The MacBitseach

I am The MacBitseach of Clan MacBitseach. (MacBitseach is Irish Gaelic for son of a bitch.)
This blog is about wearing, making, and some of the social aspects of kilts. I started wearing and making kilts in 2003.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, email me at macbitseach@gmail.com

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Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Monday, February 28, 2005

Physics and Kilts

The MacBitseach
Physics and kilts? What's he on about now?

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.
Warmth:
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.
Coolness:
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 retain moisture while a kilt allows air to circulate and let the sweat cool you.

Without getting into too much math detail and boring the crap out of you, I'll try to explain a bit about kiltmaking.
I have made kilts that had 16 layers of fabric in the pleats. Some kilts can be as little as 3 layers tick in the pleats. Much depends on the size of the person relative to the length of fabric used.
These layers are vital in the comfort of kilts. Layering is the best way to insulate because you get the vital dead air needed for insulation. Layers hold in the body's heat in winter and keep out the heat of the sun in summer.

Warm in winter, cool in summer, naturally more comfortable, healthier, and chicks dig 'em.
I know guys who don't want the word to get out about kilts. They want to keep all the fun for themselves!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Kilts Make You Stronger

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 fabric, wrap it around your mid-section,and you'll be warm. Take 8 yards of 12oz to 16oz wool and you'll be toasty.(That's the reason the kilt was worn in Scotland!)
I find walking in cold temps while wearing my kilt to be invigorating and good for the constitution. I sometimes put on a 4 yard kilt just to keep from overheating and to better feel the chill in the air.
Do I sometimes get chilled? Yes.
Do I sometimes wish I'd worn a heavier kilt? Yes.
Do I sometimes wish I was wearing pants? No. Pants are poor insulators. Even a 4 yard kilt is warmer than pants.
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger," is more than a life or death notion. Let's take Neitze's idea to more mundane levels.
Write with a pen and you'll get that writing callous on your finger.
Play the guitar and your fingertips will toughen up.
Do knuckle push-ups to strengthen your fist.
Lift weights to get stronger muscles.
Run around the block to increase your stamina.
Wear a kilt to inure yourself against cold.
Any repetitive task you do changes your body in some way for better or worse. That includes the career you have chosen.
Enough of philosophy for now. Next time; physics, and maybe some math.

Whisky Tasting

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 Night.
No pearls of wisdom tonight, so I'll clam up.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Homogeneous

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 clothes that accentuate manliness.
Men, women, old, young, all cultures can be equal and not the same. There is a trend lately to homogonize all people into one group called humans and fashion has now led everyone to follow this trend and dress alike. Oddly enough, it is special interest groups kicking up enough fuss to get equality for their causes that has led to the viewpoint that equality and sameness are identical.
I say we should celebrate our differences and instead of trying to follow the current trend or fashion, wear something that says something about you. It could be cultural, spiritual, or anything that makes you stand out from the homogeneous crowd.
I choose to wear a kilt. I'm 16% Irish, so it's a little cultural for me but I mostly wear a kilt because it's more comfortable and healthier than pants or shorts.

Feeling Kilty

Kilted MacBitseach
Here's one for all you guys that wonder what it feels like to wear a kilt.

Wearing a kilt is like slobbing out in the easy chair with pizza and beer ... and women think it's hot!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Kilted MacBitseach

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 one bit what you look like when you put on a kilt. Simply putting on a kilt means you go up three rungs on the respect ladder. People want to know why you have the guts to wear a kilt, when most guys don't.
Let's face it, most guys are happy to not stand out, to be one of the faceless crowd, to work in a meaningless, dead end job for the security, to dress as they're told, to do as they're told, to be a drone. Modern society kicks the crap out of men until they conform.
I believe that kilts are garments, not costumes. But they are a unique garment, recognised the world over as belonging to men. There are other men's open garments but the kilt is different. Wearing a kilt is a way to stand up and say to the world, "I'm a man!" And there's bloody few ways to say that these days.
I guess that's why they say, "Real Men Wear Kilts."

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Kilted MacBitseach

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 contractors. I usually give as good as I get and it wasn't all that bad. Some of the worst of the building contractors later told me that they admired my courage.
I sold the first Bear Kilt in the first week I wore my kilt to a customer in the hardware store.
Then I was asked by The Vancouver Sun if they could do a story about my kiltmaking company and the growing trend of men in kilts.
The story ran across Canada and an order flooded in the next day ... for two kilts ... from England. Over the next two weeks I got quite a few orders, mostly from Canada, but a couple from the USA.
So, I decided to learn to sew better and see what would happen if I gave kiltmaking a shot.
In a three month period, I simultaneously learned to sew, make kilts, design kilts, learned the basics of HTML, and started to learn about home based businesses.
Two years later and I'm still at it; I'm training two kiltmakers, I have a store in Gastown, and a waiting list for my kilts as long as a summer's day in Yellowknife. I've shipped kilts to Tazmania, Switzerland, Norway, England, and all over North America.
But the best part is still wearing a kilt! And that's what this blog is about.
I'm going to write about interesting things that happen to me that wouldn't have happened had I not been kilted. If I have an uneventful day, I've got two years of stories ready to be penned.
That's a good beginning.

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