Sunday, September 28, 2008

I decided to wear a kilt to pick up my daughter from school - PEOPLE WENT NUTS!



The picture above is me sitting on the steps of a church in my neighbourhood. I was writing in my journal at the time, about a 1/2 hr b4 I needed to pick up my daughter. On the day I wore the kilt, I could feel people eyes burn through my head - or really - they were looking at my lower half. But the real assault came from the little boys at the school. IN fact, two in particular were just plain angry that I was wearing the kilt, as were their mothers.
So, I arrived to pick up Stinkapee and she comes screaming out of school, as she always does. She's happy! happy! happy! that she can do flips and is dying to show me. Off she races to the playground. In the middle of me spotting her, so she doesn't fall, I hear my first playground buzz: "Dude" this boy who can't be more than 8 years old says, "why are you wearing a dress.. er a skirt?"
"Cause I like it". I respond.
"I mean", he continues "I'm Irish and everything, but I think it's a little weird tradition.."
His friend, another boy, jumps in "I really like it" and another girl overhearing while going across the monkey bars says: "boys can wear whatever girls can, it's his choice!" and Stinkapee pipes up and says: "exactly!"

More to this story.. plus my thoughts.. but I have to go clean the back deck b4 my son wakes up.
OK, I'm back, .. it's the next day actually - but i'll just continue inside this post.

So I continue into the playground, following my daughter as she does her flips and such.. very scary those moves.. but she is very confident.

I hear a woman, whom I recognize as a caregiver. She comes up to me excitedly saying: "I love your kilt!." She gives me a warm smile.

Ok, I thought. In fact, it was more the conservative Euro-Canadian moms that took most of the issue. One, in a group of them actually started at me - in a cold tone: "So, like.. we've been talking.. and .. well.. what's with the kilt?"

Hang on. "We've been talking?" what is this? Highschool. Who are they: the gender code/ style police?

"MAN STEPPING OUT OF LINE, MUST TRY AND MAKE HIM FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE..MUST TRY MUST TRY MUST TRY"

"What?" ---I demand the 3 of them.

A little shocked by my response, they begin to smile and say.. "it's just that .. well.."
"Oh ladies .. it's all about style and wearing what you want"
"er.. er.. of course", they offer. "we just wanted to know" as another woman came breezing through saying "We'll all I want to know is, what's underneath!!"
"That can be arranged, outside of school hours"... and she laughed at the friendly flirting.

"I can't believe you said that!!" said one of the others as I exited and crossed back over to the playground, where Stinkapee was still doing her thing... playing and jumping and all..

Observing the kids got me thinking about how much work - not the kids - but the ADULTS have to do, to deal with the gender stuff. Me included. I want my SON to be able to wear whatever the fuck he wants to wear - but he's only gonna do it - if he's leading my example. It was good to hear other boys be "supportive" but .. wow.. you could hear feel the temperature go down when the Euro-Can watched me. I find them unbelievably conservative. The Irish woman was fine, as was the caregiver - also not born here (I talked to her later and found out.) - but I find the Euro-Canadian performing a low-grade snob persona - to somehow mimic what they think is British and high class. Sad really.

Interestingly, people don't seem to have a hard time with Euro-Canadians stealing African American culture - but let a Black person put on an Irish kilt and heads start to roll.
Just another say on the playground.

5 comments:

captivating capiz said...

Here in my country, the Philippines, the only people who wear skirt are those members of a band trying to make an image on their own interpretation of art in wearing skirt. I don't mind about it at all in fact I think it's a very comfortable get up today.

Lastly, I admire your way of showing yourself.

Prospero said...

Wow. I live in a small town in North Carolina and my family just flipped at me about the same thing. I didn't understand it. It's just unbelievable. I don't know if I'm misunderstanding our what but i can't see the point over it.

I wear what I like. It's no big.

The Mighty Doll said...

This has been my experience of playground mommies, too, and I'm a white euro-can woman.

Most people just don't want to be taken outside of their comfort zone. That these same folks'll tell you how liberal and enlightened they are, really infuriates me.

Kaneda Jones said...

here in the north end of Hamilton, (the area wrongfully known for being the bad end of town), there was a little diner with a rainbow sticker in the window to show its public support of all peoples, but then I just figured he was a straight man since he had a toddler daughter running around running the place. Then I had the confusing moment when I saw them on the bus whilst he was wearing a kilt.. making me (for a short while) think he was gay . I then caught myself, realizing that since gender is so fluid I should not fall into wrong assumptions and ridged ways of stereotyping. Considering that I consider myself only 75% straight, and wish I could get up the nerve to dress with abandon, stereotypes were rich coming out me.

good on you for what you do.
shame on me for not being braver.

Anonymous said...

What tartan did you wear. I find that it is better for a Black man to wear a Stewart tartan kilt (Black Stewart, Hunting Stewart, or Royal Stewart). I am Black and a member of the Clan Campbell (www.ccsna.org) and I have been threatened with shooting for wearing my kilt. I do not wear my tartan anymore because it is Black watch and all the Irish wear it even though I am Scottish. I wear Stewart tartans outside because I am afraid of being shot. Check out the gallery at www.stillwaterkilts.com and there is a black man in a kilt. Also there is a movie called Formula 51 where Samuel Jackson wears his Scottish kilt. Good luck to you. Be careful and always wear a universal or Stewart tartan. Aye. Slaite'.