Brave Nude World

Brave Nude World

To all the readers of this article (yes, both of you), I offer a pre-emptive apology as I attempt to tip toe my way through the veritable minefield of potential puns and double entendres that lie ahead. I would like to assure the more conservative among you that no effort will be spared in clearing a righteous path for your eyes to follow.

The return of our native game heralds with it the welcome onset of another season of its mature aged adaptation for ailing, pseudo-athletes like myself. Every player of team sports the world over, indulges in their own pre-game routine but I must say I do enjoy the uniqueness of them at this level of competition. To my left, our key forward “Haema” celebrates another non-existent pre-season campaign with the unveiling of his latest chin.  “Burger” stretches his lungs on a fistful of Winfield Reds whilst “Dooley” sits quietly across from me, nervously combing his back and shoulders. These traits are unique to our level of the code and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are no chiselled physiques on offer here. No “Statues of David” so to speak, unless there’s one of “Boonie” being crapped on in a park somewhere that I’m presently unaware of.

I love suburban footy and all that it stands for but there is a disturbing element to the post-game culture that has long gone unchallenged. I question its endemic nature to our code and would welcome feedback from across the sporting community at large. I am hoping this forum, if nothing else, will create an open dialogue between the brazen mob I am here to challenge and my previously unspoken for supporters, whom I would implore to step boldly from the shadows of this scourge.

This issue resides in the post–game environment. In the afterglow of the contest it struts proudly, yet seemingly undetected, among its inhabitants. It is the elephant in the change room and frankly, I’m no longer just asking for it to be acknowledged. I’m demanding it put some bloody pants on as well!

Amid the backslapping and associated machismo that accompanies a round one victory, the boys begin peeling off their inhibitions and tossing them into a steaming pile in the middle of the room. A boisterous rendition of the club song erupts on cue, led by our fuller figured fullback, whose modesty is preserved only by the hardest working towel in the room. To suggest that he is not in shape is quite incorrect. He is every bit in shape. That shape just happens to be that of a butternut pumpkin. I am unable to share the team’s gusto in song. The off tempo jiggling of his midriff proves a constant distraction and my focus and sympathies are drawn to the unconvincing, though fiercely determined, knot that clings bravely to life at his waist.

The huddle disperses and suddenly it’s everywhere! A veritable Mardi Gras of exposed flesh. I look over and my eye is caught by our Captain and Vice-Captain standing toe to toe in a lengthy post-game analysis, seemingly oblivious to their unadorned situation. Nary a fig leaf between them. Now, can somebody name me one other social situation that I could approach with such flagrant disregard for inhibition, without collecting 100 hours of community service or a face full of pepper spray for my trouble?

I like to call this strange phenomenon “Myer Catalogue Syndrome” after the publication where I first noticed its curious effects. Thumbing casually through the under garment section, I was immediately struck by the confident posture of its smiling participants, unphased to the point of laughter at their pants free predicament. Seriously, who does this? Retail outlets would have us believe this is standard, every day fare throughout society. I’m not certain I want to share postcodes with the family that’s happy to rendezvous around an underpants themed chuckle-fest.

Son: “Solid choice of lollybags Dad.”

Dad: “Thank you son. You know, nothing says success quite like a high waisted Y-Front. High five!”

Turn the page and it’s an all adult affair. Two middle aged couples beaming jubilantly at each other’s inability to complete an outfit.

Wife: “I say darling, look who’s popped over to borrow a cup of sugar.”

Husband: “Jolly good form. Splendid negligee!”

Neighbour: “Thank you old boy, the wife lets me borrow it whenever we go visiting.”

Given that in my first three seasons at the club I showered in a burqa, I’m willing to grant you that I may have set up camp on the slightly more conservative side of the fence, but am I alone here when highlighting that which appears to be at odds with what is otherwise considered normal social behaviour?

There is an argument that suggests there has been a certain synergy between nudity and major sport for several millenia, from when the two skipped hand in hand during the inception of what we now know as the modern Olympiad.

Allow me to first respond by pointing out that this is NOT ancient Greece. With scarcely a sandal in sight on the field of play these days, this is no clear cut case of comparing souvlakis with souvlakis. Other than the obvious challenges associated with identifying one’s favourite javelin thrower of the day, there had been no immediate need to cover up. Might I suggest that in the absence of sponsorship and the almighty corporate dollar, the need for uniforms at this time was neither here nor there. However I put it to you, that had a “Steve’s Toga Rentals” been business savvy enough to identify the lucrative advertising potential of a well positioned logo, to catch the consumers eye, records of the time might indicate a less blase approach to “kitting up”.

Furthermore, our football codes are a winter fixture. Are our supporters in their knitted beanies and scarves not making a compelling enough case to cover up? I for one, am just glad the inventor of the duffle coat (Sir Alfred Dufflecote I believe) is not around to see such wanton exhibitionism. He would be turning in his polyester lined grave.

Am I the only person left, huddled in a hot, damp corner to whom the after game shower is still a private sanctuary? A place to reflect on personal heroics from the field of play and perhaps a little fine tuning of the falsetto from Bohemian Rhapsody. A place where I can ponder quietly without the fear of encroachment from a seemingly endless procession of cheerful cellulite. Badgering me for informed commentary when all my powers of concentration are fixed squarely at the spaces between my toes.

I’m aware that team unity and success are not mutually exclusive and I am no fan of elitism in any form but where do we draw the line? How long before I’m bumping thighs with the Timekeeper or being towel whipped by a Property Steward, in the name of team spirit? I just think there’s still room for a little modesty in the modern game, that’s all I’m saying.

I am willing to bow to the voice of the people if shouted down on this one and, having never served time in a correctional facility, could offer only a regimented childhood and a handful of long since repressed High School locker room anecdotes in defence of my present opinions.

Hey, what do you know, I did it! As promised, I offered my personal insights on, and successfully negotiated, a subject of potential embarrassment but did so without any need for cheap laughs or childish innuendos. If I’d known it was this easy, I would have been happy to expose myself to you much sooner…..oh… bugger!

About Jamie Simmons

Born in Melbourne, a third generation Fitzroy supporter, in 1972 before emigrating to Tasmania during The Great Broccoli Famine of 86. Leaving my island lodgings, largely at the request of locals, to settle once more on the mainland in 1997. These days living out a peaceful existance on the outskirts of Brisbane, where I spend most of my time serving as a fashion warning to others.

Comments

  1. Mark Doyle says:

    Jamie, Are you serious or prudish? I suspect the latter because most people in Australia are prudish and have difficulty with nudity. Nudity is natural! It will be interesting to see responses, if any, on this website to your essay! Do you remember the irrational and hysterical reaction to Bill Henson’s photographs of a naked girl a few years back. I wonder how you would cope with sharing a sauna with naked men and women in Germany or naked sunbathing in the English Garden in Munich, Germany There was an interesting recent intellectual discussion on Euromaxx by a German figurative artist on the naturalness of nudity, which is worth a look. I also witnessed a bizarre incident in my local public indoor swimming pool a couple of years back when a young bloke was changing his daughter of 4 or 5 into her swimming togs and some dighead abused him for bringing a young girl into the male changeroom. There has also been some irrational and immature reaction to recent art exhibitions of vaginas and a theatre play called ‘Vagina Stories’.

  2. Surely anybody that didn’t go and pay to see Bill Henson’s “art” was an intellectual moron. There is no other word for it. In fact, those who didn’t see it are Un-Australian. There is no other word for it.

  3. Jamie Simmons says:

    Mark, “Are you serious or prudish?” doesn’t appear to give me much choice really, so let me stop you half way. Am I serious? No Mark. No, I’m not.

  4. Billygoat says:

    Ah Igor, what an invigorating read. One for the ages, the old ages, and the images of the Dools and description of Burger are without parallel in their literary accuracy. What you are really uncovering is that wonderful moment in life when we look in the mirror with surprise at that old bastard and wonder where he came from and what happened to that young fit bloke. From then on its open slather – no one gives a hoot any more and the towell is more of something we keep handy in case some unsuspecting lost soul wanders into the rooms by mistake and takes fright and responds with a semi-automatic weapon.
    If Haema reads this you are dead, of course…..

  5. Billygoat says:

    Yes and before you can respond I am aware that Haema doesn’t read.

  6. Jamie Simmons says:

    Ahhh Billy, bless you. Some “informed” commentary among the madness.

  7. Jamie Simmons says:

    Mark, I’ve cast a discerning eye over the work of Bill Henson and it’s OK but personally I prefer the work of Jim Henson, especially the Swedish Chef. That guy cracks me up.

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