of the Flesh
by Jim Harris
We've probably had our last warm day of the year, and except for
the uber-jocks who wear short pants all winter, most folks will
now put their warm weather wardrobes away. As a dedicated follower
of fashion, I can report that last Summer was the least clothed,
most exposed in recent memory, following a trend of leaving less
and less to the imagination that began sometime in the last decade.
Yes, I am a prude. Thanks for
noticing. Other prudes call me a prude. And yes, I am proud to
say that I am ashamed of my body, and not only mine, but yours
too. And not only ashamed, but afraid. Sore afraid. I would actually
be more comfortable being pure energy than flesh and blood, except
that I don't really have that much energy. I guess I'm still trying
to figure out who I am. It's a process of elimination. I'm not
Hugh Hefner. I'm not the Pope. I'm somewhere in the middle, which
is still apparently a good bit to the conservative side of current
I grew up in the 1960's; free
love, skinny dipping, the whole nine and a half yards. As a good
Catholic boy, I was always a bit uneasy with that aspect of the
revolution, but I tried to fit in. Now entering my 60's, I have
lost all childlike fascination with body parts, and am strongly
in favor of clothes. Clothing is the only thing that separates
us from the other animals. If animals started wearing clothes
tomorrow, in no time they'd have libraries and schools and space
programs. Conversely, As humans increasingly divest themselves
of clothing (including vests), civilization will decline. The
signs are everywhere:
Peek-a-boo clothing revealing
bodies that are waxed, polished, tanned, tucked and tattooed.
If you're that in love with yourself, please, get a room.
Studs, rings, brads and tacks
over, under, around and through every salient feature of the anatomy.
Excuse me, you're frightening the children.
Flip flops: Is there anyone who
hates flip flops more that I do? I hope so, because this is a
huge burden to carry alone. Flip flops are not outerwear. Folks
who wear them on the street are too lazy to bend over and put
on a pair of shoes. These people should be banished to fenced-in
flip flop colonies in the Pine Barrens. Face it, feet are the
gnarled, calloused appendages of gross ambulation, and no matter
how you paint them, not objects of art to be shared with the world.
Cleavage? We've got it. Busts
have not seen this much daylight since Dolly Parton bent over
to pick up a penny. Women and girls of late have been tripping
over each other and themselves, trying to push the envelope ever
lower in an incomprehensible trend that could only have been instigated
by a man.
Speaking of men, how about the
young men who walk around with their baggy pants falling down
around their hips, and their underwear hanging out? Do the ladies
find that attractive? Will these men reproduce? One can only hope.
And of course, there's the classic "man-with-tool-belt"
traveling peep show. Been there, seen that, still bearing scars.
Even the staid, venerable YMCA
apparently thinks it's okay for men to shower in open communal
areas like wild monkeys. Personally, I find it just a tad uncomfortable
to see the same strangers out in the lobby that I just saw au
naturel in the showers. That's not the kind of information that
I want occupying space in my brain. Remember, this is not the
army, I'm paying to be there. Would a stall with a curtain be
too much to expect in the twenty-first century?
Here's the deal folks, don't
show me yours and I won't show you mine. You may think that the
human body is natural and beautiful and all that jazz, but personally
I am about twenty thousand years of evolution beyond that world
view. Maybe if we had nice fur or feathers like some other animals,
we could conduct our business in our birthday suits, but we don't,
so let's just grow up and accept it.
In the words of Richard M. Nixon,
a great prude in his own right, "Some things are just better
left covered up."