Monday, 11 June 2007

indecent exposure

Today, I would like to talk about nipples.

No, no, come back! Not another pregnancy-related post!

Man-nipples.

You know. Nipples, but on men.

I know that all men have them. And I in no way object to their actual existence. In fact, I am the first to admit that I am happy, nay, proud, to be a part-owner/operator of the pair that are attached to B. Although, thinking about it, 'operator' is probably an overstatement, because they are, after all, vestigial, aren't they?

And that is, in a round-about, unclear and rambling way, my point.

Why is a certain type of chap SO PROUD of his non-operational, vestigial-man-nipples that the minute there is any glimmer of sunshine, the t-shirt gets whipped off, the chest exposed and there they are, positively flaunted for all too see.

Or in my case, to try to avoid seeing.

I am not completely prejudiced. I just feel that there is an appropriate time and place for optimum exposure - on the beach is fine. In the privacy of ones back garden or the back garden of a friend is fine.

Sitting at the table next to me in the beer garden; or walking up the High Street is NOT FINE AT ALL. It makes me uncomfortable.

Because, actually, it's not about man-nipples at all, is it?

It's about masculinity. Testosterone. It's about 'see me, here I am with my Tarzan-Like Chest exposed to the world, proving what a perfect specimen of the human species I am by allowing all the females around to wonder at my physique, whilst my fellow males stare in bemused envy'. It doesn't seem to matter whether there actually IS a Tarzan-Like Chest to expose. Many exposed chests which I have had the misfortune to observe have been most UN-Tarzan-Like.

It's wrong. It's disconcerting. It's rude. All of these, because it makes other people feel uncomfortable.

And it's also a Very British Thing.

I don't remember being anywhere in Europe and seeing anyone other than British men semi-naked anywhere other than the beach.

Why? Why do British men feel that this is appropriate summer behaviour? Why do they feel that it is okay to subject the rest of us to their semi-naked dominance rituals? Answers in the comments. And sunglasses sent to the usual address - preferably some kind of design that immediately goes pitch-black when a man-nipple comes in to sight.

For today, that is all. I go to scrub my mind.

22 comments:

  1. Aussie men do it too. But I confess I found it far more disconcerting to see Aussie men (and women) walking around cities, towns and shopping centres with no shoes on, displaying the filthiest feet you'v ever seen than no shirts and flaunting their man nipples. Hence the great Aussie signage: No shirt, no shoes, no service.

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  2. Aussie men do it too. But I confess I found it far more disconcerting to see Aussie men (and women) walking around cities, towns and shopping centres with no shoes on, displaying the filthiest feet you'v ever seen than no shirts and flaunting their man nipples. Hence the great Aussie signage: No shirt, no shoes, no service.

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  3. I've got to disagree with you on this one, Ally. If you have a problem with he-nips, that's your problem not his (the owner of the nips, I mean). Your reasoning reminds me of the logic men use in e.g Afghanistan to insist that all women remain covered from head to toe at all times, or (closer to home) people who argue that it's rude and inappropriate for women to breastfeed in public, even when they do so discreetly. I'm sure you don't mean to be "opressive", and that your discomfort is heartfelt, and I'm sure that the Afghans and the anti-breastfeeding crowd are also sincere and even well-meaning. But even so, I think they should just get over it.

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  4. I've got to disagree with you on this one, Ally. If you have a problem with he-nips, that's your problem not his (the owner of the nips, I mean). Your reasoning reminds me of the logic men use in e.g Afghanistan to insist that all women remain covered from head to toe at all times, or (closer to home) people who argue that it's rude and inappropriate for women to breastfeed in public, even when they do so discreetly. I'm sure you don't mean to be "opressive", and that your discomfort is heartfelt, and I'm sure that the Afghans and the anti-breastfeeding crowd are also sincere and even well-meaning. But even so, I think they should just get over it.

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  5. I cannot stand it either. It's vile, and always seem to be the ones (as a hetrosexual male) the ones least deserving to take it off. I remember one guy in the zoo walked into the cafe and he was in his 60's, white as a sheet, and had done his trousers up in such a way that his beer belly sat ON his belt. It was not a pretty sight.

    Me on the other hand, it's t-shirts at the very least.

    I think it is a British/Colonial thing, as I can't think of one Portugese guy with his top off on holiday.

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  6. I cannot stand it either. It's vile, and always seem to be the ones (as a hetrosexual male) the ones least deserving to take it off. I remember one guy in the zoo walked into the cafe and he was in his 60's, white as a sheet, and had done his trousers up in such a way that his beer belly sat ON his belt. It was not a pretty sight.

    Me on the other hand, it's t-shirts at the very least.

    I think it is a British/Colonial thing, as I can't think of one Portugese guy with his top off on holiday.

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  7. I'm in agreement. We did some hard physical work in hot sun last year and I found it very disconcerting when a couple of my close male colleagues took off their shirts. I didn't say anything and they soon put them back on again.

    I think women should be able to go topless anywhere men do.

    You've obviously not been on holiday with Russians; there always seem to be at least one Russian who feels it's acceptable to walk around indoors eg in the bar wearing just the briefest of brief swimming trunks.

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  8. I'm in agreement. We did some hard physical work in hot sun last year and I found it very disconcerting when a couple of my close male colleagues took off their shirts. I didn't say anything and they soon put them back on again.

    I think women should be able to go topless anywhere men do.

    You've obviously not been on holiday with Russians; there always seem to be at least one Russian who feels it's acceptable to walk around indoors eg in the bar wearing just the briefest of brief swimming trunks.

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  9. Ms Mac - NO SHOES is just disgusting. Don't they get all sorts of unpleasant foot-diseases?

    Mel - I can see where you're coming from - but I think it's a case of appropriateness, rather than oppression. There are different levels of comfort/discomfort to be taken in to consideration and breast-feeding is a case in point.

    I wouldn't take for granted the 'right' to breastfeed in public - it would be appropriate in some instances and not in others. Discreetly in a cafe at lunch-time would be okay. Indiscreetly in the sitting room of a rest-home with a large number of elderly gentlemen around would not be okay. I think it's down to place and situation. So I am very happy to see man-nips paraded on the beach; but don't want them bashing against me as I do my shopping.

    Rhys - yes, IME Europeans tend to cover up when coming away from the beach.

    Gert - *makes mental note not to try that Black Sea Resort*. Yuck.

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  10. Ms Mac - NO SHOES is just disgusting. Don't they get all sorts of unpleasant foot-diseases?

    Mel - I can see where you're coming from - but I think it's a case of appropriateness, rather than oppression. There are different levels of comfort/discomfort to be taken in to consideration and breast-feeding is a case in point.

    I wouldn't take for granted the 'right' to breastfeed in public - it would be appropriate in some instances and not in others. Discreetly in a cafe at lunch-time would be okay. Indiscreetly in the sitting room of a rest-home with a large number of elderly gentlemen around would not be okay. I think it's down to place and situation. So I am very happy to see man-nips paraded on the beach; but don't want them bashing against me as I do my shopping.

    Rhys - yes, IME Europeans tend to cover up when coming away from the beach.

    Gert - *makes mental note not to try that Black Sea Resort*. Yuck.

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  11. Awwww. Only young men with good bodies should be allowed to walk around topless? Come on Rhys, that's a hard position to defend. We've all got bodies, they're our bodies, it up to us what we do with them. Of course, I don't personally approve of men walking around without shirts on, unless it's at the seaside, but then I don't approve of people walking around eating or drinking, or chattering noisily in public, or watching football. You don't want to end up like me do you?

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  12. Awwww. Only young men with good bodies should be allowed to walk around topless? Come on Rhys, that's a hard position to defend. We've all got bodies, they're our bodies, it up to us what we do with them. Of course, I don't personally approve of men walking around without shirts on, unless it's at the seaside, but then I don't approve of people walking around eating or drinking, or chattering noisily in public, or watching football. You don't want to end up like me do you?

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  13. Out of concern for the public I'd never do this.
    Unless covered by clothes I'm rather difficult to see, there's so little of me. Unless of course it's a sunny day day, then the reflected glare from my white,pasty body tends to cause road accidents.

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  14. Out of concern for the public I'd never do this.
    Unless covered by clothes I'm rather difficult to see, there's so little of me. Unless of course it's a sunny day day, then the reflected glare from my white,pasty body tends to cause road accidents.

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  15. My vote:

    Babies being breast-fed in public, wherever they are: they need fed for goodness sake! and, for the most part it's not as if women just 'flop them out.' It's usually done discreetly. And, it's less messy than the chips, sausage rolls, diet coke cans, chewing gum etc that gets left about the place. Ooh, you've started me off now!

    'he-nips' in public - (sorry Ally) but yes please. And, that lovely he-man smell, yum. Or, am I just weird?

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  16. My vote:

    Babies being breast-fed in public, wherever they are: they need fed for goodness sake! and, for the most part it's not as if women just 'flop them out.' It's usually done discreetly. And, it's less messy than the chips, sausage rolls, diet coke cans, chewing gum etc that gets left about the place. Ooh, you've started me off now!

    'he-nips' in public - (sorry Ally) but yes please. And, that lovely he-man smell, yum. Or, am I just weird?

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  17. A lot of places in the U.S. have "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policies, so it's not just British/Colonial, either.:-P

    There are plenty of things I would rather not see, but as long as they aren't breaking the law, I try to look away. In particular, I've never been particularly interested in watching a pair of lovebirds trying to remove each other tonsils, using only their tongues for instruments. Are they breaking the law? Probably not. Are they inconsiderate for doing this in a public park where people are walking around with young children? Yes, they certainly are.

    A few years ago, there was a law passed in New York City that said anywhere a man could be topless, a woman could be, also. I don't know if the law is still on the books, but there was a photo shoot for GQ, I think, with a model in the bottom half of a business suit, walking down a street soon after the law was passed.

    Breastfeeding in public is fine as long as the mother makes an honest attempt to be mindful of other people's sensibilities. Forcing your opinions on other people is oppressive, no matter what those opinions are or how you express them. I would like to believe that most women would take other people's feelings into consideration, however, with the way the self-proclaimed boob Nazis act, I don't take that for granted anymore.

    I have breastfed my children at outdoor concerts, while walking through the grocery store, in the middle of busy restaurants, and other similarly private locations. I always tried to be discreet, and the only "complaint" I got was a guy giving me a dirty look at a music festival.

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  18. A lot of places in the U.S. have "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policies, so it's not just British/Colonial, either.:-P

    There are plenty of things I would rather not see, but as long as they aren't breaking the law, I try to look away. In particular, I've never been particularly interested in watching a pair of lovebirds trying to remove each other tonsils, using only their tongues for instruments. Are they breaking the law? Probably not. Are they inconsiderate for doing this in a public park where people are walking around with young children? Yes, they certainly are.

    A few years ago, there was a law passed in New York City that said anywhere a man could be topless, a woman could be, also. I don't know if the law is still on the books, but there was a photo shoot for GQ, I think, with a model in the bottom half of a business suit, walking down a street soon after the law was passed.

    Breastfeeding in public is fine as long as the mother makes an honest attempt to be mindful of other people's sensibilities. Forcing your opinions on other people is oppressive, no matter what those opinions are or how you express them. I would like to believe that most women would take other people's feelings into consideration, however, with the way the self-proclaimed boob Nazis act, I don't take that for granted anymore.

    I have breastfed my children at outdoor concerts, while walking through the grocery store, in the middle of busy restaurants, and other similarly private locations. I always tried to be discreet, and the only "complaint" I got was a guy giving me a dirty look at a music festival.

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  19. I see a lot of men with their shirts off. To tell you the truth, I never notice if they even have nipples. Now if you want to talk about armpit hair.....

    As for breast feeding, I remember nursing Dolphin when the milkman came to collect the month's bill. (For you young ones, they used to actually deliver milk to your door.) I threw a light blanket over my shoulder, and her, and proceeded to write the check. The milkman said "Oh, is that the new baby?", and being very young and insecure, and in a time when almost no one breast fed, I didn't know how to tell him that I couldn't give him a look at the baby without giving him a look at more than he wanted to see of me. So I just said, "Yes, that's the baby" and left it at that, which really hurt his feelings, I could tell. The point of all that is that you can be so subtle and discreet that no one knows but you and the baby -- or you can be one of those women who all but stick their boobs in others' face. But when all is said and done, I'd rather contend with the exhibitionist women than force them to nurse in a public bathroom.

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  20. I see a lot of men with their shirts off. To tell you the truth, I never notice if they even have nipples. Now if you want to talk about armpit hair.....

    As for breast feeding, I remember nursing Dolphin when the milkman came to collect the month's bill. (For you young ones, they used to actually deliver milk to your door.) I threw a light blanket over my shoulder, and her, and proceeded to write the check. The milkman said "Oh, is that the new baby?", and being very young and insecure, and in a time when almost no one breast fed, I didn't know how to tell him that I couldn't give him a look at the baby without giving him a look at more than he wanted to see of me. So I just said, "Yes, that's the baby" and left it at that, which really hurt his feelings, I could tell. The point of all that is that you can be so subtle and discreet that no one knows but you and the baby -- or you can be one of those women who all but stick their boobs in others' face. But when all is said and done, I'd rather contend with the exhibitionist women than force them to nurse in a public bathroom.

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  21. It seems to me that the ones yu don't want to see with their shirts off are the ones who are parading around bare chested.

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  22. It seems to me that the ones yu don't want to see with their shirts off are the ones who are parading around bare chested.

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