Saturday, April 25, 2020

Rocking The Man Skirt

New shop coming in on Alberta Street where the doo-dad shop used to be. Stumptown Kilts. We didn't have a kilt shop yet on Alberta and we have to cross our fingers that it will make it, stranded on a corner at least two blocks away from the nearest Thai or Mexican restaurant. Noodles and tortillas run this street like electricity, and you don't want to be too far from an outlet.

I wish them well. I'm a fan of kilts. They're snappy. I like the old time kilts best, though. A few centuries ago a kilt was basically a gigantic tablecloth, assuming your table seated fourteen, and half of it got bunched up into a skirt and the rest got wrapped around whatever chilly bits were left out: over the shoulder, around the bend, on the head, tucked into the waist. You had to lay it out on the ground and painstakingly fold over all the pleats, then lie down on it and cinch it with a belt. You could probably wrap your horse in it. It was an operation, putting that on.

It seems silly to have to lie down to put your clothes on, but I remember doing it myself. In the old days when pants were supposed to be tight, and Spandex hadn't been discovered, we had to lie down on the bed just to get them zipped up.

But the so-called "great kilt" got abbreviated at some point and now most men wear just the short kilt, although there's still plenty of material involved. The classic great kilt and newer kilts are all gathered mightily in the rear and sides, and flat in front. Simple knife-pleasts, usually, but sometimes box pleats. I know box pleats.

You KNOW I'm putting in Liam Neeson.
I know box pleats because when we learned to sew in 8th-grade Home Ec, we had to make a box-pleated skirt, for some goddam reason. Each pleat is folded on both sides and stitched down. You start with a couple hundred yards of fabric and pleat your way to your tiny 8th-grader waist size, a number you will never see again. It was a giant pain in the ass. I don't recall if I ever wore my pleated skirt, but I do remember it was blue and white gingham, unless that was the apron we also made to wear when we were supposedly learning how to cook but didn't.

Anyway the modern kilt is much like that gingham number, and you don't have to fold it up on the ground in order to get into it.

I get a big kick out of the men wearing kilts around Portland these days. That is because there is clearly a bit of pride involved in deciding to wear one in the first place, America being the sexually repressed place it is. "I am manly enough to wear a skirt," the modern Portland man says, and just in case there's any doubt about the manliness, his skirt is made out of some kind of poop-brown duck cloth you could make tractor tires out of. You know Carhartts? That material, folded ten ways to Sunday and fortified with extract of boar gristle. Doll that bad boy up with rivets, chains, buckles, a winch rope, tiny skulls, bear claws, and penis bones and slap on a sneer and nobody's going to come after you.

Then top it with your sporran. That's Scottish for "purse," but no one has to know that. It's worn right in front, and comes in various sizes depending on how much you're planning to pack, or are already packing.

They also sell a "sport utility" kilt, but I'm pretty sure you can get a King Cab Super-Duty version with cupholders if you want. Whichever you choose, be sure to accessorize with your sporran, and mind how it's hanging.

37 comments:

  1. You say "men wearing kilts in Portland" like there are a lot of them doing this. Seriously? I've never seen a man around here wearing one on an everyday basis -- just for the Highland games over in Maryland.

    But I could see why they'd do it. I wear dresses in the summer because they are cooler and more comfortable than pants. But I really need to look into sporrans because none of my dresses have pockets. and I'm not about to carry a purse around the house like the Queen.

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    1. I think if you just rechristen an old fanny pack a "sporran" you'll be in 'em.

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  2. One huge magnet and all of Liam's contingent would be out of business with all of that hardware. The woods is the last place I would want to wear a camouflage (or any other kind of) skirt. Long pants to the fore!

    As to lying down to put on pants: Thankfully, I am too old to have gone through that. In my day, "nice" girls didn't wear tight pants. Really, pants were reserved for the woods - when I went bird watching. Pants were verboten in school and, god forbid, in church.

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    1. We couldn't wear pants to school until I was a junior in high school, I think. We wore pants under our dresses to walk to school during the winter.

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    2. I wore pants to school every winter and every winter after I carried home a note forbidding the pants my dad would go to the headmaster's office and tell him off. I continued to wear the pants.

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    3. As late as the winter of 1960, I tried wearing a pair of plainly tailored, not-too-tight, black, woolen slacks to work on a Saturday - when I had to walk across a wind-swept concrete apron with a temperature of -17 degrees F to get to our office spaces - that the men made my life so miserable that I never again wore slacks to work in that place. (I worked there for two years to earn the money to return to school to finish a bachelor's degree.)

      In those days, the workplace was nearly bereft of women and conditions were unbelievably hostile to the few of us. Federal regulations put into place in 1976 made a world of difference.

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    4. I think a solution is everyone should wear skirts. Retroactively.

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  3. Living in Wisconsin, I'm confident it will be a long time before the trend hits my town.

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    1. Shoot, if your anti-shutdown demonstrators would just wear kilts, I'd feel a lot better about them.

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  4. The Penis Bones Print with a well hanging Sporran please! That 1st Image Model is giving me palpitations!

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    1. You're lucky he isn't charging you for them.

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    2. If 'twere any shorter, I'd have to go take a second dose of me heart meds. This blog is getting dangerous for old ladies to read. Please post warnings in the future, or put the more titillating (what a delicious word) images behind a thumbnail. (or not) LOL

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  5. We have a few guys wearing them around here, but very little surprises anyone. I might have, but I don't have the legs for it anymore. I am always aware of how it's hanging, however.

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    1. You always say just a little less than we need.

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  6. I was sent home (from kindergarten) for wearing pants on a very chilly day.
    And was forced to wear grey box pleated tunics for much of my school life. Luckily I never had to make them.
    I was fascinated learning about the great kilt - thank you. And it made me think of sarees which also have a plethora of fabric which the initiated can turn into a functional (and lovely) item.

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    1. That is quite a process! And did Germans wear kilts, I wonder.

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  7. My great grandmother was a kiltmaker in Scotland. My grandfather and his brothers were her product models. My grandfather and his brothers got in a lot of fights because their peers used to hoist their kilts and smack their asses. There is a photo of my grandfather wearing a kilt while on a return trip to Scotland in the 1950s. Never saw him wear one in person. Never saw one among his effects. Some how I feel as though I have missed something...

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  8. Jerry has two 'utilikilts'... from Seattle.... He wore a formal tuxedo kilt for Grace's wedding and then a utilikilt for something else... I agree on Liam Neeson and would add Jeff Goldblum... and Jerry of course

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    1. And Jerry of course. No on Jeffy. I remember being impressed with him the first time I saw him (in "Nashville") but then it was so clear that he was even more impressed with himself than I was, and it ruined it.

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  9. (I assume that Anonymous, above, is a bot of some sort. Would you make it go away? It depresses me that bots can twitch my emotions, even when I know they're just algorithms. When the Chinese get the hang of them, they'll do it cleverly enough that we won't know we're being played. The which thought depresses me all the more.)

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    1. I can make it go away. I can swat, anyway. I'm too much of a boomer to know how to make it go away permanently. BUT I did get a blog post out of 'im...stay tuned!

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    2. go into your new post page, find comments on the left and click on that, the list of published comments opens then you find his comment tick the box, go to the top of the comments section and tick spam, the comments will disappear from the list, then immediately go to spam (under the published under comments) click to open, then tick the spam comments and delete. After that your blog should recognise that type as spam and catch it before it gets made public.

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  10. Heh. I greatly enjoyed your description of the manliness of the kilts! Yes, they're masculinized to within an inch of their. lives.

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  11. The Ghos in Bhutan have much the same complexity, but all the guys wear them. It's the national dress! I think pants and shirts are definitely over-rated. I'm partial to fleece myself.

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    1. There's really no underestimating the delights of the breeze.

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  12. Stumptown Kilts seems like a very niche store. If they've done their market research correctly, it would back up your observational data on the number of men wearing kilts in your area! We had such a store in our area (because Nova Scotia after all - translation from Latin = New Scotland) but it finally went kaput.

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    1. It is a very tiny store. Kind of a pity it just opened in time for a pandemic.

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  13. Thank you so much for the Liam Neeson picture, he's one of my favourite actors. I agree many men do look good in a kilt. My children have Scottish ancestry from their father's side, so are entitled to wear the family tartan if they wish. So far they haven't wished.

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    1. Sometimes I see Liam Neeson on the big personal nighty-night screen.

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    2. Thanks, River, I did what you suggested.

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  14. My son wears a green utilikilt but I have not asked what he wears under it.

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    1. So, I should look it up, but is a utilikilt that Carhartt's stiff mofo with all the hardware?

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  15. Two more above here that should get the spam treatment.

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