Some of you have seen this before.
Too bad (##)) .
I wrote this a few months after taking up the sport.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF FENCING GLOVES
[or... Why Duelists Slap Each Other In The Face With Gauntlets]
In the beginning, swordfighting duelists fought without ever touching a
glove. The loser died with a big blister on his index finger, and the
winner lived with a big blister on his index finger; this made for ugly
corpses and set a fundamental limit as to how many people a duelist could
kill per month [the accepted number was six]*.
So they started going down to the hardware store and buying an ordinary pair
of leather work gloves. This cut down on the blistering -- some of the
better duelists could then kill as many as a dozen people per month -- but
then, as now, few were truly ambidextrous, and the glove was rather
pointless on the left [or, less commonly, the right] hand.
For a while, they threw them out. When you wanted to challange someone you
shouted "You're about as useful as a left-hand glove**. I challange you to a
duel to the DEATH at dawn tomorrow!". But fathers, having just bought their
sons a $300 dueling foil when they came of age, were loathe to also go out and
buy them a pair of gloves and, on top of that, to throw away half their
investment***. So they grumpily told them "find some use for this". These
sons did; they abbreviated a shout of "You're about as useful as a left-hand
glove." to a slap with a left-hand glove****.
Well, the eons passed. Now there's a store in San Francisco that'll sell a
single glove, made for swordfighting. So I don't feel I'm wasting anything
to not slap the other guy in the face with the non-existant other glove when
I want to arrange some fencing*****.
But that's 'cause I'm a wimp. Everyone knows that San Francisco is mostly
full of fruits, and real men would certainly never shop there, especially in
a store that also sells tights. Real men make their own weapons with
blacksmith's tools, they shun *** tips******, and they certainly don't
need masks and jackets. So they use gloves from the hardware store,
shunning shops in Shan Franshishco. So they probably still slap each other
in the face with otherwise unused gloves. But I don't know for sure. I
live too close to San Francisco to have ever seen a Real Man.
* it also set the same limit on the number of times you could BE killed per
month. This was less of a problem, because most people gave up after two
or three losses.
** left-handed duelists shouted "You're about as useful as a right-hand
glove.", confusing their right-handed enemies greatly
*** except for those lucky fathers of twins, one of each handedness
**** Some historians attribute this shorthand to a deaf-mute duelist
who was trying to develop a sign language sign for "You're about as
useful as a left-hand glove" .
***** It's a good thing. Usually I use the phone or computer mail.
****** And they plug electric weapons into 220-volt lines