Well, we’re approaching SuperBowl time again in the United States, and that means that up to 800 million people may be in front of their TV set soonish.
In that group, approximately six people will be tuning in to watch the actual football match. About 150 million people will record the show to skim to the new commercials, and the rest will be watching the halftime show very carefully, hoping Justin Timberlake will show up to rip the shirt off another female singer.
The furor over that show revealed (haha!) how very confused we still are over what’s acceptable viewing on television these days. Everyone talked about the bare chest and it was even the subject of an investigation and a half million dollar fine. Hardly anyone talked about the charming SuperBowl advertisement which featured a horse breaking wind rather violently into a woman’s face. So apparently wardrobe malfunctions = bad, horse malfunctions = good.
Elsewhere in the world, nudity isn’t such an issue. Many countries have nude beaches: the sand just doesn’t bother covering up. The Dutch have at least 135 nude beaches, which just goes to show that Netherlanders aren’t terribly worried about hiding their nether bits.
A recent article in the National Post suggested that some two million people in Great Britain practice nudism. Presumably they only practice there because it’s too darned damp to do it for real.
That number rises to five million in France. This is likely because of the warmer climate which makes it easier to take off your clothes, and also helps produce really good wine, which also makes it easier to take off your clothes. Oddly enough, at least 11 million Germans claim to be nudists; remarkable because when people think of the phrase “wild and fancy free” they don’t usually also think “German.”
Meanwhile, there are entire websites devoted to something called “nudist travel.” It’s unclear as to whether this means traveling to nudist locations or travelling in the nude. I can see, however, where there would be definite advantages in the latter: you’d be waved through airport security check points, and you’d have one heck of a lot more room in your suitcase for souvenirs.
We even allow nudity here in Canada. There are nudist resorts in every province, and where I live women can go topless in public. Most don’t bother because in the summer, the mosquitoes are bad enough when fully clothed, thank you, and in the winter, well, the frostbite wouldn’t bear thinking about.
Personally, I’m quite happy wearing clothes, not out of modesty but practicality. I don’t tan, I lobster; I spill hot tea or coffee with alarming frequency; I use a laptop. I’m quite happy to have a layer or two of clothing between me and the hospital burn ward.
Still, I’m not sure I understand why other people worry so much about other people’s clothes or lack thereof. Some will tell you that rampant nudity would cause too many lustful thoughts, but really, have you taken a good look at most people lately? There’s a reason why public speaking coaches tell you that the best way to laugh, relax, and stop fearing your audience is to imagine them in their underwear.
And anyway, perhaps if we all got a good look at how unfit most of us are, we’d be inspired to do something about it. After all, if we focused on the amount of gravy covering our fries, we’d likely find we need less cloth to cover — or even partially cover — our behinds.