True Scotsman

True Scotsman

"True Scotsman" is a humorous term used in Scotland for a man wearing a kilt without undergarments. [ "He was singing on stage in Scotland and inadvertently proving he was a true Scotsman with nothing on underneath his kilt". Neil Simpson, excerpt from "Lorraine Kelly: The Biography: The True Story of Lorraine Kelly, TV's Best Loved Presenter", May 31 2007, Accessed May 12, 2008] Though it originated in the military, it has entered Scottish lore as a rite, an expression of light-hearted curiosity about the custom, even as a subversive gesturecite news | url = | title = When a blue moon has more to do with the wind-chill factor | publisher = The Sunday Herald | date = January 14, 2001] .


Kilts have been traditionally worn without undergarments since their use as part of Scottish military uniform, leading to the invention of such expressions as "go regimental" or "military practice" for wearing no underwear.cite news | url = | title = Scots tradition hit by cover-up ruling | publisher = The Times | date = August 2, 2004 | accessdate = 2008-05-12] On the Western Front during the First World War, some Sergeants Major reportedly had mirrors tied to the end of golf clubs or walking sticks to inspect up and under the kilt at parade inspection. In the 1950s, kilted soldiers on parade would be checked by the Sergeant Major using a mirror on the barrack's floor. In 1997, a Black Watch soldier received wide press "exposure", because of windy conditions during a military ceremony in Hong Kong.

However, Highland dancers and athletes are bound by the nature of their competitions to appropriately and modestly clothe themselves. In Highland Dance competitions and exhibitions, the regulations of the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing (SOBHD) state regarding underwear: "dark or toning with the kilt should be worn but not white." [ cite web | url = | title = Dress code | type = pdf | publisher = Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing | accessdate = 2008-05-13] Highland athletes are also required to wear shorts of some type during competitions.

Kilt Inspections

The term "True Scotsman" is most often used in the context of a kilt inspection; this inspection sometimes proceeds as follows: [cite news | url = | title = Nice bit of skirts, lads | publisher = The Times | date = December 3, 2002 | author = Hugo Rifkind | accessdate = 2008-05-12] [cite news | url = | title = Dying Garry weds his bride Katie Campling | publisher = The Huddersfield Daily Examiner | date = February 11 2008 | accessdate = 2008-05-12]

The kilt wearer is asked if he is a "True Scotsman". He responds in the affirmative or negative. If affirmative, proof may be demanded, the nature of which can vary depending on the person and situation. If negative, "confiscation" of the "offending" undergarments may be demanded.

Renaissance fairs

Given the popularity of kilts in the fantasy and reenactment communities, kilt inspections are common at large costumed events. [cite web | url = | title = How to assemble your OWN kilt-lifting kit | accessdate = 2008-05-15] [cite web | url = | work = Ren fair Quiz | title = Have you ever given or received a kilt check? | accessdate = 2008-05-15] Like "grape-diving", these inspections have a formalised "ritual", as performing a kilt inspection without consent could be considered a sexual assault. [cite web | url = | title = All kilt wearers have experience of being attacked by wild females desperate to know what's underneath. | publisher = The Sunday Post | date = 7th Mar 2004]

Popular culture

Non-Scots and those unfamiliar with kilts seeking to determine the truth of the "True Scotsman" tradition can leave themselves open to innuendo and "double entendre", as innocent queries can be turned on the questioner; as with the question "Is there anything worn under the kilt?" being answered with examples such as "No, nothing is worn, everything is in perfect working order!" or "Yes, socks, shoes, and talcum powder," and "Yes, socks, shoes, and two shades of lipstick." Humorous "Kilt Inspector" and "Official Kilt Inspector" T-shirts can be purchased in Scottish tourist shops and online.Fact|date=May 2008

The plot of the 16th "Carry On" film, "Carry On Up the Khyber", revolves around the mishaps of a fictional Scottish regiment following the discovery that they are not true Scotsmen.

ee also

*Going commando


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