On the Dignity of Kilts
by Julian Jensen
Since we are on the topic of removing pants: My first encounter with the kilt phenomenon this Pennsic.
Anyone who has ever worn a real kilt knows instantly that there is no dignity to be salvaged from kilts. I am not talking about those wimpy little kilts that you simply buy and strap on. Bah! I am talking the real deal here. Why do we wear them? Because the women want us to. Actually, a pretty good reason. So after much consideration and soul-searching (and a few friendly polls) I decided to join the ranks of kilt wearers.
What were the Scots thinking? Were they even thinking at all? No wonder they got the shit kicked out of them on a regular basis. They were probably late for all their battles. I think it is all a huge cosmic misunderstanding. Someone on the armourarchive has this tagline that I think explains the kilt admirably: Kilt is a verb, as in 'I done kilt him'
Somehow women got us all fooled into believing it is actually a skirt and supposedly soooo sexy. Oh, and that guys wearing a skirt are extra cool.
First, there is the shocking purchase of the kilt itself. See, there is no such thing as a period kilt. It is actually not a garment but rather 10 yards or more of very itchy wool. I know the sheep were glad to get rid of it. Once the price shock has faded and a normal color has returned to you face you break down and buy the darn thing under the watchful and appreciative eye of your lady on account of whom this whole escapade came to be in the first place.
Lugging the mass of fabric back to your pavilion you are now faced with an even greater affront to you highly esteemed dignity. The kilt application.
A kilt requires some serious preparation to put on. First, you put down a belt. On top of this belt you then lay the evil fabric itself. It must then be carefully pleated. Yeah, pleated. Makes you feel really warrior-like and battle ready. "Don't start without me, guys, I am pleating my kilt!" The proper length of fabric must be left at the ends and folded properly.
Now comes the real humiliation. In order to actually get the infernal garment to stay on your body you are now required to lay down, take of your pants, and underwear if worn, and then roll around lifting up the ends of the kilt. This procedure is invariably observed and judged by your lady's smug eyes and smirking face. She can't believe she got you to do this. All she had to do was mention Liam Neeson and Mel Gibson and off you went to the store. And now, here you are, 20 minutes later with you dangly bits flopping around crazily while trying to get the thing to not look like you are wearing hotpants.
Now the fun really starts. Having properly festooned yourself with yet another belt, a dagger and a huge claymore hanging on your back from a baldric you feel ready to face the world of Pennsic head on hoping that you won't meet any really short people. Walking around you think of all the advice people gave you regarding your thighs rubbing together. Somehow you couldn't get yourself to smear olive oil on the inside of your thighs and walk around Pennsic leaving a trail like a slug. This is when you realize that it is not the thighs you have to worry about. It is the fact that in a matter of minutes you will find yourself in possession of a hairless scrotum. As much as this may intrigue your lady you really don't want the other Scots to get the wrong idea. Not to mention upsetting the sheep. Since you are already tired from walking back up from the bog you decide to take a quick rest on the slope in front of the Spotted Pony and consider this new disturbing turn of events.
This is the moment when you realize a few other facts regarding the kilts. You sit and realize how wonderfully cool it is. So cool You lean your head back and relax for a moment. You look at the people passing by. They are all looking at your kilt. Maybe this thing isn't so bad after all. You look down and realize that you are at this point completely and fully expose to the environment. Not just a little exposed. Not the kind of exposure that could be explained away as a trick of light. Part of your anatomy is severely and irrevocably protruding into the hot Pennsic day.
You suddenly remember that somebody once explained to you why the Scots have those pouches hanging down in front of the kilt. You lean forwards and scramble to once again enclose the offending member. At this point you also realize that sitting down with a heavy claymore on your back has solidly staked you to the ground. Your embarrassment now closely matches the entire getting-dressed event.
You hastily retreat back to your pavilion hoping no one saw your face. Which is probably a good assumption in this case. You take off the kilt while shaking your head. You vow to never wear dreadful thing again. You then look up at your lady and notices how she looks at you removing the kilt and realize one thing: Yeah, you'll probably wear it again.
Story by Julian Jensen, a patron of Pennsic, the big SCA war that takes place every year in Pennsylvania. Used by permission of the author.