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No bare anything!

February 26 2007 at 5:54 PM
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bicycleridertdf  (Login bicycletdf)


The name of this forum implies that barefoot and shirtless are two aspects of the same activity, when they're really quite different. There are times and places where each is appropriate (or at least worth trying) and the other isn't. For example, I often go shirtless to a lumber yard or a car wash, and I might go barefoot to a bank or a bookstore, but I'd be reluctant to switch those activities the other way.

One reason we're tempted to lump them together is the recent spread of signs prohibiting both. Twenty years ago we weren't concerned about such prohibitions at all. We may have felt conspicuous or uncomfortable in some establishment, but we never feared being refused service or being asked to leave. The NS signs were begun in the 1970s in response to barefoot "hippies" by shop owners fearing liability for injury, and it was easy for them to add without thought the barechested to the unwelcome.

Unfortunately, these are not civil rights issues. Instead of gaining wider acceptance, we find each year fewer and fewer places where either the shirtless or the unshod are welcome.

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