Keep Your Shirt On (or, “Prude vs Lewd”)

I trace it all back to the naked woman in my dad’s study.

Now, with some culture and experience behind me, I can assure you that it was a perfectly tasteful piece of art. Based on the style and the body type, it was likely a Renaissance piece. Regardless, the woman was nude. That is probably the only reason it was taken down when the grandparents came to visit.

In my family we never really talked about our bodies. For one, we were raised Quaker. Quakers, or the Friends Society, suggest that one should be modest in their attire. There is more to a person than their physical appearance so we should focus on those other parts more. My parents did not discuss attractive or ugly. They spent their energies on lazy, intelligent, and sincere, but never pretty or handsome.

Needless to say, there were not a lot of shirtless activities around our house. When we traveled from cloudy Washington to sunny Ohio, my dad might take off his dress shirt and walk around in his white undershirt, but that was only in the extremes. Unless we were swimming, clothes stayed on.

Fast forward to yesterday when I tried very hard not to glance at a girl’s chest. For one thing, this girl was clearly a minor. And I do not approve of looking too closely at minors. This scene was still distracting. The girl had on a blouse that was dropping and low-cut enough that her bikini top was visible, along with half of her breasts. I did my best to look her in the eye but she was so short it was a bit of a challenge. I can guarantee that I did not ogle, but I noticed that she made an attempt to close up her shirt a little more. I can only hope that it was not because she thought I was staring.

I like wearing clothes that cover my body parts. However, if it is warm enough in the apartment I will go around with no shirt. I can count the number of friends that have seen me with my shirt off on one hand. I cannot understand the desire to go around naked. Naked cooking sounds dangerous. Naked sleeping sounds cold.

I like jeans. I like knowing there is something between my cat’s claws and my legs. If it were up to me, everybody in this apartment would wear clothes. (However, it will never happen. If I ever instill a set of rules and regulations for living here, my cat will hack up a hairball on said document and nonchalantly stroll away. I guarantee it.)

The exception to this rule is running. If it hits above seventy degrees and I still have a lap or two to go, the shirt is coming off. The cool breeze on the skin is much kinder than a sweaty shirt weighing you down. Once the jog is over and I am less drippy, the shirt goes on.

Part of me prefers wearing a shirt because I do not like being that exposed. The other part of me hopes that being shirtless will get me a little more attention. And it does. I would almost guarantee that more women smile at me when I run that way. Of course, more people smile at me when I dress as Batman. That does not mean that I should do that every day. (Or should I? J)

Personally, I am happy to be clothed. I recommend that others go around in the same manner. I am all for the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” signs. Keep it all sanitary. And yes, I know it is controversial, but I feel the same way about breast feeding. “But breast feeding is natural!” I agree. So is having sex. So is peeing. That does not mean that I want to see any of these. I think if bodily fluids are involved (minus tears and sweat), they should be done in private. Blowing your nose, bleeding profusely, and yes, breast feeding are all perfectly human functions; however it is my preference not to see them at work. If you keep all your areas that are covered by bathing suits under wraps, I will certainly do the same.

With all the above being said, a few things should be made quite clear. First off: To each their own. We are all brought up differently. Some families prefer running around in swimsuits or shirtless.

I would never get a job as a stripper or bikini barista (for multiple reasons), but that does not mean that I have the right to negate your willingness to do so. You will not find me in a “gentlemen’s club”, but I do believe that you have the right to go if you choose. No pornography or blue videos in my apartment, but I will not stop being friends with someone else if they have some. (That would considerably trim down my associations.)

Second off: You do not get to judge. There is no, “she was asking for it” arguments allowed in my corner of the world. If you do happen to be spitting while breast-feeding and amputating your leg, I do not get to condone your lifestyle. (Though I may be impressed by your multi-tasking skills.)

The way someone else dresses does not mean you can grab that or preposition this. No. And we should stop using the words, “slut”, “whore”, and “ho”. That would be a start. Treat people as human beings no matter how they dress; not sexual objects. If someone is walking around naked, then consider yourself challenged to behave properly.

I can understand a nod or an acknowledgement. If I see a very attractive woman jogging in a sports bra, I will not complain. I may even nod, but let us refrain from rubber-necking. No wide-eyed gawking. Glance and be done. There is no need to be creepy. This especially goes for shapely moms running with strollers. They are trying to raise a kid and stay in shape at the same time. That is more than many people do; it takes plenty of effort, and they should be left alone. If you truly want to infuriate me, treat a single mother as a sexual conquest. Boo.

Supposedly the closest translation of “agape love” is respect. So love everybody around you by respecting them. Again, I think this is made easier when we toss on a pair of clothes.

Even so, I am fully aware that pants and a cute top can be plenty alluring. I dress to be comfortable and invite others to do the same. And hey, I welcome a little objectifying every once in a great while. Flirting is fun and flattering in the right situations. But as to the day to day, common settings, we can all be civil and polite, right? Then we will not have to hide anything from our grandparents.

Conan gets where I’m coming from

About Cosand

He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.
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