Monday 12 August 2013

The Joy of Men in Skirts

I hate to say TGIF, because I believe one should live each day and not count their life in weekends. But it's been a 3-day work week which for some reason seems to plod on longer than a 5-day week. I'm sitting in the Winter Garden apologising to the pigeons for not having any more of my Edam, red pepper, and spinach sandwich left. I'm also being appalled by the number of parents who beam proudly and laugh when their hyperactive sprigs stomp and screech in order to scare the pigeons. How would they feel if some large creature were to stomp around and scare their children during their dinnertime?

My week was short because we went away for a long weekend to a wedding. I've been to a few Catholic weddings and plenty of Jewish weddings, and I've been to two religious English weddings. But this was my first humanist Scottish wedding, on the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

One of the most exciting aspects of the wedding -- besides the lone bagpiper whose tunes ushered in the bride and her entourage -- was the large number of men in kilts, including the English participants. If one were to wear a kilt in Sheffield, one would probably attract a few titters. In America a kilt could either elicit outright derision or impress the observer with how eccentric the kilt wearer is. But in Scotland I saw these Englishmen, nervous as they were being fitted with their kilts, finally relax into a manly kilted mode, most comfortable with their wrap-around layers, intricately laced shoes, daggers, and sporrans (especially handy for carrying cigarettes and mobile phones). And I don't think I was the only non-kilted female who felt quite happy to be surrounded by men in skirts.

(To be fair, the bagpiper pointed out to me that kilts are not skirts because they wrap around in the opposite direction from a skirt. But as none of my skirts actually wrap around in any direction, I'm assuming this is original distinction, back when skirts did wrap around the body. So I'm still going to think of kilts as skirts.)

I've always liked men in skirts, especially if they have good legs. In America as well as in England I've had to content myself with the occasional fashionable man (think David Beckham) sporting a long skirt, or with fancy dress parties with men dressed as women. But in Scotland it's a much less random occurrence. Just mention a wedding, a funeral, a family gathering, or a formal ceremony, and the kilts come out. I think men should be allowed to wear kilts at their whim just like women can wear skirts: to work, to a party, for a night out on the town, on a leisurely day just because they're comfortable. Man bags are finally becoming popular, which I think is a good thing.

So bring on the skirts!

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