What exactly constitutes indecent exposure? No shirt, No shoes, No service; we all know that. But when the weather warms up, things come off and people tend to push the limits with what is acceptable attire. How much is too much?
Apparently in New York there is no way of knowing. You really never know what you may find. Just the other day I saw a lady walking down Broadway with blue lipstick and painted lines on her face. Maybe she was an actor off to a gig, I don’t know, but nobody budged. New Yorkers are immune to crazy. They eat crazy for dinner.
The girl I saw this afternoon, however, was different from most. It all began in my office actually. My coworker approached me and told me that she had just passed a girl on the street wearing jeans and no top. I asked the obvious questions: “you mean no bra? No sheer shirt? She was wearing nothing?” When the answers all pointed to “Yes, this girl was bare breasted, no top in sight,” I was shocked that someone would have the balls to walk around like that. Then I ventured out of the office and went to the park. People were lying around, half-naked, trying to capture as much vitamin D as possible. No harm in that! Then I noticed everyone starting in one direction with looks of amused disbelief (are you getting that image?). I turned around to see what the source was and that is when I saw her; jeans, shoes, tote bag, and no top to be found! Was she trying to form a public opinion about something? A crazy journalistic scheme? Honestly, I think she just thought it was OK. OK to sit there and not have a top on.
Was it? Is it?
My sister has a vivid memory of our first trip to France. It includes breasts; naturally. We were living with a family in Provence and spent the afternoon at a rocky, sea urchin infested beach (I am bitter because one of these creatures got stuck in my foot. Story for another post!). Maybe I was so upset about my foot that I wasnt as affected by the exposed woman on the beach, or maybe it was my inner European/French side taking flight. Anyhow, my sister remembers a woman who had a tattoo of the sun encircling her nipple. It was only this past weekend that her “traumatic” event was exposed (pun intended?). Seeing woman with their breasts bare, even on the beach (sun tatoo or not), was culturally shocking to my sister. I have to imagine it would be like this for most Americans. We are prudish when it comes to nudity. Even when the nude are children. For example, this weekend our neighbors at the shore had their two little girls running around outside, playing games and walking their baby doll in a stroller, stark naked. Not the usual bottoms-only beach attire that kids sometimes have, but entirely naked. I really didn’t think much of it, I actually think that’s part of the beach baby look. My relatives however, seemed to think it was the most “hippie” thing ever! “So granola,” they said.
In France, babies and woman wear bottoms-only at the beach while men walk around in tiny Speedos. Same in Spain and most of Europe I assume, although I have not traveled to all of the world’s beaches (now there is an idea..). It is an acceptable part of their culture and people don’t gawk at the site of saggy boobs or sunshine tattoos.
I am not saying that “naked lady in the park” should have been exposing her chest to the world, although after some research I have found that it is entirely legal activity. It does bring up some cultural conversations though. Maybe we Americans need to relax a bit; loosen up. After living in Europe, I appreciate America for its ability to harvest our craziest dreams. On the flip side however, there are so many issues that we are stuck-in-our-ways about. Drinking age, topless beaches, filtering movies and songs because of content…
Are we uptight? Is one bare-breasted lady ready to start a revolution? Should we be taking our tops off….ok ok I have gotten a head of myself:)