Laws must be applied equally: about this there can be no debate; it was codified in the Fourteenth Amendment and beyond that is self-evident. In a society that even wants the leeway to lie to itself about being equal, no group can be exempted from–or targeted by–any law. (Of course, a corporation can pay a guy to make it exempt from certain laws, but that’s not hypocrisy, just by-the-book corruption.)  That men are allowed to stroll about sans blouse but women cannot is the silliest of double standards, but also a pernicious one: that once boobs are introduced into a situation, the men will freak the fuck out and turn into bonerhulks and start grabbing at said boobs, or at themselves, or at the fellow next to them (about ten percent of the time,) and now you’ve got yourself a boob-inspired riot on your hands.

Is this the same kind of patronizing patriarchy seen throughout most of history, similar to the familial enslavement and physical negation that women face in some countries even today? Distantly related, it seems: like comparing lemon juice to sulfuric acid. A burka and a Birkin bag are not points on opposite ends of a spectrum; you cannot get from one to the other without a left turn or two.

Which doesn’t make it bullshit: shenanigans are still afoot. Either topless fun is available to all, or it is available to none.

(Personal bias here: I think everybody’s gross and am completely in favor of burkas for all, except I would also advocate closing up the eyehole so people go slamming into each other and pinwheeling down steps and cliffs. This would amuse me, which falls in line with my whole “hating the very sight of humans” thing, as I am the worst.)

TotD’s best-case scenario would be that everyone be legally able to remove their shirts*, but use that freedom to choose the modesty, comfort, and functionality of a shirt.

As always, though, there are some scenarios in which removing one’s top (male or female) is acceptable:

  • The lake you spent your childhood summers.
  • The pool. (C’mon, kid: we all know you’re fat. The white Hanes v-neck isn’t the camouflage you banked on it being.)
  • Bodybuilding competition. (Only participants.)
  • If you have cheerful nipples.
  • You’re a fat guy at the Buffalo game with “Go Bills” painted on your belly.
  • Shirt has caught fire.
  • In the immediate aftermath of a plane crash on a desert island, men may remove their shirts but must also fashion their ties into headbands.
  • Touch football game breaks out and you are Skins.
  • During transformation into werewolf.
  • Doctor visit.
  • Dentist visit. (Don’t tell me how to live my life.)
  • While horseback riding. (If you rule Russia.)

*Please note that the only latitude TotD is willing to grant on the public nudity matter is for the torso. Pants are non-negotiable and must be worn at all times. Pants on fire? Well, first: you’re clearly a liar; and second, just like the captain goes down with the ship, you go down with your pants. Society depends on everyone wearing pants at all times: in fact†, the very word “society” is derived from the Sumerian “sosotee,” which means “I don’t want to see your junk, nor your hairy ‘hole, fucking ever, man. And lady. All y’all put y’all’s pants on.”

Who was the last great non-trouser empire? Romans. They still in charge? I rest my case: keep your pants on, if only for America’s sake.

†If this is true, it is only by the most astonishing of coincidences.