Before you ladies get yourselves too slick and moisted up for your own good in your little cubicle or whatever, pray, restrain yourselves. It looks something like this:
I've got to tell you, I feel kind of trashy right now, blogging shirtless, with my nippity-doos all kind of staring right at the screen. It's kind of, I don't know-- wrong? I see guys driving around without shirts, and, I'll admit it, I look down my impossibly-proportioned proboscis at them.
Does the knowledge that I'm writing this blog in a state of semi-nudedom disgust you? I'm sorry. It probably should. I mean, lots of people compliment me by telling me that my style of writing is very casual and comfortable, almost like I'm sitting across from the reader chatting away. And, if that's true, then this particular situation of my not having a shirt on has got to be particularly uncomfortable for you. I mean, there you are, in your work blouse or your McDonalds uniform shirt or whatever, and here I am, talking to you, with my hairy areolas vying for your attention.
As Cathy would say, "ACK!"
Being shirtless never appealed to me on any level whatsoever. When I was a boy of four, my family went to Beach Haven. I operate on the assumption that most four-year-old boys who had the good fortune to be in Beach Haven in 1984 enjoyed being there, and being there shirtless. I, too, enjoyed being in Beach Haven. It might have been trashy, but, as a four-year-old, I didn't know that. I did not, however, enjoy being there shirtless. There were lots of pictures taken of me that day-- perhaps it was Little Apron's first trip to the beach. But, in nearly every single photo, I am shirted.
There I am, standing on the wet sand in my M* A* S* H t-shirt. (I've never seen a full episode of M * A * S * H, by the way. I was a poseur even then.) There I am, playing mini-golf in a pair of tiny red shorts, a red-and-white striped polo shirt.
And..... a Naval captain's uniform hat. Don't ask.
I think the brains of men who enjoy being shirtless are wired slightly differently than the brains of those of us menfolk who do not. Some men, I think, deliberately seek out opportunities to be shirtless. I was the kid who steadfastly eschewed pool parties because their very existence required me to be shirt-free. This was an especially painful stance to maintain in high school when my extreme reluctance to take off my shirt had to be weighed against the fact that a pool party was an opportunity to see some of the finer examples of my XX-chromosomed classmates in bikinis. Hey, life's full of tough choices. And...... that's a perfect example of my steadfast propensity to make the wrong one.
My body is dubiously proportioned. I've accepted that, but I don't feel especially compelled to exhibit it to strangers and even familiars. I'm pretty thrilled about the fact that I don't have bitchtits. I don't jiggle when I run down the stairs, and that's a cool thing for a relatively sedentary thirty-year-old man to be able to say truthfully. But, if you see me at the beach, you'll most likely think Merchant Ivory is shooting a period piece. More likely than not, I'll be there in a 1920s straw boater hat, a pair of 1950s horn-rimmed black sunglasses, linen trousers and a short-sleeve dress shirt. If it's unbearably hot, I might feel compelled to put on a pair of swim trunks (do people my age call them that?) but my sense of propriety is a bit warped. After around five years of trying to wear down my standards, my wife finally convinced me that it was more humane to wear sandals on occasion during the summer. I called for Chinese takeout one August night and, before leaving the house to pick up the food, I stopped, looked down at my toes sticking out of my brand new Tevas and said to my wife,
"Am I allowed to go into a restaurant in these?"