There’s a man in the small coastal town where I live who likes to wear mini skirts. He’s not a crossdresser in the Little Britain ‘I’m a lady!’ manner, he’s not a trannie and he’s not a drag queen. He just likes to wear skirts.
He’s got great legs.
When he’s not working his tight jersey minis, his favoured attire is dancer-style leggings, with a singlet and a short jacket. He usually wears a straw hat, quite often with ivy and the like twined around the crown. On his feet it’s ballet shoes or flip flops. He’s got long dark blond hair. And a beard.
One item of clothing he doesn’t care for is the underpant and as, to quote my husband, ‘God was quite generous to him’, you can imagine the display in a pair of white stretchy nylon leggings. The full deli counter. Even in the pale pink mini I saw him in the other day you could clearly make out the contours of his man dangles.
He’s one of several eccentric dressers in this eccentric town. I saw a new one today, to add to my mental collection. He looked like an Impressionist painter from central castings, in white suit-style trousers, full-sleeved shirt, cravat and waistcoat. Splendid beard and moustache, wild woolly hair. No shoes. Just walking around. Doing his groceries. Five bananas please.
There’s another one who wears very short leather lederhosen which display his butt cheeks and if he sees you notice, he turns to ‘display’. He’s a certified pervo and no one’s seen him for a while.
Skirt man isn’t a pervo. Maybe a little bit of an exhibitionist, but I think it’s more about expressing himself. He spends a lot of time walking in the woodland on the edge of the town and is clearly a bit of a Hello Birds, Hello Sky kind of a chap.
What I find surprising is not so much what he wears, as how people react to it.
I was waiting for someone (my mother, who was in with Ronnie, the hairdresser) when he strolled along the main pedestrian thoroughfare in that pink skirt the other day, so I was at my leisure to watch his progress (my phone didn’t work inside the salon).
The reactions followed him down the street like a Mexican Wave, as the people sitting in the pavement cafes looked surprised, amazed, amused, shocked and disgusted.
I find this pretty amazing, because there are so few things left which shock people, but a harmless little hippie dude who likes to be comfortable and show his tanned legs is regarded as a freak.
It will change someday, surely? It’s been so long coming it’s ridiculous and the arguments in favour – women can wear any man’s clothing item/kilts/Ghandi/David Beckham in a sarong/Boy George – are so well rehearsed I can’t even be bothered to go over them again.
Just Google ‘men in skirts’ and up come pages of articles, going back years, about how it is finally going to happen, it really is going to be fine for men to wear manskirts, if they want to.
But still it hasn’t happened and I don’t get why not. Manwoman models were the big story last fashion show season, so it was deemed fabulous for men to model clothes designed for women – but it’s still not OK for men to wear a particular shape of clothing because it’s traditionally considered a girl garment in our culture. Nuts.
A couple of years ago, chainstore H&M even released one as part of their mens’ collection (see main pic). And there were masses of the things on the Milan catwalks in the last round of menswear designer shows. So will it finally happen soon?
Marc Jacobs (above and left) is certainly putting his stylish heft behind the notion and I think he looks great. So does this guy, below, captured by The Sartorialist.
What do you think of men in skirts?