See Dick Topless

See Dick Topless

Without a lot of foreplay, summer is upon us; it sauntered around the corner and said Hey there, I’m hot and I’m going to make you sweat. I decided to take Kobe for a run around the neighbourhood. Running for Kobe is more of a trot, tongue hanging out of his mouth sideways as he looks up at me with dark eyes that say Why, why are you doing this to me? He prefers to have a reason to run – perhaps the reason being something fluffy with a tail, something that screams when he catches it so he knows he’s a winner. Not long into my run, a 7 year-old boy on a bicycle points a disapproving finger at me and yells, “You’re a bad man!” Who is this young Puritan that is itching to burn me at the stake, I wonder. Because I think adults should have open conversations with children, I ask the holy child, “Why am I a bad man?” “Because you have no shirt,” he replies. “I have no shirt because it’s hot and I’m running on the sidewalk. That’s not bad.” “It’s against the law!” “No it’s not.” “Yes it is.” “No it’s not.” “Yes it is.” Well, this conversation isn’t going anywhere so I say, “Listen kid, check your facts. Google it.” This is not the first or last time that someone has commented on my naked chest while running; I have received many a catcall in my day. Hearing the word faggot screamed out the window of a passing vehicle is sadly not uncommon. Once a vehicle even swerved to pretend and hit me and then swerved back like Just kidding! I always run with my shirt off when it’s hot; it’s about time North America got fucking used to it. On the way back home from my run a little girl points a curious finger at me and asks her mom, “Why is that man not wearing a shirt?” “Because it’s really hot and he’s running,” her mom responds. Yay, I think, not everyone thinks I’m a heathen! “Then why do I have to wear a shirt?” Ah, childhood innocence. As I kept running, I didn’t have the opportunity to find out if the mother discussed Topfreedom with her daughter. Topfreedom has been allowed in Ontario since 1991, the case of Gwen Jacob setting a precedent. Why is it that our society associates a little bit of flesh with moral corruption? Many European families lounge nude on the beach and it isn’t sexualized. Our North American children are raised to believe that certain behaviours are scandalous or disreputable. Whether it’s smoking pot, drinking alcohol or even – god forbid – running shirtless through one’s neighbourhood, we build up these actions to be grand misdemeanors. Taking individual maturity into consideration, wouldn’t teaching our children about responsibility and consequence be better than telling them yes or no? This world isn’t black and white; we should help our children navigate the grey. Although, maybe not the 50 Shades of it; that can come later.