During the fair, the] cadre of regular prostitutes has been reinforced by serving wenches, tradeswomen, and farmers’ daughters.

Chapter 16: The Champagne Fair

Oldest profession indeed. Wasn’t there a British woman with a PhD that moonlighted as a prostitute? My bad, she was actually American

Things haven’t changed much in 800 years, for better or worse.

3 thoughts on “800 years of Daygame

  1. Hey Runner.

    Interesting post, man.

    > I find it comforting to discover that things that are broken today have been broken for millennia, and it helps me tune out the noise and focus on what is really important.

    Solid, sober advice ^ right here.

    It is the essence of “conservatism” to notice this. There is no “blank slate.” It is… as it ever was.

    >> A contemporary observer remarks that men rarely have the mastery of their wives, that nearly everywhere women dominate their husbands.

    This is one of my favorite points of “power” as it really works with men/women. The idea that men in general lord over women is laughable – and guys in Game know it best, as we see so many men struggling for any power in the SMP at all. As in >20% of men have power over women (is my guess). For the other 80%, it’s chaos and/or she rules.

    Men typically want/wield OVERT, obvious power – so they are easy to notice. Women typically wield COVERT, power that operates more subtly (or via whispers into the powerful man’s ear, or to court his favor).

    The “Patriarchy” is real (hallelujah), but it is extremely uncommon in actual practice. The average guy gets “chipped away” by his wife, she rules by “force of nag” and has more power than she (or he) would admit to.

    > Men: IOIs from women don’t mean much

    1000s of sets later, I still don’t really know about this. I know some “looks” are as likely to be revulsion as much as attraction – that is the point that isn’t said.

    I think IOIs are about “noticing energy.” But if she notices you, it could be for negative reasons.

    Hmmm.

    > A gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.

    As to this… we all operate blogs where we explicitly kiss and tell.

    But… and this is to the credit of tradition in modern players… we are anon and we make the girls anon. And that is a very good thing. It allows us to share, without dragging any girl down. We can compare notes, share, learn… but no reputations are ruined in real life.

    Nice post, man.

    Viva daygame.

  2. >Read more history. I find it comforting to discover that things that are broken today have been broken for millennia, and it helps me tune out the noise and focus on what is really important.

    Yes. Not enough is said about this. Perspective is the key.

    You managed to merge two of my favorite subjects in one post. Excellent.

    1. Reading “The art of worldly wisdom” right now, so it’s surreal to get a comment from someone who posts under the name of the author of the book I am reading.

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