Scottish Highland Games, Final Post: Masculinity Is In The Details

The men in Highland dress put on their masculinity with their sporran, and dirk, and kilt pin, and Balmoral bonnet. Remnants of their probable place in the outside world (tattoos, face hardware, or the ubiquitous ordinary look) are noticed but are of no importance. Men are transformed by Highland dress into something closer to what they were meant to be and this is boldly apparent and reassuring.
A man dresses in Highland gear in all seriousness. His dress matters to himself, his family, and his clan. A man who cares for his dress cares for the other details of his life, like protecting his women, his home, and his country. To be around men wearing Highland dress eases the fear of dark uncertainty that comes sometimes at night.
It is a strange and true thing that I cannot entirely explain except to urge you to go and experience it yourself next year, or this year if you can find a Highland games near you.
(An excellent and honorable description of Highland dress is found here:

This semi-formal sporran and beautifully crafted dirks were sported by two young men who, if you saw them on the street at night in the dark might cause you to run the other way.

This pipe and drum band judge dressed up his workaday sporran with a beautiful belt and kilt pin (meant to weigh down the corner of the kilt against the breeze).

Even the snare drum worn and played by Keith Jones of The Wicked Tinkers shows off utilitarian beauty.

Aaron Shaw, piper for The Wicked Tinkers shows off the classic look with knee-length purple hose, matching purple garter flashers, and low black sturdy shoes suitable for dancing and playing around stage and crowd.

A guest drummer at all sets of The Wicked Tinkers, with the different look of white hose, tartan-matching garter flashers, and low black shoes that are close to but not quite Ghillie brogues.

The boots and garter flashers belong to CJ, player of the didgeridoo, Ancient Irish horn, and drums for The Wicked Tinkers.

Boots belong to Keith Jones, Wicked Tinkers drummer. A stylish twist on footwear appropriate to Highland dress.

Judge for the pipe and drum competition, wearing a Balmoral bonnet, workaday sporran, with vest and tie suitable to the formality of the competition.

Not many men could carry this off without seeming ridiculous or cruel, but Keith Jones of The Wicked Tinkers wears this bear-paw sporran as though he were born to it. And, of course, he was.

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