What’s in a Title…

So, one of the things I have been thinking about as I approach my elevation next month is how I will style my name after.  Titles can be kind of fraught things, and using one takes…practice.  Perhaps a little back story.

The first award most of us who start the SCA as adults (or adult-ish persons…I started playing at around age 16 locally in the Barony in my hometown) is the Award of Arms, or AoA, which lets a person style themselves as Lord or Lady SCA Name.  Usually this is an exciting event in the life of a new SCA member.  Unfortunately, for a select few of us, the experience of getting your AoA is poorly handled, and it becomes something emotionally fraught.  When I received mine, there was a lot of…weirdness involved which left me feeling less like I had received it on the merits and more like I was a pawn in a game of wider politics.  It wasn’t happy.  I went home and cried on the phone to my now husband.  And on his advice, I stuck the scroll in a drawer and ignored it.  For years.  So I didn’t tend to use the title Lady Aline at all, at least until later, when I received other awards that bore an AoA if the recipient didn’t already have one.

It also has always felt a little bit weird to introduce myself as Lady Aline in person to people.  I’m Aline.  (And occasionally in writing, Alien or Alime if I am tired and typing overly fast..).  Then I received my Grant of Arms as part of being made a member of the Order of the Silver Hammer, and I became Honorable Lady Aline.  Which just seemed…weirder.  So while I tend to write my letters as HL Aline Swynbroke, when I meet people, I am usually still just Aline.

Now, though, I’m being elevated to the Laurel, and as people keep telling me, everything changes.  I’ll be a Peer of the Kingdom, and the Society.  I’ll be someone people look up to.  Expectations will change.

Now, I suspect that when introducing myself, I’ll still be just Aline.  Because old habits die hard, and at the end of the day, that’s who I am.  However, I will need to start signing things with a title, and I’ll probably be getting introduced by it by others as well.

The standard English title for a female member of the Order of the Laurel is Mistress, which is fine.  It works perfectly well, since Aline is English born and bred.  However, Aline is also learned and traveled, and based on her marriage to a German mercenary (thanks, Edward, Prince of Wales), she is probably living on the continent somewhere.  So, the other option is to use the Latin, Magistra.  I like the sound of the title in Latin, and it matches will with what I am doing with my fealty oath (which will be in Latin).

So, it’s something to think about.  And I could always alternate.  But it definitely falls under “Gee, I never thought about needing to think about that before.”