Showing posts from March, 2005

Kilt Faux Pas

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

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…


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 …

The Little Things

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…

Fey Bear

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
I did.
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…

Nature or Nurture?

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…

Fashion Show

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!

3 Reactions

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…

Goin' Commando

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.)
•I'm snowballing.
•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)

Celtic Festival

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.

Gushing and hawking

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…

Top 10 Bear Kilts Tee Shirts Ideas:

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:
Pronunciation: 'fA
Function: adjective
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
- 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…

Kilts Night Foggy Memories

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…

The Kilt Advantage

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…

A Good Sign

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…


The MacBitseach

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.

Typical Day

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.

When I got off the bus, there was seven o…

Kilt Shopping

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…

Kilts and Chicks

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.
Any guy.
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…