Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Put Your Shirt Back On: A Good Case for Government Action

Britain's Daily Mail reports that local governments in the UK are considering ordinances to forbid men going shirtless in public.

We affirm this thoughtful and timely effort to spare the public the sight of bare, sweaty, often hairy skin stretched over a male chest and gut--whether flabby, flaccid or fit--and to spare the skin's owner the shame of public ridicule and potentially deadly UV radiation exposure. Despite our broad distaste for government intervention in daily human affairs, we find this an entirely sensible and appropriate measure.

The fact is that (a) no man's bare chest is really attractive to anyone but the man himself; (b) no one is really more comfortable bare-chested, as light, comfortable, ventilated fabrics are cheap and common in shirts these days. So with the exception of the beach or pool (and we applaud the commercial distribution of stretchy, quick-drying shirts for men to wear in the water), there is no appropriate place for a man to be seen without his shirt.

We were recently introduced to the curious cable-television program What Not to Wear. We believe that an episode should be dedicated to this very topic, pardoning the double negative: "What Not to Wear: No Shirt."


becka said...

2 things:

1) Please don't judge me for this admission, but "What Not To Wear" is my all-time favorite TLC show (and probably in my top 10 when all channels are considered). I'm so glad you got to experience Stacy and Clinton!

2) I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your blog's contribution to my ever-expanding vocabulary. I frequently read it with open in another window.

farris said...

Also: Can Europe and America be anymore opposite...

I believe it's in Europe where women are allowed to be topless with no remourse (that's how they spell it there, right?), and men will soon no longer be allowed to make the same move without the same remourse (again).

Bryan D said...

I think the American public would respond to any such law in a similar way as did my high school cross country team. It was once the norm for both sexes on the team to practice topless, the females usually wearing some sort of sports bra or abreviated tank top. Some local citizens observed the team out on the road one day (unlike city teams who often run in tandem with rush hour traffic, we ran country roads through cornfields) and decided that the ladies' apparel was inappropriate. So, it became school policy that females must wear a shirt at all times while participating in school athletics. Thus also it became team policy that if the girls had to wear shirts, so did the guys. In response, the team obeyed the rule so far as the street corner where we would all pile up our shirts to put them back on just before entering view of the school.

C'mon SWNID, don't let us down. Even though it may seem an attractive thought never to have to see another half naked football fan waddling from the stadium, is worth capitulating to the Nanny State? If such a law ever passed here I think I myself would be forced "bare the braun" in protest. And that, my friends, is something nobody wants.

Anonymous said...

The term "nanny-state" is right. "Shirts and skins" is simply the way it is, and the way it should always be, for pickup basketball games in neighborhood parks.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Once again, we thank our gentle readers for commenting en masse on the most gravid and consequential of our posts.

Sorry, but we're all for the nanny state where Keeping America Beautiful is concerned. So we'd also like to ban:

*bare midriffs
*low-slung jeans
*any form of underwear peeking out from outerwear (waistbands of boxer shorts, straps of bras or thong [!] underwear) except for the neckline of crew tee shirts worn under polos or button-downs
*consequently, the "refrigerator repairman effect" (a.k.a. "pale moon rising")
*sleeveless tee shirts on men
*revealing of unshaved legs and underarms by "earthy" women
*any clothing bought optimistically without careful reference to a three-way mirror (i.e. stuff that's too tight)
*stylized crotch-grabbing and scratching, whether by gansta types or baseball players

We invite additions to this list.

We do see a socially constructive effect in allowing high school boys cross-country teams to train without shirts. In our Mt. Airy neighborhood, every time we see shirtless, pencil-thin runners from the champion cross-country team from LaSalle High School, we feel compelled to make a donation to address global hunger. Perhaps an exception can be written into the law.

Anonymous said...

If there's going to be a list at all, then please add these:

- white socks worn under sandals
- blue jean shorts
- tan belts worn with tan pants.
- red belts worn with red pants.
- white belts, categorically
- denim jumpers
- aqua shoes worn anywhere other than beach/pool

Anonymous said...

in the lovely city of Covington, we have started our own movement that some locals and several cops enjoy. stickers on the back of our cars that say, "put your shirt on Covington!"

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