Of the many ways we could categorize a man, surely this is the most precise: one who can wear a kilt and one who cannot.
I’ve long had fantasies of wearing the Collier tartan, but a man should know his limits so the idea has never gone far. With Miska immersing herself in the Outlander series and with our conversations scheming of how to manage a Scottish walking tour, the moment has been ripe for my Gaelic visions to return. Imagine my delight, then, when I walked up to the counter at the convenience store and there behind the cash register stood a brawny man in a black t-shirt and a green and black plaid kilt. With cropped haircut and bulging, beefy arms, he appeared ready to stroll onto the green to win the Highland Games (the old world games – now televised on ESPN – where kilted men do things like tossing a cow over their shoulder for a hundred yard dash or race to clear a small forest with their teeth and bare hands).
I plopped down my credit card, watching him with a little bit of awe. “I love your kilt, man. I’ve always wanted one, but I don’t think I could pull it off.”
He grinned. “What do you mean? Of course you could.”
“I don’t know. I don’t think I have it.”
“Well, here’s what you do. You buy a Comfy Kilt, they’re made for just wearing around the house. Try it on, get the feel of it. Figure out your way to wear the plaid.”
“A Comfy Kilt?” I was intrigued, though this rugged man at the jiffy mart giving me recommendations for lounge wear was not something I could have anticipated.
“You should do it,” he insisted. “You should.”
The fact is that each of us may need to find our version of a Comfy Kilt. If there is something within us to try or to do, we can ease into it, but we must not ignore it. There’s no need to fear being foolish or to give too much concern for how our skill is undeveloped or our courage shaky. Just try it on. Take it for a spin. Dip that toe in the icy water. Maybe we’ll find our own flash of brilliance. Or maybe we’ll shake our head and say, now that was ridiculous. Either way, it simply doesn’t matter.
It seems important for me that one day I buckle up the plaid, though surely (at first, at least) in the safety of my own castle. Almost certainly, the whole experience will be laughable. But then, isn’t laughter its own kind of gift?