Okay, here's your chance to get a deal. I try not to use this blog for blatant commercialism for Bear Kilts but I'm having my first ever sale. If it goes well, I'll do it every year. Bear's Birthday Sale! If you don't have a kilt yet, this would be a good time to start!
A guy walks into a bar ... no wait. That's not the joke. A guy walks into a second hand store ... never mind.
Does anyone here have the ability to walk BY a second hand store? I don't. Same thing with a thrift store, though you don't (usually) get the same quality of stuff. Every now and then, I get lucky and find a deal on just what I want. It's hard to find a kilt jacket/coat because they have to be cut short at the bottom to allow the pleats to move freely. Not all styles look 'right' with a kilt, either. Check out this leather coat I bought for $40.00! It really suits being worn with a kilt. The best part is that it works with all my kilts, unlike a wool jacket. I guess the joke is on those who don't dive into second hand stores!
There is a double standard, even among those who go kilted, that is generally accepted as a good double standard. It has to do with proper accessorization of kilts. On the bus to work today, I noticed a man in a black suit wearing brown shoes. "Never get away with that in a kilt," I thought. Then I mentally slapped my own face. All day I've been seeing guys 'dressed up' in suits, committing horrible gaffs in their wardrobe choices - and nobody cares! Put on a kilt though, and every stranger on the street feels the need to point out that your shoes don't match your sporran, or one sock is higher than the other by half an inch. And the people who comment invariably have a glaring fashion faux pas to throw back at them.
I'm also told by the kilted community that I am representing all those others who are wearing kilts, so if I'm rude to someone, it reflects badly on the kilted. WTF is with that? My worry is that people will start to think of men in kilts, not …
What if I told you that the clan tartans as we know them today are only 200 years old?
This link is a page on the albanach.org site. Matt Newsome states that clan tartans came to be recognised and listed much later in history than I had imagined; in the 18th century!
There have been kilts and tartans in Scotland for at least since the 16th century. Nobody I know is questioning that, nor have I seen any solid evidence that kilts were invented anywhere else but Scotland. (My Irish blood compells me to add that if a Scotii combined a leine and brat, he'd get a rudimentary kilt.)
I had also thought that clan tartans were from the 16th century but the albanach.org site gives evidence to the contrary, even telling you the where and why that the clan tartans were made.
Whatever you think of the site, it's a fascinating read and Newsome certainly seems to know his stuff!
There comes a time when kilts are so ingrained in one's everyday life that people don't see it as a costume on you, when it is a natural garment, when you can wear it and forget it. I can spot these guys in a crowd of kilted men.
I was stopped on the way to the bus yesterday evening by a bunch of twenty-something costumed party animals.
"Nice kilt!" I heard from a (pirate?) girl. There wasn't much costume with which to form an opinion of what she was supposed to be. "You're not dressed up for Hallowe'en, are you?"
" No, I wear one everyday."
Turns out she is a highland dancer and attends the same BC Highland games that I do.
I found it refreshing that she could see that I wasn't dressed up for Hallowe'en.
Will a guy in a kilt be thought to be wearing a costume on Hallowe'en? Probably, by some. But some will see the kilt as a garment. So, don't leave the kilt at home when you go out trick or treating.
What better way fo…
I delivered a kilt today, to a customer who is leaving for Hawaii in a few days. Laurence got a lightweight Maple Leaf kilt, which will be perfect for Hawaii. He was quite happy with the weight.
I delivered the kilt to him where he works, a huge camping/hiking store. Other staff members took pictures of us two kilted guys. (He usually wears a kilt at work.) They thought it odd that there were two guys that wear kilts all the time. Until I showed up, they only knew about him.
We are both bearded, though Laurence's is long and forked. (Mine forks when it's that long, too.)
He looks like the Viking that is his ancestry. Tall, wide shouldered, fork bearded, tattooed, and huge bone earrings.
There's going to be a LOT of people seeing his kilt! He stands out in a crowd, even when he's NOT wearing a kilt!
There are questions I get from the newly kilted or soon to be kilted. It's the same questions over and over.
"How do I sit without showing everything?"
"What do I wear to a wedding/office/pub?" and other fashion questions.
"What are some good smartass answers for 'The Question'?
And a ton of others.
I'll address some of them now and then but I want to start with a comment I ALWAYS get after the first few kilted outings.
"I wish I had started wearing kilts years ago! All those years and I could have felt like this! Why did I wait so long?"
That's what it's all about for me; getting guys in kilts and sharing that feeling of natural freedom. I say natural freedom to distinguish it from any kind of political or flag waving freedom.
This is a feeling of walking down the street and feeling natural for the first time; noticing things you never noticed before, just because you're in a kilt. Some changes are personal; others as bas…
A guy standing next to me at the bus stop asks, "What's with the fancy dress?"
I'm wearing a Black Watch kilt, work boots, pushed down socks, tee shirt, Irish cap, and team jacket with leather arms.
I figure there's no need to explain why I'm not dressed up.
"Nothing, I wear a kilt every day."
"Okay. Just curious."
A few minutes later I overheard a snatch of conversation between the same guy and a woman on the other side of him. The only word I heard clearly was metrosexual.
Metrosexual? Me? Hah!
As I understand the word, it means a man who is overly concerned about his appearance; every crease perfect, every colour matching, fingernails polished, hair perfect, and every pose calculated.
Metrosexuals used to be called dandies. Before that they were fops.
Wearing a kilt makes a guy look, (to the uninformed), like he is dressed up. Most people won't notice if your pleats are messed up a little. Nice, huh? I can dress like the slob I am a…
The backlight on my iBook turned off. Everything worked but I could barely see what was on the screen.
I did some research on the internet and found that with my iBook 500, this is a somewhat common problem. Apparently, the wires travelling throught the hinge to the lid become worn with time, causing the backlight to go out.
The solution? Take it to the shop, or take the entire iBook apart, snip out the 4 worn parts of wire, and solder in 4 patches.
The sites on the internet recommended taking it to the shop and rated the job 'Very Difficult.'
I found a site that shows how to take the iBook apart but not how to replace the cable.
It was a huge job and I wouldn't have tried it without the step by step, on-line, disassembly instructions. It entailed taking apart the whole of the iBook, right down to the bare bones.
Now that the job is done and the iBook is working just fine again, it dawns on me that most people wouldn't think of trying something that diffi…
I have started using a free program called Site Meter. It tells me how many people log onto this blog, how long they stay, where they're from, etc.
I can't say enough about this product! It does exactly what is says it will do and provides you with detailed information about your site and it does it free. There is a paid upgrade available but I haven't looked into it, yet.
I had someone read The MacBitseach blog from Turkey today. I happen to remember a customer getting a kilt for a wedding, who was then going to Turkey to live, so I know who he is. The point is, I can actually know how many are reading my blog on a daily basis.
It's nice to know I'm not just screaming into the wind. I've had several people tell me they keep up with the blog but Site Meter tells me the numbers are getting bigger than I thought they would get.
I now get more referrals to Bear Kilts from this blog than from anywhere else.
Not bad, considering I just wanted someplace to speak my mi…
I have a cold. I've got the whole sore throat, sniffly, shivering, headache thing happening. I can't remember the last time I had a cold. I can remember starting to get a cold several times but they always seem to go away. I'm pretty sure it's been over a year.
Here's my question; why are kilts healthier to wear than pants? I'm just talking about colds, flus, etc. I have heard of all kinds of skin/rash/heat related maladies (ick!) being cured by donning the kilt, but let's stick to general healthiness.
I've been told by more than a few people, (people trained in all kinds of non-medicinal fields), that the temperature difference in different parts of the body will make you more susceptible to illness. Others equally well trained have told me that allowing more skin to breathe fights off illnesses. Or being cold boosts your immune system the same way it increases sperm motility.
I think, (and I am equally trained in medicine as those others), the reason men …
Bear Kilts and Utilikilts are having a kilt fashion show Saturday, October 1st, at Doolin's Irish Pub. The show starts at 6PM. The show should be a nice mix of styles between the two companies. I'm taking a few extra kilts along in case of extra models. Utilikilts is bringing a wide range of their kilts, including a leather kilt. There will be a pipe band and possibly a great fiddler by the name of Doug Medley. I hope all you local guys can make it out to see the show. It will be followed by a large and boisterous Kilts Night. If it's anything like the last fashion show we had at Doolins, it should be a very fun night!
I don't know what it's like where you live but here in Vancouver we live in an incredibly rich and diverse cultural smorgasbord. It's not a great melting pot. There are sections of the city that are dominant in one culture or another and celebrating your own culture is encouraged.
It's great to be able to go to the second largest Chinatown in the world, (San Francisco is bigger), or go to Fraser street and shop the huge East Indian market, or go to the Greek Festival, or the serene Japanese Gardens, or the Italian coffee shops on Commercial Drive, or Gung Haggis Fat Choy; a Scots/Chinese fusion dinner where you can get haggis won ton.
Everything about Vancouver is related to this cultural diversity. Every weekend is another festival celebrating another culture.
There are very few other cities where I could walk down the street wearing a kilt and get 99% positive comments from men and women. It has to do with the multicultural aspects of the city, with the acceptance of…
Now that it's Autumn, I'm feeling a little better about the weather. Today it was 16C (61F) and I found that quite nice. I don't mind the cold but the heat gets to me. I got to thinking of the 'stones' it takes to go commando in winter in some parts of Canada. Here in Vancouver it's not so bad, but the rest of the country gets a bit chilly! Here are my Top 10 Canadian terms for 'Going Commando"
10 - Inukshuking 9 - Catching snowflakes 8 - There's an extra puck on the ice 7 - Feeling blue 6 - Ready to salt the road 5 - Playing shinny 4 - Snowballing 3 - Curling 2 - No tape on my stick
And the number one Canadian term for 'Going Commando': 1 - Shovelling the sidewalk!
For some strange reason, people seem to feel it's perfectly fine to approach a kilted guy they don't know and tell them what's wrong with the way they dress.
Now, if some woman stops me on the street and informs me my kilt pleats are stuck up in the back and my ass is being shown to the world, I'll thank her. (Whether I flip the pleats back down depends on whether I knew they were up in the first place. lol) But if she approaches me and tells me my socks are the wrong colour, or my kilt pin is too high on my kilt, or my sneakers shouldn't be worn with my kilt, I usually give that annoyed looking smile. That almost always works.
And everyone seems to know how I should dress. I've been given fashion tips from fully clad pipers to hunched over, twitching junkies. You'd think either one of them would have something better to do with their time. I mean, while giving advice they are even more irritating than normal. Okay, maybe not the piper. The point is, I knew wha…
First, I like wool kilts. Two of my most frequently worn kilts are wool kilts. Another is a wool blend. Still others are poly/viscose. The point is, I am not anti-wool.
I am pro-truth.
Many people's opinions of what makes a kilt is based in pride of heritage and traditions. I understand and respect that. But a kilt that has lasted generations while only having been worn twice a year for the last 50 years is not a good test of a fabric's durability.
One of my poly/viscose kilts has been worn on the entire Appalachian Trail, over 2200 miles of extreme temps from snow in the mountains to some blistering, muggy, miserable days. At the end of the trail the pleats were still holding. Even I was surprised and offered him a new kilt for the old one. He won't give it back until he's walked 8000 miles in it!
I dare say a wool kilt would not have fared so well.
Some of the qualities of wool are better for kilts than poly/viscose but the reverse is also true.
There is always a lot of talk about casual kilt wear and formal kilt wear. Most people see kilt wearing as one or the other. Traditionalists would have us wear 8 yard, knife pleated, wool kilts with all the required accessories for various events. Casual kilt wearers toss out the rule book and wear whatever the hell they please.
I've found that no matter which of the above two choices a kilt wearer chooses, he is almost always fanatical about keeping wrinkles from his pleats.
I can see a traditionalist trying to look his best, trying to keep wrinkles from his kilt as a man in a nice suit would try to keep wrinkles from his trousers. His kilt and accessories are a statement and are often worn as a costume or uniform to a formal function. (Some of you think I dislike this. I don't object to kilts as costumes. I object to kilts as ONLY costumes. They were garments first.) I get a chuckle out of guys wearing casual kilts, whether synthetic fabric or wool, even a cargo kilt, that are ob…
I was out and about today, running errands.
Standing at a corner, waiting for a light to change, a man in his fifties walked by with a man who looked to be his father. The father was small, wore a plaid shirt, and seemed to be healthy at first glance.
He stopped and looked me up and down. His face, which had been unreadable, lit up and he tried several times to speak but couldn't manage better than a croaking whisper.
He pointed his arthritic hand at my Black Watch kilt and nodded his pleasure. I shook his hand gently and respectfully thanked him. He patted my hand and went on his way with his son.
I don't know why this guy stuck in my head. I get similar 'comments' every day. Maybe it was the fact that he couldn't speak that got me wondering about him. Was he in the Black Watch or did he just like the kilt being worn casually? Was he even Scottish?
I have this picture of him settling in for bed, thinking about his day, and chuckling in glee about the guy he saw we…
Here's a few pics from The Gathering Kilts Night.
I was at Doolin's for 9 hours, trying to be a good host and having a lot of fun in the process. I paid for it today but I'd do it again.
That was one of the most enjoyable Kilts Night we've had. It had something for everyone who attended.
This always happens to me; a serendipitous, perhaps subconscious word or phrase is revealed to have a deeper meaning at a later date.
I once wrote a story about an ancient Inuit man Named Tok. He had a face like a fallen cake and the only words he ever spoke were, "You lie." Tok could sense any lie.
It didn't strike me until months later that Tok didn't talk.
The motto for the MacBitseach clan is Fey.
I've covered the meaning of the word before but, playing with words as I do, I found something I like.
Fe is the elemental symbol for iron. (Ferrous.) Add a y to it and the motto for the MacBitseach clan is Irony.
Okay, let's try to stay real, here.
I have had several guys say things like, "sorry Bear, I wore my kilt fully traditional but it was a wedding." Or, "Don't tell Bear but ..." and go on to say how he wore his kilt with a jacket and tie.
Just because my motto is, "kilts are garments, not costumes," doesn't mean you shouldn't wear them traditionally. Kilts are a traditional garment. If you get all dressed up with a plaid and ghillie brogues, I'm not going to be disappointed, nor should you care what I think one way or the other!
"Kilts are garments, not costumes," has more to do with being free to wear your kilt casually than restricting its use traditionally. There are some guys who wear their traditional wool kilts to our Kilts Night with untucked tee shirts and piper hose.
The look works. That's what matters.
Wearing your kilt as a costume has its place and there are dress rules for such occasions.
For casual wear, there…
At the top of this page is a link to kiltsnight.com.
It's a new site I've started to help organisers of Kilts Nights around the world.
It's free to list your Kilts Night or similar, kilt related event. The sponsors of the site will be picking up the tab, so check out their sites, too.
(If you'd like to sponsor kiltsnight.com, e-mail me for pricing. And yes, I am one of the sponsors.)
Simply send me the pertinent info and I'll make a page for your city.
There's no longer any need to try to explain where your Kilts Night is located. Once I have the info, just tell your Kilts Night buddies to look it up on kiltsnight.com.
So, why is it some men wear kilts easily and some that want to just can't seem to get up the courage? I've known guys that have bought kilts and not had the nerve to wear it in public for months.
Then there's that first day. The feeling of trying to be aware of everything at once, wondering if every laugh is at your expense, wondering if that girl's smile is for you or at you.
When I first decided to wear a kilt, I left the house and headed for the supermarket. I was nervous because I hadn't worn a kilt in public before but never questioned my judgement.
I am creative and trust my own judgement above that of others. I think the latter is a characteristic you'll find in most men that only wear kilts.
Where does that confidence come from?
For me, it comes from success. I've done a lot of different things and I can do a lot of them well. I can paint, draw, sculpt, and write with style, and I was a pretty good athlete in my youth. I've had a myriad of jobs,…
It's an odd thing, this filleadhship of the kilt.
Any guy who wears a garment that most men cannot or will not wear is going to be highly individualistic and not very needing of the approval of others.
Yet, when two kilted strangers meet on the street, they stop, shake hands, and talk. They have experienced similar things in their kilts. They have had experiences only another kilted man will relate to, such as windy days, not choosing to sit in the deep couch, ladders, etc.
So the two strangers meet and talk, then go their separate ways. They are happy to have found another kilted man in their area. They might even meet for a beer someday but it won't change the nature of each of them. They would wear a kilt, no matter who else wears one in their area, simply because that is what they choose to wear.
I've been told by guys dozens of times, "You look great! I wish I had the balls to wear a kilt."
So, what is the filleadhship of the kilt? It is mutual respect for a…
I'm standing at a red light, waiting for green. I'm wearing a MacBitseach Grizzly Cut kilt, black fleece jacket, runners and white socks pushed down.
An elderly couple crossing the other way notices my kilt and stops.
"Well, you look great!" he says.
"I'm not very dressy today." I shrugged.
"You get dressy for the Queen and she's not here. My brother was in the Black Watch in WWII. He wore his kilt home and my mother called it a skirt. Well sir, he almost killed her!" He smiled, remembering.
Then the light changed and we said a quick goodbye. I looked back at them from across the street and he gave me one of those Burt Lancaster waves.
There's just not enough time to stop and talk to all the people you'd like to talk to.
A guy and his gal walk up to the Bear Kilts booth at the BC Scottish Highland Games. Good looking couple. I'd seen the guy standing in the beer tent a while ago and was struck by the way he stood in his kilt. He had his weight on one leg, hands on hips, like a portrait of a clan chief. He had sort of a Ewan MacGregor ease about him.
He was wearing a cheesecloth, collarless, kilt shirt; the lace up kind, and a kilt, sporran, etc.
When he got to the booth I asked him, "You wear your kilt more than a couple of times a year for special occasions, don't you?"
"Aye, I do." he answered with an authentic Scottish brogue. "I wear it a few times a week."
"I could actually tell you did by the way you walk in it. You don't seem self conscious, or walking like you're trying to look good in your kilt. You just seem very natural in it."
We talked about kilts for a while and he went on his way but seeing him was one of the highlights of the game…
I often hear or read women's comments about why men shouldn't wear kilts until they learn how to sit properly, with their knees together, like women have learned to do in their skirts.
This is typical of a growing number of silly people that consider men and women not only equal, but the same.
What they seem to have not noticed, is that men's and women's bodies are built differently. It is uncomfortable, often impossible for men to sit with their knees together, whether wearing a kilt or a pair of pants. We have things that get in the way.
What these women are saying is they don't want men being provocative. They don't want men looking sexy. They don't want their men looking good to other women. They are shallow, scared women that try to keep their men in a state that would allow these men to sit comfortably with their knees together.
They don't want their men acting like men.
Those of us with balls sit as we please, as is comfortable, like men.
Look at a distant guy between your thumb and forefinger, while saying, "I'm crushing your head!"
While it may be healthy to get rid of some negative emotions, the person's head will remain disappointingly uncrushed.
Now listen to a bunch of guys on a kilt forums, blogs, etc. They will tell you to the best of their ability how comfortable it is to wear a kilt, how refreshing and invigorating the breeze is, how it feels to have women ogle you.
While it is smart to get opinions before jumping into something new, you will not know how it feels to wear a kilt until you give it a try.
You won't know how friggin' naturally good it feels to walk over a high bridge on a windy day.
At first wearing a kilt feels like you're naked to the world, especially on a cold day. Your boys just ain't used to breathing fresh air.
Over the next few weeks you will notice all kinds of health aspects you never imagined you suffered from. You will notice them only in their absen…
I was told today on a kilt forum that I'd lost a sale because I was willing to make a kilt for a woman. This guy told me I was offending his Scottish heritage by offering to make a kilt for a woman who was unsatisfied with a lighter weight skirt.
The woman was quite willing to have the kilt open on the left side. She just wanted a heavier garment than the usual women's skirt.
This opens the door to who is eligible to wear a kilt? Or a particular tartan?
To the best of my knowledge, Only the British Royal Family is allowed to wear the Balmoral tartan. Other than that, any tartan is available for wear. It should be worn with respect and with some knowledge of the tartan.
But what about kilts themselves? Can we, in this day and age, state that women are not allowed to wear kilts? I hear that statement a lot. It may not be traditional for women to wear kilts but there are a lot of untraditional things happening with kilts nowadays.
Some have pockets. Some have alternate pleating s…
For one month, I have not posted a blog entry. Nor have I beaten anyone to death, poked any eyes, bitten off any fingers, or punted a cute puppy over a tall fence. Or smoked one cigarette. I kept my attendance record clean and attended our monthly Vancouver Kilts Night. I even got fairly drunk, just to show I could get drunk and still not smoke.
In the past month, I came to at least one realisation. I was checking out the constellations, stargazing, whatever you want to call it, pondering the incredible insignificance of the survival of life on just one of the billions of planets. Then I thought of some of the questions I've read on the kilt forums. There is so much nitpicking as to how to 'properly' wear a kilt. Which socks look right, what is the difference between casual and casual/dress, underwear or commando, etc. Here's my realisation; it doesn't frigging matter! There are more important things I like to think about. Like, what's for dinner? What time is Stargate …
Picture a holographic kilt floating in mid-air, rotating. Now imagine you can see every stitch, every pleat, inside and out, every technique of kiltmaking used in its construction.
When I took Fine Art in college, I used to be able to see my sculptures from all sides at once and know every detail of them and know what had to be changed to get the sculpture just right. Very right brain.
I can feel myself getting that way with kilts. It's taken me two years of daily kiltmaking, learning as I went, getting some tips along the way, but always getting better at seeing the big picture.
I've been exercising my right brain lately. Things as simple as looking at things on the bus to work, trying to see just the shadows they create.
A kilt is a flat piece of fabric constructed to match a roundish shape. This can be done with kiltmaking techniques learned from books by just about anyone with the time to spare. Once you learn the tricks, magic always looks easy.
I wore my yellow and black "loud" MacLeod kilt today. I left the store about 8pm, tired and as it turns out, a bit cranky. As I was crossing a street, I hear, "Hey MacLeod!" I had a quick flash of spinning with my katana and taking his head, (they did film the TV series here), but instead just turned to look. Some mid-forties businessman in an SUV stopped at the light was waving wildly at me, making a big scene. Greying hair, suit, probably gets his stick up when he plays recreational hockey. "My mother was a MacLeod!" he yelled. I shrugged. "That's not my fault." The look on his face was priceless. A mixture of hurt and surprise. Then he smiled. "Yeah, I blame my dad, too!" Then he gunned it, laughing, as the light turned green. No moral from that story.
Picture this; an old man has worked his entire life on a massive ink drawing covering an entire barn. It is the history of humanity's efforts at nobility. There are myths, religions, ca…
While I'm on the subject of the MacBitseach clan, It would probably be a good time to release the MacBitseach tartan. Let's face it, some tartans are better looking than others. I'm not going to insult anyone's clan by naming tartans but it's possible to have pride in one's tartan without liking the colours. Clan MacBitseach doesn't have that problem. This tartan is gorgeous!
I ordered some of it in wool today. I have a couple of MacBitseach kilt orders already and, of course, want one for myself. Now, which arm for the tattoo?
I was recently asked the requirements for joining the MacBitseach clan. My first thought was to answer with a short question. How's your mother? In a rare moment of good taste, I answered that I'd have to think about it, so I'd get my thoughts expressed concisely and clearly. How do you write a serious requirement list for a clan that you started for the name, a clan that to my surprise, has become somewhat more serious than intended? The more I thought about it, the deeper the problem became and the more I wanted to write a requirement list with purpose. I have the clan name, the tartan, the crest, and the motto, all suggestive of my way of looking at the world. The name and the crest both mean son of a bitch, which has less to do with my mother and more to do with attitude. The motto, Fey, has several meanings and I've discussed them before. The meaning I'm most concerned with is truly understanding you're going to die. Death makes life precious. People who have be…
More fun, more self respect, more life. Let's look at those three, though there are tons of ways that kilts = more.
More fun: First, your social life will improve. People will stop you on the street to ask you about your kilt. I've had some great conversations that started with my kilt! There are Kilts Nights popping up all over the world. These range from quiet social gatherings over dinner to some ribald pub nights.
More self respect: People respect a man in a kilt. They respect the guts it takes to wear one. They see a potential alpha male. Again, people stop you on the street to tell you how good or sexy you look. Cars honk with a thumbs up in approval. Women turn and watch you after you've passed them. When people give you respect, you feel your own self respect grow.
More life: The health aspects of kilts are still being discovered. I've been told of rashes disappearing, an absence of cold symptoms, and more energy. I've covered incresed sperm motility in the past but…
What's the worst kilt faux pas you've seen? I know, who am I to ask that question? I'm the guy that's always saying, "wear what pleases you." But come on! There are limits to everything. I have twice had to tell people they had their kilts on inside out. (No need for names.) Both guys were horrified and thankful that I told them discreetly. I've seen pics of guys at highland games with the aprons at the side of the kilt. They must have been surrounded by guys wearing their kilts properly, so I can only guess they thought they were fashionably daring. On the Granville Stroll after a Robbie Burn's night in 2004, we saw a guy who had rented a kilt and sporran for the evening. He was extremely happy to see us, calling us brothers, etc. When I mentioned he had his kilt on backwards, he laughed, as if he thought I was kidding him. Then he saw our kilts. "Oh man!" he wailed. "All those Scottish ladies I've been dancing with all night were laughi…
It's cold. I know it's cold because I see people with heavy jackets zipped all the way up, hats pulled low over the ears, and scarves wrapped around their faces. I see them shivering at the bus stop, or walking hunched into the wind. They sneeze, cough, sniffle, and moan a lot. I see them looking at me like I'm stark raving mad to be strolling down the street in a kilt with my socks pushed down to the tops of my boots and my jacket half undone. Sure, I feel the wind on my legs, the occasional gust up the pleats that open the eyes a little wider, but rather than making me cold, I find it invigorating. I'm a man in a kilt and I'm used to it. A Scotsman once said on a kilt forum that when he saw a distant man in a kilt walking in the hills on a windy day, he thought the guy was hard. (He meant tough! Unless the guy was a real hero, how could he possibly tell from that distance?) The simple act of wearing a kilt hardens a man to the elements. It takes away a barrier with whi…
Habits. Everybody's got them. I think they're part of a survival mechanism from our more primitive past. Good habits have been passed on to us survivors of our primitive ancestors. Bad habits didn't survive long enough to be passed on. There are clothing habits other than those belonging to nuns. You see some guys in suits always straightening their ties; checking the knot, making sure it's lying flat on the shirt, inside the jacket, adjusting the tie clip, etc. When I wore pants or shorts, I often had my hands in my pockets. In pants, I hated it when the cuff lay in the back of my sneaker or under the tongue of my sneaker. I disliked bulges in pockets or having one side weighted down more than the other. Kilt habits are developed as pants habits are lost. When I switched to kilts full time, it took me a while to stop trying to put my hands in my pants pockets. I'd often cover the move with an apron smoothing motion. Now I usually hook my thumbs in my belt. In pants, you …
We always hear about the way women love kilts, the way we get complimented by men and women, the cars honking with thumbs up in the windows, getting whistled at, the gushers, I even heard one story about a guy in a kilt causing a fender bender just by walking down the street! The opposite side is rarer but we still hear stories of full frontal kilt lifting, guys who make rude comments, women who sneer at your kilt, employers who deny the kilt at work while women go skirted, and guys who yell, "fag!" from speeding cars. The truth is, the most common reactions to the kilt have to be looked for to be seen. These reactions are the little things that for me, make kilt wearing a daily joy. Some of the little things are; seeing a reflection in a window of women who stop and look back at you after you've passed each other on the street, guys who nod at me with respect, the, "nice kilt," comment, women that look at you with the dilated pupil smile, teenage boys overheard s…
Vancouver is a Multicultural city. I see that as a chance to learn about my culture by viewing it side by side with other's cultures, and through people of other cultures' eyes. So, I'm waiting in line at a corner store, listening to a man from Bandladesh asking the Chinese lady behind the counter questions about phone cards. Both spoke good English, though with accents. When he buys one and turns to leave, he sees my Maple Leaf Grizzly Cut kilt. "Ah, is that your traditional costume?" he asked. "Yes," I answered. "Canadian tradition. This is the Maple Leaf tartan." "Ooh! Very nice colours! What is the special day today?" "No special day. I always wear a kilt." "Splendid! Very nice to see!" and he said goodbye and left. The lady behind the counter was smiling widely, having listened to our entire conversation, but there was a look in her eyes. "I like your skirt!" she said. "Thanks. It's called a kilt.&qu…
A few months after I started Bear Kilts, I discovered online that large, hairy gay men are called Bears. I shrugged and thought, "so what? It's also the animal for which I named my company." Last week I was told by three different people that Fey also had a gay connotation, and was told I should look it up on Dictionary.com. I did. ••• fey 1. 1. Having or displaying an otherworldly, magical, or fairylike aspect or quality: “She's got that fey look as though she's had breakfast with a leprechaun” (Dorothy Burnham). 2. Having visionary power; clairvoyant. 3. Appearing touched or crazy, as if under a spell. 2. Scots. 1. Fated to die soon. 2. Full of the sense of approaching death.
[Middle English feie, fated to die, from Old English fge.]feyly adv. feyness n. Word History: The history of the words fey and fay illustrates a rather fey coincidence. Our word fay, “fairy, elf,” the descendant of Middle English faie, “a person or plac…
On St. Patrick's day my ten year old son, Cub, took his kilt to school and put it on at lunchtime for the class party in the afternoon. It's a MacLean Hunting tartan and has some green in it. In the schoolyard he was asked numerous times, "Why are you wearing a skirt?" Sometimes he was asked by groups of kids. He tells me every time he replied, "It's a kilt. You got a problem with it?" Only one kid had a problem but nothing came of it. The rest left him alone. Cub isn't a small kid and he's got a brother five years older to wrestle with.
I think Cub handled himself well. He sees me getting similar questions all the time and knows some of the retorts but I think he just can't be bothered with them. I know he understands the whole garment vs costume question well because he sometimes tells me, "It's just a kilt."
I think he learned some of his behaviour characteristics from me, but I also think some of it is in the genes. I don't k…
The fashion show at Doolin's went pretty smooth. Everyone in the show and the audience had a good time and a fair bit 'o beer was drunk. That's what makes a good Irish pub! I wanted to stick around after the show and party a bit but the busiest week of the year caught up with me and I was out the door by eleven. First and foremost, the show was fun to put on. Then the advertising for Bear Kilts, Doolin's, and Lionheart Rugby Wear was well worth it. Lionheart Rugby Wear lent us some rugby shirts. I managed to get all of theirs back, undamaged, but my Irish rugby shirt went astray and was gone after the show. Too bad because rugby shirts and kilts are a natural fit for casual wear. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I stopped by Doolin's today to meet with Colin and drop off another couple of kilts and some rugby shirts for the fashion show. Colin is a tall, trim, good looking guy and one of the managers at Doolin's. He and I went over some details, then he walked me down from the office to the pub. Seconds after saying our goodbyes, some young, good looking women approached Colin and asked, no begged, if they could take a picture with him. He smiled and said, "of course!" He was wearing his kilt. I looked back and laughed because he is so obviously having a good time with his kilt.
I caught the bus home from Doolin's and settled into a seat near the rear doors. There was a group of four teenage girls standing at the doors. I guess there wasn't four seats near enough to each other to suit them. One of the girls, attractive but with a mean look, wearing painted on jeans and and an open jacket that showed a very low cut, tight tee shirt. She stared at my kilt for a few seconds, t…
The MacBitseach There are words to convey the idea that someone is not wearing underwear under their kilt; regimental, commando, etc.
What do you say we break tradition and come up with some new terms for our underwearlessness? People of different countries could come up with their own terms.
Here's my list of Canadian suggestions.
•I'm Inukshuking (Inukshuk is Inuit for piled stones made to resemble men.)
•Playing shinny. (Shinny is pick-up hockey with few pads.)
•There's an extra puck on the ice.
•Going five hole. (Shooting between a goalie's legs.)
•No tape on my stick.
•Sweeping the rocks (curling term)
It was a busy two days manning the booth with my 10 year old son, Cub, but it was fun! We met a ton of guys wanting to try out a kilt but we only had a few on hand, so we passed out a ton of business cards. Cub is a darned good salesman! People naturally like him and he likes to give customers information. And over the past couple of years, he's picked up a lot of information! He knows his tartans fairly well and picks up info and salesmanship from me by observation. I was proud of him this weekend. Tomorrow it's back to kiltmaking and trying to whittle down the wait times. Special thanks to Doolin's for asking us to share their booth. Once again, the staff at Doolin's have outdone themselves in hospitality. Come on by Wednesday night for a Vancouver Guinness pouring contest and a Kilt Fashion show.
It's nine at night, I've just left my store and I'm walking through Gastown. A couple is approaching. The guy is hard looking; fortyish, long hair, fairly tall. The woman is husky and Native. A smile comes across the guy's face as we're about to pass each oher. He shoves a hand at me to shake. "A guy in a kilt! You've got some balls, brother! It looks great" Thanks," I answered. I nodded to the woman and started to move around her to continue on my way. Then I saw the deer in the headlights look on her face. She put a hand out and I shook it but she didn't let go. For two minutes, she held my hand and told me, gushing, visibly weak in the knees, how much she loved men in kilts. Her boyfriend finally lost patience, thankfully with her. "Is that all it takes? Some guy in a skirt?" She let go and I hustled off, laughing. The guy loved the kilt until he saw the effect on his girl, then it was a skirt. I love gushers. It's not an ego boost bec…
The MacBitseach 10 - Is there a draft in here?
9 - We aim to pleats
8 - Swinging into action!
7 - Two words: kilt check!
6 - Never shop for underwear again!
5 - Is my sporran full or am I just happy to see you?
4 - Now with easy open container!
3 - Dress like a man!
2 - Uh, oh, sporran sense is tingling!
And the number one Bear Kilts Tee Shirts Idea:
1 - I'm cooler than you
The MacBitseach I've added a motto to the MacBitseach clan crest above. I wanted it to concisely get to the heart of what being a MacBitseach is all about.
From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
Etymology: Middle English feye, from Old English f[AE]ge; akin to Old High German feigi fey and perhaps to Old English fAh hostile, outlawed -- more at FOE
1 a chiefly Scottish : fated to die : DOOMED b : marked by a foreboding of death or calamity
2 a : able to see into the future : VISIONARY b : marked by an otherworldly air or attitude c : CRAZY, TOUCHED
3 a : PRECIOUS 3 b : UNCONVENTIONAL, CAMPY
- fey·ly adverb
- fey·ness noun
Knowing we are doomed to die is the best reason for living fully. And that's the purpose of my clan; to live feyly. Not in fear of death, but with foreknowledge of it. Death makes life precious. Feyness is not moping about the eventual loss of your life. It is about celebrating the life you have and living i…
I got to Doolin's at 6:30 to meet with Rudi of Celtic Empire and Evan, Doolin's General Manager, about the logo to be put on the Sporrans that go with the staff kilts. Evan kept the Guinesses coming throughout the meeting and we eventually got the Doolin's logo sorted out. (We took our sweet time, though! Doolin's isn't just a great place to get Guinness foam in your moustache; it's a great place to do business with!) Evan went to work at the bar and Rudi headed home for dinner, leaving me alone for half an hour. Then Toddish MacWong of Gung Haggis Fat Choy showed up with Deb and Bob. We hatched a few world domination plots, had a very tasty dinner, then Todd's allergies were getting way too bad and they left. Raphael showed up next. We hoisted a few, hatched a few world domination plots, and hoisted a few more. It looked to be a quiet Kilts Night. Until the brothers Biln arrived. Devin Biln is one of my long suffering customers, suffering from the Bear Kilts jo…
It's Kilts Night tonight! I may not be posting tomorrow, so you get a double dose today. I'll be hoisting a few Guinesses, the odd Bushmills, and watching the single kilted guys get all the attention. What's that? You don't think wearing a kilt will get you attention from women? There's no need to believe me. I'm a kiltmaker and just trying to sell kilts, right? Look, I'm a smart guy. I realise most guys are not going to wear a kilt in the near future. Most guys just don't have what it takes to take the emotional risk and stand out from the crowd. That's a good thing for single, kilted men. The original Kilts Night was started in Vancouver by Vince Hemingson of The Vanishing Tattoo. It has since caught on in many countries around the world in various formats and levels of ribaldry. There is no need to believe me when I talk about how many women are attracted to men in kilts. Check out a local Kilts Night in your area. The best place to find out about your…
Here's a good sign that we might see more kilts being worn by guys in the near future.
I attended Toddish McWong's Gung Haggis Fat Choy this year. It's a fusion of Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Year, with some interesting food fusions, like haggis won ton. There was about 500 people there, including some politicians and our kilted Mayor, Larry Campbell. It was a fun night, with lots of entertainment ranging from opera to rap, bagpipes to classical violin, often all at once. I was quite interested in two brothers who are world class highland dancers. It was a treat to see dancers of their quality in person. All of which is prelude to the good sign.
I'm on the bus home, sitting on one of the single seats on the left side. At one stop a group gets on and a young guy stops and looks at me. He's a clean cut, athletic, guy. "I like your kilt," he says. I nod back, "Thanks." and he sits in the empty seat behind me. "I've got a kilt, too," he s…
Okay, it was a silly time to start a blog but it's done and I blog before bed at 2am or 3am. The Christmas rush starts in November. It flows into the Robbie Burns' Day rush, which blends into the St. Patrick's Day rush. That's five months of insanity, five months of anxious customers, five months of too much coffee and not enough sleep. St. Patrick's Day is coming and the final kilts are being worked on, thanks to my new kiltmaker, Tyler. I saw this young, kilted guy in Gastown and stopped to talk to him. Turns out he makes his own kilts! I told him he should come see me some day and make some for me. He showed up the next week. Tyler is really going to help with the backlog of orders. Once we're caught up, I'll be able to concentrate on some new styles and The Gathering.
I was waiting for the bus when I heard, "Excuse me, sir." I turned and saw a small, thin Chinese lady looking at me querulously. I raised my eyebrows and bent slightly, to better hear her. "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question about your heritage?" She asked. At least she was polite about it, so I smiled. "Sure, go ahead." "Do you wear a skirt because you are Scottish?" I held the smile. She was genuinely interested and obviously meant no insult. A kilt just wasn't something she knew about. We chatted for a while. I told her it was called a kilt and that she could see lots of them in the upcoming St. Patrick's Day parade. Then I told her I wasn't Scottish. I was Irish and a lot of the Celts wore kilts. She asked about bagpipes and sporrans and all the usual questions and I answered all her questions gladly because she was so polite. When the bus came, she thanked me earnestly for the knowledge.
The past few entries have told you a lot of reasons to get a kilt. Now just exactly how do you go about getting one? First, you have to decide on which kilt suits your style and wallet. There are a ton of kiltmakers out there and the range of kilt prices range from about fifty bucks to over a thousand bucks. You can check out the two most popular kilt forums for advice on which style you might like for a first kilt. X Marks The Scot The Bravehearts' Forum You can also have a look at a ton of casual kiltmakers on my Compare Kilts page. It's a lot easier to compare when you can see most of the kiltmakers from one central site than to jump from site to site.
To choose your first kilt, you'll need to know where you'll be wearing your kilt. If it's just to the beach, or to change out of your biking shorts after a ride down a mountain, you can get one fairly cheaply. If you'd like to wear a kilt to work, or out to the pub, or for distance hiking, you'll spend a little m…
The MacBitseach I discovered kilts in my mid-forties. I'm happy to have discovered them and quite happy with my life in general but there is a part of me that wishes I'd discovered kilts in my early twenties.
Any guy of, say 22 years of age, wearing a well accessorised kilt, can be a hit with the ladies.
It doesn't matter what you look like; too skinny, too fat, short, tall, all of these things are irrelevant if you're wearing a kilt naturally and with confidence.
I've seen it with my own eyes many times. Ordinary guys scoring big because women just fall for guys in kilts. I've even been propositioned many times. Me, a paunchy guy in my latter forties, hair starting to thin, teeth failing, and a lousy disposition, with a gift for show stopping put downs. I'm The MacBitseach and I live up to the name, yet chicks hit on me. I turn them down, of course. I'm married with a couple of boys at home and quite happy to be where I am at this stage of my l…
What is it about kilts that makes them so damned comfy? Sure, there's the lack of constraint of pants and underwear, the ability to ... hang naturally and more comfortably.
But what about getting too hot or too cold? Well, that's where physics comes in.
Simply put, heat rises. Air heated from your body tends to rise inside your kilt and stay there. Walking causes the pleats to sway, releasing some of the heat in the lower part of the kilt but the top stays warm enough. When you stop walking, you can feel the heat from your body warm your legs down to the knees.
The sway of the pleats, as mentioned above, is a natural cooling factor of the kilt. In summer, I prefer to wear a lighter kilt and let some of the upper heat escape through the fabric. I've never been as hot in a kilt as I used to be in pants. And there is a factor concerning evaporation of sweat to be considered with a kilt. Pants ret…
Kilted MacBitseach I get asked all the time, "Aren't you cold in that thing?" Honestly, I don't get cold in a kilt, even at temps of -15°, unless my jacket isn't heavy enough. Considering this today, I've come up with a few thoughts. Neitze wrote, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." (I know it's true because I saw it at the beginning of the movie, Conan The Barbarian.) Thisquote is the beginning of all exercise theories. To improve thebody, it must be injured enough to need to heal stronger. This works for cardio exercises that strengthen the heart, or weightlifting, which strengthens the muscles. (Generally speaking, of course.) Having worn a kilt for two years, and shorts for several years before that, my legs do not feel cold unless they get wet in freezing temps. Then I pull up my socks and they warm up my legs. People who have never worn a kilt, men and women, don't understand how well kilts insulate. Take 8 yards of any 12oz fabri…
Kilted MacBitseach I attended a whisky tasting tonight at the B.C. Regiment's Drill Hall. Good bunch of lads.
There were several Bear Kilts there and tons of traditional, wool kilts, too.
I'd had a full day working at the store and was tired, so it was refreshing not to be the centre of attention simply because I was wearing a kilt. Normally, I don't mind but, like I said, I was tired.
I didn't get any of the usual questions about kilts from flirty women. Nobody asked me if I was cold. The only questions I got were from guys wanting business cards, asking prices, tartan info, etc.
I took it easy and stayed mostly with beer because I have to go back to the store tomorrow and make kilts. I left when the pipe band stopped playing, the beer kegs ran dry, the door prizes were given out, and it was polite to do so.
I gave out lots of business cards, was complimented many times on the Master Of Ceremonies' Bear Kilt, and spread the word about the March 5th Vancouver Kilts …
Kilted MacBitseach It was the standard morning routine; catch the bus, the usual assortment of looks ranging from surprise to unflapped, from amusement to annoyance.
I'm lucky this morning. I get a decent seat where I can people watch those on the bus and still have a view out the window.
I noticed two people get on the bus at the same stop. One was a young, short, stocky white guy. The other was an old, short, stocky Chinese woman. The similarities didn't end there.
They were wearing the exact same clothes! Both wore baggy blujeans, grey hooded sweatshirts, blue jackets and white sneakers. The jackets weren't identical but with the hoods up, it would have been impossible to tell them apart.
Is this what our society has come to? Are we so lacking in individuality that people of both genders, all ages, and all cultures can exchange clothes without anyone being the wiser?
I prefer seeing a woman dressed in clothes that accentuate womanliness and I prefer seeing men dressed in…
Kilted MacBitseach It will matter what guys look like in kilts when fat chicks stop wearing spandex!
I have the above sentence on my autotyping program because I read comments by women all the time that go something like this, "I love men in kilts, if they have the legs for it."
I've even been told by men that they won't wear a kilt because they don't like the way their legs look. (Too skinny, too hairy, knobby knees, etc.)
Who cares what your legs look like? Are you so vain that you would rather be uncomfortable for the rest of your life? This is your life! Your one shot! What the hell are you waiting for?
Stick your head out the window and see what's going on out there!
See that woman with the wrinkly belly? Yeah, the one in the low cut jeans and the tube top. What about that woman in the lime green stirrup pants? See the short, fat one in the short shorts and high heels? Look at that skinny chick! Man, those have got to be fake!
Look, it doesn't matter …
Kilted MacBitseach Endings are easy. Beginning are the tough part.
Here's how I fell into kiltmaking:
I was a woodturner and working part-time in a lumber yard/hardware store. I was searching for a Celtic Christmas card and stumbled onto a casual kiltmaker's site. (No names.) It was $40.00 USD and I ordered one. By the time it crossed the border with all the duties and brokerage fees, it cost me $110.00 Canadian and the pleats disappeared the first time I washed it.
I'd had a taste of what it felt like to be kilted; the freedom, the comfort, the way women looked at me.
"I'll make a better kilt!"
In my desire to be kilted, I was undaunted by the magnitude of the task.
I learned how to use the sewing machine enough to sew fairly straight and with info found on-line, put together a pretty good first attempt.
Feeling pretty happy with my kilt, I wore it to work at the hardware store. I took a lot of heat in the first few days from the staff and the building contra…