There’s something a little strange about normalizing something by doing something completely abnormal.
Take University of Maine at Farmington senior Andrea Simoneau who plans to stage the town’s First Topless March for Gender Equity after attending a similar rally last week in Portland.
Simoneau strolled bare-chested in downtown Farmington Wednesday handing out fliers promoting her event.
Her goal is to dramatize the double standard when it comes to shirt-wearing downtown. Apparently, roving bands of men march topless through Farmington sometimes, although we have yet to see this.
And, actually, there is no official double standard. Nothing in Maine law prohibits women from going blouseless.
But if you want to make some activity seem normal, you should act normally. Guys typically take off their shirts when it’s hot. It was 51 degrees in Farmington on Tuesday, which induced even the most manly of men to wear shirts.
Old Chester Greenwood was probably turning over in his grave. No, not out of embarrassment, but out of desire to invent a special muff to keep this gal warm.
And, usually, guys go shirtless when it is not only hot, but while they are at a swimming pool or doing manual labor.
If, in July, Simoneau were cutting her lawn or splitting firewood with a maul, we would completely respect her right to get comfortable.
In the meantime, her protest is having just the opposite of the intended effect — prompting residents to demand ordinances and new laws. Look for one in the next legislative session.
Then there’s Shane Belanger, a University of Southern Maine freshman who is organizing an “open-carry” event for April 27 in Portland’s Back Cove.
He expects at least 20 gun owners to show up and mill about with their weapons. He says they might even go for a stroll.
Again, roving bands of men carrying guns seems completely out of the ordinary for the Back Cove. Maybe that neighborhood around Maine Med … Well, not even there, really.
How does doing something so strange make carrying a handgun seem less strange?
We’re not sure.
And, again, carrying a holstered handgun in Maine is already legal.
Maybe Belanger should start by simply walking around his own neighborhood with his handgun, waving to neighbors and showing them he’s just a nice guy who happens to carry a gun.
He could strike up conversations with people while doing his banking or picking up prescriptions. Maybe he’d be able to plug a bank robber or drug thief while he was at it.
But the ultimate would be for Belanger and Simoneau to link arms, at least figuratively speaking, and conduct a joint march around Kennedy Park in Lewiston.
Both guys and gals could bare their breasts, strap on their handguns and mingle before marching to Gritty’s to unwind. And the bare-chested people with big snakes could join them.
Best of all, in Kennedy Park nobody would bat an eye.