Scandalous Thoughts

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

Yesterday as I was driving by a pair of those big Highway Department sand silos, it occurred to me, “What ever happened to the topless scare of the 1990s?”

Most of us will remember the big to-do when a young lady in Guelph chose to go out walking sans her undershirt. What we virile chaps hoped was the start of a trend to ‘free women everywhere’ went bust so to speak.

As usual the public and the media blew it all out of proportion. Because of our moral values apparently there were no pictures for us to know just what her proportions really were. Like most things that enrage people enough to get out the placards and march up and down the street, nothing much happened. Within a few days it all went away and we sat on the front steps waiting for some other shocker to get our blood all fired up.

It is fascinating sometimes to look back and re-think the great scandals of the past and try to remember what all the fuss was about. The incident in Guelph caused such a stir. Groups, both for and against, sprung up across the land. Some cheered her on and others vilified the poor girl. Like most morality issues, her scandalous display was just another tempest in a bra cup. It is now legal here in Ontario to go topless but no one ever does. Or if they do, they don’t do it in Orillia.

I’ve been sitting by the lifeguard tower in Couchiching Park every summer since the Ontario Court of Appeal freed the slaves on December 10, 1996 and have never seen one (Usually they come in pairs, but not always. Now that I think of it, they rarely, if ever, come in threes.) The moment the ruling was published I rushed to the park, climbed the tower and waited. Not one showed up, so much for female enthusiasm – although the temperature being –22 with a 65 K wind at the time may have been a factor. Perhaps I was a month or two early.

There have always been scandals. People have been horrified by someone else’s behaviour ever since King David saw Bathsheba scrubbing her barnacles in a rooftop tub so many centuries ago. Then there was that sunny afternoon when Cleopatra floated down the Nile with her bare feet dangling over the side of the Royal barge (August 6, 34 BC to celebrate my birthday).

Can’t you see the headlines in the Cairo Daily Hieroglyphic the following day?

Queen Shows Tootsies and Her Feet too! Thousands line banks in protest.

There are causes worth protesting I know. The U.S. – North Korea controversy and the environmental problems are two I can think of off the top of my head, but so many of our so-called moral issues are the next thing to silly. Mini-skirts were all the rage in the 60s and I suppose never really left, but many women’s groups were convinced they would lead us to another Sodom and Glocca Morra. (How are things there by the way?)

What it actually led to was too many of the wrong legs being bared in public, tree trunks or pipe cleaners. I can say that because my legs are flawless except I can never grow hair on the outside of my shins. I may be the missing link between mankind and one of those hairless cats that some really odd people keep as pets. I thought about wearing Bermuda shorts and knee socks (quite popular in countries where the epitome of fine dining is picking grubs out from under a log) but I’d rather be laughed at for the baldness of my extremities than look like a complete ass.

Not too many years ago everyone got all bent out of shape over a nude beach at Hanlan’s Point on Toronto’s Centre Island. What ever happened to that anyway? Is old Ned Hanlan still hanging out there or did he eventually have to cover up? I guess the beach is still there but I’ve yet to read about someone falling out of a Lear Jet coming in to the Island Airport. It could be risky climbing out on the wing to take a gander at the barer folks and rolling down the window or opening the door is not advised.

I wonder what will happen next to drive everyone batty. How about Totally Naked Day at the Rogers Centre? The Jays against a pick-up team from Hanlan’s Point. It better be warm or everything will be blue, and not just the Jays.

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