We All Fly Nude Now
by Bert Hart

In the summer of 2009, Miss Bigg Bazooms was giving an impromptu demonstration of twirling to some passers-by outside her club when she was arrested for indecent exposure. Her subsequent conviction was appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court. In the case of Bazooms vs. the State of Tennessee, the five justices appointed by George W. Bush in his second term surprisingly joined together. Overturning her conviction, the Court held 5-4 that Miss Bazooms had only exercised her free speech rights. Therefore, all the public indecency statutes of the states were immediately invalidated.

That first week the media gingerly reported on attention-seekers and protestors, who were quick to realize that the less they covered, the greater the coverage. By the second week the fad was in full force. Groups of youths, assembled together by PDA messaging, stripped en masse, giving new meaning to the phrase "flash mobs." Stores began to offer special discounts for nude shoppers, knowing that wherever bare teen girls chose to buy, teen boys could not be far behind. By Christmastime, the sight of young women ringing Salvation Army bells dressed in Santa hats and nothing else shocked no one, while donations tripled.  At the Super Bowl in February, when the rock group Four Skins went full monty, there was so little public comment that those who remembered the Janet Jackson controversy wondered just what it had been about.

Students in the nation's high schools naturally wanted these new freedoms. Of course, nudity had long been mandatory in such classes as art and sex-ed and in co-ed swimming, gymnastics, and wrestling. But most principals banned bare skin in the general run of academic courses, fearing disruption to the learning process. Incongruously then, one saw girls at the end of the school day heaving sighs of relief as they doffed their clothes and went mall shopping. Fortunately, school restrictions came to an end with the passage of the Mandatory Nudity in Education Bill, which not only allowed voluntary naturism, but required that each high school student be naked for at least one week during the school year.  It is said that when President Rodham signed the bill, she muttered "Maybe now the boys will get it out of their systems early."

At the Transportation Security Administration, where hundreds of millions of dollars had been spent with little to show but a humongous pile of fingernail clippers, these societal changes were avidly studied. The agency had long worried that terrorists would board planes while wearing explosives or other devices strapped to intimate areas of their bodies. TSA had been afraid to take the steps that they really thought necessary but had been moving in the right direction. Enforced shoe removal, for example, was ineffective in nabbing terrorists but useful in habituating passengers to senseless demands. As early as September 2004, innocent passengers, chosen at random, had been taken aside for a very special public inspection. The SIG program did not catch a single terrorist, but nonetheless Security Intensive Groping was declared a success, if only because it raised the morale of TSA employees. Now it was time for the next stage.

On Jan. 1, 2011, at 12:01 AM, TSA supervisors all over the country opened their sealed packets of instructions. Three signs immediately went up at all airports: "If You Have Nothing To Hide, Why Are You Wearing Clothes?"  "Patriots Fly Nude!" and "Public Disrobing Area". The instructions were clear. All passengers were directed to remove their clothes, which were then bagged, tagged, and X-rayed. Travelers, closely queued up, and then  passed  through the metal detectors and paused on the other side for wanding, front and rear.

Of course there were a few unpatriotic people, possibly all Taliban sympathizers, who refused to fly under those conditions. And comics had a field day. (Letterman's Top Ten Reasons You Don't Want To Fly Nude ran from #1 "Top Asymmetry" to #10 "Uncontrollable Jiggling" ) But, just as they had earlier agreed to each nonsensical demand, people quickly fell into line. A curious result was that TSA employees felt that had little to do. One was heard to remark "I've wanded 2,000 fannies today, and the darn thing never beeped once."

Some men, approaching a nude flight for the first time, were worried that, physiologically speaking, they might appear to be too...happy. But camouflage was impossible, as all carry-ons, from laptops to fig leaves, were banned for security reasons. Men and women both fervently wished that once on board they might be seated next to a magnificent specimen of the gender of their choice. Alas, statistics tell us that reality invariably falls far short of our hopes. Thus a young woman, who might excuse a roving eye, or even enjoy it if from the right person, more likely would be sandwiched between two men of the pudgy persuasion.  And if she were to be exceptionally unlucky, she might well be seated next to someone with a most unfortunate indifference to basic hygiene.

But it was not miasma that held the most fears for the shy. For them, it was the bouncy trip down the aisle to the rest rooms. Many foreswore the journey, and of those there were many who misjudged their stamina. Their holdouts invariably ended with a frantic clutch run to the rear of the plane, providing a special measure of amusement for their fellow passengers.

But all flights must end, and of course upon disembarkation all passengers were presented with their bags of clothes.

Unless, of course, the airline had lost them along with their luggage.