I will be blogging on the road today thru Sunday as I attend what is likely to be the last reunion of the 290th Combat Engineers in Albany, NY. This World War II Veterans group was founded – in part – by my late father and I can still remember the early planning and organisational meetings. These yearly gatherings have been taking place for over five decades and the ranks have thinned over time; alarmingly so in recent years.

So, before lights out, there will be this one last muster. My father traveled to the early reunions by train and it is only appropriate that I travel – in his place – to this one via Amtrak.

If your old soldier has faded away, why not consider doing something for the ones still in uniform. Become a Soldier’s Angel by visiting to learn more.

You might remember that I wrote two posts on the subject that dare not speak its name -Mantyhose – back on May 2nd. Well, here’s some follow-up.

Less than 30 min. after I clicked the “Publish” button on that post, it was viewed by someone in Hungary! That country – the Hungarian language to be precise – is number 5 on my top 10 list of visitors. The  Hungarian version of Google regularly trolls this site looking for posts on the subject of – you guessed it – Mantyhose. Maybe I should ask my brother-in-law if there’s that certain “something” about Hungary.

And it’s not just Hungarians doing the searches. The term “you-know-what” regularly comes up on the list of recent search terms and is usually at or near the top of my list of popular search terms. Is there something I’m missing? The original post and it’s follow-up were intended to be a simple observation on male fashion and that – sooner or later – everything old is new again. I can say that this topic does have a strong and overwhelmingly “straight” following on the internet.

So, here’s a bit of commentary to satisfy all of those surfers out there who will beat a path to this blog:

The two posts about Mantyhose are among the all time top favourites on the FML blogsite. It should be noted here that the blog was originally intended for the fairer sex but has gained what appears to be a strong male following since 2008.

The first paragraph for that post reads “The masculinity of UK males could be under threat . . .” Now, leaving out the UK bit, let’s consider that statement. I suppose that some less secure males could find their “masculinity” under threat because of this but no doubt similar statements were made in the press when females began wearing slacks in the 1930’s. About 30 years before that momentous event , visitors to Elbert Hubbard’s Roycroft  shops in East Aurora, NY were horrified when his wife Alice – wearing a split skirt – climbed on a horse and went for a ride. The times they do change and anyone today who suggests that females are un-feminine because they wear trousers is begging to be laughed at. If the Mantyhose trend continues, critics of the practice will probably suffer the same fate in the coming years.

An interesting tidbit gleaned from the survey cited in the FML post is that 44% of  the females interviewed stated that their guys preferred tights made specifically for women rather than those intended for men. I wonder if any of  the other 56% are put off by the packaging. This would make an interesting marketing study.

Finally, the following statement was made in the comments section for that particular post:

“As [Lisa,] the owner of this blog, the sex of the individual wearing the legwear is not an issue for me. Impartial is a good word to describe my views, as long as the wearer looks stylish and the article fashion related, I personally couldn’t give a fig if they are male or female.”

My next question is:  “As a blogger, what do I do?” I started this blog to discuss computing technology on the consumer and user level as well as any other topic that struck my fancy. Another of the big spikes in readership are due to my posts on Macs. Maybe I should give in, buy a Macintosh and get a great pair of  L’eggs.

I keep an eye on the stats for this blog-site because:

  1. I want to know what my readers are interested in
  2. I have nothing better to do.

That being said, the post I did a while back – Mens Fashion: Mantyhose – has been a big time hit. Nearly every day, I see “Mantyhose” (What a wretched name!) or tights come up in the list of search terms. Moreover, these queries are coming from all over the world.

Since this is my day for follow-ups, you may be interested to learn that the women’s legwear blog-site mentioned in my first article on this subject has released a second post on Mantyhose – the term was coined by Women’s Wear Daily – containing quotes about this growing trend from retailers, manufacturers, fashion editors, et al.

I am going to let the post on the Fashion My Legs blog-site do the talking for me.

This has got to be the worse name for any product . . . Ever!  Any company that uses this moniker must have a death-wish for their product. To be fair, I’ve never been crazy about the term “Pantyhose” either. Instead, I prefer the more dignified & gender neutral British term for this garment: Tights.

In the interest of full disclosure, I studied ballet in my long-lost youth so the concept of tights on men is no big deal for me.

What is different now is that instead of being a matter of male attire for dance, theater or winter warmth, they are starting to become – at least in Europe – a fashion accessory. A UK-based blog devoted to legwear recently posted about this trend-in-the-making and there are a number of forums scattered here and there around the web devoted to men and tights. There are women as well who join in on the discussions.

There are a number of reasons why men are turning to tights and they include medical ones:

  • Relief for muscle problems
  • Relief for circulatory problems
  • Relief for Sciatica
as well as others. Some guys find them less bulky than thermal underwear beneath their trousers Some who are on their feet all day appreciate the relief tights give for tired/aching legs. And then, there are some guys who just plain like them. Now, there appears to be another reason – fashion – as well.
On the distaff side of the aisle, there is a whole range of reactions. On one end, there are the “haters”; women who believe that tights are the work of the devil and cannot fathom why males would be interested. There is a segment of females who believe that a guy wearing tights – for whatever reason – is on his way out of the closet as well as another group who believe that hosiery for men is OK but not on their husband/boyfriend. Finally, there are those women who believe that tights are good for what ails you and think that it’s about time that men caught on to this.
It should be noted here that tights – and leotards – were originally designed and made by men for men and are just another item that ladies borrowed from the male closet and never returned. Of course, a great percentage of men are totally insecure about their masculinity and anything with even the slightest taint of femininity is an anathema to them.
However, things – and men – do change. Years ago, guys wearing earrings were a great oddity and only the bravest of the brave would dare to wear them. Today, men with earrings are so common that few of us comment on or even notice them.
Where this nascent trend will go is anyone’s guess.



I can claim with almost near certainty that I have never influenced or inspired anyone. However, today I may claim a (very) wee bit of reflected glory.

It all started with an issue of “My Summer Weekly Reader” back in the (very) distant days of my youth. This particular issue had a story about a kid who was an Amateur Radio Operator a.k.a. a HAM radio operator. Being fascinated with all things “radio”, I caught the bug but never got further than being a Short Wave Listener (SWL). A most of it was because I could never tell a dot from a dash whilst listening to Morse Code. Either that or because my brain could never process the information fast enough. Thus, I wound up being a spectator.

My kid brother – Jim – most always wanted to do what his big brother – me – was doing and therefore caught the HAM radio bug from me. He earned his Novice licence when he was in the 8th grade and through a combination of patience, perseverance, and hard work climbed the ladder of HAM Radio success and now has the highest grade of licence issued by the FCC.

If you have been paying any kind of attention to the newscasts, we are days away from the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titantic. GR100MGY is a  special event radio station licenced by OFCOM in the UK and set up in birthplace of Jack Phillips, the senior wireless officcer on the Titanic. On April 10th, my brother was able bust a pileup of competing radio enthusiasts and contact GR100MGY the first time he called the station over the air. He accomplished this feat on the 15 metre radio band using CW (Morse Code) which was only fitting considering that the Titanic was the first ship to use the “new” emergency distress code of SOS (Everything in that bygone era was done over the air via Morse Code.)

Needless to say, his older brother is quite proud of him and will take just a tiny bit of credit for starting him on this path.

Last week, author Brenda Pandos posted a blog entry entitled: 1 in 88 … how many until it’s an epidemic? While I will not quote her article here, Brenda raises the alarm about the increasing frequency of Autism in the general population. There is some suggestion that part of the problem is due to diagnosing other conditions as Autism and that may well be the case in some instances. However, even 1 case in 100 or 200 children is pretty scary when you consider that 1 case of polio in 2700 people was considered an epidemic back in the day. Have we become immune to such statistics or is it something else?

Autism is 4 times more likely to occur in boys than girls. That means that of 100 diagnosed cases, 80 of them will be boys. Would the response be greater if it were 80 girls out of 100 cases? I wonder!

Let’s consider another scary disease: Cancer. In particular, Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer. Roughly the same number of males die from prostate cancer as women who die from breast cancer. That said, let’s look at public efforts to combat the two diseases.

It goes without saying, that Breast Cancer awareness is pretty much in your face a good part of the time. You have Susan G. Komen, races – some lasting multiple days – that involve women and a noticeable number of men, countless PSAs and commercials, pink ribbons on most everything including cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup & Nationwide series. There’s clothing, bumper stickers, pins, etc., etc.

Now how about Prostate Cancer? Well there are a couple of commercials and that’s about it. No blue ribbons, no noticeable fund-raising events and when was the last time you heard of a 10k race to raise awareness?

The breast cancer side of the house advises – correctly – that early detection is the best way to beat the disease. As for prostate cancer, early detection is important but a study published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, reported that PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) screening produced no significant increase in the rate of survival. It would seem that the only advantage of a PSA test is being able to make out your will in a timely manner & go on that vacation you’ve dreamed about. Both diseases can leave the survivors maimed but at least with breast cancer there is the possibility of reconstructive surgery. Nothing can reconstruct what prostate surgery takes away.

When you compare the efforts against both forms of cancer with the gender disparity found in Autism, you cannot help but think that the lack of alarm is because that males are considered to be expendable. Yes, Autism Speaks garners much more notice & support that the seeming non-existent war on prostate cancer but why is that? And why are we seemingly not concerned that Autism strikes males four times as often as females?

I am 101% behind the efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer as well as funds for research towards treatment and prevention. (You go girls!) I am also thankful that Autism Speaks is doing what it can on that front even though few in power or authority seem to be concerned about the numbers. Would the concern be any greater if women died from prostate cancer and autism’s gender ratio was reversed?

Let me close with a revolutionary thought: Males are people too.

The final segment on the CBS “This Morning” so featured a story by Mo Rocca on the nascent tradition of engagement rings for men. Although Mo is openly gay, this has nothing to do w/ gay marriage, etc. The story spotlighted real, heterosexual, couples where either the girl has asked the guy to marry her or, having been the recipient of a more traditional proposal, the girl asks the guy if he would wear an engagement ring as well.

As always, the trend is much bigger outwith this backwards country. Don’t think for a second that this involves the guy wearing a one or two carat rock on his finger. The rings are plainer – read more “manly” – than the ones for the ladies and may  have a small diamond or other precious stone embedded in them. Since single guys will often wear a  ring of some sort on their left ring-finger, they may be hard to distinguish from the run of the mill man’s ring.

What is important here is the concept. Whether he is the proposer or the proposee, the guy is – or should be – of some small value to his future mate and her asking him to wear this small token declaring that he’s off the market is rather touching. The traditional engagement ring has become a large financial investment for the guy; one that is expected if  not required by the girl. Since women, more often than not, are earning their own way through life, doesn’t her husband-to-be deserve a little something?

The “Man-gagement” ring. Hate the name. Love the concept.

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