Wednesday, July 20, 2016

On Topless Men

Yesterday I accidentally caused a ruckus on Facebook. I shared an opinion on when and how men should go topless - which is only in private. It was a sort of random thought as I walked past a young man sitting on a coffee shop patio with his top off and on the table in front of him.

Many, many people had something to share in regards to my opinion. I love that I have such a diverse group of friends that responses varied from complete agreement to complete disagreement and that reasons included women's rights and equality, body shaming and feeling comfortable and embracing sexuality or non-sexuality.

I didn't respond much to the comments on my post. My reasons for not wanting to see men walk around public, common space topless are 1) my own and 2) longer than a Facebook reply.

But let me share with you how I've come to my opinion.

I enjoy seeing my man (imaginary as he is right now) topless, at home. That feels like something I've won. It's special. It's just for me.

This is not a modesty or prudish thing. In fact this is a prideful thing.

I am beautiful and I have a great body. I love how I look. I know what works for me. And I am proud of it. I am so proud of it, that I keep it as one of the things I can share with someone I care about. I am a gift and only certain people get to have me.

I wish more people felt this way.

I have no problem with wearing clothes which highlights our best features. If a guy thinks he has a great body and wants to highlight it, there are some great shirts which can show it off.

Skin is alluring. Showing a little is treat for others. It's a mystery. It can be a promise of more. It's a preview of what can be shared if circumstances are right. And I want to win it like a prize.

The beauty of sharing our bodies gets lost to me if it doesn't feel like something given to a person (or persons) of your choice.

I don't want to see people walking around showing what I think should be a something special for someone else to everyone on the street. Which I know does sound prudish... so maybe that's me.

And for the more superficial reasons I don't want to see guys parading around topless - most of the guys who feel comfortable doing that are not the body type that I enjoy. They are hairless, super skinny or heavily muscled. Three definite turn offs for me.

Since I've spent years saying way too much about myself online, let me let you in on one more thing about me. There is a certain way a guy's t-shirt hangs on his back, between his shoulder blades that drives me crazy every time. A man in a t-shirt which fits just right will turn me on infinitely more than any topless man ever will.

Saying that, this is only my opinion, as is everything I share on Facebook, Twitter, my podcast, basically everywhere. People can and will and most definitely should do whatever they feel comfortable doing.

But if you want my attention - keep your shirt on.


  1. Prudish and objectifying, based purely on fantasy and not reality... You're creating the narrative of a reality you'd like to exist. Meanwhile, you diminish that guy (and every guy, girl, who doesn't conform to your quirky tastes), because his t-shirt was off... Do you realize you'll be judged by the same standards? Why not be inclusive?

  2. I appreciate how you value/create specialness by sharing certain parts of yourself and not others.

    I have been married for 25 years. Working through the bumps in communication, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, that seem to routinely happen is partly good fortune but mostly persistent effort.

    The decision to wear clothes or not I am sure is part of being a couple. But most of my energy is spent trying to work through the details of mutual respect - remember to empty the dishwasher or make supper or umpteen other details of give and take.

    I am generally attracted to women. What seems works best if I note these attractions but on principle see women as people not as attractive bodies. For me this is a spiritual practice - practice meaning I decide to repeat this self discipline and spiritual because I am acting from a princple rather than a base desire I share with critters. Yup, I am different from critters when I do this - and I think it is something special that people can do and grow.

    I do not think much about clothes and how what I wear will affect others. My bad maybe - but I am pretty busy. In some situations - at the pool or when it is super hot, but not usually while walking around town (but maybe), I might like to take my shirt off. It is kind of a bummer if that is a problem for you. But I do not think you are trying to tell me what to do, right? How you feel about seeing me is about you, K?

    That said, I plan to keep some parts covered - I am wonderful but prefer to keep everyone but my partner wondering just how wonderful.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful reply Steve! I love that turn of phrase, "I am wonderful but prefer to keep everyone but my partner wondering just how wonderful."

      And yes, you've nailed it, my opinion on other people is worth absolutely nothing and has zero bearing on other people, it's really just about me.

      Just like I said in the post, people CAN, WILL AND SHOULD do exactly whatever pleases them.