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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The top 10 alternate Bear Kilts slogans

I came up with the Bear Kilts slogan 'Go Bear!' months after naming the company after the cave art logo. I laughed when I thought of it.
Some of the following brought tears of laughter to my eyes. Most of them were just written for this blog entry.
Some of them have been tee shirts. Others will be.

Here are the top 10 alternate Bear Kilts slogans.

10 - Go Nuts!
9 - We aim to pleats!
8 - I'm cooler than you!
7 - Can you feel it?
6 - Swinging into action!
5 - They're blue from the cold!
4 - Because the wind doesn't complain when it blows!
3 - Guaranteed: no shrinkage
2 - Easy access!

And the number one alternate Bear Kilts slogan:
1 - Because guys are sluts, too!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pleats yourself

Kilts Night. March 2008
I'm there with all the regulars and some Poker friends from Facebook. We're all into our cups nearing midnight and I'm talking to a non-kilted Turkish friend (FB Poker) and his wife and friends, when I notice a draught and feel my pleats fall back down to my legs.
I look behind me and everyone is looking occupied, either talking or listening to someone else.
I go with the model thin beauty who seems to be watching me peripherally and point at her. I know she was that thin because her jeans were skin tight. (This will come into play later.)
"It was you," I said.
She smiled and said, "I couldn't help myself!"
I grinned and went back to my conversation.
She must have lifted my kilt 7 or 8 times, flirtingly, when I wasn't looking. Always the pleats in the back and always a smile.
Then, later in the evening, or morning by now, I saw the person I was talking to look over my shoulder. I waited for his eyes to drop a little lower, knowing he would be watching her hand reach for my pleats.
Without looking, I grabbed her wrist tight enough to hold her but not tight enough to hurt her, and turned to face her. She was smiling.
I smiled back, "are you interested getting personal with what's under my kilt?"
Her eyes widened.
"No!" she said, a little shocked.
I gave her half a spin and a resounding spank on her ass. A real loud one. Her tight jeans gave little protection. My hand stung.
She did a little jig because of the sting as she went back to her friends.
Two minutes later she lifted the pleats again.
I laughed. Some girls just won't quit.
I'd say she liked the spank but she backed up very quickly after the first one, so who knows?
Thursday, May 1st is the next Kilts Night and I'm looking forward to it. There's always something odd at Kilts Night.
Maybe it's me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Forest Memory

I wrote a poem.
I started to write what it felt like to wear a kilt, then the words laid themselves down and became something more, probably something better than I had planned.
Writing is like that for me. I try to stay out of the way and let my fingers do the work.
I like this poem. I think I captured part of the feeling of naturalness, of the free feeling of wearing a kilt. But it's not exactly what I started out to write.
I think I'll continue with kilt poetry and see what happens.

A Forest Memory
In the filtered green light of the deep forest,
my steps guided by game trails,
caressing leaves as I stroll alone,
I am encompassed in the fullness of life.
It moves over me, through me,
my head swims hazily with it,
and I revel giddy in the misty joy,
holding it loosely with open arms,
for it will pass into memory,
as pain can be remembered,
but not felt anew.
Terry Varga
April 23rd, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Human Nature and Kilts

We, as humans, have a natural need to discover the new, to propogate at an insane rate, create tools that are ever more complex, and to communicate our artistic ideas to as many people as possible. We are curious and we have an insatiable need to explore new places.
All of those attributes combined will eventually take us to other worlds. Humans are the natural explorers of planet Earth.
We live in an incredible time in human history!
New metals are being made. Titanium hammers are found in carpenter's tool belts.
Sports drinks are designed to replenish lost nutrients and keep athletes playing longer.
Pills are made to prevent sexual dysfunction. (The term 'hard to swallow' takes on a whole new meaning!)
New martial arts are still being invented. Aikido was possibly the greatest invention of the 20th century.
New fabrics are being woven. Goretex is breathable and waterproof for rain gear. (Imagine! It keeps water out but lets air through!)
Socks stay up without garters. (Elastic! An amazing invention always overlooked!)
And, I believe, poly viscose is the best fabric for active wear kilts.
I know of a customer that has walked the big three North/South trails in the United States in a 4 yard Bear Kilts poly viscose kilt. It is worn on one of the belt loops where the backpack rode on it and slightly faded from months of humidity and direct sunlight, but I'm told the pleats still hold and it is as wearable as when it was new.
I don't know of another fabric that could have taken that much of a beating for that long and still been in one piece, let alone hold its pleats and look reasonably wearable.
Wool, cotton, or hemp would have lost its pleats after the first humid day in Tennessee. Polyester would have been far too hot to wear. (Body Glide can take you just so far!)
Kilts are not a new idea but they're not as old as you might think. The Model T has evolved into a Porsche. It didn't stop as a Buick. It kept evolving.
Nature's law is adapt or die. Kilts are adapting. It's just natural.
The kilt I wear most often in my daily life is a wool MacBitseach tartan grizzly cut kilt. It's comfy and my favourite tartan.
But if I am going to go hiking, for a long walk, or out in the rain or snow, I'll usually wear one of my poly viscose kilts. (Though I did put on a heavy wool kilt for a snowstorm recently. Wool is warm!)
One of my favourite aspects of poly viscose is its weight. At 11 ounces per yard, it is more likely to blow up in a gust of wind.
Consider again at the human characteristics at the start of this blog entry.
•Propogation rate increasing
•Creative tools.
•Artistic communication.
•Exploring new places.
•Curious nature.
All can be, (at least loosely), linked with your kilt blowing up in the wind.
What could be more natural than that?

Monday, April 21, 2008

What kind of guy wears a kilt?

Why do we write? Why do we draw, paint, and sculpt? Why do we do art? For the same 2 reasons we drink.
To get laid.
To communicate.
Alcohol is a vocal laxative. We can say things we dare not say when sober.
Art is as powerful as sex. We can say anything to our art and through art, we speak to everyone.
Thinking on it, those reasons are pretty much why we do anything, including wearing kilts.
How we dress is part of how we face the world. Similarily, we tell the world a lot about us with the clothes we wear. We can dress in hoodies and pants around our knees, jeans and a cowboy hat, or a three piece suit from Saville Row. Each will tell you about the man behind the clothes.
What does a kilt say about the man who wears it?
Is there anything aside from the points we always hear about, like confidence, alpha male, etc?
I have found that in many cases, men who wear kilts are creative. They have careers or hobbies that involve some form of art.
They are also intelligent, for the most part. They realise the societal pressures brought by friends, family, and strangers, but have decided they'd rather be different than a drone.
Often, it comes down to willingness to lead, which is different than being an alpha male. An aplha male requires followers. A person willing to lead will do so, even without followers. It is his own behaviour, not the behaviour of others, that is most important to him.
I noticed another thing about these guys. They don't need alcohol to say what they choose to say.
Wearing a kilt requires a lack of fear for societal pressures, or at least a defiance or indifference to them. So does speaking your mind.
Speaking your mind is one of the worst things you can do in today's world.
And the most important.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Ass

Lately, when I feel like going to the grocery store, or 711, or just out for a walk, I'll likely wear a pair of hiking boots with grey, wool work socks, or runners with low cut socks. Comfort and function are my goals for everyday wear.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday it snowed 2 inches in an hour. Big, white flakes the size of silver dollars. Random, bastard winds gusting all over the place. This is when I decide I want to cook some burgers and it's time to go get groceries.
I put on my 'Loud' Macleod, heavy wool kilt, my Aran sweater, and a rain jacket. I wore hiking boots for traction, (falling on your ass in snow whilst kilted is more awake than I like to be!) and high wool kilt socks.
Half way there and I realise it was snowing on my ass. I don't mean that as slang; the wind was lifting my pleats and it was snowing on my ass! I've worn a kilt long enough to be ambivalent about randomly flashing in the wind. (Besides, in this weather, there wasn't a whole lot to see!)
I got there, bought some hamburger and some fresh buns that were warmer than mine, and headed back into the weather. Just outside the door a guy in a tee shirt was waiting for his ride.
We looked at each other and said simultaneously, "Global warming my ass!" and cracked up.
Then I pulled on my hood, put my head down and showed everyone on the way home how cool my ass truly is!

As I'm cooking the burgers, I realise something that might be viewed as trivial by some and drop the jaws of others. I thought I'd like some mashed potatoes with my burger and thus the realisation.
I have never cooked a potato.
Never.
There's a lot of things I haven't done in my life. Some I intend to get to; others I'm thankful for missing. But cooking a potato seems like something just about everyone in North America will have probably done at some point in their lives.
Although, (I'm told), it is nicely shaped and symmetrical, I keep noticing how odd my ass is!
And I'll leave you with my participle dangling in the snowy wind!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Old Meat

In other words, a few day's worth of beefing.
(Thought I was going a whole different route, didn't you?)

It seems some people think I should have defended 'men's rights' and mentioned that if the genders were reversed in yesterday's blog, the young 'boys' would have been dealt with severely.
Rubbish!
Men and boys have been saying things like that as long as women and girls have been saying things like that, and that's been for as long as there have been people on this planet. The only controversial thing about these comments is the puritanical nature of North American culture.
Men are men and women are women. I'm happy with this arrangement.
Let's move on.

I've been told that while wearing a kilt, I am representing all kilt wearers and should act like a gentleman at all times.
First, I try not to 'act' like anything but the person I am. I have my own personal honour and values.
Second, I don't represent pantsies when wearing pants; why should I represent kilties when wearing kilts?
Let's move on.

"Caring for a wool kilt is difficult."
Well, it's not as easy as poly viscose, but it's easier than some would have you believe. I wash mine in Woolite, in the washing machine. Yes! In the frakkin' machine! Then I brought them upstairs to my apartment to HANG DRY! The Woolite bottle said to lay flat on a towel but that didn't make sense to me, so I hung 'em up. There are a couple of dents where the hangars grabbed the kilts but they ironed out.
When I ironed the pleats, I basted them first, to hold everything in place. When I removed the basting, I could see thread marks in the wool, so I pressed the kilt again ... and they disappeared in under a minute!
Again, caring for wool kilts is not as easy as poly viscose, but in my opinion, it's preferable to dry cleaning. I just don't like giving my kilt to a stranger's care.
Let's move on.

Oh, wait. That's all I have for now.
Drop by anytime you want some old meat.

20/20 Kiltsight

I wear reading glasses. 1.00x for reading or computer work and 2.75x for kilt work. My eyes were always 20/20 until I noticed my self holding a book at arm's length when I was in my early forties. I've worn reading glasses longer than I've worn kilts!
There are a lot of guys discovering kilts at my age or older and I've wondered if kilt wearing is an age related decision.
Many of us older guys start with casual kilts of one kind or another and move into traditional kilts. Is this because we have a greater sense of approaching death and are trying to make sense of life by reaching into our heritage? Or does it have to do more with losing a sense of rebellion and trying to fit into society without giving up kilts?
I have a traditional, military box pleated, wool MacDonald kilt that I've worn once on a 20 minute walk to the grocery store. It isn't uncomfortable but it isn't as comfortable as my MacBitseach classic cut wool kilt. And poly viscose is more comfortable than wool!
I'm not pitching sales for Bear Kilts here. (I'd rather sell a $750 traditional kilt than a $150 casual kilt.) I'm wondering why older guys are choosing the less comfortable traditional kilts over modern kilts.
Aside from the above two ideas, I can't see any reason. Nada. Squat. Bupkus.
Maybe it's like the glasses that you can't find. Maybe I can't see the reason because I'm blind to it. I don't have a big fear of death and while I don't understand life as a universal concept, I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin and can accept the limitations of my age.
I'm sort of excited to see if my opinions will change as I age! Either way, I'll notice.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I was playing a bit of Facebook poker earlier and an odd thing happened.
A quite pleasant woman seated at the table, (Katherine), told me, I'm taking a trip to your homeland, Scotland."
Her pic was a statue with a bird sitting on the head. For some reason the pic was horizontal.
"I'm not Scottish," I replied. (Online chatting seems to be an exercise in brevity.)
"So, you're a poser!"
I didn't know where to begin to briefly explain that I wasn't a poser, just because I wear a kilt. Frankly, I didn't want to take the time to explain how kilts were evolving from a strictly Scottish garment. How wearing a kilt as a non-Scot didn't make me someone who was pretending to be Scottish, or someone who wanted to be Scottish.
So I simply said, "No. I'm a kiltmaker," which is an easy out for me but what would I have said if I wasn't a kiltmaker?
As she busted out from the table I asked her to add me as a Facebook friend because I wanted to find out why she thought as she did but she had gone.
I did a search for her name, which came up as 'No Matches Found.'
I have several friends who use a different name to play poker than the name on their Facebook profile because there are a lot of nut jobs on Facebook poker.
Apparently, Katherine was using an alias, while calling me a poser.
I just found this encounter odd enough to mention, since I've been kiltmaking all day and had nothing noteworthy to write about.
It often happens that the thing someone complains about is what that person is guilty of doing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm back

It's been a long 2.5 years. My life in that time has been a fight to keep what I hold dear. I barely managed to keep Bear Kilts from going bankrupt after my divorce, but I did. My son lives with me. And I have good friends that care about me.
You'd think what I've been through would make me cautious, less willing to take risks and to grab a 9-5 job and hold on to it for dear life.
No.
People have been telling me to grow up all my life. I always have the same reply.
"No."
I try to think the way I did when I was a boy; fascinated by everything because everything was new to my young eyes.
Some of my favourite things are still prisms and magnets. Intellectually, I understand how they work but holding a prism and actually watching light break ... yes, watching light split into the visible parts that together are invisible ... amazing!
Or pushing two magnets together with opposite polarities, felling them repel like some kind of invisible force field ... what a wonder! Invisible force!

When someone tells me to grow up. what they're really telling me to do is fit in, to be like everyone else, to be inconspicuous.
They're telling me that they can't (don't) do what they would prefer to do, so why should I have that right?
They're quoting the Japanese saying that goes, "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down."

I am creative and fascinated by how things work. To deny that very large part of who I am, just to fit in ... well I honestly think it would kill me. I'm just not capable of being a drone in the hive. The last time I tried I ended up in the hospital for a weekend, bleeding inside. The stress of trying to fit in almost killed me. My joy was gone and that is death for me.

So I'm back to kiltmaking full time and learning to love life again. I'm fascinated again, by everything from the communication we call the English language, to the curves and lines of women's bodies.
I did an oil painting the other day and am planning more. I'm designing a new kilt. I'm home schooling my son and teaching him the most important lesson; how to learn.

Am I odd?
Yes.
Do I regret it?
Never.
Am I happy?
Not yet, but I'm happier than I've been for a lot of years.
Thank you to those who helped me through dark times.
Thank you to my long suffering customers still waiting for kilts. They are being made again.
I'm back.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Changes

Bob Dylan had it right. The times, they are a changin'!
I'll be fifty this November. I haven't lived what anyone would call a sheltered life. I mean, I've been around the block, over it, under it, and climbed all the trees. But now and then something shocks me. Not that I swooned, or blushed, or even let on that I was shocked, but I let out a good laugh when I was out of earshot!
I'm on my way back from the grocery store, carrying three plastic shopping bags, wearing a wool kilt, hiking boots, socks pushed down, Aran sweater, and the usual accessories. I'm not dressed up, but I'm looking all right for a guy my age with a week's worth of grey beard.
I passed two cute young girls, maybe thirteen or fourteen. Not just too young for me but too young for anyone.
As they pass me, one of them says, "Nice kilt!"
"Thanks," I said over my shoulder, and kept walking. That happens a lot in Vancouver and it doesn't even slow me down anymore.
Then one of the, wolf whistled. I raised my eyebrows and grinned but they were behind me, so they couldn't see my expression as I walked away from them.
"Very sexy!" one of them called from about fifteen feet away.
I chuckled because they were so young, calling me sexy.
In a lower tone I probably wasn't supposed to hear, and wouldn't have if the traffic hadn't suddenly disappeared, one of them said to the other, "I'd f*** that!"

Now ... I didn't falter in my walking rhythm. I didn't do a comical sudden stop, or a quick spin with my mouth agape and my eyes wide. I kept walking until I got to my apartment building, turned into the walkway, unlocked the door, and entered. I was out of sight and cracked up laughing.
Girls didn't talk like that when I was in my mid-teens. At least I never heard it in public! Where the hell were girls like that when I was their age and would have traded two meals a day to meet them?
I'm still laughing! All those boys their age in this city, hormones raging, half crazed with puberty, not knowing how to get any, and these girls are talking about doing a guy almost four times their age!

I thought about whether or not I should write about this incident. The girls were minors and I didn't want to seem like a dirty old man. Then I thought, wait a minute! I didn't do anything but walk down the street! I wasn't the dirty one in this incident! I'd write it.
But ...
Or what if someone got offended by this post? I don't much care if reality is offensive to a small minority. Don't like it; don't read it.
Nope. Can't think of one good reason not to post this ... what was that? Manners? Etiquette? Common decency?
The times, they are a changin'!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Did you miss me?

What do you mean, "was I gone?"
I have spent the last 2.5 years picking up the pieces of my life and sticking them back together with spit and elbow grease.
Anyway, I'm back and full of piss and vinegar, with big plans, (New kilt design coming out), and some help, which I'll tell you about later.
First, Bear Kilts is starting a Referral Incentive program. Send me a kilt sale and earn credits towards your next kilt. See details here:
http://bearkilts.com/creditpg.html

A guy walks up to an anteater and says, "Hey buddy. Why the long face?"
That's a favourite joke of mine. It's short, easy to remember after a few Bushmills, and usually gets a small laugh. I get a little bit humourous when I drink and I'm usually in a good mood, so this surprised me:

A guy walks up to me last Kilts Night, (he had to make his way through at least half a dozen kilted guys), puffs up to his full height, and asks rudely, "Are you trying to mock Scotland?"
I was talking to a lady at the time and was a little taken aback.
"No," I answered. "What are you talking about?"
Angrier, "Are you trying to mock Scotland?"
"No. What the f*** are you talking about?"
"Well ... okay then!" he said and turned and walked right out the front door.
Maybe it was my Star Trek kilt pin. Maybe it was my hiking boots and pushed down socks. Maybe it was because The Canucks missed the playoffs that night. Maybe he wanted to see if I was man enough to wear a kilt. Maybe he'd had too much Guinness.

2.5 years later and I'm still kilted, still coming up with new ideas, and still attracting the odd bit of trouble. Fortunately, there are still ladies that appreciate a man in a kilt, so no long face here!

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