Oct 21 2007

Sunday storage tub blogging


Speaking of tubs and lids! This wacko tableau totally blew my mind!

I’d like to take this opportunity to beg yall’s indulgence for just a little longer while I laze around not blogging. I Blame The Patriarchy, contrary to what longtime blamer MzNicky has suggested, is not dead. It is merely in a coma. I promise you, the minute I think of something to write, I will write it, and then I will post it here, and it’ll be just like the old days.

You may wonder what — besides cultivating a taste for the abandoned storage tubs littering my neighborhood — I’ve been up to lo these many weeks.

You may not believe this, but I’ve been working on a post. You’d think that after months of honing, it would be about the best post ever written, but the truth is that it stinks. It stinks more than I’d have thought possible for a post conceived in my giant brain to stink. I can’t post a stinky, sub-par essay, hence there’s been bupkis-all to read around here lately.

Possibly the post sucks because it is about Utilikilts.

Utilikilts, it amuses me to report, are nothing but skirts. Big whoop, you say? Well, they have giant pockets and are marketed to straight, not necessarily Celtically-inclined men, two qualities not popularly tolerated in a garment universally imbued to the point of absurdity with sex-class-specificity. The masculinization of the girly accoutrement interests me strangely.

I am not an habitué of Burning Man, so it came to pass that 48 long years elapsed before I laid eyes on my first Utilikilt. This event transpired 3 weeks ago. The minute I saw it — a heavy-duty twill with dudely brass snaps arranged so as to suggest a codpiece or possibly a WWF Heavyweight Champion belt, adorning a sensitive guy in a ponytail at the South Congress post office — I knew that I must possess one. I wanted to wear a skirt while simultaneously crossdressing. I will have my little sartorial joke.

My Utilikilt arrived several days later. I’d ordered the “Survival” model, which features “a pair of detachable side-saddle cargo pockets (each with its own closure flap and belt loops).” You have never seen a more ridiculous garment. It weighs about 746 pounds, the front pockets reach to your knees, and it has a “modesty closure system” which tacks the front and the back of the skirt together, effectively transforming it into stupid-looking shorts. The website suggests that the purpose of the Survival kilt is to facilitate the hands-free hauling of “20 bottles of beer” while its manly wearer fords wild rivers and scales Patagonian peaks. I haven’t yet found myself in possession of enough beer, or in proximity to sufficient wilderness, to test this claim, but I did convey, over a distance of several hundred urban yards, a bottle of Côtes de Provence (Les Domainiers de Puits Mouret; a gorgeous, affordable rosé that you don’t have to be an absentee patriarchy blamer to love) in one of the ‘saddlebags’. The experiment met with only mild success, however; without a bottle in the opposite side pocket to balance it out, the skirt listed unacceptably. Not only that, the neck of the bottle stuck out too far, interfering with my spinster auntly gesticulations. The bottle did disappear satisfactorily into the front slant pocket, but once there it impeded ambulation. Furthermore, I could not squeeze a pitcher of margaritas into my Utilikilt anywhere. So I’m giving it a thumbs down as a beverage tote. Although if you want to put a wallet and a cell phone and a dog-eared photo of Xena in there, it should work as well as any other skirt.

And if you want a laugh, check out the Utilikilt website. It sweats so much dorkwad testosterone that when I logged on my computer grew a beard, called me a “wench,” and ordered me to fetch it a Miller Lite.

Anyway, I may not be blogging much, but at least I’ve done you the favor of sparing you the Utilikilt post.


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  1. gennimcmahon

    Perhaps it is something in the weather, as I laid my own eyes upon my first Utilikilt here in sunny Southern NM only a few weeks ago! Is it, perhaps, a plot to insinuate the manly skirt into the hinterlands? Having grown up with a bagpipe-playing, beer drinking, kilt-wearing father, I was less than impressed. To know that one can gain “modesty” disappoints me even further, as half the fun was in my dad’s answer when my friends asked what he wore beneath it. Never did the wind blow hard enough to prove the truthfulness of his answer, but much was pondered when I was in elementary school.

    I’ve missed you, Spinster Aunt!

  2. Carol

    And here I thought the whole point of a kilt was improved convenience for indiscriminate fucking.

    Modesty panel indeed.

  3. The Reverend B. Dagger Lee

    There are a fair number of skirt wearing men here in NYC (and I’m not talking about drag queens). These guys seem to favor long black denim skirts. I don’t know if they generally have pockets.

    When I get strange urges, I generally just watch some gladiator movies.

  4. KMTberry

    Well, NOW I totally WANT a Utilikilt….but it sounds like they might SUCK. As a person who has only worn cargo pants since 1988 (except for when I am wearing cargo shorts), a cargo SKIRT seems like it would literally triple my available “look”s.

    I don’t think there are cargo skirts for girls. Not even in Title 9 catalog.

    Or have I just not been looking in the right place?

  5. Aireanne

    I love that marketing skirts to men involves lots of metal and a mark up in price of 5000%.

    Seriously, you paid $270 for that thing?

    Write more soon!

  6. Twisty

    KMTberry, the Utilikilt is the butchest skirt I have ever worn, and if you like cargo-wear, you will love it. Hell, I love mine. But don’t expect it to comfortably schlep a case of beer.

  7. Jodie

    Cargo pants — I could not do my nurse gig without ’em. However, there is NO WAY I’m wearing a skirt to do that, and I don’t care how many pockets it has.

    IBTP that nurses used to wear fitted white dresses and little starched caps. Argh! How did they do it?

  8. slashy

    Utilikilts are enjoying a minor surge of popularity among the manygendered queers of my acquaintance, though the US/Aus exchange rate makes them a pricey investment. They might not schlep a case of beer for you, but you sure can fit a lot of handy stuff in those pockets- and they don’t seem to bulge, warp & look as odd as over-stuffed trouser pockets, either.

    It’s as though someone finally came up with ‘women’s clothing that allows one to forego a handbag to carry necessities’ and then decided the idea was so awesome it had to be marketed to men instead.

  9. Twisty

    “It’s as though someone finally came up with ‘women’s clothing that allows one to forego a handbag to carry necessities’ and then decided the idea was so awesome it had to be marketed to men instead.” — Slashy

    Thank you! This is precisely the point I had intended, but forgot, to make.

  10. TwissB

    And welcome back to YOU, Twisty. Things have been threatening to get out of hand in your virtual absence, with some of us getting dangerously on the brink of aggressing against dudely words that others of us seem to treasure for reasons that escape me since they drain the meaning out of any context in which they are used. I refer for starters to the hateful f-word, the b-word, the mf-word, not to mention the malapropos terms that conjure up physical images to no good purpose, like s..ks, a–hole, p—ed. I submit the following example from the Utilikilt website:
    “Utilikilts encourages customers to take photos of themselves doing cool shit in their kilts, and then send us the photos.”

  11. Mme. Termagant

    Women’s clothing has a number of disadvantages which, by design, hinder the wearer’s independence. We are all overly familiar with the constricting cuts and compromising styles which much of women’s fashion depends upon. However one of the things I find most annoying about women’s fashion is the lack of pockets. My pet theory of women’s fashions is that women are forced to either carry a bag, or especially on formal occasions, depend on one’s (presumably male) escort (i.e. one with pockets) to carry their crap.

    Oh, for the independence that pockets bring!

    To this end, I harbor a certain amount of both admiration and annoyance for the Utilikilt: admiration for the rather practical elegance of the design, and annoyance that once again, men’s fashions have no problems interweaving practicality into the design mix for their own clothes, while the boys who run women’s fashion still insist that Mme. carries her lipstick in her bra at the Masquerade Ball. Pah.

    When I hemmed and hawed over buying my own Utilikilt some time ago, I found the niceguylonghaired clerk not entirely dismissive of my interest in purchasing his wares, but his smile intimated the tired bemusement reserved for a dog who thinks she’s people.

  12. rootlesscosmo

    I’ve done you the favor of sparing you the Utilikilt post.

    Whew, that was close!

    Glad to know you’re still blaming and posting.

  13. trouble

    They do and have made cargo skirts for at least 12 years. At the risk of either being totally incomprehensible or just dating myself (as a youngun), I was a raver. We wore them.


    mock away at my heedless youth

    I’m glad you’re posting, even if it is about utilikilts.

  14. Pinko Punko

    So are people getting more organized in your neighborhood, or giving up and just dumping crap all over their garages?

  15. Judy Wise

    god, I’ve missed you. Utilikilts are swarming all over the streets up here in the PNW. (gah) But you in one? Kewl!!

  16. Anastasia B.

    Hmmm. Can’t seem to haul multiple bottles of beer in your kilt? I propose that the cargo pockets could be better used for the picnic aspects of the outing, i.e., utensils, baguette, brie, roasted meats, tacos, etc., and that the beverages be transported on one’s head, as suggested by this device: http://www.1ofakindstuff.com/Beer-Helmet.html

    Welcome back, Twisty. You’ve been sorely missed.

  17. Foilwoman

    Please, Twisty, isn’t there some rampant sexism you could tackle, flay, and filet? I miss you, even if I am unknown to you. And the utilikilt? I’m not the least bit surprised that the dude waering it also wore a ponytail.

  18. Etarip

    What’s wrong with the ponytail?

  19. Ginger Mayerson

    So, I went to the utilikilt website and—Jesus! God! My eyes!

    Just when I thought men couldn’t get any sillier…they do.

    Your return is just in the nick of time, Twisty, I was starting to take men somewhat seriously. You’ve been missed in precincts Mayerson. Or something.

  20. Ron Sullivan

    Heh. Male friend of mine has been going to Burning Man since almost before it was cool. Old fart too, about my age. He picked up on the Utilikilt thing a few years back, and was bragging that he’d found a cheaper solution in some bargain basement: a “women’s” camo canvas skirt with lots of pockets, a sorta faux-utilikiltette at a third of the boy price. It was oddly reassuring that he found one in his size, as he’s a six-footer with a respectable paunch.

    Oh, and. Suspenders.

  21. Crystal

    Stupid-looking shorts with modesty panels = cullottes (sp?). In the hideous uniform wearing days of my youth cullottes were reserved for the young ladies. This is gender bending indeed.
    I’m so glad to hear that you haven’t been to Burning Man, Twisty. I think that your obstreperal lobe would have gone into toxic shock in the face such an overwhelming overabundance of Nice Guys, Sensitive Guys, Liberation and of course, Empowerfulment on a grand scale.
    Thankfully you’ve managed to avoid this cruel fate and are still blogging here.

  22. just another dave

    I am a utilikilt owner (and I admit to acquiring the desire to own one via Burning Man) – mine too has absurdly capacious pockets, though I didn’t bother with the ‘modesty snap’.

    I too, was immediately struck by the exact same issues of gendering when I started wearing it – make a skirt for men, and it is imperative that it immediately have giant pockets and tool loops, and loudly proclaim its practical, manly, but also rad and dudely, nature at every turn, though its apparently forbidden to add even more sensibly sized pockets to a similar garment designed for women. And that’s bad enough, but the implications of a male skirt needing a ‘modesty snap’, when those made for women do not, is one those things that becomes creepier the more you think about it.

    It does make for a rather useful bit of clothing, though, for I do quite like to carry a lot of things in my pockets. I think the cargo skirt is an idea whose time has come.

  23. rainie

    Regarding tubs and lids:
    I have owned the trash can that has that round blue lid. It was a particularly unsatisfying trash can. I bought it because it was huge and cheap. It was however too light to stay in place even against a light breeze. It was also very flimsy and wont to bending in ways that made getting the lid to go on rather difficult. Getting the lid to go on and stay on usually involved some hideous accidental garbage to skin contact. I completely understand if someone were to put this lid out as trash. This leaves the question though, how do you dispose of the can?

    Regarding kilts:
    Years ago I went to GenCon with my then preadolescent son. While perusing the merchandise area, I was approached by a kilt wearing man who said, “THE MAN IN YOUR LIFE NEEDS A KILT!” I laughed so hard that tears came to my eyes and I had to lean on him. He looked confused. I suppose that he was used to this tactic working a bit better.

  24. Mar Iguana

    “…words…that others of us seem to treasure for reasons that escape me since they drain the meaning out of any context in which they are used.”

    Too true, TwissB. One should probably be required to know about ten thousand words for every dudely word used.

    On the other hand, if used with purpose, they can hit the mark perfectly. Hence my fondness for the words “bullshit” and “motherfucker,” which puts the onus directly on the dudely.

    I’m just glad I don’t have to look at the objective affirmation of womanly virtues photo anymore; nauseating.

    (OT note to Crystal: I did address your UN question but you may not have seen it since it was suspended in moderation, as my comments are wont to do. In any case, the moment has probably passed.)

  25. CLD

    I must get a utilikilt. If not for the humongous, very practical pockets [and of course, the ventilation]; then for the whining males who want to know why I am wearing “their” clothing [why? IBTP]. I can so see me mowing the lawn in my utilikilt, crocs, my tilley hat and a nondescript t-shirt.

  26. slythwolf

    How telling is it that in order to market traditionally-sex-class-indicative clothing to the menz that clothing must be imbued with as much practicality as possible? It’s almost as if the fashion industry thinks that men would never allow themselves to be cajoled into wearing something as completely impractical, restrictive, and storage-capacity-deficient as your basic miniskirt, but that women will wear anything we are told to wear because otherwise–gasp!–somebody might think we’re unfuckable.

    Oh wait.


    But I have an acquaintance (he’s too rude and basically inconsiderate to be called a friend) who wears long, black, goth-punk skirts with chains and things on them with bad band t-shirts and a giant purple-and-black Mad-Hatter-looking top hat. I’m not sure he has ever heard of the utilikilt, but I’m not about to inform him; watching him make himself ridiculous (for the Renaissance Faire, yet!) is far too entertaining.

  27. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    It’s difficult to remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did at the photo galleries on the Utilikilt site. Thanks for the chortles on a Monday morning.

  28. lisa

    I can think of several stage carpenters who wear ’em. I think they’re slying winking at notions of gender. They learned of ’em through word of mouth, not the website.

    I’m personally thankful that there’s a modesty panel available when we all spend so much time up and down ladders.

  29. stekatz

    So, basically, it’s a skort.

  30. Bird

    I have two brothers. One of them wears skirts and makeup, and the other one is gay.

    My baby brother has been wearing those long Goth skirts for years. He also happily buys shirts in the women’s section of the store if he likes them. This resulted in him owning a black hoodie with pink cat ears for a while. He also has a t-shirt with a pink skull on the front. He would totally love a Utilikilt. Hell, I want one.

    We’re not much for gendered dressing in the Bird family.

  31. Julz

    I’m a veteran Burning Man attendee. Having volunteered extensively, have come to know why the Black Rock City Rangers (the all-volunteer security team) wear Utilikilts: they’re comfortable in the heat (let your junk flap freely!) and there are pockets for all your shit–water bottle, sunscreen, walkie-talkie, etc.

    It’s very common for male burners wear sarongs during the event because they’re a lot more comfortable than shorts when the temperatures on the playa climb past 110 degrees F. Some of them lament that they “can’t” wear them at home. Sigh.

  32. magickitty

    I wore a cargo skirt all summer; I made it out of an old pair of cargo pants. It held a diaper and wipes in one pocket, wallet/keys/cel/lip balm in the other. All a girl needs for a day out watching excavators and bulldozers.

  33. Zora

    Not that I could afford one, but I have long been a fan of the utilikilt. At the risk of sounding like an advertisment, the one thing which has not been fully expressed here is the fact that they are super-well made with extra tough fabric and stitching. You can get a knock-off a lot cheaper, but it won’t be as sturdy.

    Damn, I sound like an ad!

  34. Kyso K

    You need to put a trigger warning on that site – the torso picture of the guy with excessively good posture and a t-shirt tucked tightly into his punk-belted kilt gave me flashbacks to my douchebaggiest ex.

    Why? Why do these men tuck so tightly? I don’t want to laugh at men in skirts, but they’re practically forcing me to. Someone needs to start marketing a better shirt for them.

  35. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    It’s not so much that I’m laughing at the fellas wearing skirts, it’s the ridiculous poses they’re in, trying to be such Testosterone-Laden Manly He-Men.

    Oh, and one of ’em reminded me of a co-op who’s working in our area.

  36. Jezebella

    I gotta confess: I like a dude in a skirt. Dudes in skirts are kinda hawt. It’s my Scots/Irish DNA to blame.

    However, those dudes on the utilikilt site are clearly over-compensating in the Manly Pose department for fear their skirts seem too girly. Morons.

    Anybody know where you can get a pattern with which to make yr own utilicargoskort?

  37. Dawn Coyote

    Jezebella, I have this fond recollection of a Great Big Sea concert where it was Utilikilts, tree-trunk thighs and masses of blond and red hair as far as the eye could sea.

    My people, I thought, I’m among my people.

  38. lawbitch

    Woot! Twisty’s coming back! I don’t get the whole man skirt thang, but it’s healthy to have a good breeze ’round your private parts.

  39. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    If it makes you feel any better Twisty, I have 130 unfinished posts.

  40. kate

    I guess I could wear a Utilikilt on the jobsite, would they then say I’m bending gender further by wearing a kilt? Or could I protest and say, “You call this cargo skirt a kilt? On me its a skirt, ok?”

    But I’m not moved to have the breeze blow to my nether regions. Coming from my sex class status, safety and security precludes crotch airing comfort.

  41. CafeSiren

    Even less bearable than the Utilikilt (okay, I’ve seen some guys rock this look, but it isn’t for everyone) are the customer-submitted commercials on the website. When I first clicked on Twisty’s link, I was treated to a faux-mercial that featured the real reason why a man should get a utilikilt: women you’ve never met before will be compelled to immediately drop to their knees in front of you, lift the skirt, and give you head.

    Of course they will.

  42. saltyC

    I hate the M-F word. Any word that originated with sailors or pimps or wherever will not really put the onus on the manly. It’s really a version of SOB, hijo de puta, filho da puta, etc. it’s putting a man down by saying he came from a filhy whore. Now that it’s a term of approbation it’s even creepier. You can scarcely ride the bus, go to a bookstore or an art opening wiothout hearing it: M-F, M-f, M-f out the wazoo. I don’t know what to make of our culture’s fondness for so blitheley putting the two words together as a filler word.

    filler words (ones that have no impact on the meaning of a sentence) used to be things like “um” and “neat”. Now the air is filled with various deprecated perversions.

  43. Mar Iguana

    “Just when I thought men couldn’t get any sillier…they do.” Ginger Mayerson

    Yup, they do:

    Women’s rights activists flooded foreign embassies in Myanmar with female underwear to protest the lack of diplomatic pressure on the military regime. “The Panties for Peace” campaign, conceived by an activist group in Thailand, played on the junta’s superstition that contact with women’s lingerie will deplete their power, the Guardian reported Oct. 19. (from Women’s eNews)

    If only.

  44. Mar Iguana

    That reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

    “I wonder why men can get serious at all. They have this delicate, long thing hanging outside their bodies, which goes up and down by its own free will. If I were a man I would always be laughing at myself.”

    Yoko Ono

  45. Ms Kate

    Twisty, you aren’t going to make this into one of those “Cats in Sinks!” websites, but with storage containers?

    Storage and Streets (and avenues and lanes and roads!)

  46. TP

    The deeply shared bond of having a mother that all human beings share, that mammals share even, makes the MF word so painfully passive aggressive. Projecting the idea of motherhood into a sexual realm, even as an insult, shows more flaws than thought possible by many an arbitrary attitude-adjustor general or something. The dudely phrasing is a reduction of nothing much into absurdity.

    I hate it. After a slight deconstruction of the phrase I had to throw it back into the cultural stew that spewed it. I did a lot of cursing when I was younger, though – moving to Italy helped cure me of wishing it elsewise.

  47. Ms Kate


    Is anyone surprised? Linky: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/10/22/health/webmd/main3393759.shtml

  48. Elizabeth

    Well, this not-an-essay was pretty fun to read. so how much could the other one suck? Really, ease up on yourself!

  49. Helen

    OMG. They’re hysterical! And, except for the tux version, they all look the same!
    I wonder, could I get DH to wear the Mocker? I doubt it. Silly brit ancestry trumps his lovely Irish ancestry every time — and still he’d insist that only Scots can wear kilts, and even then they aren’t kilts if they aren’t plaid. (He’s a bit of a wimp when it comes to less-than-conservative clothing).
    Now, when they mark ’em back down to normal pricing, we might actually see some kilt wearing lads … that’d be nice

  50. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Cheer up, Jezebella, you’re among friends. I always had a thang for Dr. Frankenfurter.

  51. Joolya

    The Utilikilt is unfortunate. I used to live in Scotland and I thought men in skirts was awesome. Skirts are breezy and comfortable and should be de-feminininized. Like Westley said of masks in The Princess Bride, “It’s just they’re terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.”
    Twisty, next time I am over there, I will pick you up a handsome tartan and some of those falshy knee socks! Then you can cross-dress like a Catholic school girl – oh, wait. Hm. Whatever.

  52. Joolya

    trouble, i had a skirt like that but i could never put anything in the pockets or it would fall down. (that was back before i had hips, i guess.)

  53. pisaquari

    746 extra pounds would indeed make us all unf*ckable.
    I’m game.

  54. Stacey

    Be thankful you do not live in the hometown of Utilikilts. I do, and I’m surprised I haven’t gone blind yet.


  55. MzNicky

    Twisty darling: You don’t know how happy I am to be, as I so often am, wrong.

  56. jezebella

    I propose that the wine-carrying experiment would have been more successful if you tried TWO bottles of wine. One on each side would solve the unacceptable listing. Besides, twice the wine! How could that NOT be better?

  57. whatsername

    I seriously fucking love Utilikilts. I used to see them all the time in Seattle and have seen them here in CA too. I really really want to get my husband one! They were commented on in Bitch’s last issue too…

  58. mg_65

    I am so glad you’re back, Twisty!

    Also, I love men in skirts. It’s sexy. And cheerful.

  59. AnthroBabe


    “The Leather is for real men. Big men. Men who aren’t afraid to wear large swaths of cow around their waists. Men who take secret pleasure in making vegans and bovine activists cry.”

  60. pdxstudent

    “I am not an habitué of Burning Man, so it came to pass that 48 long years elapsed before I laid eyes on my first Utilikilt. This event transpired 3 weeks ago. The minute I saw it — a heavy-duty twill with dudely brass snaps arranged so as to suggest a codpiece or possibly a WWF Heavyweight Champion belt, adorning a sensitive guy in a ponytail at the South Congress post office — I knew that I must possess one. I wanted to wear a skirt while simultaneously crossdressing. I will have my little sartorial joke.”

    It’s been too long Twisty, but you still have it.

  61. rappelmanchris

    So a “skirt” kilt may not be the most useful article of clothing invented and the idea of a man wearing a skirt may seem a little homosexual but who wrote the rules anyways! I do not endorse the macho ism advertised by utilikilt but i do not find the article in the least bit “gay”. There is nothing wrong with a kilt besides the innate factor that it will limit many activities ie: riding a motorcycle, climbing above others, acrobats that would otherwise expose yourself… so there is some kinks in the design but you cannot argue that they are not really comfortable despite some of the practicality issues associated.

  62. Jan

    I’d say, if intended as a slap at Utilikilts®, this post rather backfires.

    IMO, the “Survival” model is far over-designed. Simply too much material there. For practical comfort the “Original” or “Mocker” models are much to be preferred.

  63. Iosou


    I am a dude, prefer not to be a pedantic asshole, but might miss the mark. On Utilikilts. or for that matter kilts in general: They are dude wear. That said, here in the emerald city, there are some seriously hot persons of all five genders who wear them, and pull them off with panache. There are also persons who wear them for style, and do not pull them off, but definitely should. Preferably in private. I am one of the latter. But the kilt is an eminently practical garment, whether worn by male, female, or other, and I personally believe that the main reason it is called a kilt, as opposed to a skirt, is so that guys who wear them have to spend less time defending their choice of clothing. The modesty snap allows things like riding your motorcycle without being arrested. Or climbing ladders without the the neighborhood watch, or nosy neighbor, adding you to the sex offender of the week website. It is not meant for full time, or even long term, use. Try it before you knock it.

    Twisty… this is the first time I’ve run across your prolix opinions, and I find them to be hilariously expressed whether I agree or not. Some I do, some not. Either wy…thanks for the memories.

  1. Hugs, Twisty at I Blame The Patriarchy

    […] Today I’m launching a new feature that I will probably forget all about and never repeat, like the feature I launched that time about storage tubs. […]

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