Welcome, Utilikilt Newsletter readers! Seeing myself mentioned in the newsletter was a very pleasant surprise — good to (virtually) meet all of you! For more UK goodness, drop by the Flickr Utilikilts Group, going strong since 2004. :)
On Aug 16, 2005, at 10:03 PM, Amy wrote:
I have a question about the utilikilt you wear. I’m sure you covered it somewhere on you blog but I wanted to know what’s the draw of the kilt? What I mean is, why is a utilikilt better than wearing shorts or pants? Do you take a lot of crap from strangers when you’re out in public?
I’ve been meaning to write you for a while now on one subject or another from your blog but this is my burning quesiton!!
(grin) Well, let’s see…
When I first started seeing them after moving down here to Seattle, I just thought that they looked really cool and comfortable, but wasn’t sure if I’d ever actually be brave enough to wear one. I kept seeing them around, though, and every time they’d catch my eye. Eventually I got the name of the company and started poking around their website, looking at the different models available, checking prices, and turning it over in my head.
Eventually my birthday rolled around, and I finally decided that I’d go ahead and get one as a birthday present to myself. As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten less concerned about “what people may think,” so while I still didn’t know how often I might wear it, I figured I’d probably pull it out of the closet often enough to make it worthwhile. I went down to the UK store and bought my first kilt (which was a pretty entertaining experience in itself), and wore it around that day before and after work — and got my first compliments on it that day, one from a couple guys walking into IHOP, and a jaunty wave and smile from a pretty blonde girl driving down the road.
Really, there’s a few “why’s” to wearing the kilt:
- Comfort: It is much more comfortable than pants or shorts. Physiologically speaking, pants and shorts don’t even entirely make sense for men. We’ve got these silly dangly bits dead center that don’t always play nice with seams and zippers, occasionally need to be readjusted (you’d think they’d come set at the factory, wouldn’t you?) and, in all honesty, can be an (admittedly somewhat amusing) pain to deal with.
Wearing the kilt — especially if worn “traditionally” (that is, without underwear) — is much nicer. Nothing’s bunched up, constricted, or any of the other annoying little tendencies that men have to deal with. Quite nice.
- Style: It looks good! Admittedly, this is one of those “eye of the beholder” things, and not everyone is going to agree, but so far in my experience, the majority of people (men and women) really like seeing a man in a kilt. I’ve even had a few people (some complete strangers) tell me that I can pull it off better than some other men they’ve seen — between my trim build and years of walking all over the place giving me fairly strong calves, apparently the look works quite well for me.
Ego: See above, in part. ;) I do get a fair number of compliments, and it’s not at all uncommon for me to catch people eyeing me as they pass me on the street. Admittedly, some do have a puzzled not-sure-what-they’re-seeing look, but there’s also the boost of being passed by a cute girl who’s obviously checking me out!
Confidence: This also somewhat ties into the last two, but given our society’s reluctance to anything that doesn’t fit the “norm”, it does take a certain level of self-confidence to wear a kilt out in public. I was definitely a bit nervous about it the first few weeks I was wearing it, but after wearing it regularly for about a year and a half now, I hardly even think about it (to the point where I’ll sometimes forget that it’s unusual and have to think for a moment when I see people giving me looks when I walk down the street). The self-confidence it took to start going out in public wearing it has only grown as I’ve gotten more accustomed to it.
Also, people realize that that level of confidence and comfort in oneself has to be there. How much of it is me projecting more confidence in myself and how much is the simple assumption that a guy in a kilt has to be pretty solid I’m not sure, but there’s definitely been a change for the better since I’ve been wearing it. I’m often a very shy guy, but…well, it’s kind of like getting dressed up to go out to a fancy function. If you look good, and if you know you look good, you get that extra little boost of confidence that allows you to relate to people in a more outgoing manner than you might otherwise. I get that little boost every day I wear my kilt.
- Health: The male body is designed to regulate its temperature automatically in order to keep ourselves at prime reproductive capability — the scrotum will drop down to cool off, or retract into the body to use body heat to stay warm. Constantly keeping the genitalia bunched up within underwear can run a slight risk of detracting from the body’s natural temperature regulation, potentially resulting in lowered virility. Wearing the kilt traditionally allows the body to do what it’s designed to do.
Disclaimer: This may be the kilt-wearer’s version of an urban legend, and I’m no doctor, so I can’t make any definite claims as to how accurate that is. Still, it makes a lot of sense, so I don’t mind using it as one of my reasons — though, admittedly, not a terribly important one for me, as I have no plans to produce any progeny in the foreseeable future. Just in case, though, better to be safe than sorry, right?
- Sex: Hey, it may be the least “politically correct” of the reasons, but ignoring this one would be foolish. To generalize for a moment, women (and gay men, for that matter) dig a guy in a kilt. It looks good, it shows off his legs, you know that he’s confident in himself and his sexuality, and there’s a good chance that he’s at least a little interesting. So flirting — already one of my favorite activities — becomes just that much easier, whether it’s a quick grin from a cute girl walking down the street, striking up a conversation that you might not have before, or a mischevious “So…what do you wear under that kilt?”
And, without delving too deeply into my personal life (my dear ol’ mum and dad do read this site, after all)…there are definite instances where the “easy access” aspect is quite fun. Gropes are a good thing, after all!
As for whether I get harassed by people when I’m wearing it — hardly at all, actually. There have been occasional instances, but looking back over the past year and a half or so, I can only come up with a few.
- A guy yelling “put on some pants!” out of the passenger window of a pickup truck as it drove by. This kind of thing — no matter what’s being yelled — always strikes me as laughably stupid. What a cowardly way to harass someone.
An overly-muscled “man’s man” walking down the street with a peroxided barbie doll on his arm who sneered “nice skirt” at me as they passed. I just grinned and said “thanks” (a kilt is a skirt, after all). Somehow, being “manly” enough to be comfortable wearing a kilt strikes me as being far preferable to being “manly” enough to spend half your life in the gym (or taking steroids), overdosing on testosterone and making snide comments to guys a third your size to impress the vacuous bimbo at your side. But that’s just me.
A few very amusing conversations with “gangsta” style guys who just couldn’t quite comprehend what they were seeing. “That’s a skirt.” “Yeah.” “But you’re a guy.” “Yeah…it’s a kilt.” “A what?” “A kilt…a skirt for men.” “Uh…it’s a skirt.” And round and round we go. These really make me laugh (and, interestingly, I’ve never gotten that level of absolute befuddlement from any other group of people…not sure what, if anything, that says, though).
Occasional other minor “nice skirt” style comments, which generally either get ignored or just answered with a simple grin and “thanks!”
That’s about it, though — and those instances are far, far outnumbered by the number of compliments I’ve gotten and conversations I’ve gotten into with people curious about the kilts. Of the encounters I’ve had, it’s easily somewhere in the general vicinity of a 95% approval (or at least acceptance) rate.
So, that’s it — that’s the “draw” of the Utilikilt. Hopefully I haven’t rambled on too terribly long, but it just wasn’t a simple two-paragraph answer. In the end, at this point, if it weren’t for the uniform required by my job, I probably wouldn’t bother with pants at all.
To finish off, here’s the “official” Utilikilts Top 10 List:
Because throughout history, men have worn un-bifurcated garments.
Because if women had an appendage hanging between their legs we guarantee you they wouldn’t be wearing pants.
Freedom, and increased mobility.
You only go around once, so why shouldn’t you be as comfortable as possible.
All men deserve air conditioning in the summer. You will chafe no more.
No more adjust, right side, left side…say goodbye to wedgies.
A word about the pockets: Unlike pants, the Utilikilt’s pockets are only sewn down on top, so that they move with the garment but not with your leg. No more bulky crap contorting the shape of your leg. The Workman’s can carry an entire six pack. You don’t have to wear your cell phone on your belt. With the Workmans kilt, you don’t need a tool belt (for lighter stuff).
The Utilikilt is made in the USA. You are supporting local industry. Your mojo will thank you.
Physical: Your virility may increase. You will experience the pleasing sensation of air conditioning.
Mental: Wearing a kilt shows a sense of security with yourself, and you will inspire much debate in others.
Spiritual: Without physical constrictions, you burden will be lighter, your sense of freedom less impaired, and your sense of yourself, will have room to grow.