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Kate Middleton and our Clothes-Shedding Culture

Kate Middleton is part of a generation increasingly comfortable with removing clothing in public.

The debate over privacy versus paparazzi in the Kate Middleton topless photo fiasco got me thinking about our gradual acceptance of people wearing less and less in public.

Anyone who runs or bikes on trails throughout Arlington knows what I’m talking about. With every passing year, people are exposing more flesh — especially women.

I remember in the 1980s when leotards and leg warmers were considered sexy and provocative. And even those were reserved for dance or aerobics classes inside. People who went jogging wore T-shirts, tank tops, shorts and sweat pants.

Now, you see women running outside, in public, in bras. Yes, bras. I always found it funny that putting the word “sports” in front of the word "bra" changed people's perception about wearing underwear outside.

It’s not necessary. I watched the Olympics and saw the U.S. women’s relay team set a world record and none of them ran wearing sports bras.

The men’s beach volleyball players managed to play on the same sand, under the same hot sun, as the women, but wore five times as much clothing.

About 10 years ago, there were a slew of photos of Hollywood celebrities caught on camera, going “commando,” without underwear. Most wear wearing dresses.

Remember that dude who launched a multimillion-dollar video brand called "Girls Gone Wild" based on camera crews patrolling vacation spots for young women who agreed to expose themselves in exchange for a freaking T-shirt? He seemed to have an endless number of volunteers.

And who could forget the thong era, about 10 years ago? I never understood what was appealing about that.

Of course, we can’t forget about the young men who walk in public with their pants falling down, boxers and briefs exposed. Many of them consider it a fashion statement. The only statement I’m getting is, “Look at me — I’m rude, crude and impolite.”

I’m not a prude. When I play tennis I don’t wear armor. I don’t long for the days when people wore suits and ties to football games or boarded planes in their Sunday best. But I think we could cover up a bit more. Leave something to the imagination.

Expose private parts in private spaces — inside.

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