The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 24, 2012

Ojanpa: In-the-buff ban gets it right

—  On a one-to-10 personal eccentricity scale, San Francisco harbors a lot of 12s. It’s a city that has always prided itself on accommodating idiosyncratic behaviors.

But sometimes, even in San Francisco, enough is enough.

The city’s Board of Supervisors this week banned public nudity, a move that probably came as a surprise to most of us in the hinterlands who assumed it wasn’t legal in the first place.

It seems that the city has long tolerated people sashaying around in the buff, an activity that historically has been largely confined to men in the gay Castro district.

However, a city supervisor with the ironic name of Scott Wiener led the effort to nix nakedness that, he and others say, had slopped over into other neighborhoods and produced a slew of complaints.

In most of our nation’s locales, a law prohibiting people from running around naked would be regarded as eminently reasonable. But this is San Francisco, where reasonable behavior is pretty much whatever you think it is.

First off, supervisors were divided on the ban, which barely passed 6-5.

Then there were the protesting nudists, who descended upon City Hall and, upon hearing the vote, promptly disrobed in anger.

One woman sputtered her rage.

“It’s not a government, it’s a whorehouse,” said Gypsy Taub, who then took off all her clothes, unknowingly showing what a woman working in such a house looks like.

George Davis, a 66-year-old who likes to loll around a public plaza naked, took logic and ran it right off the rails.

His reasons why public nudity should be allowed: His parents and sisters walked around in the nude, the Tennessee hillbillies of his youth went skinny dipping and thought nothing of it, ancient Greek and Roman soldiers often fought battles naked, and because new humans are born naked it should follow that old humans should be allowed to follow suit wherever. 

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