Skirting the issue

Robert A. Erlandson

April 13, 1993|By Robert A. Erlandson

WHEN the photograph of Joe Boudreau, manager of Louie's Cafe and Bookstore, appeared in the feature section the other day, I knew I was in for some kidding. I was right.

Mr. Boudreau was shown wearing a tartan skirt, a woman's kilt actually, over long johns and jackboots, a sort of chef's salad of cross-dressing.

Along with thousands of other bagpipers and drummers around the world, I also wear a "skirt" occasionally, but it's a man's kilt, not some girl's leftover hockey kilt. So as expected, the article provoked the inevitable cracks about hairy-legged guys in skirts and the apparently irresistible question, "What's worn under the kilt?"

Since ancient times in many societies, both men and women have worn skirts or some form of loose garment. The style survives in various places -- think of flowing Arab robes and Japanese kimonos. Some of the world's toughest soldiers, the evzones of Greece and the Jocks of Scotland, wear their kilts proudly, and woe betide anyone who questions their manliness.

Mr. Boudreau's costume was something else, however. He probably thought he looked fetching -- and so terribly fashionable. What he really looked was silly. But no more so than the other males in the photographs accompanying the article, which reported efforts to revive a failed attempt to make men's skirts, or even dresses, a modern fashion statement.

Just what they are trying to state or who is expected to endorse it remains obscure, however. Some designer was probably bored and decided to see just how far he or she could go this year in conning people to make fools of themselves -- without even realizing it.

It's like the people who go on television talk shows to confess to the world the sordid secrets of their dysfunctional lives.

All of which leads to the conclusion that there are too many poseurs who don't care how ridiculous they look or how silly they sound, so long as someone will pay them a little attention. And someone is always there to accommodate them.

Robert A. Erlandson is a reporter for The Sun and The Evening Sun's Baltimore County bureau.

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