Posted by Cassondra Murray Jun 5 2012, 3:03 am in Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's blogs, Highland Games, Kilts, Scottish heritage, sporrans
My father was a Murray and my mother a Grant, so it’d be hard to get any more Scot than I am(except for that bit of Cherokee thrown in a couple of generations back). I have a strong attachment to my Scot heritage, but that’s not the real reason I like to attend highland games. I’ve blogged about games–and kilts–before, but this time something kind of extraordinary happened to me. I was struck speechless by a man in a kilt.
I just got back from my annual foray to the biggest games in the region. They happen each June, the weekend after Memorial Day. It’s the one weekend I mark off, absolutely, no matter what, come hell or high water, every year. I see friends there. Ones I hold dear but don’t get to see, usually, except at these games.
But still, I’d attend even if my friends weren’t there. Because there’s another reason.
Ooooh, yeah. Kilts.
There are lots of men in kilts at the games. Dress kilts and Great kilts. Every tartan you can think of. Even some utilikilts, which have never impressed me. At least they hadn’t until this past Saturday.
We’d been at the games since early Saturday morning, so just before noon I went with two of my buddies on a search for food. We found some.
For you who’ve never been to highland games, the setups vary, but there are always the same main elements. Our games are set up with a big athletic field in the center, and clan tents surrounding it.
Then there’s another ring of tents outside of that, and those are the vendors. Food, jewelry, clothing for period costumes and reenactment. If you need a pink, pointy, cone-shaped hat with sparklies on it, a highland games would be the place to find one.
So we were on the way back to the tent with our chicken and French fries, and decided to walk close to the athletic field. There on the corner was an open space where athletes had gathered, along with some onlookers. I was chatting away when I noticed him. I about fell over my feet.
“Oh. My. God.” I said.
“What?” my friend asked? “What is it?”
“Holy cannoli, LOOK AT THAT!” I stopped, and they stopped with me, trying to see what I was looking at.
His back was to me, and his arms were crossed, feet spread wide as he concentrated on the athletes tossing a heavy weight over a high bar. He had on a loose white Jacobite shirt and a black utilikilt with some kind of leather shoes. His hair was coal black and hung almost to his waist. I kid you not. From the back (and side) it could have been this guy on the right. *fans self just thinking about it*
I actually checked my mouth for drool. It was that good.
My friends gawked at me. This ‘awestruck at the sight of a male’ behavior, you might want to know, is completely out of character for me, and I doubt they’d ever seen me completely speechless over this kind of thing, but honestly, I’d never seen anything quite like this. Not in real life anyway.
There were lots of hunks in kilts on that corner, and it took my friends a few seconds to figure out which one had caught my eye. “Really?” one friend sounded skeptical. “Him?”
“OH yeah,” I breathed. I eased forward, trying to get a view of the rest of him. If the front view was as good as the back view, the chances of me making it back to the clan tent with my brain intact were just about nil. He turned his head to speak to the guy standing next to him. Short-cut beard stubble. Just what I like. I stopped breathing. He turned away and headed off in the other direction.
I never saw him again, so never got to ogle him from the front, but I started musing about how different men are, and how women like such different types. My friends were not into the long hair. I was. They tend to like more bulk. I tend to like lean and hard.
But there is a common denominator for an awful lot of women I know. Almost any man in decent shape looks better in a kilt.
But back to the whole sporran thing.
For you who don’t know, the sporran is the little bag that guys carry (when wearing a kilt), on a belt or chain around their waist. And it hangs sort of..uhm…directly in front of their gentlemanly bits. It’s often the most decorative thing on the male Scottish outfit which means, if you’re a fan of said regalia, you could feasibly spend right fair amounts of time staring at the nether regions of men in kilts. I know this from personal experience. Yes, I do.
Some of these sporrans are truly spectacular. And, well…you kind of want to touch them. Assuming you’re not the squeamish type who doesn’t want to touch fur. They are generally made of leather that is dyed and polished or embossed, or….they’re made of fur. Sometimes intact furs. Everything from soft rabbit fur to more exotic furs.
This one on the left is kind of simple, but it looks soft and cushy.
Okay y’all, I’m a softie when it comes to animals. I grew up with a dad who hunted, but I can’t personally kill anything with fur and don’t even squish bugs if they’re not bothering me. But I’ve gotta tell ya, there’s something about a big strapping guy in a kilt with a fur sporran that makes me want to stare. And touch. And if it’s a soft, cushy sporran, I want to pet it.
The sporran. I want to pet the sporran. Y’all get your minds out of the gutter, will ya?
As I type this and reflect on my interest in these things, I think I’ve hit on one of the core reasons I’m attracted to highland games. There’s an earthiness about them. The men–at least the ones I encounter– are men. The ladies are strong women, but they have no problem letting the men be men. Appreciating the men for that intense male-ness does not make the women “less” in any way. I actually think there’s something about men in kilts that sort of accentuates the differences between male and female in some indefinable way that is really sexy.
And there’s no lack the other way either. The Scot men I know are not afraid to let a lady know she’s attractive and appreciated. And the ladies are not afraid to enjoy the attention, or to return it. In that setting, it’s almost as though we take a small step back from our culturally correct, polite polish for a bit, and allow ourselves to be more free and open. More raw.
It gets my blood going a little, in a way that office parties, primped pressed and politically correct suits and sequins do not.
I will admit that I have asked men in kilts if I could pet their sporrans.
I’ve never had even one guy say “no.”
Bandits and Buddies, have you ever attended a Scottish Highland Games or Celtic festival?
Ever ogled a guy in a kilt?
Do you think a kilt adds a measure of sexy to a guy? Or do you prefer a regular suit or jeans?
What, in your opinion, is the appeal of a kilt? Is it just that it seems a bit exotic, or is there something inherently sexy about the kilt…or is it the obvious self-confidence of the guy wearing it?
Have you ever seen a sporran that you wanted to…umm..pet?
Posted by Cassondra Murray Jul 8 2008, 4:39 am in Cassondra Murray, Cassondra's blogs, handbags, Kilts, men's fashion, popular culture, purses, Scottish men
by Cassondra Murray
Gollum was probably not the first fellow to ask this question, though he might
have been the first on record to actually wonder about it out loud
But he certainly wasn’t the last.
I’ve spoken those exact words repeatedly (though silently) in recent years as I’ve begun to observe male behaviors through the jaded eyes of a middle-aged female writer.
Have y’all heard that Bud Light Real Men of Genius
radio commercial–the one about “Mr. Cargo Pants Designer”?
“Is that a banana in your pocket?”
“Why, yes it is. And an orange….”
And an ipod perhaps….
A survival knife? A multi-tool? A flashlight? A cigarette lighter? The list goes on.
Okay, I’ll set aside complete dissing of cargo pants because of their military origins. But MOST cargo pants are not worn by military men and women–people who have to carry their lives on their backs for weeks at a time and defend themselves and their fellow soldiers too.
I’ve decided that most modern cargo pants are designed for the man who is worried about his masculinity. The man who refuses to admit that, just like women, males need to carry around a certain amount of STUFF. I can come to only one logical conclusion. This is a man who believes that if he actually possesses a suitable bag to carry the STUFF in, that one of the appendages necessary to be considered male might…oh, I don’t know…maybe fall off or start to rot.
What is up with that?
Consider, if you will, wallet bulge. The male equivalent of disgusting panty lines.
I don’t say it out loud, but I do THINK it when I see a fellow with a big square bulge in his hip pocket. Nothing like an icky wallet bulge to ruin what would otherwise be a wonderfully distracting male rear end. There are too few of those nicely shaped male nether regions these days. It’s an absolute crime to have the nice ones mangled.
Hey, men are always staring at ours, why not admit it? We like theirs too…sans wallet bulge thank you very much….ahem….
It’s even worse when the guy is wearing a suit.
I attended an event this week where I saw a few phenomenal men in very sexy suits. And a whole bunch of men who don’t wear them well at all because of what I’m coming to view as “serious male fashion sins.”
Let’s consider James Bond, the quintessential ladies man, putting his life on the line for his country–saving the world in his $6000 suit–but let’s consider him with with seven dollars worth of nickels and dimes clinking, clunking, and bulging from the front of his thighs. I can’t help but return to the famous line from Kindgergarten Cop
. “Maybe it’s a tumor.”
Somehow, I don’t think we’re going to see that in the next Bond film. Bond, of course, carries all the stuff he needs and a whole bunch of gadgets hidden in an immaculately tailored tuxedo. But that’s film, and this is real life. And in real life, “tumors” abound.
Men used to get through life with a few bills in a money clip, a car key, and a house key, all which fit in their pockets with nary a tumor in sight. For a well dressed fellow in a nicely cut pair of trousers, any extra…um…anomalies…meant he was happy to see you.
Not so these days. Men carry stuff. Cell phones and laptops and sunglasses (expensive ones, which demand cases so they don’t get scratched) and as they age, reading glasses maybe. They need Blackberries and keys for cars, houses, gym lockers, garages and motorcycles. They need newspapers and a paperback book for the commute to work on the train. They need power bars and an apple. They need music devices with all the wires and gizmos and accessories.
And let’s face it. A briefcase doesn’t work a lot of the time. And a backpack is hell on a nice jacket or a good shirt, and it makes your back all sweaty.
I understand the wish to travel light. I swear I do. I want the smallest purse I can carry that will hold the minimum necessary stuff. And I won’t switch out purses. I don’t have time. It has to work with all my clothes, or I’ll be a fashion failure and that’s just too bad. In some ways I guess I’m more like a guy than a girl when it comes to the whole “purse” phenomenon.
I have no idea when the “purse” came into use–I know the regency writers on the blog call them “reticules” in their stories–and ladies almost always had one with them.
They used them to carry their smelling salts I guess–since those corsets caused them to faint without warning–and to carry a little money to get home, in case the handsome rake turned out to be a big jerk and left you stranded.
Some things haven’t changed all that much, have they?
If women weren’t the first, they certainly weren’t the ONLY people using some sort of bag to carry their stuff
around….Scottish men wore, along with their kilts, sporrans. Rather handy and unencumbering I think–a much nicer, more elegant version of the fanny pack (which is, like a backpack, almost always ugly in my opinion.)
Here’s a fellow, on the right, who looks rather dashing in his kilt and sporran, don’t you think? I could be prejudiced by my Scottish heritage.
And below that there’s an entire football team, and every one of them has a sporran. I’m thinkin these guys are not wimps, in spite of their blue socks.
I sometimes hear males dissing guys who wear kilts and sporrans–calling them sissies and other derogatory words that would suggest the well-dressed Scottish man has anatomy more akin to the female (those words will probably never make it into one of my blogs).
But I’ve also noticed that they don’t say that stuff out loud if they’re anywhere near a fellow like this, who for the sake of his sport (which, if you haven’t seen it, involves tossing the equivalent of a telephone pole end over end) is probably having his lassie hold his purse…er..sporran.
Dude, what’s in your purse?
Those words apparantly scare the..well..the male anatomy off of most men in the United States. It’s my understanding that the Man Bag–or the Man Purse–has been popular in Europe for years. But here in the States, it’s been slow to catch on. Why?
My own husband is a good example–not of the scared part. He isn’t. But of the “stuff” part. The poor man has, for at least ten years, carried around a shaving kit. He carries it everywhere. It has his allergy meds, an extra knife, small flashlight, money, sundry bits of paper on which he’s written addresses and emails of people he’ll never contact but thought he would, business cards, breath mints, visine….
Basically, all the same stuff women carry in a purse–except the lipstick. Although he DOES carry chapstick. Still, that shaving kit doesn’t have a strap–which means it keeps one of his hands busy. Impractical.
My husband has no fear of having his man card revoked. This man wears pink shirts–and looks awesome in them. Once, when we were very young and just married, he asked me to NEVER request that he buy feminine hygiene products for me. So I didn’t. He has since apologized. Said he was young and stupid and can’t really figure out what, exactly, he was embarrassed about, but he isn’t now. I still haven’t asked–some part of me still hasn’t forgiven him I guess–for being embarrassed by his association with what was–and is– part of me.
In spite of my bad attitude, I admit he’s the best of the lot when it comes to this sort of thing. If I’m at a wine tasting I don’t even have to ask. He just takes my purse off my shoulder and puts it on his–and WALKS AROUND THE STORE WITH IT so I can enjoy the wine tasting free of the weight hanging on my arm.
It’s strange, but he has absolutely no fear of anything necessary to procreation falling off of his lower half if he holds my handbag.
But it seems my husband is the exception to the rule. And lately, he’s been drooling over some nice leather (and very expensive) messenger bags–Man purses!.
One would think, that after seeing this
man with his messenger bag that ALL men would wish to imitate him.
Honestly, that bag strapped onto his body detracts not one bit from his hotness.
And for a short time, it seemed that Jack Bauer had succeeded in bringing the practical to a level of acceptance….
But not so. Not yet anyhow. Of course there are a few fellows who’ve figured out how practical these are.
Here’s a photo of a guy in a rather nice suit, complete with a designer Man Purse. Nary a pocket tumor in sight…..
And just for the Banditas in the lair who drool over Hugh Jackman, here’s one for y’all. Does his messenger bag make him somehow less……hunky? His shoulders less broad? Chest less muscled? Biceps more wimpy?
Honestly, I’m curious about this whole man purse idea and the bag-carrying aversion some fellows seem to have.What do you suppose is the root of it?
For the ladies in the lair I’ve included a few examples of some pretty sparkly purses that are definitely girly. Somehow, I just can’t see Indy or Jack Bauer with one of these, but maybe that’s reverse prejudice?
And I can’t see this guy worrying too much about losing his man card because he carries around a bag for his coins–you know, since kilts don’t have pockets and therefore he can’t indulge in wallet bulge and ruin our…..uhm…. view.
So tell me, what do y’all think of Man purses?
Ladies, Does your fellow carry a bag of some sort? Will he hold YOUR handbag without a fuss?
If he carries a bag, what does he carry in it?
Guys, will anything important fall off of your body if you carry a messenger bag to hold your stuff?
Remember that old show, Let’s Make a Deal? The more stuff you had with you, the better! What’s in YOUR messenger bag or purse right now? If you were offered $100 for a paper clip, would you win the money?
How many purses do you have in your closet? And do you change them out to match your outfits? Or are you like me, and stick with one you like?
Do you see a lot of guys carrying bags OTHER than backpacks?
And are any of the ladies like me–do you go “ick” at wallet bulge and pocket tumors?