Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I guess it depends on what type of naked you're talking about

Young and nubile -- good for business. Old and winked -- not so much.

Topless women on parade? That was fine. Teenagers loitering in the buff, in a downtown parking lot? No problem. Naked sunbathers at swimming holes? It was just au naturel.

But a senior citizen in his birthday suit, walking through the center of town on a Friday night, wearing only a fanny pack? That's where Brattleboro draws a fig leaf.

After years of allowing public nudity, the town famous for its strip-and-let-strip attitude is considering banning it in parts of town, saying naked notoriety has begun drawing people here and is offending locals.


On July 6, a 68-year-old man showed up naked downtown, walking the streets during Gallery Walk, a monthly social event in which people roam downtown, stopping in art galleries and shops. Gallery owner Suzanne Corsano was locking up for the night when she encountered him on a sidewalk.

"Naked people don't impress me," said Corsano, 60. "But to be walking down the street like that. I just looked straight at him, and he looked down. He was trying to get me to look down there, but I wouldn't."

The man told residents he was from Arizona and had decided to vacation in Brattleboro after reading about its public nudity freedom on the Internet.
So, the visiting naked people have pushed them to ban nudity temporarily in town:
Officials in Brattleboro voted 3 to 2 on Tuesday night for a temporary 30-day ordinance prohibiting people from going about in the nude.


Although skinny-dipping and nude sunbathing will stay legal in the state, doing the "full monty" in the middle of this town has now become taboo. A violation can cost $100.


The ban covers nudity in the main part of town and near schools and churches and is part of a broader anti-nudity proposal that is likely to be decided next month. Breast feeding in public will still be allowed.