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The Social Contract

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

So, I was walking my dog, Rosco, the other day and I witnessed something that left me confused. No, more than that. Reeling. Freaked out. Wondering when the hell the rest of society abandoned all pretense of following “the rules.”

It wasn’t a crime or even somebody just being rude. It was something much less dramatic, but for some reason, it’s stuck with me in the days since. Call me a drama queen or easily offended, but I just can’t get the image out of my head.

What was it?

Okay, here’s the story.

As Rosco stopped to pee for the three-millionth time in our walk (elapsed time: 12 minutes), I noticed a delivery van pulling up in front of a brick duplex a few blocks away from our house. The driver got out, carrying a large bag of food, and started up the porch steps.

The customer, who lived in the duplex, came outside to meet him.

Now, normally, I’d applaud such promptness and consideration. But in this case, the customer should have stayed inside and waited for the delivery man to ring the bell.


Because she was wearing nothing—nothing at all, literally—but a much-too-short, tie-dyed T-shirt.

Now, as I writer, I tend to notice details, and I feel like it’s my job to report them so that you, the reader, can clearly picture the setting in your own mind. Therefore, I feel compelled to also mention that the woman in question was about my height (5 foot, 5 inches), and I’d estimate her weight at just shy of 300 pounds.

Hey, now, before you get all pissed off: I am NOT fat shaming.

I assure you, I’d still be writing this—and I’d be just as offended—if a svelte supermodel with a “perfect body” (whatever THAT is!) came wandering out of the house without any pants on.
The woman’s weight is not the point. Her state of undress IS.

I’ll be the first person to champion the idea of being comfortable and wearing whatever you like. IN YOUR OWN HOME.

But once you leave the house, even if it’s only the 3 feet between your front door and the porch steps, there are certain rules you—and I, and ALL of us—need to follow: Like, for example, you have to put on something to cover your hoohah, ladies.

Had this young woman been curled up on her couch bingeing on Netflix, I’d be cheering her self-assurance and nonconformity, both of which I find admirable.

But the moment she dragged the unwitting delivery driver into the mix, she created a social situation—one in which she is expected to follow the rules. And those rules state that you don’t leave your house and interact with strangers when your genitals are on display.
It’s called the social contract, and it’s what separates us from the wild beasts of the savannah.

Look into it, won’t you?

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