Men in Kilts, Men's Skirts, Sarongs and Other Kilt-like Clothing

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Confronting the Objections of Trouser Tyrants - Wives and Parents

How to handle objections from wives, girlfriends, and parents to men wearing kilts, skirts, and other unbifurcated garments.

Confronting the Objections of Trouser Tyrants - Introduction


Handling Negativity from Wives and Girlfriends

Kilted coupleGathering from messages posted at Tom's Cafe and Chris' Atrium, the Number One obstacle to wearing unbifurcated garments is the negative reaction from men's wives. Girlfriends may also present problems, but it's a lot easier to change girlfriends than to change wives. A man can move away from his disapproving parents; he can find relief from restrictive dress codes by wearing his male unbifurcated garments ("MUGs") outside of  work or school; but when he can't even wear MUGs in his own home, he is truly a slave to Trouser Tyranny.

Many men are reluctant to confront their wives about this issue, out of fear of disrupting their marriages - some of which may be on shaky ground already. Even in stable relationships, men may worry about rocking the boat. So they dutifully trudge around in uncomfortable trousers - enduring cramped crotches and jock itch - while their wives freely choose among jeans, slacks, shorts, pantsuits, skorts, short skirts, long skirts, dresses, and whatever else suits their fancy.

Men hear cries of indignation when women are required to wear skirts at work, and they watch as employers' dress codes for women crumble in response. Yet when a man seeks a more comfortable alternative to trousers, his request is dismissed as being "trivial." A man is told that he is "head" of his household, "king" of his castle, a "free" man living in a "free" country. However, these are but meaningless clichés when a man is arbitrarily denied something so simple and so harmless as the comfort of wearing a kilt, Utilikilt, sarong, or other unbifurcated garment.

Therefore, our desire to wear MUGs is not "trivial" at all. Husbands should have as much right to comfort, pleasure, and self-expression in clothing as wives have. If marriage is to be a relationship of mutual respect, a "two-way street," then our wives must come to recognize and accept that fact.

Understanding Wives' Expectations, Fears, and Prejudices

Although women jealously defend their own freedom to wear both trousers and skirts, they see nothing wrong in denying their husbands the same freedom of choice. Many women refuse to acknowledge the illogic and inequality of this situation. Even when wives recognize the unfairness on an intellectual level, they may continue to object based on their emotional reactions and deep-seated prejudices. Therefore, we must understand the sources of these emotions and prejudices and create strategies to deal with them. The most important sources involve a wife's expectations, fears, and prejudices.

Daniel Collert in SwedenExpectations. When you got married, your wife wasn't marrying just you; she was also marrying her idealized fantasy of what she expected in a husband. You just happened to be a convenient approximation of that fantasy. While courting, you did your part by trying to conform to her fantasy. She was even willing to overlook some imperfections, hoping to "change" you into a more ideal personification after the wedding. (Women aren't the only ones who have such expectations. At the same time, you were probably expecting her to fulfill your fantasies.)

Your wife's fantasy of the ideal husband and sexual partner may have been drawn from many sources - impressions of her father or other male relatives; teen-age heart-throbs that she and her girlfriends used to drool over; heroes in romantic novels; attractive male celebrities in movies or on television. Unless she had a thing for Mel Gibson in Braveheart, the chances are that all these men wore trousers.

To further complicate matters, you and she were not the only players in this game. She may also have been influenced by the expectations and opinions of her parents and peer group. She may have wanted a husband who would make her look good in their eyes, thereby bolstering her self-esteem.

On a more pragmatic level, she probably expected you to provide her with security. She expected you to be strong and protective, both physically and emotionally. She expected you to hold a steady job that provided sufficient income to help support her and the family. She expected you to enhance her position in the community and in social circles.

She expected you to be a good role model for her children.

In other words, she expects you to conform to a certain preconceived role that she has formed in her mind. Like a Hollywood casting director, she expects you to look and act the part. And all the other men she has seen in that role are wearing trousers.

Right Said Fred in a 21st Century KiltAddressing Specific Fears

Upon learning of your desire to wear a kilt or other skirt-like garment, your wife may fear that all her cherished expectations are suddenly threatened. Although her negative reaction may be emotional and non-rational, cognitive psychology points out that a person's feelings are strongly influenced by the thoughts and beliefs that run through his or her mind. Therefore, it is crucial to get these unspoken thoughts and assumptions out into the open, so they can be recognized by both you and your wife and addressed in a rational, reassuring way.

What thoughts might be running through your wife's mind when she discovers your interest in unbifurcated garments? Here, in italics, are some fearful thoughts a wife might have, followed by suggestions on how a husband might respond.

"If he wants to wear a skirt, he might really be gay. What's next? A male lover? Will he leave me for a man? Will he infect me with AIDS?"

"I'm not gay. I'm 100 per cent heterosexual. That's how I was born and that's how I will always be. The only person I want is you. Besides, wearing kilts and men's skirts has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It's all about feeling more comfortable and less cramped in the crotch."

"If he wants to wear a skirt, he might really be a transvestite. What's next? Will he be going around in drag? Will he be taking female hormones? Will he want a sex-change operation?"

"I'm not interested in women's clothing or cross-dressing. I'm 100 per cent male and that's how I want to stay! I'm talking strictly about wearing men's clothing - things like kilts, Utilikilts, sarongs, caftans - really masculine stuff designed and intended for males. A lot of men - myself included - are tired of having our genitals all cramped up in trousers, with the seams cutting into our balls, giving us jock itch and lowering our sperm count. You women are more streamlined down there. It makes no difference to you whether you wear skirts or trousers. But it's actually healthier for men to wear skirts. Skirts are more compatible with male anatomy than trousers are. That's the reason I want an alternative to trousers - it's because I'm a man! God gave me male genitals, and it's about time that I gave them more room to breathe."

"Even if he isn't gay or a transvestite, other people might think he is. This will be an embarrassment for me and the family. We will be socially ostracized. People will ridicule him. He might get beaten up. He might lose his job. We will face financial ruin."

"I know you're worried about what other people might think, but isn't your husband's comfort and happiness also important? Besides, we shouldn't underestimate people's intelligence. Anybody with half a brain will realize that wearing a man's kilt or Utilikilt doesn't make me either gay or a drag queen. Haven't they seen Mel Gibson in Braveheart? We can remind them that men have always worn skirt-like clothing - the Greeks, the Romans, the Vikings, all the men in the Bible. Even today men wear skirts in Scotland, the Middle East, throughout Africa, southern Asia, and the Pacific islands. Nowadays, men's kilts and skirts are being sold on the Internet. Utilikilts are a hot item in Seattle and spreading across the U.S. Even Dick Clark wore one on network television.

"If people around here aren't accustomed to seeing men in kilts and skirts, that doesn't mean they can't learn. I'll gradually venture out to see what people's reaction is. Based on what I've read from other men, there shouldn't be any problem. People are more impressed by a man's self-confident attitude than by what he's wearing. Don't worry. I will go about this in a cautious, responsible way. I expect that, before long, people will be very accepting."

"He will draw too much attention to himself and us wherever we go. I will feel uncomfortable and embarrassed."

"I can start by wearing the kilt (or Utilikilt, etc.) at home so you can get used to it. Then we can go places where there aren't many people around, until you see that it's no big deal. After a while you'll forget that I'm wearing a kilt (or Utilikilt, etc.). The bottom line is: if other people see that you aren't bothered by it, they will learn to accept it as well."

Nick Beggs"His skirt wearing will be an embarrassment to the children. It will traumatize the kids."

"I know that, at certain ages, kids feel that conformity is very important. They don't want themselves or their parents to be out of fashion or to look different than everyone else. They think it isn't 'cool.' They're afraid the other kids will tease them. But slavishly trying to conform is a losing proposition. What's 'cool' one year may be 'dorky' the next. It's also a parent's duty to teach children to be individuals, rather than simply to follow the crowd. This may be a painful lesson at times, but it makes for a stronger, more independent, more fulfilled person. For all we know, the kids may decide that it's cool for a man to wear a kilt or skirt. Nowadays, dozens of male rock stars perform in kilts, skirts, and even dresses. Kids have gotten used to seeing this. It's nothing unusual any more."

"Why can't he be normal, like the man I thought I married? He shouldn't make such a big deal about something so trivial. His skirts are more important to him than I am!"

"I realize that my interest in wearing kilts (Utilikilts, etc.) must seem strange to you after all these years. But it doesn't mean that I'm abnormal or that anything has changed between us. I don't want to be free of you - just the constant confinement of trousers. My comfort and the health of my genitals are not trivial matters. My freedom of choice in clothing is not a trivial matter. Certainly you wouldn't think it 'trivial' if I required you to wear skirts, pantyhose, and heels all the time, and I forbid you to wear jeans and slacks. You take for granted a woman's right to wear either skirts or trousers. I respect that right. For years, men didn't have such a choice, so we never got the chance to experience anything better than trousers. But now we have new alternatives - kilts, Utilikilts, sarongs, and other kinds of skirts designed specifically for men. More and more men are taking advantage of these masculine, unbifurcated garments and finding them to be far more comfortable than trousers. The men feel freer, happier, and more sensual. Women are not only getting used to the idea of men in kilts and skirts, but finding it extremely sexy. Maybe you will too."

UtilikiltNotice how the above responses, based on the Braveheart approach, effectively address the wife's concerns. The husband assures her that she has nothing to worry about. The Braveheart approach sets clear boundaries. He has no intention of compromising his male sexuality, his masculine role, or his manly image. On the contrary, he wants to reaffirm all these attributes by wearing masculine, unbifurcated garments that are more accommodating to his male anatomy. In addition to anatomical justification, the arguments for MUGs are supported by historical tradition and ethnic garb from around the world. All the husband asks is that his wife accept the fact that male clothing does not have to be bifurcated.

Consider how much less effective the responses would have been if based on the Freestyler approach. The husband would be requesting the right to wear skirts and other clothing that is specifically designed and intended for women. The wife is bound to ask, "If you start wearing women's clothing, where will it end? How far do you plan to take this? What's to stop you from dressing completely like a woman?" The Freestyler approach has little historical or world precedent to rely on. While it is true that men have worn skirt-like garments throughout history and around the world, they have not worn the same clothing as women. Gender distinctions have almost always been maintained. For example, in Scotland a man's kilt is clearly distinguishable from a woman's skirt or dress.

Both Bravehearts and Freestylers could advance the argument, "Women wear trousers, so what's wrong with men wearing skirts?" This is a concept that reasonable people might agree with, since it simply refers to a general type of clothing, which can be either male or female. However, Freestylers turn this into an attack on gender boundaries by arguing, "Women are allowed to wear men's clothes, so men should be allowed to wear women's clothes." This is a much more difficult concept to sell. First of all, women usually don't wear men's clothing. Although they aren't averse to borrowing items of men's clothing occasionally, they normally wear trousers that are specifically designed and intended for women. Second, and more important, there continues to be a profound psychological and social difference between men's and women's clothing that defies any rational discussion.  (The foundations of this prejudice are discussed in Confronting the Objections of Trouser Tyrants - Introduction.)

Increasing Wives' Familiarity with MUGs

A wife may be prejudiced against the idea of her husband wearing a skirt for the simple reason that she is not accustomed to seeing men in unbifurcated garments. Therefore, it is contrary to her settled idea of what men should look like. The thought of her husband in a skirt may seem disturbing or even ridiculous to her.

Therefore, one of your strategies may be to familiarize your wife with the sight of you and other men in unbifurcated garments. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Rent Braveheart, Rob Roy, Gladiator, and other movies showing men wearing kilts and other male unbifurcated garments. (See "Movies with Men in MUGs" for examples.)
  2. Take her to Scottish and Celtic events featuring men in kilts, or Greek events with men in fustanellas.
  3. Toss your pajamas and start wearing men's nightshirts instead.
  4. Buy a men's sarong to wear at the beach, around the pool, or for just lounging around on hot summer days.
  5. If you have any Scottish ancestry, profess your interest in Scottish heritage, join a Scottish society, buy a kilt, and find occasions to wear it with increasing frequency.
  6. Even if you're not Scottish, you can take up Scottish country dancing or join a pipe and drum band, which will involve wearing a kilt. For people who don't have a clan tartan, there are many generic or district tartans - including a number of American tartans. Gradually expand your kilt wearing to other events.
  7. Regardless of her misgivings, go ahead buy yourself a Utilikilt to wear at your leisure, or when working around the house. This will help to educate her about how distinctively masculine a man's skirt can be. And it will indicate that you intend to free yourself from Trouser Tyranny, whether she approves or not.

Beach sarongCutting Through the "Not Socially Acceptable" Knot

A wife may feel supported in her opposition by the fact that most other men don't wear skirts. She may simply assume that male kilt and skirt-wearing is "not socially acceptable" - and that's the end of it. By attributing this judgment to "society," she avoids any examination of the reasons behind her own prejudice. In the following example, see how the wife resorts to circular reasoning in an attempt to cut off the discussion.

Husband: "I want to wear a kilt or other men's skirt."

Wife: "It's not socially acceptable for men to wear skirts."

Husband: "Why isn't it socially acceptable?"

Wife: "Because men don't wear skirts."

Husband: "Why don't men wear skirts?"

Wife: "Because it's not socially acceptable."

If the husband plays the ethnic card, he's likely to hear the same kind of circular reasoning.

Husband: "It's socially acceptable for Scotsmen to wear kilts."

Wife: "But we're not in Scotland."

Husband: "I've seen men wear kilts in this country also."

Wife: "But only for special events. Otherwise it's not socially acceptable."

One of the husband's tasks will be to cut through the wife's circular reasoning and disabuse her of the notion that MUGs are not "socially acceptable." For example, he might try the following approaches:

Utilikilts"How do we know that men's kilts and skirts aren't socially acceptable nowadays? Who made such a decision? Have you recently seen any men being socially rejected for wearing a kilt or other male skirt? How indeed could anyone make that decision if they haven't actually seen men wearing kilts and skirts? We'll never know whether men's kilts and skirts are socially acceptable unless some men take the initiative by wearing them. Once people get used to the idea, they might not be bothered at all. And if some people are still against it, why should we let them rule our lives?

"I'm not talking about the social acceptability of drag queens and cross-dressers. That's a totally different issue. I'm talking about being a well-behaved, decently dressed guy who just happens to be wearing a good-looking kilt or masculine skirt instead of shorts or trousers or dirty blue jeans. Must we assume that people are going to reject me just because my clothes don't divide at the crotch? If Sean Connery or Mel Gibson visited your social club wearing a kilt, do you think they would be thrown out? I doubt it. I suspect that women would be crawling all over them. I'll bet if I came in a kilt, they'd be all over me too. Is that what's worrying you?"

The final proof that men's kilts and skirts are "socially acceptable" will come when your wife accompanies you in public for the first time and sees for herself. For the greatest chance of success, carefully chose a good-looking, masculine outfit - preferably a man's tartan kilt, together with sporran, kilt sox, and other accessories. If you have a knee-length Utilikilt or other MUG instead of a tartan kilt, you can enhance its kilt-like appearance by wearing kilt sox with garters and flashes, other types of knee sox, or even knee-length soccer sox. This, of course, is a matter of personal taste.

Select a place where the people are likely to be tolerant, well-behaved, and kilt-friendly. This will depend on your individual locality. An up-scale restaurant, bookstore, or coffee bar might be safe bets to start off, or perhaps an evening at a friend's house. Or maybe your wife would be more comfortable going somewhere out of town, where she could feel more anonymous. Gradually, your wife will come to realize that most people like to see a man in a tartan kilt, and that masculine looking men's skirts are perfectly acceptable in most places.

Playing the Health Card

It's a recognized fact that the confinement of trousers can cause serious problems for a man's genitals. The lack of ventilation creates a build up of heat and perspiration that fosters the growth of yeast and fungus infections. Friction from the seams and fabric in the trouser crotch can cause further irritation. As a result, some men suffer chronic "jock itch" or serious heat rashes on the scrotum and elsewhere in the crotch. It's not a pretty sight. The standard recommendation - to wear boxer-type underpants instead of briefs - doesn't really solve the ventilation problem as long as the man is still wearing trousers. Furthermore, the boxer shorts have their own seams, which can also irritate the genitals. The most logical and effective way to eliminate this problem would be to wear some kind of skirt. For social conventions to stand in the way of this simple and obvious remedy is pure insanity.

If you are a man who suffers from these problems, insist upon wearing a kilt or other MUG to relieve and prevent such agony. If your wife places her irrational prejudices higher than your physical health, maybe it's time to reconsider your relationship.

SarongsDemonstrating Sexism

Let's say that your wife is a modern trouser-wearing woman who proclaims a belief in sexual equality. She is against sexual discrimination and encourages "men's liberation" - at least to the extent that it means greater sensitivity to women's needs and greater participation in household chores. However, she simply can't tolerate the idea of you wearing a kilt or skirt.

Point out that her opposition is sexist and directly contrary to her professed belief in sexual equality. She is basing her objections on an arbitrary sexual stereotype - in the same way that sexual stereotypes have been used against women. Explain how the prejudice against men in skirts stems from an underlying misogynistic belief that women are inferior and that anything remotely similar to women's clothing must therefore be degrading or shameful. Consequently, her negative attitude undermines the equality of women.

If she still insists on confining you to the trousered male stereotype, maybe it's time to play hardball. See how she likes it when you become a really stereotypical male. Reclaim your right to all the traditional male privileges. Refuse to do "women's" chores at home. Insist upon watching sports rather than her television programs. But most important, tell her that you're tired of seeing her in trousers - that they make her look like a "dyke." Demand that she wear skirts and dresses like a "real" woman. After a while, the idea of you in kilts and MUGs will seem like a good alternative.


Educating Your Parents

Parents have their own expectations, fears, and prejudices. Most parents genuinely want what's best for their children - or, more accurately, what they think is best. They want their children to grow up to be healthy, happy, responsible, and successful adults. They want children of whom they can be proud, and who will reflect well on them. They want to instill in their children strong moral and social values - as well as the parents' prejudices.

Roddy PiperParents expect their sons to conform to the prevailing masculine stereotype, which includes wearing some kind of trousers. Parents want their sons to be real boys, not sissies. They want their sons to grow into real men, not homosexuals or - heaven forbid - transsexuals! So when they discover their son's interest in wearing skirt-like clothing, alarm bells start ringing in their heads.

A mother may respond with some of the same fears and concerns that wives have. Is my son gay? Does he have a gender disorder? What will the neighbors think? Will he be harassed or beaten up? Will he be able to finish school, get a job, find a wife, raise a family?

A father may base his opposition on the kind of prejudicial beliefs previously discussed. In addition, he may view his son's skirt-wearing as an affront to his own masculine pride. "No son of mine is going around wearing skirts! If I ever catch him in a skirt, I'll break his neck!"

Unfortunately, as long as you depend on your parents for room, board, and other financial support, they pretty much call the shots. They set the rules for the household; their word is "law." How can a guy overcome Trouser Tyranny in a situation like that?

You might begin by trying to allay your parents' fears and to chip away at their prejudices - using the same strategies previously suggested for husbands coping with wives' negative attitudes. Assuming that you are approaching this from the Braveheart perspective, impress upon your parents the masculinity of kilts and men's skirts. (Otherwise, you will have to deal with some difficult gender issues, which may be insurmountable.) Emphasize that your desire to wear them is based on reasons of physical comfort and the health of your male genitals. If you have any Scottish or Irish blood, play up the fact that your interest in kilts is an expression of pride in your family heritage.

Practical Objections

In addition their fears and prejudices, parents may also raise a host of more practical objections. For example, if you announce that you want a kilt, the first reaction might be, "We aren't Scottish." If you in fact happen to be Scottish or Irish, the objection might be, "Kilts are too expensive. Besides, there aren't enough events where you could use it." Indeed, unless your parents are Celtic heritage enthusiasts and relatively affluent, they will be reluctant to shell out several hundred bucks for a traditional kilt outfit.

To reduce the cost, you might look for less expensive kilt substitutes - although the general rule is that you get what you pay for. You can try to find and alter girls' kilted skirts or school kilts, but they won't look as masculine as the real McCoy. Of course, the cheapest source of unbifurcated garments would be the women's skirts at thrift shops - but they would look like women's skirts, and that would get you back into the issue of "cross-dressing."

The best bet would be to save up for something like a Utilikilt - a genuine man's garment that is both practical and comfortable, and which captures the masculine spirit of a kilt at a significantly lower price.

Religious Objections

Some of the strongest resistance to male kilt and skirt wearing has come from parents who are religious fundamentalists. Many of these parents firmly believe that any kind of male skirt-wearing is tantamount to "cross dressing" and contrary to the Word of God. No matter how you try to reason with them, they insist upon twisting the Bible to support their own personal prejudices. This problem will be discussed in the next section of this article.

_______________________

Confronting the Objections of Trouser Tyrants - Introduction

Confronting Religious Objections

Movies with Men in MUGs

Return to "Bravehearts in Kilts Against Trouser Tyranny" home page.

Photographs: Kilted couple; Daniel Collert in Sweden; Right Said Fred in a 21st Century Kilt; Nick Beggs; Standard Utilikilt in black; beach sarong; couple in sarongs; Roddy Piper, wrestler.

Copyright © 2002 by WDP Bravehearts

e-mail: Brvhearts@aol.com

This site has been visited times since August 14, 2002.

(This page was visited at its original site 667 times from April 10, 2002, to September 1, 2002.)

This page last modified on October 31, 2002 (revised)

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