Saturday, October 1, 2011

Public Nudity and the Arousal Police in San Francisco.

I love San Francisco; I really do. I left my heart in San Francisco in 1970.

A great city, but sometimes the politics get zany.

The Summer of ’67, the Haight Asbury, Free Love, Polk Street and the Castro, the San Francisco folk scene, the hungry i and the Purple Onion, the Kingston Trio, Limeliters, and the Smother Brothers, followed by the psychedelic sound, the Fillmore, the Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, not to mention Broadway, Carol Doda and the Topless. Those were the days my friends, those were the days, but sometimes it’s just plain crazy.

And sometimes the city tries to exercise common sense and do the right thing, but the real zanies with their gluteus maxima emerge out of the woodwork.

David Goldman and his husband were sharing a joint at a public plaza in the Castro when naturist Eric Anderson sat down at a nearby table in the buff. He placed a sarong between his bare cheeks and the seat, an act of “normal etiquette.”

Laws exist against lewd and lascivious activity, indecent exposure, public nudity, and even public displays of expression, but this is California.

The California Supreme Court held nudity by itself is not lewd. For what it’s worth, the court sits in San Francisco.

The health implications are great. As of now, chubby checks could deposit anal detritus or expel methane gas on the public accommodations. Flatulence is not attractive.

Private businesses, such as bars and restaurants, may have to amend their existing signs “No shoes, no shirts, no service” to “No shoes, no shirts, no skivvies, no service.” Yes, they’ll probably be sued for discrimination with the argument that public nudity is but a form of free speech.

Note to San Francisco. Even Berkeley and the University of California Berkeley in 1993 banned public nudity as Andrew Martinez, “Nature Boy,’ liked to attend classes wearing only his backpack and sandals.

Supervisor Scott Weiner has introduced an ordinance that would prohibit nudity in restaurants and would require naked persons to put a towel or other appropriate article between their bare derrieres and benches or other public seats. Supervisor Weiner represents the Castro.

Nudity would otherwise be permitted unless signs of arousal existed. Hence, the arousal police, a unit of the old sex crimes or vice squad, would have to monitor for signs of arousal.

Of course, the arousal exception could be legally attacked on sex discrimination charges since it would result in a prima facie case of discriminatory impact on males, easily demonstrated through statistical analysis.

As a practical matter, if the photo in the September 26 New York Times is representative, then most of the “male strippers” are middle aged men letting it all hang out, but hardly calculated to arouse.

The response by some denizens to Supervisor Weiner’s proposal was, of course, a public “Nude-in” in San Francisco’s fabled fog and cold. One tourist commented “Where are the supermodel types? We want to know why it’s always the people who should not be naked who get naked.”

Some advocates of the nudists argue they could be a tourist attraction, perhaps equal to Carol Doda with her silicone 44’s in her prime, but they are not. The homeless camped out in front of the major downtown hotels were also not a tourist attraction.

Others argue nudity is protected expression and speech under the First Amendment. Judges don’t see it that way.

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