#Kiltlife

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Often, when I am out, I am asked why do I wear a kilt. It’s usually combined with are you Irish or Scottish. On occasion I get a rude comment or two. A lot of just looks, but it’s usually the why? The simple answer is that I like them, but it starts a deeper question as to when did I decide that it was something that I wanted to wear. I have never really “fit in” with fashion. Often times I dress how I like with only a little nod to any form of fashion. I also don’t think that people should be pigeonholed into a specific current fashion trend.

Pants weren’t accepted by most of the world until about 1701 and even by then there were French style breeches as opposed to trousers. And modern versions of trousers weren’t set until about the 1800s. Until the first onset, most of the world of men’s fashion was a caftan style or tunic style apparel. Native American were wearing breechclouts, which were pieces of fabric passed between the legs and held up by a belt. Roman and Greeks soldiers thought it barbaric and effeminate to wear pants. This Roman didn’t change their mindset until the Teutons conquered them and more exploration into the northern regions. Here it was limited, primarily, to the cavalry. Hitherto, this has not effect as to why I currently wear a kilt, but it is a history to show that men didn’t always wear bifurcated garments.

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As I said earlier, I have always been different in my mode of dress. I wore what I liked and didn’t pay a lot of heed to man fashion trends. In the 80s I did follow the neon fashion statements and the jelly bracelet fad. But I also wore a floor length black denim duster through most of high school with a bit of an early gothic edge. Definitely different than the normal kids in our school. I grew up in a very small rural town and our school TOTAL was 500 people. When I graduated, it was about 45 people. So, as you can see, very small. Standing out means you stood out. Seeing Boy George blurring gender lines by wearing skirts and dresses fascinated me. We had person in our school, Brian Cales that mimicked Boy George’s dress style. I never had the nerve for it. I really wasn’t witness to anything like that until after I came out and started going to the local gay bay. They guy I was dating at the time, Shawn Moomau, had a friend whose name was Mike and he always wore kilts to the bar. He was a somewhat club kid of the time. I loved his kilt and wanted one. The Internet was much smaller then and when I researched kilts I was met with the sheer expense of them. So my hopes were dashed. Today we have companies like Kilted Bros , who make it a bit more affordable to get a quality product.

I personally feel that men should branch out and try a kilt, even if only occasionally. When you are kilted up for special events, the image cannot be beat. Even casually, it can be awesome. It’s about the confidence you carry while wearing it. I have my favorites out of all of my kilts; my gotos and I have some I wear out of comfort. The most difficult for me, personally, are the cargo style kilts. And there difficulty only comes from the fabric being the heavier canvas; they are prone to creasing if the pleats aren’t perfectly situated. That it seems, is a huge struggle for me. Basically, I hate ironing pleats it is torture. I don’t seem to have that issue when I wear my wool or acrylic tartans. That aside, I still love wearing them. The freedom of movement is incredible. Pants or jeans never seem to fit 100% perfect, you always seem to get that binding pinch at some point. Go for a pair more form fitting and you end up with them riding up on you. Not comfortable, to say the least. Give me a kilt any day, All day long it’s comfortable, I don’t have to worry about feeling overly warm. Sitting for a long time, my only fear is how my pleats look.

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It takes confidence to be different than the pack, so do not think a man shouldn’t wear a kilt. Anyone that tells you that is out of his or her mind. It’s not about being Scottish/Irish, its not about wanting to wear skirts, its about being comfortable and being your true authentic self. Many think they can’t afford a kilt, well  Kilted Bros sells a more affordable kilt called a RRRip kilt. It is designed as a runner or hikers kilt, or to be used as a quick cover up for the pool and etc. Very lightweight and breathable. But, if you want to try a kilt without having to put a lot of money into one, this is the way to go. They can still be dressed up the same as other kilts, sporran, belt, shoes, shirt, and tie or just a t-shirt and barefoot around the house. It’s a PERFECT to see how you feel about it and to get comfortable with it.

And I get it, you like wearing a kilt. You wear them out in public, to the bar, and various events, but it is hard to wear them to work. Not all places are accepting of being able to wear one. This is because they are different and not widely accepted as acceptable forms of dress for men. I have been lucky to work for places that were accepting of me wearing them. With my current job, I usually wear them on Fridays and maybe one other day of the week. At a previous job, I wore them almost every day. In general, most people are pretty accepting of seeing me in one. I have had more people genuinely interested and giving compliments than the few random people who are negative about it.

The more you wear a kilt and it becomes a part of  your routine, they become you. Rude comments won’t bother you anymore, you will notice the looks of approval you get from men and women. As it becomes a natural thing for you, broaching the subject at your place of work becomes easier, as well.  The point is, you can’t know if you like something unless you try it. Be different, be ahead of the pack and not stuck in the middle. Get out and go talk to the guys at Kilted Bros. and try one on.

 

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Finding my needle in a haystack…

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I mentioned that I came from a small town in southwestern Virginia, in a previous post Cleveland Dating Woes. I don’t regret it, it was hard growing up there but I wouldn’t have changed it. Afterall, I met my first love there. So it cannot be all bad.  Dating was so easy, when I first came out. Going to the only gay bar in a hour’s drive in any direction meant I was fresh meat. They knew when you walked in if it was your first time. Blood in the water and the sharks are circling. My sex life wasn’t all that bad either. Small towns gave you the ability to develop close friends that could help you out when it was needed. No drama, nothing expected.

Now that I live in Cleveland it can be a bit daunting. I have found that Southern Men are much easier in a lot of ways. Our customs and mannerisms about things, like dating and sex are different, When I think about it, all that comes to mind was an episode of Golden Girls where Blanche Devereaux is telling the rest of the girls how southerners develop sexually. She said it was because of “The Heat.” It’s true, in a way. Plying you with subdued conversation and innuendos tends to move things along.  Men in Cleveland, at times, seem to lack the necessary conversational skills to properly motivate someone. Maybe it’s the city life, the hustle and bustle. I love a little romance; whether it be talking or wining and dining. I need a little conversation. Sure Elvis crooned that a little less conversation is preferable, but that’s only when it time for it.

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It’s a larger population here, so trying to find what I am looking for isn’t as easy. That means there is more, per capita married straight men looking to spice up their sexual repertoire. I prefer my men to be a bit more available emotionally. Meeting people still remains hard for me; I stand at about 6’4” and have a larger build, as you can see from any of my pictures on here, short hair, and a beard. So at first glance, most think I am straight. This rarely helps my situation.

Gay men are fickle creatures, we have fought for our right to get married, and for some that is a good thing. But our roots come from many partners. I am not saying that Gay men never stayed with one person, but our history does show a penchant for random hookups with men. A lot of that stems from the fact that until recent history, it was illegal to be Gay. Being in a bar that was classified as gay could get you arrested. Sex with another man, fell under sodomy laws and came with a jail sentence. So, furtive and quick hookups were commonplace.

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Because of this thought process, many people still think that is how Gay men should be. Not tied down to one person. I’m not here to tell you what is or is not right, that is only for you to decide. Neither is wrong, they are only different sides of the same coin. I only point it out to show how hard dating can be for Gay men.

I tend to be more cerebral when it comes to things involving dating and sex. Being someone who is particularly loquacious, I like a little of that back. If you can talk to me in those dulcet tones, you win me over much faster than just saying things like “sup.” Think about your words and give me eye contact and you got it. Now that you know my secret, i expect to see it put into action. Challenge has been given

 

Cleveland Dating Woes.

In the short time I have lived in Cleveland, I have found the dating scene to be interesting. Being a southern born and raised guy, I am used to functioning a certain way when it comes to dating and courtship. Courtship, there is a word that you don’t see used in this modern age. Mostly, we whip out our smart devices, scroll to the app of choice, wade through the many headless profile pictures, find what appears to be a suitable mate (for the interim), DM them, meet, and go from there. This leads to the quick and burn process, as I like to think of it. Once you have that first meeting you rarely get back with them.

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I grew up learning that it took time to woo someone into the more intimate ventures, so courtship was important. So wanting to actually “talk”to guys seems like an alien concept. It has in fact not led to memorable meetings for me. I started talking with someone shortly after I moved here and was a guy who said he like taking things slow, as well. We shared items of ourselves, music taste and what not. We seemed to have things in common and similar thoughts on issues. So after a couple of weeks I decided to ask him to meet. He agreed but when it came time to meet up, he ghosted. Feeling a bit put out; I was upset for a little bit but quickly moved on. Three months later he contacts me again and apologized for being flaky, said work was taking up a lot of time and made it hard to meet. I gave him the leeway and we started talking a bit more. He said he wanted to meet up and I agree. We talked about what and where we would do. Came time for us to get together and he bailed again.

 

Five months passed and he came back again. This time I wasn’t having it. I talked with him about things that were going on. Didn’t show much interest in wanting to pursue anything. He would bring up topics about sex or dating and I would just talk around it. Finally after a couple months of talking he decides to say that he can’t meet me since he has been dating someone who lived in Canada. Apparently, he had been seeing him for almost a year. Also he couldn’t do anything soon because he was there visiting him. All of this and I wasn’t even thinking about meeting him. It was purely out of left field. Men are weird and it see that men in Cleveland are especially so.

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Another guy that I met from one of the many dating apps, also seemed pretty cool, at first. We talked a while, had similar interests and found he grew up not far from where I lived. All of which seemed like a good combination. He was photography and I consider myself an amateur photographer, so I knew we would have things that we would be able to talk about. This time, I decide that I would be a little more forward when it came to meting. As he didn’t live far from me, it would be an easier plan. We set a date and where to meet all was good. Date arrives and we meet at the restaurant he picked, Mexican with good drinks, and had our dinner. Conversation was good, no lulls or awkward parts. Talked about growing up and our  love of photography. Discussed why we each came to Cleveland. Were we a perfect match? No, but it’s a first date how does anyone know what it may be. He was tall and skinny, I am tall and thick. Dinner ends, we drank through a strong picture of margaritas. We decide it’s time to go, We walk each other out, give each other a hug, and that was it. Ghosted. I would see him online and nothing. Not even a “you seem cool but not my type. “Just POOF!!!

 

Too many times have I reached out to meet people and it seems that because I take things a little slow I get ghosted. I am not one to quickly jump into bed with someone. Sex is good and I am very pro sex. But I like a little intimacy when it comes to getting down to sharing that experience. Maybe it’s just me and my old fashioned mentality. At this point in my life, changing it isn’t much of an option.

 

 

Flaming River Comic-con

I know what you are thinking, this year’s Comicon was a blast, but what can I do to rock out my Queer Geek side until it comes back next year. Flaming River Con is your answer and it will be held Saturday September 22nd, 2018. This is the first ever Midwest LGBTQIA+ event for all things Queer and Geek. You need to come out and support this group.

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Founded in 2017, Flaming River Arts is a Cleveland based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose goal is to foster, showcase, and celebrate LGBTQIA+ voices and the community, and combat bigotry by increasing the visibility of marginalized persons within geek culture. Their first event, Flaming River Comic-Con, was last year with this one being far larger and is a place for LBGTQIA+ artists, authors, and vendors to showcase their talent. You can come and learn about queer history in comics, rock your favorite Cosplay, learn to Cosplay on a budget, and sit in on various Queer themed panels.

 

Their special guest this year is Los Angeles’ own Sina Grace, writer of Marvel’s solo Iceman comics. Sina has received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book. You can also take part in a host of panels about topics such as; queer comics, social activism, cosplay on a budget, queer representation in horror, and much more. There will be 40 vendors to quench your queer culture thirsts, so come thirsty. So dust off that Light saber, grab your Sonic Screwdriver, put on your Red Shirt and join the away team at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, Ohio. Also to appear is Dale Lazarov, Father of the American Bara Comicsas the writer, art director and licensor of Sticky Graphic Novels. The Sticky Graphic Novels are picture based, gay character based, and sexpositive graphic novels. His fans rave that his works are “a joyous expression of male/male sexuality that, while erotic, is neither grubby nor tasteless.” Also, Dr. Ken Scheck, author of LGBTQ Cleveland, will host a panel on Cartoon 4 Change. This panel will discuss the evolution of Cleveland’s cartoon as the discuss HIV/AIDS, racism, and how the LGBTQ community interacts.

 

Here is a list of some of the vendors that will be at Flaming River Comicon. Pointless Peaches, LLC, a retail store that makes handcrafted items by the founder LaShanta Knowles. Northcoast Armor & Jewelry , their specialty is custom made chain and scale mail jewelry, clothing, armor, and accessories. She also makes her very own line of dragon jewelry.  ArtsParadis Handcrafted Jewelry  is a LGBTQ owned and operated business that specializes in handcrafted jewelry. Charlene and Jeff, owners and crafters behind the company, specialize in handcrafted jewelry.

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FRA is pleased to announce its first annual Flaming River Con! The all-day event will take place Saturday September 22nd, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, Ohio. The event will be the Midwest’s first all LGBTQIA+ geek convention, showcasing everything queer and geek, including comics, zines, podcasts, art, books, cosplay, panels, and workshops. Author and illustrator Sina Grace will headline the convention. Grace has published several graphic novels in addition to working for Marvel Comics, IDW, Valiant, and more. Grace is currently writing the solo Iceman comics for Marvel.

Flaming River Con will be holding a book signing and meet and greet with Sina Grace at John and Carol’s Comics on September 21st, 6pm-8pm.

For more information, including panel, vendor, and sponsor applications, please use the contact information below:

So, come on out and support your local LGBTQ community and get your geek on!!!

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Website: www.flamingriverarts.org

 

Email: flamingrivercon@gmail.com

EIN: 82-5337147

 

Sincerely,

Flaming River Arts