Justin Osadjan’s life changed at the 2008 Chicago Naked Bike Ride. Not because of the abundance of unclothed bodies he encountered upon dropping off his husband, who was participating in the event, but because of one man who was clothed—in a kilt.
“I thought it was the most ridiculous thing, but I was really intrigued,” Osadjan says. Shortly thereafter, he bought his first two kilts, but he was nervous to wear them in public, so Osadjan browsed kilt maker Utilikilt‘s Facebook page for other enthusiasts in the Chicago area hoping to find some “partners in crime.” Eventually, a small group coordinated a meet-up at a bar, and Chicago Men in Kilts was born.
Osadjan started the CMIK Facebook group a few months after the initial hangout. It serves as a hub for Chicago-area kilt enthusiasts, male and female. Group members, of which I am now proudly one, share kilt-related news, pictures, and ideas and plan gatherings. The page notes: “It’s a kilt. If I wore something under it then it would be a skirt.”
Osadjan describes the group as anarchical; there’s no formal administration or dues, it’s just a monthly get-together for drinks. Recently, the group has started frequenting Cleos Bar & Grill (1935 W. Chicago), where they’ll be hanging (no pun intended) on Friday, October 19. During the warm months, group members organize family-friendly outdoor events.