It's not often that a national news story strikes a particular nerve in my Sherlockian past, but today was one of those days. It was revealed that the vice-president of the United States, a position one would think would be held by the sort of person who had his act together, will not eat a meal with a woman other than his wife, unchaperoned.
At this point, it's been over twenty-five years since the Baker Street Irregulars of New York decided they could start dining with women without their wives being present. And even though some of us would have had happier Sherlockian lives had that happened a few decades earlier, the last twenty-five years have been good ones. We're making progress, not just as Sherlockians, but as humans.
So it's a little astounding to me that there are still those out there who are afraid of co-ed dining. It makes a certain statement about one's feelings about half the human race . . . which half, I'm not sure . . . that they are, as a certain figure once put it, "not to be trusted." (These days, it's probably more applicable to the men, given all the weasels of my gender we've seen of late.) And sometimes those who have the biggest trust issues are the ones you least want to trust. We do tend to predict other people's reactions based on our own inner workings, after all.
Where does that leave us?
Well, the 221B Con schedule came out today, and as any regular attendee has discovered, the abundance of attractive programming often leaves one with no time for dining . . . even if one eats alone. So I suppose 221B Con would be an attractive Sherlockian venue for those who still have issues dining with the opposite sex, since you can handily find an excuse not to eat at all. Though I'd suspect those folk wouldn't be attending the burlesque show or the late-night fic writing workshops . . . one wouldn't want to be seen as a libertine! Heavens!
The world continues to change, despite the fearful, despite the selfish, and change for the better. The chance to attend something like 221B Con the last few years has been pure and solid evidence of that fact to me, even in a hobby as old as Sherlockiana. A handful of brave souls who wouldn't have been allowed an invitation to the biggest Sherlockian event of the year three decades ago stepped up and created what has now become the biggest Sherlockian event of the year to many of us.
The world doesn't change for everybody, as that little news tidbit that started this post shows. But it is a-changing. It surely is. And I'm glad for that.