KiltIs Scotland the only country that does not force its Catholic schoolgirls to don tartan? We got to wear bouffant light blue taffeta frocks and straw hats at my elementary/primary school, though, so we didn’t get off… Scot-free. In high school/secondary we wore a yawn of grey items, stripy green and yellow ties and green blazers. We really didn’t wear tartan for anything. This is the only picture of me, aged three, in which I am in tartan attire. It’s the earliest  – and only – picture of me wearing a kilt.

In chapter two I was forced to wear a floor length kilt. And a puffy blouse. And a velour waistcoat/vest. There is video evidence. I shudder at the memory. When I flounced out of the changing rooms (in the Kilt and Thistle Shoppe, Salem, Oregon), the middle-aged customer over by the well-stocked bagpipe CD section of the store suddenly started ogling me. It was as if I had just stepped onto his tartan radar.

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