John Carlson: Skirting The Issue

Kilts are more than skirts for guys … supposedly. Photo by: Nancy CarlsonKilts are more than skirts for guys … supposedly. Photo by: Nancy Carlson

By: John Carlson—

Down in Indy recently, I saw a big guy wearing a kilt.

I only mention he was a big guy, maybe 6-feet-4 and 250 pounds, because my first thought was to holler, “Nice skirt, sissy!” But one look at him and I knew he’d have pounded me headfirst into the dirt, like I was some newfangled type of mole exterminator.

So anyway, this big guy’s skirt – pardon me, kilt – being metal studded and possibly even made of leather, was a substantial looking garment. Except, I presume, when viewed from underneath, where what you might call his “giblets” were undoubtedly exposed to anything and everything staring up at him from ground level.

Chipmunks, cats, grasshoppers, you name it … they got an eyeful.

Having watched this fellow nonchalantly roam the halls of a medical building in which I had an appointment, the next thing that came to my mind was an historical documentary I saw once.

It was called “Braveheart.”

This documentary, a fascinating look back at life in 13th Century Scotland through the eyes of Scottish patriot William Wallace, revealed a number of surprising historical facts. For instance, it turns out Wallace was a dead ringer for movie star Mel Gibson. Also, what with the lack of soap, showers and deodorant back then, it made you glad he and his buddies were not filmed in Stink-a-Vision. However, this did not include Wallace’s soon-to-be-murdered wife and his subsequent royal snuggle bunny, both of whom were major honking babes.

And another historical fact: The Scottish dudes all wore kilts! It was like pants hadn’t even been invented there yet!

For a courageous, warring people like the Scots, these kilts’ ultimate benefit was obvious. By simply turning around, bending over and hiking up their kilts in back, they could moon the English troops and officers with ease.

Not with impunity, though. According to this documentary, nothing ticked off the English more than being mooned by the Scots, unless it was being, you know, frontflipped or wangdoodled by the Scots. Consequently, the English would send a bunch of arrows flying, some of which inevitably nailed the Scots right in the butt. Of course, at that point another benefit of kilts came into play, since the Scots could directly bandage a comrade’s keister without first working some poor guy’s punctured pants past the arrow poking from them.

In the end, the Scots won their freedom, though “Braveheart” did reveal Wallace eventually lost his own giblets in the effort. But something he didn’t lose was his fashion sense, as revealed in the documentary’s most stirring scene, when astride his stallion, he hollered to his kilted men, “They may take our lives! But they will never take our kilts!”

At least, I think that’s what he hollered.

At any rate, since seeing that big guy in a kilt, I have been weighing the pros and cons of wearing one myself.  The biggest pro I can think of is, with a kilt, you don’t have to waste lots of time in the morning working your feet though a confusing pair of pants legs. Another obvious benefit directly related to this is, since there are no legs to worry about, you will never show up at work after a night of riotous partying with your pants on backwards.

On the other hand, one big con to a kilt for me is, being a weakling unable to beat up anyone who isn’t already legally brain-dead, if somebody hollers “Nice skirt, sissy!” I’ll have to yell back something like, “Oh yeah, fella? Well, I bought it at Kohl’s!”

Also, as a 67-year-old guy, I figure I’m way too old to learn the rules of skirt/kilt modesty that women automatically grow up with. As a result, I would likely get busted for manspreading in some restaurant like a flagrant floozy, ruining people’s appetites.

For those reasons and more, next time you see me, I’m pretty sure I’ll be wearing pants.


A former longtime feature writer and columnist for The Star Press in Muncie, Indiana, John Carlson is a storyteller with an unflagging appreciation for the wonderful people of East Central Indiana and the tales of their lives, be they funny, poignant, inspirational or all three.