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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.


Comment from Can’tHarkMyCry
Time: April 23, 2014, 11:37 pm

One gathers that England in the late 18th/early 19th century was a hotbed of gambling; admittedly, my primary source is Georgette Heyer, so that theory is suspect. All the same, The First Streaker story gives it some plausibility.

And you gotta wonder about the mentality which either preserved, or else tracked down and obtained, the helmet.

Comment from Davem123
Time: April 24, 2014, 1:38 am

Frankly it looks like the two of them are sharing a meaningful moment, staring deeply into each others eyes.

Did they also preserve the overcoat that the gentleman wearing the Boutonnière is racing to bring to the scene?

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: April 24, 2014, 2:02 am

Double meat, double cheese.

Comment from lauraw
Time: April 24, 2014, 2:13 am

Nice pins.

Comment from Deborah
Time: April 24, 2014, 2:47 am

Streaking. Remember the Ray Stevens recording, “The Streaker.” I vaguely remember the incident mentioned above.
Streaky Bacon, which I learned about from reading the (American writer) Martha Grimes mystery novels about Scotland Yard Inspector Richard Jury. I don’t know how accurate they are, but I liked them.
Georgette Heyer. Oh my heart. Everyone should read A Civil Contract. It’s so much more than a romance novel.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: April 24, 2014, 3:55 am

Yeah, Ray Stevens basically nailed ’em:

“He’s just as proud as he can be
Of his anatomy
And he’s gonna give us a peek.”

It should be legal to shoot streakers with BB guns, in their wieners. Female streakers are okay, I guess, but it’ll still be legal to pepper ’em with BBs or paintballs.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: April 24, 2014, 4:40 am

Not exactly streaking, but well, it sort of fits:


Comment from Deborah
Time: April 24, 2014, 11:26 am

Well. 😉
Plainly, that topiary dog is an attractive nuisance: something so compelling that it entices people—usually children—to come onto your property and potentially harm themselves. Insurance companies normally apply the term to swimming pools, not shrubbery, but still. Not to mention that the “dog” looks suspiciously like a Portuguese Water Dog. And it was hiking his leg. Honestly—what do people expect to happen when drunks walk by such a provocation. I’m surprised the man didn’t leave a puddle of his own.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: April 25, 2014, 6:17 am

You sure that’s not a Monty Python sketch? The hatless Bobby looks an awful lot like John Cleese.

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: April 25, 2014, 4:53 pm

I think I’m with Bob Mulroy, here…could’ve sworn I saw Marty Feldman lurking in the crowd, there…

Ah, well, in the old idiom, the fellow “stripped well”, did he not?

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: April 25, 2014, 11:13 pm

The first recorded running-naked-on-a-bet was on July 5, 1799…

There was a lord who bet someone that he could walk from… Marble Arch to Piccadilly? … naked except for his boots.

What he did: had a hatch installed in the floor of his closed carriage. He was driven to Point A, stripped off, opened the hatch and stood on the pavement below. Then he had his coachman drive slowly to Point B, while he walked inside the carriage.

He won the bet, though opinion was divided as to whether he cheated or was exceedingly clever.

Comment from Tibby
Time: April 28, 2014, 3:25 pm

This is funny to me because my 3 year old grandson spent most of Saturday running around naked at his little sisters 1st birthday party. His bathing suit was too big and kept slipping off when it got wet, so he just dropped trou and ran! He had a great time, could not have cared less. Swinging, sliding (Don’t ask me how, it couldn’t have been easy), picking flowers and playing in the party jumper.
My thoughts, ah, such innocence and freedom. He’ll probably never feel that good ever again. Love the little booger.

Comment from Formerly known as Skeptic
Time: April 28, 2014, 6:46 pm

“And you gotta wonder about the mentality which either preserved, or else tracked down and obtained, the helmet.”

If you were that Bobby, would you want it back?

Comment from Dave in Indiana
Time: April 30, 2014, 7:06 pm

I remember seeing that picture every year on the Tonight Show anniversary show, Johnny Carson always quipped “A hatfull of Ralph”.

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