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A place of dignity and refinement

This iconic image shows Michael O’Brien, an Aussie, the first brave innovator to run naked across the field of a major sporting event. It was a rugby game in 1974 between England and France. The bobby’s helmet (the one covering his junk) is on display at Twickenham, where this event took place.

I always thought of streaking as an American phenomenon, but it ain’t. The first recorded running-naked-on-a-bet was on July 5, 1799 when a London man was bet ten guineas he wouldn’t run naked from Cornhill to Cheapside. The flesh was willing, but the police were uncooperative.

The first recorded incident of streaking by a college student in the United States occurred in 1804 at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) when senior George William Crump was arrested for running naked through Lexington, Virginia, where the university is located. Robert E. Lee later sanctioned streaking as a rite of passage for young Washington and Lee gentlemen. Crump was suspended for the academic session, but later went on to become a U.S. Congressman.

I lifted that from the Wikipedia article whole, because I couldn’t say it better myself.

Oh. Right. Let’s not forget Lady Godiva, the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, who rode naked through the streets of Coventry in the 11th C to protest her husband’s taxation policy. Everyone kindly looked away from the spectacle except one probably apocryphal swine named Tom, whose name comes down to us through legend.

In her honor, Coventry will be hosting the country’s first national streaking contest next month. Genitals optional, looks like. It’s sponsored by a food manufacturer to celebrate a microwavable hamburger called the Streaker, so named because it is topped with streaky bacon. Or, as we call it in the States, bacon.

Just in case you were thinking it was all Masterpiece Freaking Theatre over here.

April 23, 2014 — 9:43 pm
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