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Today my friend took her top off in a public place - to 'make a stand against all the men doing it' - and got told off! AIBU to think... I'm a total hypocrite/shit friend?

(86 Posts)
WhistlingNun Fri 19-Jul-13 23:09:24

I was out shopping with my friend today and we got ranting chatting about all the topless men walking around, and how annoyed i was that i got berated the other day by a complete stranger for letting 5yo dd take her top off (another story) - when my friend suddenly declared she'd had enough of it.

We stopped to get some ice cream and went to sit on a bench so she could feed her baby ds, too. Anyway, she took her whole top off, and she wanted me to bet with her how long it would take for someone to pull her up for fully exposing herself. She knew it was going to happen, and sort of seemed to be looking forward to it.

Anyway, I'm ashamed to say i was mortified. We were getting tons of looks. She stopped feeding her ds, put him back in his pram and sat for a few minutes with her top still off. She started waving at people who were looking at her and asking them if they wanted a picture.

Again, i was mortified and wanted the ground to swallow me whole. The more i asked her to put her top back on/cover up a bit, the more she laughed and seemed to determined to keep it off. She suggested we get up and continue shopping - i told her no chance until she puts her boobs away.

Anyway, we sat for a while longer and a man wearing a fluorescent coat came up (think he was a council worker as i could see his name badge a little) and said my friend ought to 'get dressed before she gets into trouble'.

Anyway, i found myself apologising. And i then pleaded with my friend to do what he said as she was really embarrassing me (still waving to everyone looking at her).

She accused me of having double standards. Why is it okay for the men to waltz about with their nipples showing, but not her? Why would i let my dd walk around with no top on the other day without embarrassment, but cringe when friend does it? etc etc. She said she's shocked by my attitude and that i'm not the confident person she thought i was.

Anyway, on reflection i feel i was being entirely unreasonable. I should have supported her. Especially after the humiliation of getting pulled up the other day because i'd let my daughter take her top off.

She had a huge rant about the council worker on FB and got lots of support from other women that she should have got up and carried on shopping with no top on. But then some people are saying she could have gotten 'done' for indecent exposure.

Anyway... i feel i ought to go round tomorrow and apologise. But at the same time, i think she was doing the waving and saying hello to the starers because she knew it was making me squirm.

Should we both apologise? Am i just a big fat hypocrite?

tiggerpigger Fri 19-Jul-13 23:13:57

Is she fit?

YoungBritishPissArtist Fri 19-Jul-13 23:14:58

Did she have a bra on?

VivaLeBeaver Fri 19-Jul-13 23:15:45

Don't apologise to her.

She shouldn't be putting you in a position where you feel uncomfortable and let's face it 99% of people in your position would also feel uncomfortable. If she feels this strongly and wants to act like that then fair enough.....but she shouldn't drag others into it.

She should be saying sorry to you.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 19-Jul-13 23:17:15

It's legal in New York. story

gordyslovesheep Germany Fri 19-Jul-13 23:17:58

did she T rex?

ImNotBloody14 Fri 19-Jul-13 23:18:01

Well i say fair play to her. Yes she could have been arrested and that is a disgrace IMO when men are able to walk around topless legally!

Whilst i would support a friend doing the same- im not sure i could do it myself < wimp>

picnicbasketcase Fri 19-Jul-13 23:18:11

I totally get her point, why is it fine hmm for blokes to get their boobs out but for women it's indecent exposure? However, it sounds like she took it too far when you made it clear that you found the situation uncomfortable.

edam Fri 19-Jul-13 23:18:25

You were embarrassed because your friend was flouting social convention. That's an entirely normal reaction. Your friend was quite deliberately breaking social norms in order to make a point - which is entirely her right. She caught you off-guard as you hadn't intended to go out and make a political protest! She has a point, but your reaction was reasonable.

Just talk to her and make friends again.

Wtf at is she fit? What do you mean?

OP, I don't know, public decency or summat springs to mind, no idea what the law says.

RedPencils Fri 19-Jul-13 23:21:24

I don't think it's ok for men to walk round the shops with no top on either. unless David Gandy decides to check out B&M round my way

Moxiegirl Fri 19-Jul-13 23:23:07

'Is she fit' made me laugh grin

quoteunquote Fri 19-Jul-13 23:23:09

It a human body get over yourself.

have a lie down and a think, why do you find it shocking what led you to think like that,

people get so hung up about bodies, we all have one,

maybe everyone should have to do an A level in life drawing.

Amitolamummy Fri 19-Jul-13 23:24:38

Difficult one. If she wasn't waving and trying to draw attention to herself then maybe it wouldn't have been quite so embarrassing. That just sounds like she wanted a reaction and you don't need to make a point by trying to wind people up and getting a reaction. If she wanted to be able to wander around topless like men can, then do that, don't sit and wave at people. In theory I agree women should be treated the same as men, but I think there are better ways of going about it. Maybe you could go round and discuss it further and agree to disagree on the finer points of challenging this social norm

WhistlingNun Fri 19-Jul-13 23:26:31

No, she didn't have a bra on. She has rather small breasts though (not that this matters) so it wasn't extremely obvious, but still very awkward.

I can see her point though. I let my dd take her top off, but when an adult female does it - i feel uncomfortable. And i'm ashamed of myself for this as i completely see her point.

But she did seem to be relishing in the fact i was uncomfortable. I think if i'd just sat there quietly and let her get on with it, she would have put her top back on almost right away.

I also feel guilty that dd heard our conversation (although she seemed to be more interested in wiping ice cream into her ears). She heard me telling her 'aunt' to cover up her chest and that she was embarrassing me.

My friend thinks that it was her right to do this today - which is true - and now has loads of women on FB giving her their support.

There's no way i can expect an apology. But she seems really peed off and disgusted with me. So if i don't say sorry... that'll be the end of this friendship it seems. I don't have many friends two so can't really afford to lose one because of my own self confidence issues.

HooverFairy Fri 19-Jul-13 23:27:40

Firstly, ignore what the other people on Facebook are saying; being there and hearing about it are 2 different things. There are lots of times when we say "I would have done x" but the reality is often the opposite. Your friend flouted social rules, anyone would be shocked by it. I don't think you should apologise to your friend but you could explain that although you felt uncomfortable you do support her and that you'd hate for her to feel otherwise. I think your friend should understand that if she's a true friend.

FreyaSnow Fri 19-Jul-13 23:28:02

Is it illegal to be topless in public when not breast feeding?

edam Fri 19-Jul-13 23:29:03

If it is, there are a LOT of men who are in trouble...

kim147 Fri 19-Jul-13 23:30:05

Interesting - I've seen plenty of men with rather large chests recently and with man boobs.

There's also plenty of breasts around in papers and magazines.

So why the double standards?

AdmiralData Fri 19-Jul-13 23:32:41

Hey don't beat yourself up! You said yourself that you see her point and she did put you in an awkward position. If you value her friendship explain that you're just bashful and felt a little put on the spot but that you admire her bravery etc? For what it is worth I am bloody glad she did, I am sick to death of sweating under five layers of black in this heat because I look awful in strappy tops etc whilst men can go nipples akimbo >sad

I have witnessed two men, on seperate occasions, in the last week being asked to put their top back on incase others were offended. So while I understand your friends point, I am not so sure that men are "allowed" to walk around with no top on, especially in shopping areas.

YWNBU to be mortified, I don't think you owe her an apology at all.

symfem Fri 19-Jul-13 23:42:14

It's wrong of her to do that and there isn't a clear analogy between men being topless

A thoroughly stupid fight to pick

celestialbows Fri 19-Jul-13 23:47:50

I laughed at the fit comment too. YANBU,it's something I would have done twenty years ago and I know that my friends would have been mortified. I wouldn't do it now because I have a different understanding of society and "acceptable behaviour" although I don't always like it.
She wasn't unreasonable to do what she did to make her point but she was U to make you feel uncomfortable and to do it with a 5 year old around as it could have kicked off.
I also feel that her age is a factor in the story.

mayoandchips Fri 19-Jul-13 23:48:45

I think if she wants to go around topless thats up to her.

I think if you are uncomfortable with all the negative attention you and your friend received, which you didn't ask for, I also think that is your right.

I think half naked children and half naked adults are completely different things. It is a fact that men find breasts titillating (no pun intended) whereas we see a pair of nipples on men and the majority of us don't think anything of it.

It's just the way things are, and it would take a long time for society to deem bare breasts as acceptable. Sad, but true, and it is especially a shame when you see breastfeeding women doing their utmost to hide.

Technotropic Fri 19-Jul-13 23:49:23

There's lots of this kind of stuff going on at the moment, like the Swedish train drivers wearing skirts to work etc. There is no denying that women have more clothing options in the workplace whilst most companies still won't allow men to work in shorts.

People like your friend OP (and the trian drivers) are raising very valid discussions IMHO. Women should be able to walk round with their breasts out. Either that or men should be banned from going topless.

There are double standards everywhere so need ironing out

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