I can honestly say that attending a Steampunk Convention is one of the singularly most bizarre things I have ever done. While my belief that the audience for such an event would be similar to that I am studying, I had not realised the strangeness and extremity of the personality types in evidence.
The show itself was a smashing success from the perspective of the Dante Effect. From my perspective, however, the audience was more interesting – and arguably disconnected from reality – than Ste.Croix, Stone and Ritter. And that is making quite a statement.
One particularly memorable individual went by the moniker Cobra Commander and wore what appeared to be a navy blue space suit and helmet, which he refused to remove, even under the ministrations of a particularly persuasive (at least to the male sex) member of the Dante Effect whom I had not met, or even heard of, before. Ms Delilah DuMort will be the subject of a later entry, but suffice it to say that her… assets were certainly sufficient to keep several of the males in the room sufficiently entertained for most of the evening.
One would naturally expect, then, that Xavier Stone would have been more than enraptured with Ms DuMort, but there was clearly a rather difficult history between them prior to the night’s events. She treated him with scorn, and he reciprocated by castigating her for her admittedly rather loose moral restraint.
The story of the evening claimed justification for DuMort’s animosity, although – as with any of the events I have witnessed pertaining to the members of the Dante Effect – I remain unconvinced that the story presented is true to the facts. I believe wholeheartedly that DuMort thinks herself egregiously wronged by Stone, and that he likewise despises her, either for blaming him or perhaps for feeling aggrieved at all. Stone is the sort of man who believes that the past should be allowed to dissipate and is entirely unconcerned with the emotional repercussions of his actions. It is easy to see that had he emotionally harmed DuMort in some way (by jilting her, perhaps? Cheating on her with another lover?), he would be not simply unconcerned for her feelings of bereavement, but uncomprehending about why she would remain injured after a few hours or days.
Furthermore, the image of DuMort’s relationship with Ritter was equally interesting. Ritter, like Stone, was derisive toward DuMort, particularly with regards to her intelligence (which even I must admit appears to be not of the sharpest edge). The scorn he directed toward her sarcastic attempts at flirtation did not have quite the cruel cut of Stone’s but was rather that of a man who has been putting her off for many years and knows that her advances were meant more as a form of aggravation than made in any seriousness.
Ste.Croix’s reactions were the most fascinating of the three. Like her compatriots, Ste.Croix was dismissive of DuMort’s intelligence, but not cruelly so until pushed by DuMort’s own antagonism. It was equally clear that DuMort resented the power imbalance between herself and Ste.Croix, who was clearly in command of the room. Both men seemed willing to permit Ste.Croix dominance (despite one minor incident of rebellion, over which Ste.Croix had clear control); DuMort, while allowing Ste.Croix the position of superiority, clearly objected to being subservient to the more quiet woman. DuMort is accustomed to getting what she wants, most likely through the use of her sexuality, and seemed frequently frustrated by the fact that Ste.Croix was entirely unaffected by either her feminine ‘charms’ or her antagonism.
At the end of the night, what I did notice was the clear dominance Ste.Croix has over the Dante Effect, a quiet assertiveness that extended to include the audience as well. Psychological power is a very real thing, and Isabella Ste.Croix is a master of it – this bears consideration.