By JIM MULLEN
Why do so many people think that the arrival of summer means it’s time to pack away all the clothes that actually fit them? That it’s time to reveal their out-of-shape bodies by wearing Speedos and tube tops? Noel Coward used to ask, “Why do all the wrong people travel?” Now, I’m pretty sure he would ask, “Why do all the wrong people wear skimpy clothes?”
On that show “Cops,” every time they show up to arrest some guy, he answers the door (or climbs out the back window) shirtless. It’s as if shirts hurt criminals the way Kryptonite hurts Superman: “Don’t let it touch my skin, it burns!” Do their shirts cause a rash, or are they just trying to keep them clean for their parole officers? You don’t want to show up for an important meeting with crack ashes all over your only shirt, do you?
Going skimpy is one thing if you’re the reigning Mr. or Miss America; it’s quite another if you’re just some ordinary working schlub waiting to buy a soft-serve ice cream cone in the summer heat. I don’t want to stand behind you wondering if you comb your back hair or if it just naturally looks that way. And it can’t be good for the soft-serve ice cream business if you’re making the other customers so sick that they get out of line.
I remember the first time I saw a sign that said, “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” It struck me as extremely funny that you would have to tell someone that they’re expected to wear a shirt and shoes when they’re not actually on the beach. Doesn’t everyone know that? Or is there a sign on the inside of everyone’s front door that says, “Don’t forget to wear pants today!”