Jimbob's Journal
Sins 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 American mores.

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."

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