Saturday, 27 July 2013

Man in a Skirt at Weddings, Stately Homes, North & South England

Since my last blog, theskirtedman has been very active in a skirt. With the exception of my self employment work, everything has allowed me to be skirted over the last 3 weeks. Our social calender since July 5th to now has been very hectic and we are both quite pleased it is from tomorrow calming down to our usual low key level. So why has July 2013 been so different.

Well it started on the 5th July with our trip to the Pompeii exhibition in London as referred to in my last blog, but the following two weekends were no different as they were a 4 day long weekend for myself and my wife, allowing only three day in the in between weeks to keep on top of my gardens before dashing off again.

The subsequent weekend, 13th July was at a friends 30th wedding anniversary. Apart from our friends and their two children as far as we were aware no one else knew of my skirt wearing. The thing is, everybody in our immediate personal lives, doesn't make an issue of it, life carries on as it always has. The initial brief discussion in the early days was never an interrogation, but so what, it's modern life, women wear trousers etc, etc.  The party went well. One young woman, very early twenties made it very clear she objected as I was ignored but my wife not, but by the end of the evening she was very much different. Why, well as nobody talks about my skirt wearing I'm not to sure but she may have been talked to by her parents but she may have also seen the huge number of others who talked and chatted to me throughout the evening. Those that I talked to were not in the slightest bit bothered. It was very obvious by body language apart from anything else even if some, many or even all perhaps didn't understand but as I say on my website www.theskirtedman.eu we all have traits that others do not understand but just get on with life. With regards the others I didn't talk to, well I didn't detect any pointing, laughing etc.  Out of all the men I was the only man skirted, perhaps no surprise, but as it was a party all the women were in their dresses and skirts, again no surprise, except one. She was in jeans, so I didn't feel left out!

This weekend was made into a 4 day event. Travelling south to Colchester area on the Friday, the Saturday before the party we went to the Beth Chatto gardens in Colchester and Melford Hall near Long Melford in Suffolk. At Melford Hall, a female National Trust representative complimented me on my outfit and said how nice it was to see a man being an individual. At the end of the visit we met this same woman again but this time her young female colleague also acknowledged my attire in an approving way. The Sunday we spent with my wife's cousin who lives down south, although aware of my skirting activities, it was the first time seen personally. The Monday ahead of collecting the two dogs in the early evening we went via Wallington Hall, near Morpeth in Northumbria. We had no problems at any event. Some gave quick glances as if to check they had seen right, but you could count on one hand once again others who would point and only one woman laughed. This was at Wallington Hall, a large school party was there, two or three young children made reference loudly to their pals but were told to respect others, however one woman be it a teacher/helper had to laugh. Just as you expect, and again no different to when I went out and about in trousers people would talk as and when events happened that would stimulate a conversation. I recall three people laid out on the lawn of Wallington Hall, talking very loudly suddenly stopped as we passed by and their faces were a picture,and followed me silently like solar panels moving with the sun.

I do not doubt many may not understand but 99.99999% of people just continue with life. You are only talking about a handful who will make their distaste known but they do not seem to realise that everybody has a similar action to others from time to time, nobody is perfect in everyone's eyes and we all do things that others may not understand and not just choice of clothing either.

The following weekend was at our friends sons wedding at Stubton Hall near Newark. We went down on the Friday via Lincoln and had no problem in Lincoln as we went to the Cathedral, the Bishops former residence and the old streets. Newark on the Saturday morning was even better and at the wedding, afternoon/evening all was OK even though we had only met around 13 of the guests before, and only 4 of them skirted. At weddings people tend to stick to their own groups and that was the same here, but my wife and I talked to other quests that we didn't know and others talked with us. The following day we were en-route to see a college friend of my wife's whom we see every so many years and we were in their area. We went via Hardwick Hall near Chesterfield. This event was as expected when I go out and about skirted in public. Spontaneous conversations start up with others as is part of life, staff are all fine, others go about their own activities, the odd glance but nothing to report. However, as we left, it is a longish walk to the car park area and this was about 3 pm as we wanted to go to Stainsby Mill, nearby, an actually working corn mill powered by water. Heading back to the car we passed four separate groups and all four made it clear that I was a form of entertainment to them. Nothing said directly but without appearing to stereotype all the women even though the groups were separated in time, wore jeans, trainers, baseball caps, some had a manly appearance, many had tattoos but none of them looked at all in any shape or fashion as a traditional woman, but to them I was different, odd, queer etc so laughs, pointing and chatter took place. The men again without appearing stereotyping had short hair, the "he-man" image etc. We carried on, met our friends in the evening and enjoyed our lives as we want to, just as the four groups were. Stainsby Mill was very interesting, manned by 4 male volunteers and one female. Being a actual old working mill with open slat stair case and looking at the mechanism no one was in the lightest bit bothered, or certainly showed no concern, from either visitor or National Trust representative and certainly nobody made any attempts to make me feel uncomfortable. We had long conversations with three NT representatives, one on my own outside.

The Monday returning again to collect the dogs in the early evening we went via Benningbrough Hall near York and had no problem. Quite a few visitors and staff would talk to us, banter etc and queuing to go in in the morning we had a long conversation with a couple. Two women and a man thought I was amusing when they saw me on my own (my wife and I do wander around these places separately at times) and they were the only obvious ones. They had a different attitude when they saw me later talking to two women, even though one was my wife, but they were not to know. You see, Society judges people to often without knowing the facts about either the person or the situation. You do not judge a book by its cover, but by its contents.

This last week it was business as usual for theskirtedman, garden clients (not skirted) weekly shop and my wife's 6 monthly checkup at the hospital for her eyes. Yesterday we had a day in the Lakes as we both like the atmosphere of the PotFest, held at Hutton in the Forest near Penrith. 100 potters from Europe display their wears and we noted prices from £8 to £1500. It is not standard pottery but very fine detailed and technical pottery. Animals are very life like to a point our dogs thought the pot rabbit was a rabbit! We moved on quickly. Another stall had items around the home but in pottery but very life like. You get the usual quota of plates dishes planters etc but again not the run of the mill style. The live music, the grounds etc do for us make it a good day out. I had the odd glance but that was it but just as I have noted many many times this summer, the men in the traditional trousers, shirts, socks shoes all looked hot and at times sweaty. Me, I was cool and I have been told by some from time to time and was at Benningbrough Hall, with the remark "you look cool as well". Some men were lose T-shirts or similar styles, shorts and sandals, their choice, but I have never like shorts or to go topless, and skirts for me in the summer are the ideal choice. It is down to one's preference. I do find it interesting to note what others look like and wear themselves when they stare or the odd ones that pass the obvious comment but never at me. They may not understand but then I don't understand them at times from what I witness and see.

I've had interesting tweets both made and received but they can be seen @theskirtedman on twitter. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Possibility of a B&B run by a Man in a Skirt & his Wife - Now That's a Thought.

It has been over 5 weeks and that has certainly flown by. My garden business is well and truly in full motion and the UK's cold Spring has been shrugged off with a good mix of wet, warm and dry weather, ideal for garden growth which in turn keeps me busy. The current dry and hot spell this last week, going certainly into next week is a good extra, but unlike many I would like it to rain this next week coming, as by then gardens will be slowing. Good weather can follow, but I would like the occasional one to two day spell of rain.

We have continued to do minor jobs to the house even though it is for sale. The selling agents said don't, but firstly it can do no harm, and secondly, they have been told if no sale by September 2013, due to the current very "dead" housing market in the UK then it is off the market. Houses do sell in the UK, but bigger priced houses stick longer these days and we are very rural, among hills and that turns many off from living, perhaps not visiting. Anyhow, minor jobs are to our benefit in the meantime, also if we do in September postpone our new chapter in life by becoming an Ex-pat in south France for a while, we intend finishing the barn annex from its current position of first fix. The 4 agents we had initially all said leave the barn annex at first fix. Let new owners personalise it to their taste. A good suggestion but this winter we will finish it and run the barn annex as a B&B, run by "the skirted couple". If you don't like people in skirts, especially men then it's your loss. Six billion plus people in the world, we only need 'a thimble full' and based upon my response in public the minority who question a man in a skirt will be no loss to us. We may put the house back on in April 2014, being run as a B&B or wait a year or two.

Over these last 5 weeks or so, there has been time when trousers were suitable for anyone but I have been out and about quite a lot in a skirt, in public since my last blog. Apart from the weekly grocery shopping, been to garden centers to acquire plants for clients, been walking the dogs on Middleham High Moor, on one occasion had a long talk with two women who come there themselves from time to time but never questioned my skirt or even gave the impression that they did. Any negative private opinion, if there was one, was kept private. Had a trip to Morecambe Bay, the dunes area, not the actual Morcambe town front. Got the occasional quick look but just as many would talk to both myself and my wife as normally when I use to go in trousers. We go there periodically during the Spring/Summer months and since May 2011 always skirted. My wife had a hospital debrief with the Consultant, all OK, nothing serious, but we both sat in skirts in the very busy waiting room, nattered to some, and had a long chat with two we see occasionally from our immediate area. They, like the area, know of my skirt wearing, never seen me previously in one but again it was as if I hadn't one on. Any negative thought was kept private.

Last weekend my wife, I and a friend had a long weekend in London. Traveled down by car this time, usually go by train, and as before was dressed as depicted on my web site all the time. There are some new photos in the photo gallery on my site www.theskirtedman.eu. We stopped at Sudbury Hall to break the journey, no problems as we toured the house, gardens and parish church, talked to some visitors, one even offered to take a photo of myself and my wife together. The staff treated me quite normally, and had a long conversation with 4 women who were overseeing a needlework exhibition. Not my cup of tea, but it is my wife's but the conversation was not about my skirts either. The whole time was as if I didn't have one on.

The hotel was great, including the staff. Only aware of one family staring continuously, until they had to leave the bar, and on the following two evening's always left as I came in. Two other couples gave the initial look and got on with life.

Travelling on the London Underground and overground on the Saturday was no problem, the odd quick look, but that was it. I never had an empty seat next to me, so the thought of this dreaded disease that they might catch obviously was not a problem. Our day at the British Museum, went to see the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition was also fine. Touring the other parts of the museum as well we will have past thousands of people and only three groups made an obvious remark and giggle, sufficient for me to hear but not directly at me. One was a middle aged couple, but she was in trainers, jeans etc. Two teenage girls were another, dressed just like modern teenage girls do, and a small group of teenagers, boys and girls, giggling, pointing and one was desperate to get a photo of me and then pass the camera to show her pals. All were in jeans, trousers, trainers etc.

This is not a problem, firstly they are entitled to a view, after all I do of them, but the big difference is I am not a hypocrite, intolerant or even a bigot. I acknowledge their freedom of choice, they cannot of others who do not dress or do what they consider is normal, but as I have said before, what is normal. A freedom fighter to one is another's terrorist. It's a fact of life when you have differing observations. The problems start by inflicting intolerance and being a bully by forcing your views, not respecting views.

The meal in the Italian restaurant went with out a hitch from a skirt point of view. Likewise on the Sunday, a day at Hampton Court Palace. I was not aware of anything other than the occasional quick look, "yes my eyes did see correct" look. Again the evening meal went well, nobody gave any disapproval look or remark.

I do not doubt over this weekend some will not agree with a man in a skirt but then that's life. Nothing in life has a 100% acceptance with all people. It was the same on the Monday. We dropped our friend off and went on to Levens Hall, near Kendal, Cumbria, then my wife wanted to go to Lakeland Plastics in Windermere before our previously booked meal at a pub which we use from time to time in the area. Over this weekend my wife noticed two other men wearing skirts, one in London, the other in Windermere in the station car park. Two in a weekend may be a drop in the ocean some of you may say, but if you have noted my thoughts from my blogs and web site, I do accept men in skirts is the minority, and it perhaps will never become mainstream like trousers for women have over these last 30 years, but 60 million population in the UK with all the numerous towns, cities, villages etc, what is the probability of being in the same place and the same time when you are the minority.

I did check twitter on the Saturday night, noted the usual quota of men in skirt sightings, negative comments and positive comments as well but nothing I could directly attach to my Saturday event at the British Museum with the group of teenagers photographing me. I did note one comment on Twitter on the Saturday evening which I replied to 3 days later on my return home, as this girl asked what was the world coming to, having seen a man in a skirt herself. When away I do not tweet, blog or research men in skirts for any new activity on the internet, but I wanted to see if my Saturday photo actually gave me internet news. I couldn't find it even looking harder on the Tuesday evening, including You Tube. Another time!

Talking about Twitter. I'm not a social network fan. I believe in actual contact and believe in true friends who are there for you in life not a person who wants to collect friends like tally marks. I do have a Facebook page purely to link my site within that social media community, and I rarely go on it. I have provided no information about me only a link to my site. A requested for a friend which I confirmed, ignored another and note from my G-mail account another person a few weeks back has asked, but as I say, I hardly look at it including my G-mail account. I should look at that recent request and perhaps put a note on my Facebook page, in frequently monitored, contact me via my web site. Another job to do. Twitter account #TheSkirtedMan was started late May and it is only for comments on Men in Skirts. I do not have the time for this 'banter' that takes place on it, but acknowledge others do, so each to their own. I use my account to promote men in skirts, my site, this blogspot and consider it an opportunity to engage in conversation with those I consider it worth while both negative and positive. Some of the comments it is just not worth responding to and quite honestly there are too many and as I have said, I promote men in skirts not spend my life on the internet, as the frequency of these blogs indicates.

I put about 30 to 40 minutes on most evenings on Twitter and that's it.

So that is a resume of the last 5 weeks of theskirtedman.

Until next time.