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#1
Old 11-05-2003, 01:20 PM
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Could I legally walk around in my underwear in public?

Lets say I put on a pair of white boxers, and a white T shirt and strut around the mall. I'm no more naked in these than in the clothing many people normally wear during the summer.

Will I be ruled indecent?

Would tighty whitie briefs instead of boxers make any difference in "indecency" levels.

Can a women wear a skirt and just a bra without a blouse and not be indecent?

Ultimately who makes the final judgment call on what comprises "public indecency"? The cops? the judge?
#2
Old 11-05-2003, 01:55 PM
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Re: Could I legally walk around in my underwear in public?

Quote:
Originally posted by astro
Lets say I put on a pair of white boxers, and a white T shirt and strut around the mall. I'm no more naked in these than in the clothing many people normally wear during the summer.
....

Ultimately who makes the final judgment call on what comprises "public indecency"? The cops? the judge?
First a lot depends, where you make this "indecency" known: public or private property. As far as private property, such as a mall, they can restrict your presence if they believe it violates their policies.

Second, a lot depend on the region/city cultural mores. One thing is Berkeley, California another thing is Laredo, Texas.


Finally, if public, a lot depends on what are the city's laws. Check out the story of Thong Man from San Antonio, Texas . Check the photo and he is wearing way YYY YYY YYY less than what you describe, yet he managed to ride unmolested in his bike. In the end, it is up to the interpretation of a municipal judge on the city's laws.

xicanorex
#3
Old 11-05-2003, 02:27 PM
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There isn't some national law on this issue. It depends on how state and local laws are written, and case law on that issue in that state.
#4
Old 11-07-2003, 03:11 AM
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I have seen lots of people walk around in what I think are boxers but some of my friends will say, those aren't boxers, those are shorts. So...

But this was on Seinfeld. Remember Elaine gave this girl a bra. (apparently this girl never wore one. So it was a sarcastic present). Anyway the woman wore just the bra over to Elaine's office. Elaine--"Ah it's not a top" Friend--"I know." So she walks out onto the street with a bra and Kramer sees her stares and swerves the car wrecking it. He later sues the friend wearing the bra.
#5
Old 11-07-2003, 05:04 PM
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Also, although I wouldn't count on universally shared viewpoints on enforcement and whatnot, I think it is generally technically held that women are not indecently dressed if they go topless altogether, insofar as men are not generally arrested for indecent exposure for doing so and equal protection clauses etc have been understood to mean that you can't declare a female upper torso to be in more need of coverage than an upper male torso.
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#6
Old 11-07-2003, 05:13 PM
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If only...
#7
Old 11-07-2003, 07:40 PM
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... And this is why mothers tell their offspring to wear clean underwear ...


#8
Old 11-07-2003, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AHunter3
Also, although I wouldn't count on universally shared viewpoints on enforcement and whatnot, I think it is generally technically held that women are not indecently dressed if they go topless altogether, insofar as men are not generally arrested for indecent exposure for doing so and equal protection clauses etc have been understood to mean that you can't declare a female upper torso to be in more need of coverage than an upper male torso.
Do you know of anywhere in the US where this is true? Because I have been to beaches in the LA area where some of the women with us have been hassled by the police because they were sun bathing topless.
#9
Old 11-07-2003, 08:11 PM
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I'm pretty sure that a woman won a case in New York City, winning the right for all women to go topless on the subway.

This is a memory of a news story from several years ago.
#10
Old 11-07-2003, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Ultimately who makes the final judgment call on what comprises "public indecency"? The cops?
The cop. If the cop thinks your indecent he'll take you in.
#11
Old 11-08-2003, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by robo99
The cop. If the cop thinks your indecent he'll take you in.

This is true. But most policemen (including your's truely) won't make a pinch unless they know the d.a. will prosecute it, and a judge won't kick it (believe it or not, this is the reason you get a few miles over the speed limit. In Milwaukee County it's 12, but you didn't hear that from me ).

My point is: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

What you will get away with in New Orleans, might get you in jail in Salt Lake City.

And what will get you busted in SLC, is what people in Milwaukee drink 12 times a day.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
#12
Old 06-11-2016, 11:17 AM
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in nyc now a days man or woman can walk around in c string thong which covers penis and or vagina -no coverage of any sort anywhere else back and sides are totally open and you look nude from back. police wont stop you because law says private genitalia to be covered. of course if you have bodypaint or doing a show then you can be totally nude.
#13
Old 06-11-2016, 11:51 AM
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Today (second Saturday in June) is the World Naked Bike Ride. Literally thousands of people will be riding their bicycles, in public, wearing less than underwear, to protest oil dependency. The argument is that it's legal because the First Amendment right to protest supersedes any local or state laws regarding nudity, and this argument was upheld by a judge in Portland Oregon around 2009 IIRC.

But, on any other day of the year, in most jurisdictions it's still legal to walk around in your underwear as long as you're not being "lewd". It's actually legal in many states (including New York and Oregon) for women (and men) to walk around bare-chested. I don't see how you could possibly argue that it's illegal to wear, for example, a bra and panties, when it's legal to walk around wearing just panties.

IANAL YMMV
#14
Old 06-11-2016, 11:57 AM
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Could I legally walk around in my underwear in public?

Please don't.
#15
Old 06-11-2016, 12:11 PM
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In the UK, it doesn't matter what you are wearing generally so long as you don't expose your genitals. There are many places where nudity is permitted and even compulsory, but walk down Oxford street in your boxers on a sunny day and the looks you get would vary between admiration and disgust, depending on your physique. No cop would be at all interested, but some stores would politely ask you to bugger off.

In Scotland a guy was fined for walking around with a sausage sticking out of his trousers. The reasoning was that, although is clearly wasn't a penis, some people would have thought it was and been offended.

Last edited by bob++; 06-11-2016 at 12:12 PM.
#16
Old 06-11-2016, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
This is true. But most policemen (including your's truely) won't make a pinch unless they know the d.a. will prosecute it, and a judge won't kick it (believe it or not, this is the reason you get a few miles over the speed limit. In Milwaukee County it's 12, but you didn't hear that from me ).

My point is: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

What you will get away with in New Orleans, might get you in jail in Salt Lake City.

And what will get you busted in SLC, is what people in Milwaukee drink 12 times a day.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Yup. The OP pictured himself strutting around "the mall" in his skivvies. That's private property--they can kick you out just because they don't like the way you look. Members of protected classes have recourse--but "slob" is not a protected class.

Also the quality of the underwear would matter. And the quality of the body thus revealed....
#17
Old 06-11-2016, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites View Post

My point is: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

What you will get away with in New Orleans, might get you in jail in Salt Lake City.

And what will get you busted in SLC, is what people in Milwaukee drink 12 times a day.
And what would go unnoticed in SLC might get you beaten in Riyadh.
#18
Old 06-11-2016, 03:15 PM
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It's sadly common nowadays for men to walk around in public with their pants pulled down below their undies. And while it might earn you a visit to the principal's office if you're doing it in school, it won't get you arrested.
#19
Old 06-11-2016, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
It's sadly common nowadays for men to walk around in public with their pants pulled down below their undies. And while it might earn you a visit to the principal's office if you're doing it in school, it won't get you arrested.
I wouldn't call the idiot thugs who do this men.
#20
Old 06-11-2016, 03:57 PM
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Swimwear or underwear?
#21
Old 06-11-2016, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
In Scotland a guy was fined for walking around with a sausage sticking out of his trousers. The reasoning was that, although is clearly wasn't a penis, some people would have thought it was and been offended.
If you have a cite for that conviction I would be much obliged to see it. Presumably the Scottish Daily Mail had a field day with it.

The urban myth still gets recounted in Edinburgh medical student circles about the undergraduate who walked around with an actual penis (from a corpse) protruding from his fly, and when reprimanded about this, took out a scalpel and cut it off.
#22
Old 06-11-2016, 07:53 PM
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I got this from the "Straight Dope Page O' One Liners" a very long time ago and I forgot who posted it, but it seems appriate here:

I call it "No-Pants Wonderday," but it turns out the police just call it "Thursday." Go figure.
#23
Old 06-11-2016, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Could I legally walk around in my underwear in public?

Please don't.
This is the real answer, surely?
#24
Old 06-11-2016, 09:06 PM
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Google skirt and Bralet. It's a pretty common fashion these days.

Example
https://google.com/search?q=skir...Mtex3lblqUM%3A
#25
Old 06-11-2016, 09:57 PM
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y'know, 12 and a half years is a long time to hang out in your undies unless you are living, like, around here by the beach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbakht View Post
of course if you have bodypaint or doing a show then you can be totally nude.
I believe that the Law in NYC is that in public you have to cover your delicates even if body-painted (as observed in Times Square for the past two years).
#26
Old 06-11-2016, 10:16 PM
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I believe in most states you can actually walk around your front yard completely naked and the police can't do anything about it since it's your own private property unless you're touching yourself sexually and thus violating some sort of indecency law.

Last edited by Asuka; 06-11-2016 at 10:17 PM.
#27
Old 06-11-2016, 10:41 PM
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A lot of women go out running in nothing but a sports bra and a pair of shorts (and running shoes) and no one thinks it's odd. I have never seen a man go running in nothing but a thong (and running shoes) but I suppose it's ok if he enjoys sunburn and bug bites. Most male runners I see usually wear some type of shirt. I don't really understand why we have "decency" laws that require people to wear clothing. People can be quite indecent while fully clothed and fully decent while naked.

If you tried to go shopping or into a restaurant wearing minimal sporting attire they would probably chuck you out on the "no shoes no shirt no service" principle.
#28
Old 06-11-2016, 10:51 PM
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It doesn't make sense to say just underwear=bad, trousers=good in some statute book somewhere, because I could easily find a pair of spandex pants that prominently show off my erect junk. And meanwhile, like you say, some underwear just looks like shorts, and what about a person on a street near to the beach wearing only trunks?

There has to be common sense on this; the police have to make a judgement call. If the police see you and think you're obscenely dressed, especially if members of the public have complained, then they can detain you briefly and issue a fine or whatever. Or maybe just let you go with a warning after recording the incident and giving you something to put on.

This is based on a loose understanding of how it works in the UK, but I suspect as a practical matter it has to be handled something like this in most secular countries.

Last edited by Mijin; 06-11-2016 at 10:55 PM.
#29
Old 06-11-2016, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spamforbrains View Post
A lot of women go out running in nothing but a sports bra and a pair of shorts (and running shoes) and no one thinks it's odd.
All the sports bras in which I've seen females out running in public, seem to be styled to be seen in public. They cover more than most regular bras as far as I know, and certainly more than most bikini tops, and typically aren't sheer or lacy or otherwise looking like dainty underthings.
#30
Old 06-12-2016, 11:30 AM
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Indecent exposure laws very a lot from state to state and sometimes city to city. There are cities where walking around fully nude is OK (I believe San Francisco is like this), and other places where a lot of bathing suits won't pass muster. Nipple coverage often depends on sex, and gets complicated because of breast feeding and the fact that it's clearly a case of sex discrimination. The part of NY's law that forbade women going topless was ruled unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. A number of places have a law against clothing that exposes the shape of an erection, so a man running around in contour-hugging fabric may have trouble if he gets arouse. For the most part what you need to do is cover the genitals, anus, and female nipples to be OK legally, though legality doesn't stop local cops from hassling you. Boxer shorts and an undershirt is legal most places (presuming your junk stays covered), I know it would not hit any laws where I live, and I'm not aware of anywhere that has a law that distinguishes between 'underwear' and 'outerwear'.

As far as walking though a mall, the mall is private property and can kick you out for any reason that isn't "because you're in a protected class", it's just like 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' at a restaurant. If you refuse to leave then you're trespassing, and the cops will cite you for that and probably won't bother with an 'indecent exposure' charge even if it might technically violate a local statute, because trespassing law is really clear on this kind of thing and is what the mall will want them to cite you for (because you get in more trouble if you come back after getting cited).
#31
Old 06-12-2016, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
Lets say I put on a pair of white boxers, and a white T shirt and strut around the mall. I'm no more naked in these than in the clothing many people normally wear during the summer.

Will I be ruled indecent?

Would tighty whitie briefs instead of boxers make any difference in "indecency" levels.

Can a women wear a skirt and just a bra without a blouse and not be indecent?

Ultimately who makes the final judgment call on what comprises "public indecency"? The cops? the judge?
Isn't that basically what the yoga pants crowd does?

I mean some of them are so tight you can spot the camel toe no problemo.
#32
Old 06-12-2016, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Bones Daley View Post
If you have a cite for that conviction I would be much obliged to see it. Presumably the Scottish Daily Mail had a field day with it.

The urban myth still gets recounted in Edinburgh medical student circles about the undergraduate who walked around with an actual penis (from a corpse) protruding from his fly, and when reprimanded about this, took out a scalpel and cut it off.
I looked but failed.
#33
Old 06-13-2016, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
It doesn't make sense to say just underwear=bad, trousers=good in some statute book somewhere, because I could easily find a pair of spandex pants that prominently show off my erect junk. And meanwhile, like you say, some underwear just looks like shorts, and what about a person on a street near to the beach wearing only trunks?

There has to be common sense on this; the police have to make a judgement call. If the police see you and think you're obscenely dressed, especially if members of the public have complained, then they can detain you briefly and issue a fine or whatever. Or maybe just let you go with a warning after recording the incident and giving you something to put on.

This is based on a loose understanding of how it works in the UK, but I suspect as a practical matter it has to be handled something like this in most secular countries.
Don't forget that there are different legal systems in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England and Wales. But in any of these jurisdictions it would be a matter for the courts to decide in the light of fairly generally-worded laws on indecent display or some similar wording (the law doesn't prescribe everything about its potential applications).

Unless, of course, someone gets an Anti-Social Behaviour Order injunction against a specific person, in which case, there can be bizarrely draconian results:
http://telegraph.co.uk/news/gene...eccentric.html
#34
Old 06-13-2016, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by PatrickLondon View Post
Don't forget that there are different legal systems in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England and Wales. But in any of these jurisdictions it would be a matter for the courts to decide in the light of fairly generally-worded laws on indecent display or some similar wording (the law doesn't prescribe everything about its potential applications).
Sure, but what I'm also saying is that in most cases it will just be a judgement call by police and is unlikely to make it into court.
So while the answer to the OP is that he may not run afoul of any specific laws by walking around in tight briefs, that doesn't mean he won't be stopped by the police.

I suspect that this kind of thing is relatively common -- think of all the young people trying to push against social norms, and all the elderly people failing to dress adequately because of, for example, dementia.
It's the kind of thing police need basic powers to deal with, but also, as it's so trivial, it's unlikely they'll try to make a conviction.

Last edited by Mijin; 06-13-2016 at 06:48 AM.
#35
Old 06-14-2016, 06:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
In the UK, it doesn't matter what you are wearing generally so long as you don't expose your genitals. There are many places where nudity is permitted and even compulsory, but walk down Oxford street in your boxers on a sunny day and the looks you get would vary between admiration and disgust, depending on your physique. No cop would be at all interested, but some stores would politely ask you to bugger off.

In Scotland a guy was fined for walking around with a sausage sticking out of his trousers. The reasoning was that, although is clearly wasn't a penis, some people would have thought it was and been offended.
Apparently, it's only an offence in the UK if your intent is for someone to see your genitals and cause alarm or distress. If you are not intending to cause alarm or distress, you can walk around naked all day.

In Cambridge, there's a man who rides his bike naked, he is not out to cause alarm or distress, so he can ride around as much as he likes. Of course, not all towns are as tolerant as Cambridge
#36
Old 06-14-2016, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by duncs View Post
Apparently, it's only an offence in the UK if your intent is for someone to see your genitals and cause alarm or distress. If you are not intending to cause alarm or distress, you can walk around naked all day.

In Cambridge, there's a man who rides his bike naked, he is not out to cause alarm or distress, so he can ride around as much as he likes. Of course, not all towns are as tolerant as Cambridge
One of the tenets of law is that intent may be presumed from the obvious results which flow from your actions. Although you may wish that people were not alarmed or distressed by your public nudity, you almost certainly know that by appearing in public nude that people will be alarmed and distressed.

Therefore, if you choose to go nude into public knowing that by doing so people will be alarmed and distressed, your intentional choice to walk around nude means that you intended to alarm and distress people.
#37
Old 06-14-2016, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gazpacho View Post
Do you know of anywhere in the US where this is true? Because I have been to beaches in the LA area where some of the women with us have been hassled by the police because they were sun bathing topless.
Boulder. Actually many but not all jurisdictions. And cops are not above hassling people for doing things that are legal.
#38
Old 06-14-2016, 01:27 PM
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I've seen guys walking around buck naked in S.F.
I remarked to my wife "Well, that's something you don't see every day (and thanks for that)!"
#39
Old 06-14-2016, 01:37 PM
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In Times Square, the Naked Cowboy performs in briefs, cowboy boots and a hat, and a guitar hanging at waist-height.
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