Yes, it’s been five years since the month of the kilt.

It was almost exactly five years ago that I started my month long wearing of a kilt for charity. This blog itself was set up to document the experience. To be honest, it seems a lot longer than just five years.

Given the number of changes at work, with the change of building and a complete turn-over of postgraduates and almost all the postdocs too, the retirement of a complete generation of academics and the doubling in size totally, it’s a very different place. The “old department” is almost a dream now.

With this great turn-over there are only a few now who remember my kilted month. I’m not sure that I’d be able to do it now.

So, what about the kilt wearing now?

After a few years of not wearing one at all with the only outing being a fancy dress party for a friend’s 40th, last year saw a slight change. In November, after a bit of banter on the “Elite: Dangerous” (game) forums a group of us decided to turn up to the launch in kilts. Although this was sort of fancy dress it was also properly in public and re-introduced me to the comfort of the kilt, and complements about how I looked.

The next opportunity came after my 40th birthday when I was going out to a nice dinner in a fancy restaurant with my best friend and discovered at the last minute that my suit trousers needed cleaning and were unwearable. Out came the kilt to the rescue!

Again, there were complements about how I looked in the kilt. This is something I’m not used to.

Finally, yesterday a friend and ex-postgraduate at work who has moved up to St.Andrews University gave another opportunity to wear the kilt. Being Chinese she had a bit of a different point of view of western clothing and pronounced that she liked the outfit and “English men dress boring.” And again, unusually complementary comments on how I looked.

So, that’s three times I’ve worn it in less than a year, and each time with a great deal of positive feedback. Maybe I should find more excuses to wear it?

 

It’s been two years since, and still people are asking.

It’s somewhat surprising but it’s practically two years since I last wore the kilt properly and yet I’m still getting asked if I’m going to wear it again now any again.

The most recent event where I was asked about it (all were women) was at the University of Oxford ICTF Conference. This is an annual event currently held at the Kassam Stadium where the majority of the University’s IT staff go and “network”.

The continued interest in the kilt wearing made me think that I needed to once and for all do a poll and find out what people really thought about this subject. To this end I used an “app” on Facebook to create one and invited all those on Facebook and a few other friends to take it.

Even though the turn-out was only 10% of those asked, i.e. 21 people, the results surprisingly mirrored response I found during the time I wore the kilt:

Poll results
Do you feel that wearing a kilt is inappropriate in a modern social context? Yes 2 votes 10%
  No 19 votes 90%
       
If you saw me wearing a kilt, such as that shown in my Facebook photos page, what would your thoughts be? “Oh, he looks good in that.” 14 votes 67%
  “Oh dear! What *is* he thinking?!” 1 vote 5%
  “Where are we going for lunch?” 6 votes 29%
       
In future, would you like to see me wearing a kilt? Yes, I rather like the idea. 5 votes 24%
  Yes, but only on special occasions. 4 votes 19%
  Yes, but not in a work environment. 1 vote 5%
  I’m not bothered either way. 9 votes 43%
  Not really, but it’s your choice. 1 vote 5%
  No. I think it would be a bad idea. 1 vote 5%

One thing which made me wonder is that the number of people who believed that it was inappropriate to wear a kilt in a modern social context was larger than the number who thought it would be a bad idea to wear it.

Anyway, I can now point to this poll as the reason I don’t go around wearing a kilt all the time.

And it ended one year ago…

Yes, it’s now a whole year since I put away the kilts for the last time as normal, everyday wear.

At the time I remember being relieved that the month was over as the tyranny of having to wear the outfit was highly annoying. Well, also the fact that wearing long, woollen socks in the summer is not very comfortable.

I must admit that the year has flown by, probably due to the upheaval at work with the move to the new building, which still has some repercussions. Other than that, I’m not sure a great deal has changed in my life.

As for whether I’ll ever wear any of the kilts as normal wear ever again, I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s probably highly unlikely and I should start to think about getting rid of them. Even though they are comfortable to wear, if not driving, the perceived social pressure to conform and not wear anything unusual does feel quite strong.

Anyway, it’s probably time to stop thinking about it and leave it in the past…

P.S. Almost as soon as I posted this I got a reaction on Facebook saying, “but…. you looked so good in one!”

But did I really?

Me in a kilt

Practically a year since the kilt wearing: Thoughts on the subject.

Yes, I can’t believe that it’s practically a year since I started wearing the kilt for a month. (It’ll actually be a year on Monday.)

So, have I worn it at all since? Yes, once, to a fancy dress party. Strangely, it didn’t feel as unusual as I thought it might. Obviously my body has a memory of this being normal.

I still can’t see myself wearing a kilt casually without prompting, especially during the Summer. Having said that, it probably wouldn’t take much in the way of prompting to get me to do so. If I were to do so I’d probably get a lighter weight kilt and one in a more interesting colour than black.

As for wearing one more generally, such as to work, well I’d need a bit more convincing. I do, now and again, get a comment from one or two people saying that they’d like to see it again. However, I don’t want to make those who felt uncomfortable with it last year to feel uncomfortable again.

Actually, dear reader, I would be interested in your thoughts on the whole kilt wearing episode, now that time has gone on, if you have any.

Task completed: Some thoughts on the experience.

On Tuesday evening I took off the kilt for the last time. The month had passed relatively uneventfully but in the end I was glad that I could change back into trousers again.

The kilt was generally very comfortable to wear and after the half way mark had become “normal” as had not wearing any underwear beneath the kilt. Gone had the feeling of being naked in public and it was now natural.

No, none of these were the reasons that I was glad that the month had ended. Kilts are merely inconvenient. Or rather, the gubbins associated with them are a pain. You see, the kilt itself does take extra work to put on and take off but then there is the sporran, which needs its chain to be thread through the loops at the back. It needs to be taken off whenever you go to the loo and gets in the way when driving. It’s also not as good as a good pair of pockets for storing things.

The kilt itself is a pain in the behind, literally, when sitting in the car. The bucket seat design forces you to sit on the copious pleats which then after a few minutes create pressure points. Driving for more than a quarter of an hour is highly uncomfortable.

Having said all that, I’m glad I went through the experience and I would recommend that everyone try wearing a skirt (let’s face it, that’s what a kilt is) without anything beneath for at least two weeks, preferably three. The first two weeks are to get used to the feeling and the third to show yourself that it is actually a perfectly valid thing to be able to do infinitum if wanted. Also, it’ll show you that there’s nothing sexual about such a way of dressing either. Maybe if everyone did this there would be less prejudice about clothing choice.

Will I wear a kilt again? I don’t know. Not to work, even though a number of people have said word to the effect that they miss seeing me in the outfit. (There are a few who are glad that I’m back in trousers.) I’ve found the change back to anonymity interesting as well. People are truely strange creatures, especially those who allow clothing choice to colour their whole world.

And what about the transition back to trousers? Well, less of a bother than expected. It did take a few hours before I could feel comfortable again but after that had passed it was back to normal again. Still, trousers with undies underneath are certainly more sweaty and probably far less healthy in warm weather.

And what about the charity fund raising? Well here I am totally amazed. Currently the sum is approximately £1100! I never thought I’d get anywhere near the £1000 mark and I’ve topped it. This is very good news.

And so, now life goes back to normal and I can climb ladders or lift heavy objects off the floor without worrying that I’m going to give someone a view they weren’t expecting. In that way being back in troose is very liberating. 🙂

A week to go and three gone by.

Well, by this time next week I will have finished my calendar month long task of wearing a kilt. Essentially, it will end with me changing into my badminton gear after getting home from work.

I must admit that it will be strange to go back to wearing trousers. Wearing the kilt has become very normal now. What I won’t miss will be the long socks (which are hot and itch in this weather) and the masses of pleats at the rear of the kilt which make sitting in the car very uncomfortable and actually painful after a while. Oh, and then there are the inconveniences of all the tackle such as the sporran and the belt.

Having said that, walking around (when the sporran is lightly loaded) is very comfortable. So, they do have their advantages.

The other thing I’ll have to get used to again is the anonymity in the street. But then again I’ve now got so used to the looks that I hardly notice them any more.

Anyway, there’s still a week to go, though I don’t see any major challenges to overcome during that time, other than warm weather.

And now it’s half way…

I can’t believe that it’s been about a week since my last update. Then again it’s been pretty busy and I’ve hardly spent any time at home. Anyway, on with the post.

Well, it’s now been a little over two weeks since I started wearing the kilt and there’s approximately the same to go until the 3rd August, the last day of the challenge. So, how have things been going?

In general, there’s not a huge amount to report on the actual kilt wearing side other than all of a sudden it’s started feeling scarily normal. That is, since yesterday it’s not felt unusual at all to be wearing essentially a skirt with nothing underneath, to the point where I’m forgetting about it. Previously it’s been comfortable but unusual. I’m going to have to be more careful to remind myself how to sit etc.

The only real down side to wearing the kilt is that it’s a faff to get in and out of the car and the bunched up kilt is darned uncomfortable to sit on when driving. I s’pose it was never designed for car driving.

As for people’s reactions. I’m still seeing a very mixed bunch, though I’m noticing it a lot less. I was out around town on Friday evening and the reactions I got ranged from an old woman scowling and saying, “Why?! Why?! Why?!” under her breath to a student aged woman saying, “I like the kilt. I’ve been trying to get my boyfriend to wear one but he won’t. More men should wear kilts.” Admittedly, the great majority of people seemed to either not notice or mentally blank it out.

I have had even more positive reactions today, however. Firstly, when I was walking to buy lunch, a fellow came up to me and asked what sort of kilt it was. I explained that it was just a casual kilt and happened to be black. Anyway, the conversation continued and it turns out that he works in the Pitt Rivers Museum and had now had the idea that maybe it would be interesting to try wearing a kilt.. So, I may have a convert!

Secondly, someone who used to work in our accounts department came visiting the Department. She thought that my kilt looked really go and, once again, that it suited me and why didn’t I continue to wear it after the month s up? This was echoed again elsewhere by one of our Chinese academic visitors. She thought that too many people in the Department just wear the same old clothes and so why didn’t I keep wearing the kilt?

Is there a secret society out there trying to persuade me?! 🙂

As for my colleague’s reaction. Other than an initial, mild reaction at the IT support staff conference there’s been no problem, thankfully. So it’s all good.

Anyway, two and a bit weeks to go!