Inexperienced nudist arrested for maladjustment

Many people feel confident wandering around the house naked.

Or so I’m told.

However, it’s a little more taxing when you’re doing it in public. There’s an extra pressure on your psyche, as well as on your social skills.

You’re supposed to feel more free, but you might end up feeling captive to a plethora of staring eyes and a jumble of uncertain mores.

This is what seems to have befallen the denuded and 48-year-old Richard Sierra.

Sierra thought it might be socially progressive or morally imperative or merely fun to stand up for the rights of those who prefer to wander the streets of San Francisco naked.

This is a choice that, to my knowledge, Karl Malden never made.

However, there is a solid cabal of people who believe this is an important form of self-expression.

Sierra’s bare-cheeked stand led him to have to stand before a judge.

He was accused, you see, of touching himself in a manner that was not deemed appropriate. As if standing around naked on a city street somehow is.

So, in the home of the drag queen, he was dragged away.

As the San Francisco Chronicle exposes it, a man with a dog had been struck by the distinct impression that Sierra was masturbating.

There is, clearly, some distinction between protesting and masturbating. In one case, you are angry, while in the other you merely appear as if you are.

The eye(ful) witness also declared that Sierra appeared to be in possession of lubricant.

One of the SF protesters. (Not Richard Sierra.)

One of the SF protesters. (Not Richard Sierra.)

Please forgive me for offering a digression at this point, but how many people would turn up at a protest, divest themselves of their coverings and proceed to masturbate, while the remainder of the protesters were waving their flags in the air for the cause of peaceful, pleasant nude city life?

It would seem a touch counter-productive to be touching one’s body in pleasure. The whole point was to persuade that theirs was merely natural, normal, unthreatening, everyday nudist behavior.

Moreover, Sierra wasn’t even completely nude.

He was wearing a tank top. Though he apparently felt comfortable about exposing his lower regions, he had scars on his stomach that he preferred to hide.

This was his first time as a nude protester. Just as there is with dancing in a club or clubbing a seal, there’s a confidence level to be reached.

As his lawyer pleaded and pleaded and pleaded his case, it emerged that Sierra might not have been holding lubricant, but cream to treat eczema on an unspecified other part of his being.

His insistence was that he was not performing some lewd public act, but that he was simply unfamiliar with the sometimes difficult choreography of nude protest.

When is a simple display a little too cocksure?

When is an adjustment a maladjustment?

His lawyer insisted that Sierra’s actions represented the domestic (re)arrangement of a nervous man, rather than some public preening peacockery.

It took a jury a whole day to decide to give him the benefit of the doubt, rather than the benefit of a few months behind bars and uncomfortable hours in front of a hairy bank robber they call Pitbull Durham.

Sometimes, it’s better to expose your naivete than to wave your bravado in people’s faces.

That way, you might at least engender sympathy, rather than revulsion.

This is something men are sometimes slow to learn.



Image: Associated Press/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk







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