The bare management bill

March 11, 2020 12:39 PM

A classic G. George Ostrom Column from 1989...

Sunday’s papers brought tidings that Senate Bill 263, which would ban “nude dancing in bars,” has passed the Senate and will be studied by the House Judiciary Committee on March 21st. That group normally holds “hearings,” but because they have so many photos and video exhibits, the meeting on the 21st will be called a “Seeing.” One of the committee members has privately stated that many of those opposing the measure are just putting up a big front. He says they are strapped for support and his group will have no trouble getting to the bottom of the issue … before sending a stripped down version out on the floor.

This ruckus apparently started a year or so back when a bar in Yellowstone County was raided for encouraging its version of a back-to-nature movement. I don’t know if any men were arrested, but I heard at least three young women were put behind bras. They then challenged the existing state laws so now local politicians are trying to call their buff.

There are those who believe that if you don’t like nude dancing in bars, then you should try to keep your clothes on while you’re in there.

I have never disrobed, except for a jacket and tie, to dance in a bar, lounge, or nightclub, but there have to be many, many who enjoy shedding everything. Why else would this law be promoted so hard in the Legislature when there seem to be more pressing matters.

What if the bill passes and all those uninhibited folks move outdoors? Do we want people playing their ghetto blasters and cavorting in birthday suits through the campgrounds, streets, and shopping centers?

It would seem that as long as there are a worrisome number of folks doing this nude dancing thing, there may not be a better place for it than in the bars, where they have live music and aren’t so apt to catch cold. Another reason for leaving this activity in a few wild saloons has to do with the good modest people who do not even like to watch “nude dancing in the bars.” If they knew where that sort of thing was gong on, they could protect that modesty by just drinking in the many other places where everybody dances with their clothes on, and they could also do a good share of their nipping at home.

Another rumor around Helena is that if Senate Bill 263 passes in the House, it might force nude dancing underground. Is that what we want for the Lewis and Clark Caverns, the family root cellar, and Glacier Park’s Going to the Sun tunnels?

I just remembered something…I personally saw some “nude dancing in the bars” one time. It was about 1969, in a lounge half a block down from the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. I’d been on the road two days, driving a truck across the Nevada desert from Idaho Falls…seriously dehydrated.

I’ve always been on of those “live and let live” guys, so the nudity didn’t really make me mad until this one girl, who had thrown away a lot of perfectly good clothing, started prancing around on the bar and knocked over my cold glass of beer.

If the Montana House doesn’t pass this bill to outlaw “nude dancing in the bars, “I hope they have enough stamina left to redirect their valiant efforts toward at least coming up with a no-nonsense bill that prohibits “Nude dancing on the bars.”