SkirtCafe Core Values

Discuss recent changes, make suggestions, etc.

SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby Bob » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:11 am

As many here are aware, we've had a few brawls at the Cafe in recent weeks. Many of us have bruises, the potted palm has been knocked over, and morale is down across the board. The Cafe has traditionally been a place where people can meet, talk and get to know each other across differences, and that has not been happening as of late. Carl and I have been working on a plan to restore order and decorum to the Cafe, so the coffee can flow again unhindered. I'm sorry it has taken this long. But the problems have required a lot of time, and thought, and my capacity is finite.

We have solicited input on the current situation --- thank you to everyone who gave their two cents worth. We have also done a lot of soul searching on the issue. As has happened in the past, I went back to consider SkirtCafe's core values and core membership base. These were not values I created out of thin air, but rather values I inherited from Tom Manuel and Tom's Cafe. I have always sought to keep these core value alive and well, while responding appropriately in the present. I would like to take this time to review SkirtCafe's core values. They are:

1. Mutual Respect --- our most important core value! Even more important than skirts.
2. Skirts and Kilts --- core interest in skirts and kilts as a part of men's wardrobe and men's fashion.
3. Men --- desire to remain men.
4. Diversity --- value of diversity, openness and honesty in our membership.
5. Community --- we're not just a bunch of disconnected individuals in cyberspace

I will now expand on these values, and how they speak to our current situation.

Mutual Respect

How can I say it more clearly: Mutual Respect is our most important core value.

When things are working well, we all respect each other for all our quirks and differences. We have many eccentric, independent-minded souls here, so of course we're all different. That's OK. But when things stop working --- well, disrespect is contagious and it snowballs. Pretty soon we're all feeling hurt and defensive, and we come to believe that the Cafe would be a better place without [your choice of other Cafe member here].

The fact is, if we kicked out ever Cafe member that someone else wishes would leave, we'd have no one left --- not to mention, we'd have no moderators either! That is why mutual respect is so very important!!! We don't have to like each other, and invariably, we will come across others at the Cafe that we don't like. But everyone here is human, and we all have a right to exist and to find our path in life, however strange that may seem to others. And we do have to respect each other.

Most of the time, this principle works very well. It has not worked well for the past two weeks. Moving forward from here, I expect everyone to take a deep breath, and make a double effort to show respect to others. We deserve it to ourselves. Our community cannot tolerate the level of general disrespect we've seen over the past two weeks.

Skirts and Kilts

As is clearly stated at the top of this forum (and in our name), SkirtCafe is about skirts and kilts for men. It's not about panythose. It's not about makeup. It's not about high heels. It's not about painted nails. It's not even really about fashion freedom in general. Keep it simple, SkirtCafe is about skirts and kilts.

But a skirt is not just a skirt, it is in our society a symbol of femininity. A man wearing a skirt is seen as an iconoclast in a way that a man with eye liner or even high heels is not. Wearing a skirt or kilt announces to the world in unambiguous terms that you are willing to break a taboo. As they say, you need balls to wear a skirt. You don't need balls to wear pantyhose.

Skirts and kilts are also a symbol of physical vulnerability. When you wear a skirt, you are presenting your body to scrutiny by the world. If you're going to do that, it is important to make sure that everything looks like you want it to look.

Thus, SkirtCafe has always been about more than the skirt. SkirtCafe is about fashion freedom, and it is also about making skirts look good on our bodies as a part of a complete outfit. That will bring in other garments as well. It would be impractical to make a rule that we can talk about skirts but not tights.

But at the end of the day, SkirtCafe is about skirts and kilts for men. Please understand and respect that. If you're really into high heels or nail polish, or hair or tights more than skirts or fashion --- there are other forums that might be closer to your interests. Our members may or may not choose to pair those items with their skirts.

Men

Most of us are men, and SkirtCafe is about us. That sounds pretty simple, until one dives into the various dimensions and meanings of gender. Then one can lose all grasp on the concept. But again, let's keep it simple. SkirtCafe is about men. If you think of yourself as a man, SkirtCafe is about you.

The vast majority of our membership are people who think of themselves as men, are treated like men, look like men --- and are just fine with all that. Whatever we are wearing, we want to be called "he" and "sir" in public, we use the men's restroom, and we believe there are differences between men and women (although we may argue endlessly about what those differences are). Last but not least, we want to show the world how great men can look in a well chosen skirted or kilted outfit!

For some of us, our sense of gender is more complex than that. And that can make life more difficult. We may have ambivalent feelings about our maleness. Or we may have experienced gender dysphoria of sorts. Yes, we're men, but.... well, we're not sure what comes next. We may be searching. But we're still men.

Diversity

It is important to understand that historically, SkirtCafe (and Tom's Cafe before it) has NEVER been a place for androgyny, elimination of gender differences or various "mixed" areas of the gender spectrum. It has always been about expanding the range of MEN's fashion. At the same time, SkirtCafe has also ALWAYS been a place of tolerance and diversity. It has always had a number of men who may be somewhere "in-between" on the gender scale, and Tom made it abundantly clear to everyone that these people are welcome in the front row at the Cafe. With mutual respect, we can get along and learn from each other.

Those here who are "100% man" --- you need to respect those who may be more androgynous in outlook and their right to exist here. Those who are more androgynous --- you need to understand that you are valued, but also a minority. SkirtCafe is not going to change to be just like you --- we can support and respect each other across our differences. Please use tact in choosing where and how to post on "girly" topics. Please refrain from promoting any belief that any man is more or less "evolved" based on how much "feminine stuff" he wears. There is no evolution here, no one is better or more advanced than anyone else, we're just trying to be ourselves. And that self is different for everyone.

It's interesting to note that Tom's Cafe was started when a group of people were exiled from the old alt.fashion USENET newsgroup for daring to discuss skirts and kilts for men. The SCANDAL! It would have been hypocritical for Tom to have exiled people he didn't like or agree with. Instead of constantly dividing and separating, Tom took the noble route of building a wide tent and encouraging people to all get along, especially when that was difficult. I refuse to abandon Tom's legacy of tolerance and mutual respect.

SkirtCafe pitches a big tent. But there is one kind of man that SkirtCafe is NOT the place for. That is the man who believes that association with one of "those people" will make him a lesser man, who believes he must protect his own purity by associating ONLY with others of like mind, or who believe that the "wrong image" will be "bad for the movement." If you disassociate from everyone who has something wrong with them, pretty soon you'll find yourself alone. Time to look in a mirror...

Community

As many of us have experienced over the years, SkirtCafe is not just about skirts or kilts or fashion freedom or exploration of what it means to be a man. SkirtCafe is also community.

What does that mean? It means many things.

On one level, SkirtCafe is a place where we can make friends. Sometimes, we end up meeting these friends in "real life" and these relationships grow. Sometimes, we come to like and appreciate others on-line, even if we were skeptical of them at first.

SkirtCafe has a homegrown coffee shop decor to it --- lovingly hand painted, the espresso machine is just a bit crooked, and someone always seems to keep the potted palm well watered, even when the proprietors forget. It's the kind of place where we can linger after hours, even when the "closed" sign hangs on the front window.

Community means that SkirtCafe is a place where we can talk about things that are important to us. Whether it's our dead pet, our engagement, our health, or a crisis at school --- no topic is off-topic at SkirtCafe (except religion and politics).

Sometimes, that topic has to do with deeply personal issues. Sometimes, we open up on-line. I am always happy to hear that SkirtCafe has had a positive impact on someone's life. However, it is important to remember that SkirtCafe is NOT group therapy. We are a public space, and we can provide a range of opinions you'll never get in person. But some things are better discussed in a formal therapy setting. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own mental health.

If and when we choose to open up, it typically involves many long posts, which can overwhelm an existing thread. Please be considerate of others and start a new thread if you wish to do this. And keep it contained to that thread.

And....

Thanks all, Folks! I hope this clears things up, and we can go back to cordial conversations over lattes and epressos next to the Potted Palm. Oil may be almost $150/barrel and your Land Rover may be "bricked" in your driveway for lack of funds. But SkirtCafe is still here, still sharing good cheer, and still talking about skirts and kilts for men. And please remember... respect for all.

Oh yes, also, please read the forum descriptions carefully. They have changed. Subjects related to androgyny or borderline CD/TG should go under "Freestyle Fashions." Well categorized topics will help us all feel respected.
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby Since1982 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:14 am

Looks good to me. I for one do not want anyone removed from the Cafe. Just because I may not agree with someone doesn't mean I don't support his right to be different. After all, I am definitely different too. I've been called a lot of things lately, none of which are true, but that's OK, people have a right to their opinion. I do wonder some times what ever happened to "Sticks and Stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me" I guess it went away with my youth. A lot of people in this world seem to be just waiting anxiously for anyone to say anything they can react adversely to.

As people, I like everyone that is a member of this forum. They have a right to exist, as do I.
In the time I've been a member of this site, 4 years, I don't remember ever telling anyone that I disliked them. I may have told people they said or did things I disliked, but I didn't dislike them. Everyone has a right to his/her own opinions. Some people have pmmed me with really nasty pms, but that's ok too. Opinions Vary!
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby RichardA » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:20 am

A lot of people in this world seem to be just waiting anxiously for anyone to say anything they can react adversely to

how very true
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby Pythos » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:28 pm

Ok, let me get this straight. This site is only going to be about skirts or kilts.

It is not about fashion freedom, or equality, it is just about a bunch of guys that like to wear skirts.

I find that very limiting.

There however is an answer to this. That is the section on here called Freestyle fashion. Whenever I have posted about stuff most associated with fashion freedom I use that section. When just describing an event I had skirted, I use the skirt and kilt section. Yes I do describe the whole wardrobe, but that is because I want others to know what I was wearing at the time of my positive or negative experience.

Unfortunately there are very few active alternative or freestyle sites. This is the closest to such (or so I thought or hoped). Now again I am being told the site is only about one article. There was a delphi site called pantyhose for men. I got kicked out by the moderator because I mentioned the skirts I wore over the hose I was wearing. They hit me with the line "this is not a site about cross dressing, it is about men wearing pantyhose and an alternative fashion", Hmmm that sounds familiar.

I understand the idea that this is not a cross dressing site, or TV sight, or other things in that vein, and think posts mentioning going out looking and acting like a woman should be removed. But limiting it to just skirts and kilts, and limiting it to skirts and kilts is very very limiting in my book.

So back to my idea of the other stuff section having a little more "freedom" in what can be posted there. If people just want to talk about skirts then stay in the skirt and kilt section, if you have a little more lattitude of the mind, then venture into the freestyle fashion section.

Most of all, if you see something you don't like, then don't respond, unless it is a posting like one from Ryan going on about his IMO stupid behavior in a Chinese restaurant while skirted. I thought that guy helped the idea of men acquiring fashion freedom as much as a bullet to the head.

To end, let's just start respecting one another, and backing each other up, instead of flinging insults (constructive criticism excluded) We are a very small group, and lately getting smaller, I blame the economy and world situation.

(by the way, I see that other stuff has been turned into Off topic. In its description it says non fashion related things. But you open it and it is filled with fashion related things. Why the change in the first place, to placate a couple of people here?)
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby crfriend » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:11 pm

Ok, let me get this straight. This site is only going to be about skirts or kilts.


It's also about things that go with skirts and kilts. In the original text of Bob's message, right in the "Skirts and Kilts" section is this paragraph:

Thus, SkirtCafe has always been about more than the skirt. SkirtCafe is about fashion freedom, and it is also about making skirts look good on our bodies as a part of a complete outfit. That will bring in other garments as well. It would be impractical to make a rule that we can talk about skirts but not tights.

The devil, of course, lies in the details, but from my reading that paragraph pretty well states that discussion of entire outfits (oops, "bad word" there) is entirely on-topic and appropriate as when wearing a skirt or a kilt it's probably a pretty safe bet that you're wearing other articles of clothing as well, and it's the entire look that's important not just one component.

Unfortunately there are very few active alternative or freestyle sites. This is the closest to such (or so I thought or hoped). Now again I am being told the site is only about one article.


Please re-read the article. The author recognises that to only focus, laser-like, on either skirts or kilts -- to the exclusion of everything else -- would be to doom the site because there's more to puttting a look together than just banging on a skirt; there's a whole lot of other stuff that goes into it, and -- again by my interpretation -- talk is not limited to strictly the kilt or the skirt one wears.

To end, let's just start respecting one another, and backing each other up, instead of flinging insults (constructive criticism excluded) We are a very small group, and lately getting smaller, I blame the economy and world situation.


Hear, hear! That's actually the crux of what happened recently, and the rate with which the slide took place was quite shocking. One individual started trouble by seemingly pushing an agenda, a few people asked him to knock it off, and that triggered a free-for-all. Teasing out the sequence of events wasn't all that easy, but I hope the direction we're going in now continues. I hope we can take the splint off the potted palm soon.

(by the way, I see that other stuff has been turned into Off topic. In its description it says non fashion related things. But you open it and it is filled with fashion related things. Why the change in the first place, to placate a couple of people here?)


It's almost impossible to completely categorise things and put them all neatly into one bucket or another. Some things naturally belong in more than one bucket; imagine the nightmare that zoologists had with the platypus once they realised that they weren't being put on. I view "Off Topic" as a place to put stuff that's mostly unrelated to skirts and kilts -- comments about movies, for instance -- but could still be tangential to fashion even if it doesn't necessarily belong in one of the other "buckets".
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby r.m.anderson » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:23 am

Hey what is this respect thing?
Is that what the late Rodney Dangerfield was always trying to get?
"I don't get No Respect"!
A little humour goes a long way to defuse a testy nasty situation!
Now don't go and try this at home - the Forum!? Yes but not at home!
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rm
"Kilt-On" -or- as the case may be "Skirt-On" !
WHY ?
Isn't wearing a kilt enough?
Well a skirt will do in a pinch!
Make mine short and don't you dare think of pinching there !
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby Brad » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:34 am

Bob,
Do you remember Lloyd Bentsen? I'm going to paraphrase him now. Bob, You're no Tom Manuel.. Don't try to be Tom because you're not. The only thing that would save this board would be for Tom to rise from the dead and run it again.

Tom was clearly a kilt-wearer, but he was open-minded to freestylers.

It was nice chatting. I have to return to the Atrium now.
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby Bob » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:13 am

Back in Tom's day, "Freestyler" mean just about anyone who wore a skirt (as opposed to a kilt). That would describe the majority of this board.

It's true, I'm saying "SkirtCafe is just about skirts" and "SkirtCafe is about more than skirts" all at once. It doesn't fit into easy logical framework. We previously had IMFF, which took a different approach to fashion freedom. I would be happy to assist anyone who wishes to resurrect that site (or a similar site with a similar focus). IMFF and SkirtCafe were long recognized to have a different (and complementary) philosohpy, moderation style and approach.

I found that the purpose of "Other Stuff" was not well understood. Everyone seemed to have a different idea of how to categorize things there. Even I couldn't figure out what it was for, although I regularly came across threads I felt were mis-categorized (but didn't do anything about; I'm lazy). The change of name and description was to try to make it clearer what the category was actually for. We'll see how it works out.

In changing the name, I wasn't going to go in and move all the old posts. Hence Pythos's observation that there are many threads in there that don't fit the current description. My other option was to simply close the category to new threads.
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby crfriend » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:36 am

Brad wrote:Bob, You're no Tom Manuel.. Don't try to be Tom because you're not. The only thing that would save this board would be for Tom to rise from the dead and run it again.


Well, that was a nice way to begin the day.

[Mod hat on]
Seriously, folks, venting spleen like this in public is unseemly, disrespectful, and destructive to the decorum at SkirtCafe.

Ad-hominem posts such as the foregoing will from here on out be summarily deleted and a warning sent to the user who posted them to the forum. Enough is enough.
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby kilthose » Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:09 am

I apologise for not introducing myself earlier, having I joined a few months back. I am not someone who has a lot of say in general, but I did feel compelled to jump in here and thank Bob and Carl for taking over this forum and running it. I personally think you guys are doing a great job.

I've been around Tom's Cafe, IMFF, Atrium and X-Marks for about 6 years. I think over time we forget just how many blow ups there were on the old Tom's Cafe -- over politics, over religion, over gun control, bravehearts vs freestylers, MSM, etc. I can think of a few people who stirred up problems over time -- DAvery, JohnAllen, Bob Moore, and Mark. Plenty of flaming and insults. Bob and Carl don't cause these problems, but are doing a fine job of trying to cope with them as best they can, and I am grateful for their hard work.

Keep it up guys :)

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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby Since1982 » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:39 am

Headed for the kitchen to fry up some ad-hominy, mix in a scrambled egg, and a fresh English Muffin right out of the toaster. If this post is too much "not on topic" feel free to delete it or any future humor I post. I've noticed humor has been in fairly short supply lately and I keep trying to add some. My bad. :hide:
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby MarkReaves » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:42 pm

I hope the Skirt Cafe gets straightened out because I almost left after I first arrived due to there being so much fighting and such.

I'm just a guy who likes kilts. That's all there is to me and kilts/skirts etc. I don't like sarongs, I don't like makeup, I don't like pantyhose, I don't like other skirts. Just kilts for me.

After I joined here and noticed all the everything everywhere and such, I kept looking for a kilt forum and found another forum (name withheld) that is right up my alley and are very active. If they can remain active (many many good posts a day) and remain nice to each other and have so many members and still keep to the topic of kilts then I'm sure this forum can do similar.
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby Departed Member » Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:33 pm

Don't give up just yet, Mark! There are quite a number (according to various PMs I've received) with similar views to yourself (& myself, for that matter) waiting to see what the final outcome here turns out to be. The problems (altercations!) here have only occurred fairly recently and are mostly directly tied to the demise of, or difficulties with, 'freestyle'-led forums. This site may, on the face of it, have appeared to be a 'safer' option, than the more accomodating 'crossdresser' sites. The criteria have always been well-defined and it has always been a peaceful place to visit, until an inrush of panties, make-up bags and the like - which have sparked a fairly restrained rebuttal. However, it's been noticeable, that a good number of previous participants have chosen to step out 'onto the pavement' to await the outcome. Will they return? I hope so, otherwise I too, could see myself joining them - which would be a shame as it's taken a long time to establish 'our' common ground. And to be scrupulously fair, the moderators have worked very hard to try and accomodate a widening viewpoint. We're at a 'full circle' moment, though, so please be patient a while longer......! :)
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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby matman » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:27 pm

Arrgh. I feel like I just woke up.

First, let me say that while its been some time since I posted, I really do very much appreciate this board and all the work the leaders put into making it happen.

Recent developments call to mind the olde axiom "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished."

To all who work to make this place happen, thanks for all your work and dedications.

I would not blame you if you decided to bail given the recent sense of acrimony. Hopefully the game remains worth the candle.

So, there it is. I do not take you or your efforts for granted. And will continue to enjoy as long as you are willing to keep the Cafe open. Thanks again for an erstwhile thankless job.

Cheers

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Re: SkirtCafe Core Values

Postby Brad » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:40 pm

Ok so let me get this straight- it's about wearing skirts but not cross-dressing. It's about wearing skirts but not pantyhose and high heels. We claim to favor fashion-freedom for men but only if it is the fashion that suits the moderators. This place is too restrictive and rule-driven. I know that my tastes are probably too radical even for this group and some find that hard to accept. But it seems that this community no longer suits me. I liked posting at the more open-minded and freestyling Atrium but it seems to have died since Kristine gave it up.

The old saying goes that s/he who pays the piper gets to call the tune. Well, since I'm not paying, I don't get to make the rules so I'll vote with my feet and move on. I hope you guys sort out your issues.

Remember the founder, Tom Manuel, an open-minded and sensible kilt-wearer who accepted others who were not him.
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