Arizona · Music

So What if I Want to Show My Boobs?

I’ve never considered the flashing of breasts to be criminal. If the police at Ohio University, circa 2001, considered the flashing of breasts criminal, I would probably still be in prison. For the next ten years. But I learned something new this past Saturday on the Salt River: showing your boobs in public is, in fact, a ticketed offense—and the cops were ready and waiting.

In the defense of the young ladies flashing their goods, it was “Mardi Gras Weekend” on the Salt River, and by God, what are you supposed to do at Mardi Gras? Flash your goods! The Salt River employees handed out beads as we boarded the buses. Were we supposed to hold on to our beads? Hell no! Beads are meant to be traded for breasts. At least, that’s what we thought.

Wonderbra_UAEYet, as we rode our collective tubes down the river, it became apparent: although marshmallow throwing was highly encouraged, cops were waiting to ticket women who showed their breasts. Not that I was one of them (I was), but seriously? It’s the Salt River. Shouldn’t there be some kind of law about not writing tickets there? Especially on “Mardi Gras Weekend?”

Of course, thanks to Jake, who has been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, I learned women are ticketed there for flashing, as well. What, you say? At Mardi Gras in New Orleans? You gotta be kidding me. Drunk people can walk around with open containers legally, but women cannot share their God-given talents? Wrong. Wrong!

I don’t know how the feminists feel about the flashing of boobs, but I have no problem with it. In fact, I condone boob-flashing. Are there many people who don’t?

One of my newly discovered idols is the poetic and super sexy Amanda Palmer. I love her music, and I love the way she won’t take crap from anyone. The London Daily Mail recently covered one of her concerts, and instead of mentioning her music, they mentioned how her “breast escaped her bra.”

Do you know what Palmer did as a rebuttal? She wrote the Daily Mail a song. (Please, watch the whole video HERE. It’s beyond fantastic.)

There are several highlights to this rebuttal, and I quote: “If you’d Googled my tits in advance you’d have found that your photos are hardly exclusive.” Palmer loves her breasts, and she loves to show them. In fact, halfway through the song, recently recorded at a live performance, she removes a kimono to reveal her complete, naked self!

My girlfriend. Amanda Palmer.
My girlfriend. Amanda Palmer.
I am in no way suggesting we all just walk around naked. Please. No. Yet, I am comfortable with nudity, and this is not “my generation’s” thing. Reveling in nudity and FREEDOM OF BREAST started with the hippies: my mom’s gang, who burned their bras with pride. My Aunt Susie still rarely keeps her girls hindered by underwear.

And why should we? If women want to show their boobs, why shouldn’t women show their boobs? I understand there is a place to draw the line. I don’t think bottomless is the way to go. As Seinfeld proved in the naked episode, there is such a thing as “bad naked.” Flashing our downstairs areas: just don’t do it. However, why not let our boobies fly free?

I am proud to be a woman. I’m proud (though often confused) at the power of the breast. I mean, seriously, boobs are sacks of fat. However, men love breasts. Even I love breasts, and I’m straight and married. Breasts are pretty. They sustain life. They should not be ticketed. Nay, they should be celebrated!

I feel bad for the girls who got tickets this weekend on the Salt River. I feel even worse for women who get ticketed at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It’s gotta be a shock to be punished for something so openly embraced.

What’s so wrong with nudity? If a woman wants to show her boobs, let her. Give her a high five, because boobs belong to us, and if we want to share them with the men of this world, it’s our choice to do so. Here’s my vote: bare breasts should be legal. If the women of African tribes can do it in National Geographic, why can’t we?

Arizona · Entertainment in AZ

Tubing the Salt River, aka War of the Marshmallows

Tubing the Salt River is like Mardi Gras, except it takes place on inner tubes in a river, and instead of beads, you throw marshmallows. I didn’t know any of this going into it. I just knew we needed to bring water shoes, snacks, and a hell of a lot of beer. Oh, and sunscreen. Gobs and gobs of sunscreen.

The Salt River is a short drive from Phoenix, located in the Tonto National Forest near Mesa. Upon arrival, it was hard to believe such a beautiful, mountainous, untouched-by-man place could exist so close to the city. I was reminded of Zion National Park, the Narrows hike—a river surrounded by two sheer cliff faces. Once we had our tubes (a fifteen dollar rental, which includes the bus ride to the “launch site”), we were ready to go.

Or not. See, first you have to make your raft. Jake and I went along with five other people. You don’t want to lose these people (which, trust me, did happen once or twice, thanks to unexpected rapids and one cooler rescue mission). Using rope, you must tie your inner tubes together, ideally with the coolers tied in the center for easy access. I watched all this happen while drinking a beer in a bikini on a beach at, oh, eleven AM, under the scalding Phoenix heat.

I could totally do this for a living.
Another thing: you gotta cover your inner tubes with sheets to keep them from getting too hot. I also learned that the sheets acted as a support system, which allowed me to balance in the middle of my inner tube, Indian-style, for most of the trip … whenever I wasn’t going Navy Seal-style on marshmallow attack missions.

So what’s the deal with the marshmallows? I honestly don’t know. I know we were told to bring marshmallows, but I didn’t fully understand the fire-fight (or pastry-fight) that was due to ensue. Strangers, complete strangers, barrage you with marshmallows all the way down the four-hour river ride. Of course, retribution is sweet. By the end of the day, I was like Upton throwing a run-saving line drive to Montero at home. The huge marshmallows were like prized possessions, and several of our group often went diving halfway across river to grab one of those monsters.

As I mentioned, there were moments when people were almost lost. The Salt River is not, I repeat, not free of rapids, and they have a way of sneaking up on you. All you can do is hold on tight—to each other and to the coolers—and hope for the best.

If I could spend every Saturday tubing the Salt River, I would. It felt a lot like the Rockville Regatta in Charleston, South Carolina, where a bunch of strangers tie their boats together and have a day of romping. On the Salt River, you’re best buddies with everyone. You do strange things for beer (things that will not be mentioned here) and make great friends with funny lesbians (don’t ask). You get body-slammed into deep, blue water, and it’s great. It’s all great!

The Salt River is a place where fully grown adults can pretend, for one afternoon, to be kids again. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I would suggest you go, as soon as possible. Don’t forget your marshmallows, and be sure to buy more beer than you think you could possibly drink—because it’ll be gone by the end of the day. Just remember to have fun, relax, and pretend, if only for a moment, that you’re a kid again on summer break, and school doesn’t start for another two months.