Remember when Roberta’s was in the news because one of their waitresses was all naked and stuff at work? And everyone, everywhere, was all, Oh, Brooklyn! You’re so silly and so predictable and such a cliché. And it was kind of embarrassing because, ugh, maybe Brooklyn is silly and predictable and a cliché. Depressing.
But there’s no need to be depressed anymore! It turns out that the latest sighting of a naked person in a restaurant happened in Manhattan. That’s right. Brooklyn’s hedonism and sex-positivity has clearly crossed over the river to that puritan stronghold otherwise known as the East Village. Gothamist reports that at the Alphabet City restaurant Verso “on Sunday evening a female diner sat down at the restaurant and immediately removed her top.” The owner of Verso asked the woman to put her top back on, but the woman protested that it was “perfectly legal.” Eventually, she and her companion were made to leave the restaurant.
Unlike in the case of Roberta’s, where the naked person in question was serving food and thus possibly posing a health code hazard, at Verso, the naked person was just a customer, and was only perhaps posing a hazard to herself (because what if she spilled hot soup on herself? oouuucchhhh!) But does that make it ok? Or is this violating the sacred social code of, you know, being able to go out to eat without having total attention hogs ruining your dining experience? That is a very sacred code!
Because, really, this isn’t a question of whether or not it’s “perfectly legal” for a woman to go topless, which, also, it’s legal for a woman to be topless in a public space—same as with men—but a restaurant is a private enterprise and can deny service for things like not wearing a shirt or shoes. And this isn’t a situation where a woman is breastfeeding her child and therefore disrobing in the service of something bigger than just wanting to flash her tits. Which, flash away! But maybe just not at a restaurant, you know? While talking about this in my office, I mentioned that this was most definitely not a case of gender equality because I would not want to eat at Marlow & Sons or something while looking at the bare chest of a male companion. It would be way too distracting in just about every possible way. A colleague countered that argument by writing the word “BOOBES,” which, while valid, doesn’t really hold up in the end. We can all agree that boobs—BOOBES—are great. But just like no man should force you to stare at his dick by whipping it out on a subway platform (which happens, ugh, ALL THE TIME), no woman should force you to stare at her tits when all you wanted was to eat your Caprese salad in peace.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen