Bodice Burns

A sure fire way to spot a Rennie!

If you have attended many Renaissance Festivals, you have either seen or experienced the bodice burn.  The bodice burn is the sunburn that happens on the chest of a woman where the bodice she is wearing does not cover as much skin as she is used to and the exposed flesh gets a sunburn in the reverse shape of her bodice.

bodiceburnUsually, like any good sunburn, the bodice burn is noticed the day after the faire.  The young maiden has gotten her garb ready and is at the fair in her wench-ly goodness (or queenly goodness).  She has spent all day at the faire from opening to closing.  She has set through every show, watching Thom Selectomy swallow swords and much more.  She has shopped at every shop and has the puzzle ring on her finger to prove it.  She has eaten far too much faire food and there is even the stain left from a Smoked turkey Leg to show that she had a good time eating.  She and her crew of Rennies are heading home.

The next morning, she rolls out of bed and notices that her chest hurts and that it feels like a sunburn.  But, she thinks:

“I put on sunscreen, how can this be?”

She runs to the bathroom and discovers above her bosom, right directly on her chest, a bright red mark left by the absence of material from the dress she was wearing – the sun has marked as a Rennie.  Thus she is branded with a bodice burn.  She applied sunscreen but she forgot the area that her bodice did not cover or simply forgot that this area does not see the sun with our modern clothes and she should have reapplied half way through the day.

I have a good friend that keeps her bodice burn through the entirety of the Ren Faire season.  She also keeps two unburned marks on her chest from the fact that she always wears a set of Chinese coins around her neck.  There is almost always the double helix of these coins left in relief after a full day at a faire.

Now, lest I be accused of being prejudice, men you are not immune from this type of sunburn.  In our non-Rennie society, we wear shirts that cover our chests most or all of the time.  There have been many times though when I come home from the fair that the next morning my pirate shirt, which I don’t tie anymore, has left a very deep V on my chest.  This is the poet shirt version of the bodice burn.  Though not as sexy, it is still very painful and a great way to spot a Rennie.

So remember the song, Rennies:  Always wear sunscreen!