One week after my last blog my wife and I had a week in France. The Lot and southern edge of Correze. We did have one day in Albi in the Department of Tarn so if you know of anyone who says they saw a man in a skirt in France it could have been me. Not necessarily was me, depends on the area and there are other men in skirts out and about. Below are three photos of me in France. The first one is at Les Tours de Merle, the second at Cahors and the 4th at Brantome.
From leaving home in North Yorkshire in the early hours of 31st May through to finally returning late on the 9th June I was dressed as depicted in these photos. Good weather, only one wet morning but by lunchtime it was back to blue skies, sunshine and on that day 29 degrees. That was the coolest, always bottom 30's.
As in previous years since 2010, airport, customs, flights etc I was in a skirt. See my website www.theskirtedman.eu for photos of me at the airport in a skirt. Did I have any hassle. Well as always you get a few who give a momentary look, and a small handful who will make more of it but as always nothing directly at me except for compliments. I had four in the 7 days we were in France. Two from English, two from French. My wife says she feels the response is similar to the UK but I think it is slightly better. Either side of the channel one or two men will point, look and you can see them muttering something, but the handful that want to make the issue either side of the channel it is always the woman, the woman who herself is not traditional dressed in the sense that they still expect men to be. Of course, if anything is said to them or about them then Feminism, discrimination etc are raised. Why do I think it is better, will for a start many will say "bonjour" as you pass by. Only a few English in the UK say "hello" back home. Many women in France will often speak to me first, always just a passing everyday acknowledgment but back in the UK from my experience, even in trousers and the stereotypical male clothing still labelled by society for men, many women seem to think that if a man smiles or speaks then he has sexual agenda attached. I find it refreshing out in France and quite possible other areas of the world away from the UK and USA which are my only other places I have direct experience of. In our week in France in two different locations we passed school parties on educational trips, at least four. Firstly their behaviour was extremely good. Very quiet, yes banter between the children, but quiet. No running around or messing about and only once did we see two teenage girls running about and the teachers only had to raise their voice once for it to stop. The only time I have seen this in the UK was when I would help out on trips organised by my wife when she was a teacher. I'm not saying it doesn't happen elsewhere in the UK, but I haven't seen it. So what was the reaction in France for me with these school parties. In the UK many would start laughing, pointing etc, and you can see it going down the line, and only rarely are the children checked by the teachers. In France on my recent trip only two girls tried to create a reaction but it was never picked up by the others. Many would say "bonjour" to me as they passed and on one occasion when the party was next to a door, children opened it for me.
Many people would engage in general conversation with myself and my wife as we went about and in the airport in France both queuing for the registration and at the gate I could engage in conversation yet I never achieve that in the airport in the UK. These conversations are with men and women. I find at the UK airports many just get on with life, but one or two whilst in queues just stare.
My first compliment was from an English couple who were visiting St-Cirq-Lapopie in Lot. Liked my outfit, very stylish, remarked on how much cooler than trousers and thought those who were negative should mind their own business. The second was from a French student and his girlfriend whilst we were in Cahors in Lot the third was when we were at the Rock of St Christopher by a french couple and the fourth was back in the UK having just passed through Customs at East Midlands airport when a woman made reference to and that she liked my skirt and we engaged in conversation about it's practicality, why men shouldn't if they so want etc, etc. During the week I had many a positive nod of the head as people went about their day to day business. Yes, each day I had a small handful who made disapproving looks but as always they were not stereotypical dressed as they obviously expect me to be. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. See my website www.theskirtedman.eu for my reasons why men should and can if they so want to. I don't need your permission, after all how many women seek permission of men for their modern day dress code? One such occasion was in Albi in the Tarn Department. My wife and I were sitting at a street cafe in the shade and four French people sat at the table behind my wife.
Coming back we had two nights at a hotel on the East Coast for a family wedding. I mentioned last year in one of these blogs that I had attended a wedding and a funeral in a skirt, so here I post a picture.
No problems at the hotel or elsewhere over these two days except for one incident with three young girls as my wife and I walked from the hotel to the church. You could tell there was going to be a reaction as they approached and passed and I gave it a few moments before turning to note the giggles and one girl trying to get into a position to take a photo. My wife asked them not to but the reply was "why not, we will if we want to". I immediately got my camera out of my bag and walked towards them taking photos but they turned and moved quickly away shouting, "your taking my photo, you cannot take my photo." "Oh yes I can" came my reply.
We came back home on the Monday having a good 4 hours or so in York as we headed towards the dog kennels to collect our two dogs. The rest of this week has been taken up with my self employment work but tonight we are going to see one of my clients who is 93 years old and yes I will be skirted. At 93 and with early signs of dementia she is very forward thinking and can have quite a good banter over whisky and wine.
That's the last three weeks briefly. I have been doing my quota of Twitter replies for men in skirts.