This Labor Day weekend represented a typical experience in kilting.
On Saturday the kilt was “camel” and largely went unnoticed. However, at the end of my Saturday morning errands I was crossing Second Avenue and saw a petite woman crossing the street accompanying a man. She stared at the kilt for quite a while and then looked up at me. I thought to myself, “That’s interesting,” then suddenly I felt a small hand grasp my arm, its fingernails pressing sharply into my antecubital fossa…it was the petite woman.
Now, I don’t know about the other men and women out there but the cavity opposite my elbow is, well, an erogenous zone for me. Pressed sharply by fingernails it is a way to immediately grab my attention. As this is a “family” blog I think it inappropriate to get into any particular detail about what happens when such pressure is applied to that area. Let’s just say that grabbing that part of my arm in that way causes blood to rush from my head to other parts of my body.
Having stopped me in my tracks, the woman pulled me close to her and whispered in my ear, with a delicious Brazilian accent, “I like it, very much.”
And then she was gone.
I would like to state for the record that I was not crushed by the tractor-trailer rushing down Second Avenue. I was, however, left, not for the first time, with a burning question. “Under what circumstances could I do something similar to a woman and avoid arrest?” The answer, as you might guess, is never. There is no circumstance in which I could grab a woman’s inner arm (or equivalent erogenous zone) and whisper anything in her ear.
“A crowded subway car is no excuse for unlawful sexual conduct…” Sure, the MTA tells us that…but what about pressing your fingernails into a man’s arm and making him dizzy in the middle of a crowded intersection?
Which brings me to my other, recurring, question. “Why do women feel the freedom to do such a thing?” Clearly, the kilt plays a significant role…but why? What about a kilt says, “Lose all inhibitions and let your libido make your choices.” I’m not complaining mind you. Just very curious.
On Monday the kilt was grey. On my way to work a young man of African descent yelled, “Yo pimpy, nice kilt.” I’ll admit that I had some confusion about this and that I remain uncertain if he meant this as a compliment, “Your kilt ‘pimps’ you out,” or a career choice, “You look like a Scottish pimp,” or if he simply misspoke, “Wait, I meant ‘ho’!” It was in many ways a comment that characterizes a kilted man’s interactions with men of color…things said in a way that feel confrontational with meanings that are unclear to me.
A Monday evening ride in an elevator reminded a kilted man that women of color are likely to say nice things about the kilt. After some confusion about the direction of the elevator the young African-American woman said, “I really love your, is it a kilt?” “Oh, yes, that works,” I reply. “It’s not a traditional one because it isn’t plaid and it has pockets…” “Oh, so it’s a sexy kilt.”
With this comment I look, really look, at the young woman in the elevator car with me. Because, I’m middle-aged, white, and, despite what my mother might say, average looking. (Most common comparisons are to Alec Baldwin, Matthew Perry, and, the only comparison I like…Edward Norton.) As you might guess from these names, I look fairly Irish (in truth, only partly so as the family name is from the Isle of Man and I’m partly Suquamish, in addition to a handful of European ethnicities). Who I see is a rather attractive young woman with natural black hair (long tight curls), medium skin tone, wonderfully full lips, and deep hazel eyes…who is about half my age. I’m certain that I kept talking through all of this (goodness knows what I said, but I was likely rambling on about the kilt) but the thought that was pressing against my brain the entire ride was, “Did she just say your kilt was sexy?”
The elevator arrived at the ground floor and I motioned for her to exit first. She wished me a good evening and then walked over to an attractive young man in the lobby who she kissed on the lips.
Eight years of being a kilted man and all I can say with certainty is this: I have conversations and interactions every day that I wear the kilt that I never have wearing a jacket and tie.