The Meat and Potatoes of Life: The naked truth of spring involves deployment of a razor

| April 8, 2016 | 0 Comments


Lisa Smith Molinari
Contributing Writer
What’s the true sign that spring has sprung? No, it’s not the crocuses, the bunnies or the pussy willows.

You know spring is here, because I shaved my knees this week.

Now, you might be thinking, “Well, that’s an inappropriate way to start a column.” Stick with me — you’ll soon realize that news of my recent knee-shaving is actually the perfect launching point for a deeply philosophical endeavor.

You see, knee-shaving is not exactly a regular occurrence in my life. In fact, from October through March, the prickly hairs on my knees remain completely undisturbed. And as long as we’re being brutally honest, I’ll admit it: During the winter, I only shave my ankles and armpits.

“Thanks for sharing,” you’re probably saying, “but what’s so philosophical about your personal hygiene habits?”

Listen folks, this is about more than just hairy knees. It’s about bodily exposure, natural inhibitions, the new meaning of modesty, and the pressure to conform to modern trends.

Ever since the founding of this great nation, America has been about one thing: freedom. More than any other country on Earth, we value certain individual liberties that we feel are our inalienable rights as human beings.

But in today’s modern culture, the need to escape from confining norms, no matter how practical or reasonable, has reached new extremes. The most obvious form of this human drive to break free from expectations and conventions, is our clothing; or the lack of it.

Ever since the 1920s flappers shocked their Victorian mothers by showing their ankles, exposure has been trendy. As the decades passed, that itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini got smaller and smaller; until today, when a perfectly acceptable bathing suit consists of about six square inches of Spandex and a few strings.

Modesty, which used to be a widely-recognized virtue, is now seen as prudish, frumpy, and frankly, uncool. In fact, it is now so fashionable to expose body parts, even flagrant nudity has become bohemian.

Pop culture reflects this shift in our culture, with nudity-themed television shows such as “Naked Dating,” “Naked and Afraid,” “Naked Castaways,” “Buying Naked” and “Skin Wars.”

“We’re all born naked,” you might be thinking, “So what’s the big deal?” Certainly, shedding one’s clothing can be liberating and should not be seen as the scourge of humankind. Anyone who has ever seen a toddler rip their own diaper off and run buck naked through the house giggling knows that, on some level, nudity is a natural inclination.

I will never forget the day that my mother and I were painting my daughters’ room. We let my youngest, Lilly, play nearby while we rolled Sherwin Williams “Demur Rose” onto the white walls. While tackling the intricacies of the trim, we failed to notice that Lilly had toddled downstairs and out into the backyard. We panicked for a few moments before we saw her out the bedroom window, completely naked, petting the neighbor’s cat.

After returning from her naked safari, Lilly reported, “Kitty-cat no like my nakee stuff.”

Unlike Lilly, I’ve always been unusually modest, even during my swim team days back in high school and college, when I had to shower with twenty other females on a daily basis. I kept myself covered whenever possible, but my teammates’ attitudes ran the gamut, including Michelle Gordon, who we lovingly nicknamed “Flesh” because she would strip down to her birthday suit as soon as we set foot in the locker room.

So what am I saying?

In all my old-fashioned modesty, I have ironically become the ultimate non-conformist in today’s bare-it-all society. I might shave my knees each spring, but you won’t see me wearing a crop top and Daisy Dukes just because the bees are buzzing. The sun can shine all it wants, but I won’t put on anything with spaghetti straps, a plunging neckline or a mini skirt. And no matter how hot it gets, I won’t squeeze my 49-year-old-mother-of-three frame into a string bikini.

(You’re welcome.)

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Category: Community, Observances

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