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.

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