Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Over and Under

Back in the Paris Métro, I don't remember which station. I was with a couple of friends, G. and (I think) N., one male and one female, both of them participants in my study-abroad program. We were on a cultural excursion that day, waiting to the side of the ticket booth for the entire group to assemble before continuing on toward the platform. I remember it was a very cold day. All the more reason for us to take notice of the two men (Scots, we assumed) in their kilts on the other side of the entry/exit barriers. None of us, not even the most feminine girls, could imagine wearing a skirt on a day that cold—at least not without tights, which the Scots certainly did not have on. They were trying to exit, but were having some difficulty. We watched them attempt repeatedly to get past the barrier without success. Was it N. who asked whether the rumors were true? It was said that men in kilts wore nothing underneath. In a flash, it was decided: the men shrugged and vaulted over the barriers. Over they went, and up flew the kilts; underneath, we witnessed, not a stitch. Flying kilts, flapping genitals—not exactly how you might imagine being flashed in the Paris Métro, but certainly memorable. The sudden skin show resulted ever after in a private greeting between the three of us: never again could G., N., or I see each other without waving our hands in a flourish from the waist, mimicking the pleated plaid material traveling on its revealing updraft.

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