DEAR ABBY: Allow me to offer kudos to "Joe in Pennsylvania" (Dec. 31), who wrote that he prefers wearing skirts at home, on errands and at church. I grew up in southwestern Asia where skirts, sarongs and robes are common daily apparel for men. I have been somewhat surprised by the disapproving looks and downright hostility I have encountered in this country any time I have chosen to leave my home wearing anything other than pants.
I look forward to a day when more people in the USA recognize that pants are a relatively new phenomenon in the world. Men who prefer skirts as a mode of dress are not all weirdos or terrorists.
So, congratulations to Joe, who has not only the fortitude to wear what he pleases, but also to his family members, community and church members for respecting that choice. -- KARL, KILT SUPPORTER IN FLORIDA
DEAR KARL: I heard from men and women across the United States and beyond who wrote supporting Joe in his decision to wear skirts. Many of them suggested he contact Utilikilts, a company based in Seattle, which manufactures a line of kilts for the modern man. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: To Joe's jackass relatives who start rumors about him because he wears skirts for comfort, I have one word for him: "Utilikilt." They are made in all sorts of different styles and fabrics -- from work kilts to fancy dress kilts -- and they are male-specific. Plus he can then use my favorite kilt joke: "You know why they're called 'kilts'? Because if ye call 'em 'skirts,' ye'll be kilt." -- ANN FROM KANSAS CITY, MO.
DEAR ABBY: Three cheers to Joe and to you for your answer regarding his wearing skirts. While skirts may not be appropriate for riding a horse or motorcycle riding, they make perfect sense as casual attire, potentially even business attire.
I find it interesting that women have won the "right" to wear pants at will, and their sexuality is not questioned. However, when a man dons a skirt, his masculinity falls under suspicion, unless he's wearing a kilt and is involved in macho activities. Then the question most asked becomes, "What are you wearing under that?" My reply to that question is, "Do you ask that of women wearing skirts?" -- RAY IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ABBY: I had a good laugh after reading the letter from Joe. My husband dresses exclusively in kilts throughout the summer, much of the winter and whenever he works for my designing business. If someone calls his kilt a skirt, he smiles and tells them, "It's only a skirt if I'm wearing pumps with it." A good chuckle generally diffuses any discomfort of bystanders.
Good luck, Joe. I hope you continue to set fashion rather than to follow it. -- A KILTER'S WIFE
DEAR ABBY: Someone should send Joe's family to American Samoa and see if they will still snicker at the men. We grow NFL linebackers here, and they all wear "skirts." The Samoan lavalava is a wraparound "skirt" worn by Polynesian men and hardly a girlish trend. -- AMUSED IN SAMOA
DEAR ABBY: My husband is a "skirt" wearer. They are called kilts. We actually receive more comments at church when he doesn't wear one and opts for pants instead.
A word of warning to the ladies, as a co-worker of my husband's has found out: Do NOT do a "kilt check." It is considered sexual harassment. -- JENNY FROM TEXAS