I think going shirtless is a good habit... in any conditions where I don't feel bad because of it. People used to do it more, I think a modern prurience has set in because the net has made it easy to associate it with porn. I think people get embarrassed about seeing private stuff in public. The more they see sexuality, or even just a less than totally clothed human body, in adverts, on the net, etc, the more they feel confronted by their newly conditioned reactions when they see it on the street.Interestingly put! Perhaps I might take three points of interest for further expansion:
1) 'People used to do it more': There are undoubtedly many places in the world where shirtlessness is on the decline. But as far as shirtless runners is concerned, I'd be interested to know if that holds true too. Haven't heard or read too much on that score, but some would claim that more people are running wearing less. My own experience has been that there has been neither an uptick or a drop.
2) 'A modern prurience linked to an association with porn': If indeed day-to-day shirtlessness is ebbing, the fact that shirtlessness is simultaneously more easily 'accessed' through porn sites these days would institute a damning, self-reinforcing cycle!...
a) People's exposure to shirtlessness would increasingly be through media glorifying sexual objectification, which
b) leads us to see all shirtlessness in such terms, causing us to scale back 'ordinary shirtlessness' all the more,
c) further reducing the contexts outside e-porn in which we see bare-chestedness... and so on.
If Crow. is right, then how can the circle be unbroken?
3) 'People get embarrassed about seeing private things public': Of course, some would allege that sexuality ('private things') is increasingly seen in these so-called liberated times as precisely something that can now be flaunted in public. And this may perhaps be why going shirtless - whether when running, exercising or just chillin' - tends now to be associated with 'showing off', at least with some folks. It certainly didn't used to be so, by all accounts.
From this, we might take away the fact that, perhaps for most people, a sense of modesty is still bred into our social DNA, so that we reject 'flaunting for the sake of it', finding it uncouth and cheap. The challenge is to break through the misconception that running shirtless is inherently about that sort of thing. Sundry posts on this blog, of course, hopefully tell against this falsehood.