It's bound to happen to anyone who wears a kilt. Eventually you will be asked THE QUESTION. "What do you wear under the kilt?"
Usually, those asking this question will be of the female variety -- in my experience the older women are usually more forthcoming with the curiosity (or less hindered by embarassment, I suppose). There are a few pat answers, such as "Nothing is worn, it's all in working order." Some border on the crude, such as, "Lipstick," or "Do you have cold hands? You are welcome to check." My favorite is simply "socks and shoes."
However, the more you wear your kilt, the more you get asked this question, the less "cute" it becomes. I wear the kilt nearly every day. To me, the kilt is not some "fun costume." It is my clothing. I don't go up to strange women and ask them what they are wearing under their skirts or pants. So why do people think it is appropriate to ask me this question?
But then I remind myself that these people are not used to seeing a man in a kilt, they think they are being cute and funny, and mean no offense. And I just suffer through it.
(Photo from the X Marks the Scot forum)
But that's not actually the topic I want to address in this post. Because there is another type of person who asks this question. It's the man who just bought his first kilt. I see it all the time. A gentleman decides he wants to enter the world of kilt wearing. He talks to me for over an hour about all the details. He's been measured, selected his tartan, picked out all the accessories. He's all paid up and ready to go, and then he leans in, lowers his voice, and somewhat sheepishly, asks the question. "So, what do you guys wear under the kilt...? Really?" He's not trying to be funny, he just wants to know what is proper. "I know that traditionally nothing is supposed to be worn," he says, "but really, what do most people wear?"
My answer to that is -- whatever you want to wear. I have a strict "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It's none of your business what I'm wearing under my kilt, and I really don't care what you wear under your kilt. I don't care whether you wear underwear with your blue jeans, and your kilt is no different.
So, wear nothing if you like -- it is the most traditional. Or wear boxer shorts. Or jockeys. Or spandex. Really, if you maintain proper decorum and take care to sit "like a lady" in your kilt, no one should ever know what you are or are not wearing.
Also keep in mind the situation. I wear the kilt all the time to educational programs. If I am going kilted to a school, or to a church, then I always take care to wear proper under garments -- just in case of a slip -- to avoid scandal. At other times? Well, you'd need to ask my wife, and I don't think she's telling.
But I do have it on authority (from a 30-plus year member of the Royal Scottish Country Dance society) that Scottish Country Dancers are encouraged to wear black briefs under their kilts. Why? Well, when dancing, there is the danger of the kilt lifting up as you spin. You don't want to flash the audience. On the other hand, you also don't want to show off your "tighty-whiteys" and spoil the myth that keeps young women's eyes on the men in kilts. So black briefs are worn, to both hide the goods and to maintain the mystery. In the brief moment that the kilt may twirl up in the dance, the black briefs are hidden in the shadows and the eye is never quite sure what it did or did not see!
It's all in the mystery!