It’s been an interesting day.
It began semi-normally, i.e. showered and got dressed. But of course, this morning I put on the kilt. This did start the ball rolling on the rest of the day’s events.
The thing I was most worried about the cycling was getting on and off the bike without flashing too much. This turned out to be the least of my worries in the end. The structure of a kilt, being essentially a wrap-around skirt with the front “apron” being the overlap, caused while riding the the two front parts to start to move outwards. Thankfully, with the help of the sporran, they never separated and hence no-one caught a glimpse of anything other than my legs (and my rump every now and again when the pleats flew up).
Because of this, once I got to work I secured the edge of the front flap to the rear where it overlaps using the kilt pin. This, strangely, was said to be not how to do it in the instructions I’d found about kilt wearing. Still, it worked and this evening the kilt was far better behaved.
As for the rest of the day, well, there were some interesting reactions which essentially could be put into three categories really:
- Smile and/or be supportive.
- Blank it out, pretend that there’s nothing different.
- Look away, get embarrassed. (And no, I’m not talking of them seeing something which they shouldn’t.)
Now, by far the most numerous were the (2) group, though this was generally more common outside of work. In work the split was probably something like (1) 70%, (2) 25% and (3) 5%. (This shouldn’t be taken as hard data, merely the “grab a figure out of the air” affair.)
I’m not really sure why anyone would want to be embarrassed about someone else wearing clothing which is only slightly unusual. People are strange.
Still, most of the reaction was very positive. Let’s see how day two at work goes.
Well, the time has arrived for the start of my month of kilt wearing.
So, this morning I packed away all my trousers into a wardrobe I hardly used and cleared out my underwear and packed that away as well. It was more a symbolic event to hide them and hence not remind me or tempt me to put any on, even in private.
My first forays into the world wearing the kilt will be up to Maplin’s to get some earbud foam covers for the new iPhone’s earphones, returning via a garden centre for bird seed and thence to Sainsbury’s for the weekly shop.
Anyway, I s’pose I’ll have to get on with it.
P.S. I wonder how I’ll feel about the whole thing in a month’s time. Who knows, maybe the trousers will never come out of the wardrobe. I somewhat doubt it, however. It would solve a whole load of problems finding clothes if I did, seeing how impossible it’s become to get trousers to fit me.
There’s only one week to go now until I start the kilt wearing.
By this time next week I will have taken my first outing to Sainsbury’s for the weekly shop and probably have mown the lawn, as the grass will no doubt be ankle high by then.
So, how do I feel about the whole thing at the moment? Well, a little apprehensive. It’s not so much the kilt wearing itself. After all, it’s just an item of clothing. No, it’s wearing the kilt with nothing underneath and the worry that I may inadvertently show too much at some point an cause offence. This is certainly not what I want to do.
Still, I’m sure it won’t happen. Or at least I doubt that I’ll cause offence.
Anyway, there’s no logical reason to worry about what may happen.
Well, it’s just over 15 days now until I give up wearing trousers. Everything’s in place.
After talking with Jemima at lunchtime the last issue I’ve been worrying about has been put to rest. Thank-you Jemima!
I’m just hoping that July isn’t too warm. Last night I had a full test-run by changing into the full outfit as soon as I got home. I discovered the best way to wear both the belt and the sporran together without them getting in the way of each other and I practised sitting down and making sure I don’t flash anyone. (I have a feeling though that there is no way of not doing so when getting on and off the bike, however briefly.) The one real discovery, however, was how very warm the long socks and kilt are together. If the weather is anything more than the low to mid 20C’s I’m going to melt!
So, what is there to do now? Well, I may look for a purse to hold my change in the sporran as it’s difficult fishing coins out from the crevices. Other than that nothing other than wait for the challenge to start.
Well, this is the last week I can make any preparations for the month of kilt wearing due to going on holiday. So, although there are three weeks until I start the task I’ve been having to get all the final things in place.
Hopefully this week the t-shirts will be ready for collection and I’ve now ordered the "kilt hose", i.e. long socks, so as to hide my hair legs from people.
With every one of these steps towards the goal the event is becoming more and more real. I’ve also been thinking more and more about the practicalities especially with respect to work and getting to and from there. There is also thinking of the way to resolve the conflict between what I’ve been asked to do at work and what the terms of the event are, which I won’t go into any more detail here. I think I’ve thought of a way to keep to the spirit of the challenge and yet still abide by the rules I’ve been given, though it’s definitely a compromise on the terms of the challenge.
Anyway, I have had some delayed reaction from the day of the photo-shoot which was quite positive. Just down the corridor from my office works an American post-doc. About a week after the photo-shoot I bumped into him and his wife at the bottom of the stairs and she commented that she thought I looked very nice in my kilt and asked if she could get a photo of me with them when I’m wearing the kilt. I joked that maybe she should get her husband one, at which point she smiled and said that they were visiting Scotland in a week or so’s time….
Anyway, that’s all I have to say on this subject for the moment. In three weeks time it all kicks off.
After the week’s illness I’m now starting to get back to organising the items required for the kilt wearing.
Yesterday I finally managed to get over to Oxford Shirtworks and ordered the t-shirts. They should be ready before I go away on my holiday. I’ve also received the "business cards" from Moo to hand out during the month which should help people find my charity fund raising page.
Today I experimented with washing the kilts. I took the one I wore for the photoshoot and washed in the washing machine on the synthetic cycle, as recommended on the label. It seems to have come out very nicely and won’t require any ironing. Not only this but it feels FAR softer and the material far more flexible. I’m wondering if the manufacturer used starch on them before shipping them out. That would certainly explain why they were so stiff.
Just before lunch I changed into my new kilt and gubbins for the first time. It certainly felt different to the "kilt" supplied with the highland costume especially its weight and the way the sporran weighed on the front. Still, it wasn’t uncomfortable and, as it fastens around the stomach rather than the hips, acts as sort of corset. Maybe I just had it a little too tight.
Again, it was a little disconcerting to begin with but that soon faded.
Anyway, I toddled over to the University Club for lunch and the regular Tuesday game of Mahjongg. The women who serve the food, who I often banter with, seemed quite amused by the kilt so I took the opportunity to publicise the sponsorship by giving them a slip of paper with the details on.
Sitting down with such a voluminous (8 yard) kilt is interesting in a canteen chair with arms. They’re just not designed to cope with so much material.
At about half one Jeremy and I walked back to the green outside the University Museum for the photo shoot. There we met up with Cheryl and Maria who were eager to see the outfit. Many photos were taken, including the following one (the composition of which I tried to describe to Jeremy):
It was interesting the reaction I got from passers by. There were three, the "S.E.P" field, the quick look and move on and (on the green) the tourists for whom it seemed to make there day. Oh, and then there were Cheryl and Maria’s reactions, which were most positive.
There was one exception to all this positivity. My colleague wouldn’t even look at me and seemed highly uncomfortable when I got back to the office and asked her what she thought. She hastily beat an exit from the room. A very strange reaction indeed. She seemed fine later, after I’d changed back into my trousers. This does concern me as I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable, then again it’s not her place to tell me what I can and can’t wear as she would rightfully object if I did the same to her. Tricky.
I need a photo of me wearing as close as possible the sort of outfit I’m going to be wearing for the month so as to put it onto the JustGiving web site. So, seeing as I have everything I need at work at the moment I’ve come to the conclusion that I might as well try it all on and get photographed with the spire of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in the background.
I’m thinking that seeing as I’m likely to drive into town after Badminton tomorrow night to collect the stuff I’d better do it at lunchtime. This would have the added benefit of a decent photographer being around, namely Jeremy Rowntree, as we play Mahjongg on Tuesday lunchtimes.
To save time (for Mahjongg) that will mean changing into the kilt etc. before lunch and going to the University Club for lunch wearing it. Well, I’m going to have to do that in July anyway, so I might as well get used to it now.
The kilts arrived this morning, delivered to work, along with the accessories.
I’m really surprised by the quality. They’re very well made and surprised that they can actually produce them and sell them for ~£40 and make a profit. They’re quite heavy too, but don’t feel too warm (I tried one on over the top of my shorts).
They are a tad too long, but seeing as this particular type only comes in one length, 24" drop, and I need 23" I wasn’t surprised by that.
As for the accessories, the sporran is functional, as is the belt, buckle and kilt pin. So, all in all a good purchase.
I’ve still to find socks to go with the outfit. I tried looking in a local outdoors shop for hiking socks. I found some which were longer than normal socks but they still only would come up to mid-calf. I may have to purchase specific kilt socks from the Scottish Kilt Company.
Who would have thought that the easiest parts of my kilt outfit to source would be the kilt and the special accessories to go with it?
Today I marched around Oxford trying to find the other parts of my outfit, namely long, black socks, an ID card holder on a sprung, retractable lead and a key chain. The last two will be needed due to the lack of pockets and the inconvenience of using the sporran for such items.
Well, I failed to get the socks, the item I thought the easiest to find. It seems that long socks are so out of fashion that no-one sells them. In this economic climate it seems that the unusual is never stocked. (e.g. trousers with 30" waist and shoes of size 7.)
I did, after some searching find the two other items, though the key chain was the hardest. Staples didn’t stock ID card holders at all. Thankfully, both W.H.Smiths and Ryman’s do, but they don’t stock key chains. I found one of those in Timpson’s, but it’s not quite what I need as I’d like a quick release clip rather than a fixed keyring on the end.
So, it looks like I’m going to have to wear short socks, unless someone can point me to a shop which sells long, black socks for size 7 feet.