Jewish World Review May 18, 2000 / 13 Iyar, 5760
A problem of suds but
A SIGN THAT THE CORPORATE EXECUTIVES who gave
America "casual Fridays" may not necessarily have
been doing the country a favor:
In Evansville, Ind., recently, police arrested a man
who, according to news reports, had been accused
by multiple witnesses of washing his auto at a
self-service car wash while nude.
The witnesses, according to the news reports, had
complained over the course of the last two months
that the man would come to the car wash and,
naked, scrub his vehicle.
When police arrested him, though, they
noted that he technically was not naked--he was
wearing a G-string.
However, because of the amount of the
man--Jymm Thomas Schneider, 49, of
Owensboro, Ky.--that was exposed, it was
understandable how people who saw him from
more than a few feet away thought he was naked.
According to the police, the G-string was so small
that it did not cover. ...
Oh, never mind. The G-string on the man at the car
wash was very small. Schneider was apprehended
at the Southern Pride Car Wash in Evansville and
charged with indecent exposure.
Apparently this kind of problem is not limited to
men. In another part of Indiana last month--in the
city of Lafayette--there was a civic debate
concerning what to do about an exotic dancer who
insisted on practicing her routines in her front yard.
The woman, according to her neighbors, would go
out into the yard to rehearse her exotic dances.
"Exotic dancing," of course, is a euphemism that
has come into favor in recent years to describe
what is performed by strippers and lap dancers;
usually it is done in dark nightclubs with adults-only
entrance policies. But in Lafayette, according to the
reports, the woman practiced her dances in broad
daylight, often timing the dances for when school
buses drove past her yard.
What made Tippecanoe County officials realize
they would have to come up with some plan of
action was the woman's most recent addition to her
rehearsal routine: She allegedly had a 10-foot-high
pole installed in her front yard, so not only was she
writhing in full view of her neighbors and the
street--she was wrapping herself around the pole
as she did it.
The construction of the pole made word of the
woman's front-yard dancing spread so far that,
according to what neighbors told police, she began
drawing audiences of "curious high school kids and
beer-drinking gawkers...obnoxious men who leave
beer cans strewn in the driveway."
The dilemma for county officials and law
enforcement officers, according to the reports, was
that the woman was not completely nude--like the
fellow at the car wash, she had a little bit of clothing
on. County Commissioner John Knochel told
reporters: "Conversations I've had with law
enforcement people indicate that she's just right on
the fine line of crossing over into probably what's
deemed public indecency....She knows the law.
When law enforcement officers have been out there
before, she's quoted it to them, so she's very aware
of what she's doing."
What is going on here? Just when did people get
the idea that they can go out in public virtually
naked, and that no one can tell them they can't do
Well, we've been heading in that direction for
awhile now. Personal freedom, which sounds like
such a reasonable, even laudable, concept, can
lead us down strange roads. You may recall a few years ago reading about
Andrew Martinez, a 20-year-old student at the
University of California at Berkeley. Martinez
decided that he would go to classes
naked--completely nude. And for months--all fall
and into the winter--he did just that. He walked
into classes wearing nothing at all, and sat there. He
walked around the campus the same way. Nude.
Ate in campus dining halls, nude.
When some parents--understandably upset that
they had sent their sons and daughters to a school
where a naked man attended classes--complained,
the school was reluctant to do anything about it. To
tell Martinez that he could not go to school at
Berkeley unless he wore clothes might have been
considered a violation of his rights, some school
officials feared--and could result in Martinez filing a
lawsuit against the university.
Eventually Martinez--who was known around
campus as "the Naked Guy"--was expelled, for
failing to wear "proper attire." But society may have
moved toward him, not away from him. The fellow
in Indiana, who was arrested while wearing the
G-string as he washed his auto last week?
If he sues--if he argues that his personal freedoms
have been violated--he just may end up owning the
JWR contributor Bob Greene is a novelist and columnist. Send your comments to him by clicking here.
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