Tuesday, June 28, 2005


The only good thing about this heat is that I get to ogle men, which I’ve been doing a great deal of in recent days. Today, I watched a particularly striking specimen saunter down Bernard Street, clad in loosely fitting army shorts and a cream-coloured linen shirt that was fully unbuttoned, thus exposing a quite attractive torso. Suddenly, I understood the nobler aspects of the catcall: to audibly express admiration of the physical form, and the courage that is required to display it publicly.

Municipal workers excepted--and a few truly are exceptional--I can’t think of the last time I saw a heterosexual man’s chest in the public sphere. In fact, as women’s clothing has become more and more revealing, men’s attire has become correspondingly more modest, to the extent that one must take their corporeality on faith. Worse, men seem to have forgotten that they are legally permitted to remove their shirts, and that to avail themselves of this right during a heat wave would by no means be considered indecent.

Perhaps men have finally become as neurotically self-conscious about their bodies as women, which would be a terrible shame, especially since women are slowly reclaiming their right to inhabit imperfectly beautiful figures. Alternatively, it is possible that the earnest post-eroticism of the asexuality movement is catching on, and that we are doomed to ogle a generation of men draped in burkha-like layers of hemp clothing.

Whatever the cause, bravo to the man in the open linen shirt. You were, indisputably, the best thing about my day.


Monica said...

You should move to San Diego--some reason younger men go shirtless whenever they can. Or wear the dreaded wifebeater (you win some you lose some). Perhaps it has to do with the beach, or the heat, I don't know. Just look at the SD craigslist--if he has a pic and from San Diego, there is an 85% chance he will not be wearing a shirt. It is uncivilized, yet pleasant.

Vila H. said...

Yes, that's it exactly -- uncivilized, yet pleasant. Brilliant!

So, when will you rejoin the shirtless SD men? Is there still time for a farewell drink?

xanthium said...

Oh, sorry, I'm already in SD--I left on the 29th (there really was no time; it got a bit desperate). You'll have to come someday and see the shirtless yourself!--M