Shucking Oysters: Au Naturel

0
97

I’m not big on hanging out (as it were) naked on a public beach or privately in the backyard. I have nothing against naturalists, it’s just not my thing. When it comes to nudity, we all have our barometers of tolerance. And when it comes to the law, from Canada to the US, the definitions alone, raise more than an eyebrow. 

According to the Canadian Criminal Code section 174, no one can be nude, without lawful excuse, in a public space or on private property(whether it’s your own property or not), while exposed to public view. Some examples could be: being nude while going for a walk along MacFarlane or in a public place such as the Co-op; standing naked staring out your living room window or on your lawn where the public can see you. It’s all about maintaining public order, decency, and morality. 

As one legal website opined, “It aims to protect the sensibilities of people who may find nudity offensive or threatening in public spaces. It is also meant to safeguard the privacy and sanctity of private spaces from being disturbed by individuals who may be exhibiting inappropriate behaviour.” It does raise questions, however, around civil liberties and fundamental rights. Many see this law as encroaching on their privacy, especially when applied to their own home or private garden. “Without lawful excuse” is vague and left to interpretation in the courts. For example, rehearsing a naked rendition of Swan Lake in your backyard is not a criminal offence but a nude version of Waiting for Godot could be.

So what is nudity? According to the Criminal Code, a person is nude when they are “so clad as to offend against public decency or public order.” Not “scantily clad” just “clad.” In other words, you can be “nude” without being fully naked if you are dressed in a way that causes harm or potential harm to the public. Do I hear overweight people in spandex? One legal website explained that how we perceive nudity “depends on societal values, which are always changing.” What about Little Tribune on Hornby? Is that illegal? A BC judge eloquently noted that “nude sunbathing is not of sufficient moral turpitude to support a charge for doing an indecent act.” Designating a beach or other recreational area as “clothing optional” is recognizing that being nude for swimming and sunbathing is not always indecent or lewd (just the pervert in the bushes).

Canada’s definition of nudity is positively quaint compared to the US, which is far more explicit. In Brevard County, Florida, nude means to openly display or expose: “(1) The human male or female genitals or pubic area with less than a fully opaque covering; (2) Any portion of the anal cleft or cleavage of the male or female buttocks. Attire which is insufficient to comply with this requirement includes, but is not limited to, G-strings, T-back bathing suits, thong bikinis, dental floss or any other clothing or covering that does not completely and opaquely cover the anal cleft or cleavage of the male or female buttocks; (3) The portion of the human female breast directly or laterally below a point immediately above the top of the areola with less than a fully opaque covering. This definition shall include the entire lower portion of the human female breast, including the areola and nipple, but shall not include any portion of the cleavage of the human female breast exhibited by a dress, blouse, shirt leotard, bathing suit or other clothing, provided the areola is not exposed; or (4) Human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered. For purposes of this definition, body paint, body dye, a tattoo, latex or any similar substances shall not be considered an opaque covering.”

The buttocks can be confusing. Is that a crack or a cleavage? Brevard County’s definition leaves nothing to the imagination: “The area at the rear of the human body (sometimes referred to as the glutaeus maximus) which lies between two imaginary straight lines running parallel to the ground when a person is standing, the first or top such line being 1/2 inch below the top of the vertical cleavage of the nates (ie, the prominence formed by the muscles running from the back of the hip to the back of the leg) and the second or bottom such line being 1/2 inch above the lowest point of the curvature of the fleshy protuberance (sometimes referred to as the gluteal fold), and between two imaginary straight lines, one on each side of the body (the “outside lines”), which outside lines are perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above and which perpendicular outside lines pass through the outermost point(s) at which each nate meets the outer side of each leg. Notwithstanding the above, Buttocks shall not include the leg, the hamstring muscle below the gluteal fold, the tensor fasciae lathe muscle or any of the above-described portion of the human body that is between either (i) the left inside perpendicular line and the left outside perpendicular line or (ii) the right inside perpendicular line and the right outside perpendicular line. For the purpose of the previous sentence the left inside perpendicular line shall be an imaginary straight line on the left side of the anus (i) that is perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above and (ii) that is 1/3 of the distance from the anus to the left outside line, and the right inside perpendicular line shall be an imaginary straight line on the right side of the anus (i) that is perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above and (ii) that is 1/3 of the distance from the anus to the right outside line. (The above description can generally be described as covering 1/3 of the buttocks centered over the cleavage for the length of the cleavage.)” 

Well, that helped. I used to be an ass man, but now all I see is fleshy protuberances and vertical cleavages.