Time was that an English Gentleman's privacy was the most important thing. When I undertake a drive that is likely to take me more than 2 hours, I always feel comfort is paramount and undress accordingly. Being naked within the confines of one's own private automotive transportation - in my case a 1994 Honda Civic - is, so far as I thought, within the legal statutes of this once-great land.
The other day, on my way back from Oxford, I noticed two high-spirited young female University students, hitchhiking their way from Oxford to Amsterdam for charity. Admiring their spirit and bravery, and having little else to do that day, I decided to stop and help them out.
I was stunned by their reaction. Truly, I do not know what our young are being taught in what always used to be one of the great seats of learning in the English-speaking world. Within 10 minutes, I was aware of fevered chattering, particularly from the young lady who was sat on the front passenger seat. She made some very basic comment such as "you are naked", to which I, joining in with their fun, said, "you could have your eye out on it!", referring to my visible penis.
To my shock, they were not joking, they were actually in fear for their safety. The girl in the back was crying.
Figuring out that these two young ladies were intelligent enough, as Oxford students, to be open to a robust and intelligent debate, I pointed out my reasons for my choices. They accepted the importance of free will - a small mercy, considering the result - but were quick to voice several counter-arguments. It was a very intellectual exchange of views, and a very stimulating debate. I do not know why they called the police.
Imagine my bafflement when I later discovered, on my release, that the two young ladies were in fact going to an open-air naked pop concert in the Netherlands, to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer charities. They, as is becoming a regular trend, of course received no official censure. In the meantime, I have dog dirt pushed through my letterbox.