It's Go Topless Day as I write this. I am proud to say I was already participating before I was even aware of the festivities; the benign summer clime of San Diego does not require upper body covering for any occasion except most jobs and funerals. I can sit here in solitary, bare-chested splendor and no one will complain, except for my Significant Other and then only if her daughters are coming over. There is an extremely local ordinance in place that forbids me from being topless in front of them.
But that is not the point of GTD. The holiday is meant as a protest against laws that allow men almost everywhere to doff their shirts whenever weather permits while woman almost everywhere are forbidden to do so. Before I go further, I'd like to point out that having GTD in August is Northern Hemisphere-centric. Nobody in Tasmania or Tierra del Fuego is going to be much inclined to celebrate toplessness today.
These laws are obviously unfair. Who would be against the elimination of such blatant discrimination? I can only think of a few constituencies offhand. Women's clothing manufacturers, for obvious reasons. People who own topless bars, because nobody wants their livelihood threatened. Policemen, because these laws are great for police morale. Policemen all over the world love arresting topless women.
Apart from them, there are only two other groups whose interests keep topless laws in place. 1. Men. 2. Women.
Ladies first. By and large, women who want to exercise their right to be topless are women who look good that way. Women who are less self-confident about their upper bodies because they have been rendered less than optimal by time or Twinkies, are fine with being required to wear clothing. They form the major voting bloc that keeps anti-toplessness the law of the land. And they have their own words to describe their shapely sisters who want to bare their mammaries to the breeze. Sluts, tramps and hookers are three of them.
I am not saying this makes women more jealous and vindictive than men. Consider that if men were granted the option to go pantsless ("Swing Free Day") likely only the guys with the most attractive and substantial members would participate. The rest of us would just grit our teeth and stay indoors. As a libertarian, I would of course support the rights of these guys to be trousers-optional. I just think that on Swing Free Day, they ought to be forced to spend at least fifteen minutes every hour in a walk-in freezer, as an equalizer.
But men are the number one reason topless laws are in no danger of being repealed. Guys stare, gawk and drool enough as it is. All of us have heard "I have a face," from a woman when we have been having a conversation with her cleavage. I've heard it so often that I have a standard snappy retort to it, which is "If you want me to look at your face, wear a turtleneck." I have to admit many women don't find this remark as perky and amusing as I do.
But that's the way we guys are. Most of us reach the age of forty or so before we become aware that our brains can be used for thinking about things other than sex. At that point, instead of constantly thinking about sex, we start thinking about clever schemes we can employ to get more sex. It doesn't make us any easier to deal with.
So it's good topless ladies are having a topless protest in which tops have remained at home. We guys will stand on the sidelines and cheer. But even after you girls achieve legal topless equality, when you are looking at your closet while getting ready to go to the market or the mall, you might start thinking about all the guys you don't want staring at you, brushing against you, making loud remarks about you to impress the pack of dolts they call their friends, or just following you around the grocery store with a look on their face that's halfway between love and a potentially criminal hormone imbalance, and you'll reach inside and grab a top.
And it will be all our fault. We guys, that is. What a world, what a world.*
*Last words of the Wicked Witch of the West, a member of the small but heavily persecuted minority of green-breasted women.