Banning public nudity is oppression – and that’s a good thing 4

I just got back home to Austin – a city that likes to “keep it weird” – after a few days in Portland, Oregon – a city that does likewise. But I don’t know that either of them can really be called weird. Quirky? Sure. Charming? No doubt. But when it comes to keepin’ it weird, they can’t hold a candle to that City by the Bay.

If you know anything about San Francisco, it won’t surprise you to learn that there is no law in that fair city against being naked in public. And if you know anything about people, it will not surprise you to learn that there are folks there who – for good or for ill – like to exercise that right.

That could change if a law proposed by city supervisor Scott Weiner (sorry ‘bout that name, Scott) is approved. Weiner’s proposal would prohibit nudity in restaurants, and would also require the clothing-challenged to put down a towel or something similar before plopping bare-assed on benches or any other public seats.

Again, if you know anything about San Francisco, you know where this is headed – a protest. In this case, a “nude-in” to draw attention to the law. Last week a small group of people got together in a city park to express their disapproval of the proposed law.

George Davis, a 65-year-old self-described “urban nudist” said the legislation was a waste of time, claiming that putting down something to sit on was “basic nudist etiquette.”

In Austin, not only would it be the polite thing to do, it would also be the smart thing to do. As I said, Babylon-on-the-Colorado is a bit quirky, especially compared to the rest of the Lone Star State. For instance, in Austin it’s legal for women to go topless anywhere a man can do likewise. That can make a swim at Barton Springs Pool – where the water is always a brisk 68 degrees – especially invigorating. Similarly, Hippie Hollow at Lake Travis is clothing optional. Note to self: Don’t forget the sunscreen.

But for most of the year, it’s too hot to sit down outside – even for the fully clothed. And forget the towel nonsense; a Nomex fire suit like racecar drivers wear won’t keep you from toasting your buns. Seriously, if you were to put your bare bodkin on anything flat – park bench, bus stop or car hood – you’d have a hell of a time explaining to your HMO why you were hospitalized with third-degree ass blisters the size of dinner plates.

The no-nudity-in-restaurants part, I have no problem with – especially since obesity is at epidemic levels in this country. (On the other hand, that would be a sure-fire appetite suppresant.) Also, Austin is the kind of town where, if you’re allowed to do it, someone’s gonna do it – and the last thing I want to see when I’m scarfing down a hot link is a naked dude.

Myself, I’m not going naked outdoors, legal or not. In fact, one of my greatest fears is stepping out to get the paper off the stoop and having the door lock behind me, leaving me stranded and starkers.

I’m also not real crazy about the idea of most other people running around au naturel; it’s long been my contention most people who would get naked in public shouldn’t get naked – in public or otherwise.


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