Earlier this week a friend of mine texted me a link to an interesting news story that has Montreal Police looking for a mysterious middle-of-the-night naked jogger. Fully aware of my lifestyle, she was quick to ask me if I might just so happen to be the nude jogger in question. The truth is that I definitely could be, considering that Jade Sambrook has a propensity for this type of freedom inducing activity.
Apparently this gentleman has been spotted several times at around 4AM jogging along a bike path in his birthday suit. What’s more, is that the winter season temperature at this time of the year is hovering around -15 to -20 degrees Celsius. As the story goes, a so-called ”victim” of the naked jogger filed a complaint with the police, but they did not take it seriously. Naturally anybody, including the police, will have a hard time believing that somebody is running around naked in such freezing cold weather. Therefore the so-called ”victim” of the naked jogger decided to stay-up all night armed with a camera in hand so that he could capture on film the nude runner and prove to the police that he was not hallucinating.
And now according to the police, the naked jogger is exposing himself (no pun intended) to charges of exhibitionism and public indecency.
First of all, I was happy to read many of the comments below the news article in support of the naked jogger. There even seems to be a backlash against the so-called ”victim” who filmed it and reported the matter to authorities. I call this person the so-called ”victim” because they are exactly that, a person that has chosen to be victimized by the simple sight of a naked human body, based solely on a learned behaviour of shame and disgust towards nudity. I am certain that this person sees much worse on television and does not feel the need to report it to the police.
I also question the police saying that the naked jogger could face criminal charges for indecency and exhibitionism. Really? Is the naked human body even an indecent entity to begin with? And is the naked jogger purposely and intentionally exposing himself to people? To the contrary, he is out running in the middle of the night at 4am when the grand majority of people are sound asleep. Clearly his intentions are not exhibitionist. While the police have unsolved murders and violent crimes to deal with, they now have to put resources and energy towards a matter that was only brought up because of somebody’s socially imposed puritanical views.
Of course many of the comments bring up the ”what about the children” argument. Well, to begin with the children are also sound asleep at this time of the night. And even if they weren’t, even if this jogger were out jogging naked in broad daylight, the most a child will do upon the sight of a naked human body is to giggle, or to exclaim a ”yuck” based on the body shame that was taught to them by a society that is itself ashamed of the human body. Besides, these same children see things on a daily basis that are much more offensive than a naked human body; like violence on TV, violent computer games; environmental pollution and social inequality just to name a few.
Some people have commented that rules are meant to be respected and that there is a time and place for being naked, like at the nudist beach. To that I respond that rules can be changed over time. For example, prior to 1920 a woman was not legally considered a person but rather the property of her husband. In fact, the expression ”the rule of thumb” comes from a rule that allowed the husband to beat his wife with a stick as long as that stick was not larger than the circumference of his thumb. Thank goodness that the rules were changed and that women are now considered actual persons equal to men. Thank goodness also that the rules were changed making it illegal for husbands to beat their wives, with or without a stick.
Another example of rules being changed is the case of Rosa Parks, who as person of colour refused to give up her seat on the city bus to a white person. Until she stood her ground by refusing to give-up her seat, it was an unwritten rule that black people should give-up their seat to white people. Thank goodness that she stood her ground and that such a ridiculous rule is no longer a sanctioned social practice.
Again, rules can be changed and we must first begin by asking ourselves why public nudity is against the law to begin with. Simply because some people are offended or ashamed of the naked human body is not a valid reason in my opinion. I am therefore hoping that as society evolves the rule forbidding public nudity will change with it and that humans will be taught, and learn, that there really is nothing offensive or indecent about a naked human body. It’s simply a matter of changing the current learned behaviour. For example we’ve learned to accept advertisements and billboards in public that are sexual in nature, or front pages of magazines that show sexualized models, and nobody is screaming ”what about the children!”
Many years ago people would say things like: I don’t want to see two homosexual men kissing in public, or I don’t want to see two lesbians holding hands in public; It’s offensive and unnatural; There are places for them to do that like at home and ”in the closet”.
We can all agree though that most of society has now evolved to the point that the sight of two men kissing, or two women holding hands is both acceptable and inoffensive. In other words our learned behaviour simply changed for the better. Generally speaking nobody would be heard now-a-days telling a gay person that there is a time and place to be gay, like at a gay bar or at home ”in the closet”. So why do people feel that they can tell a naked person that there are only certain appropriate places to be naked?
To me the naked jogger did not do anything wrong. He was naked, as we all are under our clothes. He was not bothering anybody, having chosen to run naked in the middle-of-the-night. And even if he chose to run naked in broad daylight, I don’t see why anybody could or should be offended by a simple naked human body, other than they were taught to feel that way.
Last but not least, he was doing a healthy and liberating activity that is good for his body, mind and soul. We should all be encouraging him in his drive to stay healthy, even if that involves exercising in the nude. Unfortunately most people who say they are going to the gym, wearing their yoga pants and sweat suits, don’t realize that the origin of the word gym actually originates from the Greek adjective gymnos, meaning naked. As you may know, Greek athletes would exercise and compete in the nude and clearly this did not put an end to civilization. The sun still rises every day regardless of any naked people running around.
My friend did text me a short time afterwards to tell me that she realized that I wasn’t the naked jogger because his shoes were not the same as mine and he had a lot of hair under his tuque. Somehow though I wish that I was the naked jogger, because I know from experience how liberating and comfortable it must have been for him. I hope that the police leave him alone and that the so-called ”victim” of the naked jogger eventually decides to join him for a naked run. He’ll become addicted to it if he does. Even if the temperature is -15 to -20 degree Celsius, I’ll simply say what my mother would always say as I ran out the door to play: don’t forget to put on a tuque!