Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor
Every science fiction franchise has its warrior group. Every warrior group has its fascinating warrior qualities, both biological and cultural. Farscape’s Luxans have a peculiar biological quirk. Their blood can become toxic to them, so any injury must be drained until the blood runs clear. Star Trek’s Klingons live in an honor bound society so tightly wound in debts and offenses that I’ve often thought the entire society would self-destruct if just the right Klingon was killed (a kind of Klingon equivalent to Archduke Franz Ferdinand).
Star Wars’ Mandalorians are yet another warrior group with a tight honor rule system. As the eponymous Disney+ show has revealed, some Mandalorians follow “The Way,” an orthodox code of behavior. One of the more important tenets of this code is that no Mandalorian may remove their helmet in front of another living being. Any Mandalorian seen without their helmet is no longer considered a true Mandalorian (until they go through a rather elaborate redemption ritual). So, for example, when it’s time to eat, the Mandalorians have to move away from each other, finding isolated spots to remove their headgear and chow down. There are no Mandalorian cafeterias.
Many obvious questions are raised by this restriction. How do Mandalorians cut their hair? How do Mandalorians get good dental care? Often these concerns may be answered simply by remembering that there are droids in the Star Wars universe. If a medical droid can give Luke Skywalker an artificial hand then it can probably be trusted to do a dental cleaning every six months. If the orthodox Mandalorians were not so secretive, there would probably be a good market in self-service medical/dental suites.
What I wonder more about though is how do Mandalorians go on dates?
Mandated helmets relieve some of the traditional insecurities involved in dating. No more worrying about hairstyle or shaving or makeup or skin condition or any of the other countless facial things about which humans fret. It is tempting to see this as a utopian view of love. Bereft of physical concerns, Mandalorian love is only spiritual.
Until, that is, you realize that for the Mandalorians, it’s all about the helmets. That is the unchanging face they present to the outside world. That helmet had better look impressive.
One can imagine a Mandalorian meet-cute going something like this:
Mandalorian: Hey, nice helmet!
Other Mandalorian: Oh this old thing? I wear it all the time.
Mandalorians are not exactly extroverts. After that, they probably start talking about how well they shoot or fly wearing a jetpack. They certainly won’t be looking at each other flirtatiously. No coy glances. No sweet smiles.
Look, what consenting members of a rigidly orthodox warrior clan do in their own lives is no business of mine. I’m just saying that there will definitely be no kissing. In fact, Mandalorian daters probably don’t even want their heads to bump together for any intimate reason. On the inside, that probably sounds like being beaned with a baseball while wearing a batting helmet.