Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Man in a Skirt in France May 2013 - Skirted 24/7

Since my last blog my wife and I decided to take a last minute booking and have a week in France. One of our many advantages now my wife has retired and I'm self employed. Not a package holiday, but a cheap flight to France, booked a Gite direct, hired a car and had a good time.

We did this last September, to France but a different location. Both times I'm skirted 24/7 from leaving home to returning. That includes the usual like refueling the car if need be, and on our return grocery shopping and a bar meal. I'm skirted at airports, check in, security control. I do not have a pair of trousers with me!

I have no problems at all, yes the odd stare from a few individuals of Society, but nothing direct until I got back to good old England. More on that shortly. This brings me to a new blog I have posted today onto my web site www.theskirtedman.eu. It is entitled Do I Think the Majority of Society Accept a Man in a Skirt. You can find it on the left hand side part way down, either under the month of May 2013 or in the list of blogs.

We were in the Department of Lot and we were active all the days of the week seeing the locality and covering most of Lot and the bottom edge of Correze. Even the one wet day of the week! We did do a 3 hour journey crossing the Western side of the Massive Central to visit the Millau Bridge, the worlds highest vehicular road way at around 2400 ft above sea level standing on concrete piers just over 800 ft tall (245 m). We were there for 4.5 hours and still did not cover all exhibitions and view points. It was a brill day, the highlight of the week for the both of us.

Filling up with fuel in France, grocery shopping, cafes and being a tourist was better than at home in the UK in that we both noticed we had fewer stares. We still got the odd one, but again 99.9999% just carry on. I would say more talk to us/me when in queues and that included the airport, more so in France I have to say.

I passed Gendarmes, Airport Security and even got body searched in France when the scanner went off on our return flight at Limoges Airport. I am sure these scanners must do a random alert because apart from my wrist watch I had no metal on me and I certainly do not have pins and plates for broken bones. When the scanner went off it was quite interesting as there were two officials watching, one male one female. Immediately the female made an approach towards me, obviously the skirt made her brain in a split second react but soon realised I was a man, turned and asked her male colleague. He treated me just like any other person, a quick pat on the body, never made any remark or stupid moves, very professional. I have to say although I do not like flying and get a bit apprehensive on airport security I have always found the officials very helpful and professional.

I'll not detail our events of the week and I have placed 6 new photos on my site www.theskirtedman.eu under the Gallery, the section skirted in public to prove I have done what I am saying.

We never pre-inform people that I am a man in a skirt and this applies to the Gite owners. Last September the owners were perfectly fine, showing no visual concerns or unease. They chatted and talked to us both on a daily basis. It was the same this time in Lot. The lady owner treated us as she did anyone else from the start. I do at times wonder if many of the silent members of the public have a negative comment or laugh in private after the event. They may do, but on many occasion I get confirmation that they don't, because very few actually ask me why I wear skirts or clothing that Society deems as womens wear and in many a general conversation will quite often say, what is the problem, especially these days when we are supposed to be tolerant and gender non-biased.

On the Monday (20th May), we were returning late afternoon and came in via Rocamadour. It was the French Bank Holiday so it was busy even at 5 pm. I had a photo taken but we decided we would come back later in the week if time allowed. We did, the Friday morning. Rocamadour was still busy but not as. We got their around 9 am, and left at around 1.30 pm. By 10 am the narrow streets and buildings were quite busy. To be honest I had on balance the most concentration of stares during the week as people passed but no one said anything. Some of the French shopkeepers were very chatty especially the Chocolate Retailer. Now that is a shop worth returning to at the beginning of the week. Absolutely amazing especially the raspberry and dark chocolate that we tasted. Although France is a secular society and has embraced Homosexuality as far back as 1791 - it was the first country in the world to acknowledge this legally - it is still a Catholic based country. Rocamadour is a Holy City of more than a thousand years and has 7 sanctuaries from the days when it was a site for thousands of pilgrims of bygone days. It still does hold daily services for those who are practicing Christians. I thought I may be asked not to enter the chapels especially when a sign said please observe the dress code. I was prepared to argue with any official if need be. As you will see from the photo on my gallery standing on the steps to the entrance to the sanctuaries although not in Societies deemed male attire I am decently dressed. Also, 99.99% of the women there were in trousers so my soap box was on the ready. I was never asked by any official to leave.

So what was the encounter I had once back in England. Landing at East Midlands at 4, we had a good 2.5 hour journey ahead of us as well as grocery shopping so we decided to stop off at one of our favourite eating places near Harrogate. We do go there periodically. The odd brief stare but this time we were placed on a table next to one who had four people on it. As the evening progressed we knew it was Parents, daughter and a new boyfriend because of the questions directed at him, including status questions like, "so what car do your parents drive". Anyhow, as I walked past I heard the boyfriend say that mans got a skirt on followed by a huge and obvious laugh from a female. Immediately turning the daughter was giggling away at me and I was obviously a form of amusement to them. Sitting down within feet of them I make a reference to it to my wife, slightly louder than normal and my wife asks me to lower my voice and ignore them. I don't, speaking louder to my wife but making sure they can hear, why should I keep quiet. They have just made a public remark about me and therefore as it was not private I am entitled to reply. I have already noted that the woman is a typical modern female, jeans etc, and by her laugh it's OK for her to change tradition and embrace male style clothes but restrict a man. It went quiet for a few moments and I carry on as normal as though nothing had happened and they returned to grilling the boyfriend. The Mother was also in trousers. I moved very shortly to sit next to my wife as the table had a 'see-saw' type movement due to the floor and sitting on one side stopped that. This also meant that I had direct face to face contact with the mother and daughter. The mother caught my eye and looked sternly at me, so I stared her out, making her to look away first. Later the daughter caught my eye, if looks could kill. At the table on the other side of us was a family of three, including a teenage daughter. The complete opposite. The mother acknowledge me as I sat down, the father had the occasional discreet look. They were a very quiet family and as they got up to leave, the mother once in the main walk way area, turned and gave me a polite nod. I have to say she was in jeans too, not that that matters in a world of gender equality and freedom of choice for all that I say men should have as well as women but I did wonder if she had also taken on board my initial comment which was not directed at her.

So for all would be skirted men, from these blogs, if you have any concerns about going out in public, then don't. Have confidence, believe in yourself and be an individual.

We have in this last week received two invitations to friends events. One a 60th and the other a Pearl wedding. They both know and have been in public with me skirted and they also know I will be going skirted. Many, perhaps all, of their guests don't know but it still has not stopped them inviting both my wife and I to a public venue. I'll let you know as and when these happen.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Man in a Skirt - www.theskirtedman.eu

Another month passes by. How quickly time flies and it is quite frightening really. Best not think about it!

I said in my last blog it may be a few weeks before I appear again. Sorting out my website Joomla upgrade was a problem. It offered to upgrade from 2.59 to 3.0.3 but when I tried it said the php on my server was to old! A few emails with my web host provider could not solve problem and they do not offer Joomla support. I already obtained the domain www.theskirtedman.eu ready for when my wife and I relocate to France. Our house has not sold and in this area the market has more than dropped off the cliff edge. At least we have no pressures to move, simply a desire to change our lives now that my wife has retired and my self employment is movable.

Anyhow, back to the php problem. I could do a fresh Joomla 3.0.3 on the new domain so that was done and decided to move my entire site over and restructure it. The database on the 2.59 version is not compatible with the 3.0.3 version. It needed a rebuild and copy and pasting. Many hours later it is up and running. That was completed at the end of April. I have today made a start on the new structure of my libminded.co.uk domain. Both are connected via links but the libminded domain is about what is normal and quotes I have come across that I find interesting. This will be added to as time goes by.

What else has been going on. Summer had arrived, and hit a high of 24 degrees for us 6th/7th May. However this week turned wet, cold and windy, hitting 70 mph on Thursday taking down our for sale sign. That's been rectified but tonight the forecasters are hinting snow on the hills of Northern England! By Wednesday temperature could be as low as 6 degrees centigrade during the day.

Since my last blog my seasonal self employment of garden maintenance is in full flow but this last week will have slowed them down. Myself and my wife have also been getting on with some outside jobs on the house that we couldn't do over the Winter. Gate repairs and repainting, fence repainting, tidying and giving the garden a boost. With the house being built into the hillside we do not have a lot of land to the rear. That side is also north facing. Many years ago the previous owner had it dug out so the 10 ft width is stepped with a 2 meter retaining wall. We were going to block and beam this to make one area spanning the retaining wall to the house. On top of the retaining wall the house is like a single level so even on the shortest day of the year we get sun at that point. Our plan was to place a 2 m high green house and 5m long and 1.5 m wide but as we have decided to sell this will not be done. So now that 'summer' has arrived we are tidying this area up. Kerb edging has been placed on the concrete top area and back filled with limestone chippings. As to the area at the foot of the retaining wall. The 2 m block boundary wall has one coat of white masonary paint on but the weather this week has prevented the second coat and even starting to paint the retaining wall. Even so, it looks dramatically different especially as we have 6 large pots their with established plants in. Where the retaining wall wraps around the house, it was covered when the steel shed was put up a few years back. This left a whole about 1 m wide and 1.5m high. I use to prop up a piece of ply here to stop animals nesting. Yesterday this has been sealed much more sensibly and tidy to the eye. We just need some good weather not only for my garden business but to get the masonary paint finished.

My other job outside I would like to get done is to complete the pointing of the West Gable. This will take me about 4 days to do but I need scaffolding so I can only do this once other jobs are finished so I can concentrate on it and my garden business. I'll probably wait until June now. Then we shall put the house on hold. The Estate Agents are convinced ours will go by the end of the summer due to its location and commanding views within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We are not so sure, so despite the agents telling us to sell the house with the 2 bed attached barn annex at first fix, we will finish the Barn Annex. They say selling as it is although it has dropped the asking price of the house allows buyers to personalise to how they want rather than undo what is there and then personalise. We have decided that if not sold by 1st October 2013, we'll take the house off the market, complete to our specification, but it back on April 2014, obviously revalued to reflect a finished job and then in the mean time run the barn annex as a Bed and Breakfast, and yes if we do get to that point I will be skirted as a B&B proprietor.

As for my recent public skirting activities, this has been busy. My wife's long standing friend has terminal cancer and 4 weeks ago all treatment was abandoned and now in a hospice. She is still very positive and talks about life and often inquiries about my skirting activities. So visiting has entailed in return home via a pub for an evening meal. Last week when we entered a woman sat by the window saw me arrive and literally stood up, pointing and you could see her eyes popping out of her head. Her husband turned to look as well. So I stopped to allow her a better look and moved my body to indicate 'so what'. this type of reaction doesn't happen to often, in fact it is quite rare as to the odd giggle. these are significantly out numbered by the positive comments and gestures I receive. Still 99.9% of the public just ignore me or talk as we all wait. What they think privately I don't know but don't we all have private thoughts on something we think is different or do not agree with.

Had a day in the Lake District incorporating a visit to Hayes Garden Centre in Ambleside. Needed a few plants to replace some lost over the last Winter but also to fill in holes as we have put some plants into pots, to brighten up he back courtyard of the house. I was skirted. No problems, in fact talked to to women whilst in the checkout queue.

Weekly, shopping, walking the dogs down the country lane from our house when the roads are dry etc. Went to the Metro Centre in Newcastle last Thursday. Not the first time skirted but no problem. However, whilst my wife and I were in the children's department - looking for an item for our niece - in the same isle was a woman and her child. We both heard the woman say to her child "Thomas, stop looking at girls clothing, you are a boy not a girl". I turned to look and thought, one, what else can he look at at that point in time, two, so what if he was and three, the mother was in a T-Shirt, jeans and trainers all items of clothing originally designed for men in the USA at the onset of the oil industry. The child was aged about 7 years old. We both carried on looking for our item, I smiled to myself and we both remarked about it later on. The other point here is that women do not like gender barriers being placed in their direction. Why should gender barriers for men apply?

I find the retail staff quite talkative especially when I walk up with a new skirt, top or cardigan. Our weekly shop is always skirted at a supermarket, likewise refilling the car at petrol stations and going out and about with friends. To me, my wife and our friends it is no different to the modern woman who these days embraces male style clothing on a routine basis for almost all aspects of their lives, unlike pre-1990's. Ubuntu philosophy. I am because you are. This is now on the front page of my web site. I have put a couple of new links on it as well.

My wife and I went to a pub not to far from home for an evening meal, and I was skirted. Been here on numerous occasions skirted, apart from the occasional brief stare and a few seconds of private talk between one or two people nothing happens. On this particular occasion nothing happened again except upon my arrival. a wom,an and a man were sat next to a large floor to ceiling window. She was facing, he wasn't. As soon as she saw me, she stood up, pointed and put her other hand to her mouth. The man turned round for a few seconds then turned back. She remained standing. Noting this I stood still, and made a body movement basically indicating, so what. When we got inside this woman was in a T-Shirt, jean like trousers and trainers. Need I say more if I'm supposed to remain traditionally dressed.

The new style of my site about men in skirts is at www.theskirtedman.eu. My photo gallery is restructured and I now have 5 categories covering myself skirted in public, but also other aspects of my life in trousers! just to indicate I am no different to any one else. To try and establish that it is not a fetish or sexual as some claim about men who want to be individuals and wear skirts or embrace a traditional womanswear wardrobe but never applied to women who now have 'anywear'. Also Psychiatrists class men who want to wear skirts as disfunctional, but never a woman who wants to trousers. Just many of the hypocritical statements within the intelligent human life.

Next time I write a blog here I hopefully will have something very interesting to talk about being skirted in public. In fact over the summer months there are one or two very interesting skirted events in public for me coming up. I'll save these for later.