Good Morning: San Francisco hosted one of our “seems-like-an-’Only in San Francisco’-but actually not” events yesterday, the Spring 2013 Southern Hemisphere Edition of the annual World Naked Bike Ride-
“Just one moment, you dastardly nefarious blogging nogoodnik!” I hear you say. Don’t deny it, I did hear you say that. “San Francisco could not have hosted the Spring 2013 Southern Hemisphere Edition of the annual World Naked Bike Ride! San Francisco is not located in the Southern Hemisphere! It’s not even located in Southern California!”
Well, first of all, the folks living in California’s northernmost counties (Del Norte, Siskiyou, Modoc) do lump us in with Los Angeles, San Diego and the rest of Southern California. Second, the bicyclists of San Francisco seek solidarity with their nekkid brethren of all continents. Third–oh, who am I kidding? We’re San Franciscans. We will grab any excuse to dress in costume, bodypaint and/or nothing at all. The funny thing is that World Naked Bike Ride is not primarily an excuse for exhibitionism, and yes, we will participate in the 2013 Northern Hemisphere edition. The Ride was intended as a protest against “car culture,” our dependency upon oil, and the vulnerability of bicyclists in traffic. However, in San Francisco the WNBR has also become a protest on behalf of “body freedom” by those supporters of our right to indulge in public nudity. Sometimes, I think we San Franciscans try a little too hard to stand out. We don’t need to be that different to be that different.
Since the Spring 2013 WNBR constituted the first one since our first since the City’s ban against public nudity took effect on 1 February, the WNBR wiki (of course they have a wiki) had to take that into account:
Liberal San Francisco is not so liberal anymore with the passage of an anti-nudity ordiance that went into effect on February 1st, 2013. This will be a test to see how far we can push the limits. If you go naked, it helps to have a protest message to go with the nudity in the form of body painted slogans or signs. Be prepared to cover up. So far, the authorities have been nice in giving people an opporunity to cover up before giving out citations. Bare breasts are okay. To be legal, you just need to barely cover your genitals and rectum. Going naked outside the main group will definately get you cited. There’s more safety in numbers.
San Francisco. Not so liberal anymore. My mind is boggled.
By some miracle, I managed to miss all of the naked bike riders. Either that, or yesterday was too bleeping freaking cold for nudity–the wind really kicked in around noon in my neighborhood. What few pictures I took looked so bad that I had to delete all of them. Besides, even I did take a picture of a naked bike rider or two, I would have had to censor it. Seriously, some of my followers (and I remain very grateful for all of my followers) have not reached legal age. Furthermore, I also have to consider the laws and regulations of nations all over the world–WordPress has an incredible reach. So any photo I could have published on this blog would have looked like this one:
Ah, the glories of officially sanctioned prudishness. I’m beginning to wonder if the “body freedom” folks might have a point.
Vonn Scott Bair
PS–The above photo in reality is a picture of a wall inside San Francisco’s Exit Theater.