While there is no tradition of being a kilted man at work on Thursdays, there is a tradition of being a kilted man at work on holidays. So, off I went to work this morning…the kilt was brown.
At Fifth Avenue and 13th Street, a white man in his twenties called out to me, “Sir, sir, may I ask where you are going to work in a kilt?” He was dressed in what I’ll call “trendy casual” a fitted purple shirt, buttoned all the way, and straight black pants.
A kilted man isn’t usually all that cautious about answering such questions, but the proximity to the Forbes headquarters gave me pause. Was this an earnest young man looking for guidance, or a reporter looking for a story? So, I answered obliquely. “As it is Rosh Hashanah I don’t expect to find too many people at work. Wearing the kilt today is somewhat like wearing the kilt when I go to work on the weekend. There is an acceptance of a more casual style of dress.”
He looked puzzled, nodded, and then thanked me. Yes, it’s true, I did feel a little badly for not answering his question.
My prediction about work, however, was quite wrong. On my way from the subway to the office I ran into two colleagues who did not know that I am, sometimes, a kilted man. One, a gay woman of a certain age, said, “Here it is fashion week and look at you!” Of course, I am just vain enough to think that I am always fashionable but I was happy to have the compliment. Once at work I ran into someone who knows about the tradition of the kilted man. “It’s not Friday” she exclaimed. I offered her my theory about the similarities between holidays and a weekends, which she seemed to accept.
Later, on my way to lunch, another gay woman of a certain age was very surprised to find me to be a kilted man. “Is there a special event you are attending?” “No.” “Do you wear these often?” “Most Fridays in the summer and on weekends.” “Well, at least you have the legs for it!” “Thank you!”
Near the end of the day a straight male colleague told me about his traditional kilt. While the family name is Welsh, his father was a big fan of his Scottish heritage and took every opportunity to sing traditional Scottish songs. As a tribute to him, friends had given him a kilt which, when he passed away, was given to his son. The son had never worn the kilt, but was emboldened to do so upon seeing me in my decidedly non-traditional brown kilt.
It was certainly a varied day for the kilted man, punctuated by an “incident” with a gust of wind that would have answered the question people ask me most often, “Are you wearing that in the traditional style?”
Thankfully, it was Rosh Hashanah so there was no one around to see the answer.