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I don’t agree that having yellow hair is the same as  exposing your penis at a busy street corner for hours and hours. San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener

It’s telling people they should be ashamed to be naked, and that’s totally  wrong. San Francisco nudist Stardust

One of the most embarrassing experiences of my life occurred on a nude beach in Los Angeles—from my attempts to swim in the ocean. The technique is to dive under the wave as it goes over and surface in the calm water beyond. I couldn’t do it. Every wave washed me back onto the sand like driftwood. People in the water called encouragement, but after several failures I retreated to my beach towel and covered up in my robe. I was red enough for one day.

That mildly amusing memory was resurrected by the recent raging Frisko issue of public nudity. Formerly accepted as one of the city’s quirks, the tendency of some to visit public spaces in the Castro without a stitch on had become less tolerable to residents, business owners, and locals concerned about the sensibilities of themselves, their children, and the tourist trade.

If you didn’t catch the BBC news flash (seriously), here’s a reading sample:




In the midst of the fiery controversy, I took an evening stroll from the Ferry Building to Cupid’s Bow. Two or three young men bicycled past, smiling, laughing, and presumably enjoying the breeze on everything they had as well as the attention they attracted. To be fair, one of them was not completely nude. He sported a top hat. Families with children, including plenty of obvious tourists, looked startled to say the least and not at all charmed or amused.

In Los Angeles, my involvement with small theaters took me to the weirder parts of Hollywood, the burgeoning loft district in downtown Ellay just a couple of blocks from the worst of skid row, and the Garment District, where scary homeless people were sometimes encountered along with the clothing discounts. Duke’s at the Tropicana Motel in West Hollywood was a frequent weekend breakfast destination. Over the years, the only naked person I ever saw in public was a fat old man in a fenced front yard on a side street of a proper little suburb. In previous decades, this burb had exemplified its genre, but by the early 21st century it showed traits of encroaching slum. The old naked man was ranting and I concluded that he was drunk or worse, and the intensity of his rage was genuinely frightening.

The devoutly naked people of San Francisco are more like toddlers who dash out the front door in the buff, laughing at the pursuing grown-ups and delighted that they got away with something. They’re not quite sure what it is because they’re too little to grasp the concepts of privacy and modesty and respect for themselves and other people. They just think it’s fun to go outside naked and get a rise out of the adults.