beige_alert: (kilt)
[personal profile] beige_alert
At Capricon I tried something new to me, trying to dress up in some sort of recognizably fancied-up manner.  As you may know, it's not like I have some keenly tuned sense of fashion, or even the vaguest sense of color coordination (even though the actual color-sensitive receptors in my eyes work just fine).  So, you know, adventure!  The new wardrobe components consisted of a pair of black just-below-the-knee boots from Minnetonka Moccasins and a kilt from Alt.Kilt.

One thing that surprised me was the reaction to the boots.  I expected the kilt to attract attention (duh), but I also wore the boots with just plain black jeans and a shirt from Patagonia and I actually got a number of comments out of the blue from people - both friends and also total strangers - about how they liked the boots.  Honestly, I'd have expected it to take more, you know, effort to get dressed up enough to actually get comments on it.

I'm basically speculating here, but I suspect that playing dress-up works a bit like an athletic competition in which you are competing against your age group or your weight class.  You don't get compared to the best-dressed human being on the premises, you get compared to whatever group people group you into.  If you look like a man (I have a beard, it cements the look), you'll get compared to the median man.  I'll pause while you imagine the straight cis dudes you've seen recently.  Right!  It's not really going to be that hard to look more dressed up than that.  And indeed, apparently not!

While it was really quite fun to be complimented on the good-looking boots, the kilt did attract even more attention.  Fellow men: If you have been wondering if wearing a kilt will tend to attract extra attention from women, the answer is yes.  Yes it does.  Which, obviously, tends to be fun, especially if you have a thing for women.  I have a number of friends who are sort-of known for appreciating a man in a kilt, and their reactions were very entertaining.

(Here is where I launch into an extended string of thoughts:)

You also get some possibly excessive attention.  Possibly a tiny taste, you know, a few tenths of a percent, of the sort of thing women get subjected to all the damn time.

There is a very very well-known line of thinking, joking, teasing, story-telling, song-writing, etc. about the age-old question of what is worn underneath the kilt.  (Nothing is worn, it's all in perfect working order!  Har!)  I'm not sure I'd really thought about whether women would actually ask me about my underwear.

In the culture around here there is an expectation that all men are always up for anything sexual anytime, anywhere, with anyone of a gender they fancy.  This is a harmful notion in all sorts of ways, but I think that one of them is in the area of just thinking about how some things might actually feel.  How would I like it if random women I don't even know asked me if I'm wearing underwear?  Well, I don't know, but I do know that I'm supposed to say that it sounds like fun.  Right?

Well, in fact, I did get asked about my underwear.  Repeatedly.  Yes, it's all just in fun, it's in fact a well-known stereotypical joke, and, yeah, it's not a big deal.  It's one thing with actual friends, but honestly, when someone I don't know asks if I'm wearing underwear, it really does feel kind of weird, with the added weirdness that while I don't necessarily have to actually answer the question I do have to think up something to say.  (I settled on a standard answer of "I don't ask you about your underwear, do I?")  And the other thought I had just after "this is weird" was to wonder what things I've said to women over the years that were intended to just be playful jokes of the standard sort that actually came off as weird or creepy.  I'd imagined that I'd been trying not to be weird or creepy, but now I think I should try harder, just to be sure.  Because honestly I'm pretty sure I wasn't trying hard enough.

By the time a woman who had reasonable standing to ask me about my underwear got to ask - given a history we have that's left her with some specific knowledge of what might be seen under there - well, she was about the fourth woman in thirty minutes to ask and really, by then, the joke just didn't feel as amusing as it had sounded like it might be.

None of which is to say that I didn't have a fun time.  I think most men get told they look good from time to time, but normally only by certain people under certain circumstances.  Never, for example, by whoever happens to in the elevator when they step in.  So, given that I did go well out of my way to attract attention to myself, it was indeed fun to have succeeded.  Of course, the way that works for men is if I got tired of it I could always put pants and normal shoes on and resume being an invisible default dude, with no worry that people might tell me I look too plain, should do something about my hair, and should smile dammit.  Aside from fun, I do suspect that being on the receiving end of that sort of thing for a while is likely to leave one more skilled at giving out compliments in a pleasing manner at appropriate times and places, as opposed to awkwardly or creepily.  There's no other education that's quite the same as experiencing something yourself, even just a very tiny bit of experience.

Date: 2014-02-15 05:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've made three conscious decisions in the last week to forego apt, topical, funny jokes because they could have unwanted-sexual-attention connotations.
Talk about mixed feelings.

Not quite the same as underwear questions, but sort of...

Date: 2014-02-15 09:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
what is worn underneath the kilt? why, shoes and socks of course!

Date: 2014-02-15 02:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am glad you had a fun time getting dressed up, sorry that people creeped you out, and pleased that you have taken so much away from the experience.

One good thing about a con is that you never need to say "Yeah, but where would I *wear* that?" (Actually the same is true for songs--I never need to say "Yeah, but where would I *sing* that?")

Date: 2014-02-15 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That was pretty much Saturday night for me, dressed up in unusual clothing singing, um, unusual songs!

I'll be the first to say that the negative experiences were few and only mildly negative. The positive experiences were educational,too.

Date: 2014-02-15 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenny heidewald (from
Standard answers to, "What's worn under your kilt?"
"Nothing, everything is in perfect working order!"
"Yer sister's/mother's/wife's/daughter's lipstick!"

Kilts are awesome. :)

Date: 2014-02-15 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This is deep. I am impressed. Especially given all the glittery hoo ha that has been in the air about harassment policies at cons, I'm not surprised that you got asked about what you were wearing under your kilt, especially with those boots. It is, after all, tradition,,,not to mention that there are no strangers at cons...just friends you haven't met yet...and friends can be obnoxious.

Seriously, I enjoyed reading this.

Date: 2014-02-16 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Of course, the way that works for men is if I got tired of it I could always put pants and normal shoes on and resume being an invisible default dude, with no worry that people might tell me I look too plain, should do something about my hair, and should smile dammit."

Thank you! THANK YOU. Thank you for doing this, and actually thinking about the attention you received, and what it might be like for women all the time.

...and thank you for putting up with your female friends (*cough*sorry*cough*) saying things to you that they've heard throughout their lives like, "Hey, baby, wanna come sit on my lap?" and realizing that what you've put on is, in their minds, a reason to treat you like that. And realizing that a woman's hair/face/mouth/makeup/accent/eyes/expected or unexpected gender presentation/tits/ass/hat/facial expressions/loudness of speech/weight/shirt/body art/perfume/skirt/musculature/pants/perceived socioeconomic status/jewelry/skin/shoes/vocabulary/waist/legs/height/occupation/gait/body hair or lack therof/food or drink consumption/hands/feet/alcohol consumption/hobbies/willingness to engage in eye contact or conversation/etc are ALL, in people's minds, "a reason to treat you like that."

Date: 2014-02-17 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I highly recommend being thoughtful about what other people experience, but there's nothing quite the same as having some experience yourself. I'm not sure how you'd set yourself up for some of the experiences I've had, but this one I highly recommend for my fellow dudes - this one is easy to set yourself up to experience.

I'll note that you seemed pleasantly playful and non-weird. Obviously the fact that we know each other is a major factor in that. (Plus also that I was in fact seeking attention, among other things) Least surprising thing of all is that it's easy for strangers to come off as a bit weird, compared to what seems like much more fun from friends, but again kind of interesting to experience just how very much more likely to seem weird.

Date: 2014-02-17 01:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Exactly. We know each other, we flirt, and... a significant other of mine was just saying that my come-ons are a little different, perhaps in their honesty, perhaps in the obvious delight I take in appreciating somebody, and perhaps in that, unlike a construction worker's come-on, I'd be perfectly pleased if you'd come over and sat on my lap, and then would have behaved myself admirably.

But then again, that last one is something you can only know if you *know* me, which is part of that "strangers seem weirder" problem. So, anyway, that's all a rather roundabout way of saying "I agree!"

Date: 2014-02-17 07:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My response to the "Regimental" question when I'm wearing the kilt is: "Do you want the short answer, pedantic answer, polite answer or blunt answer?"

In order:


Queen's regulations prescribe black briefs, and that's what I'm wearing, because wool itches, flashing is rude, and skids on a real wool kilt are nasty.

Thanks for your interest. That's a personal question, however.

Is your pussy shaved? Hey, you get to ask intimate questions of me, I get to ask them of you.

On another note, I remember a con having a Men in Tights panel. Some guy came back traumatized. "They groped me all over! I felt like a piece of meat!" Yeah, it sucks, doesn't it? Hopefully he learned something.

Asterisk to that note: Having worked as a stripper, and as a chaperon for the female strippers, I can tell you sorority women are MUCH, MUCH grabbier than frat men. I'm not criticizing or analyzing, merely reporting.

Date: 2014-02-24 01:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, I like you a ton. :D Do you mind if I friend you?

Date: 2014-02-25 02:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, that would be most fine

Date: 2014-02-25 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thankee kindly!


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