San Francisco's proposal to ban nude dining—and the simultaneous revelation that San Francisco apparently approves of nude everything but dining—has given the entire world another reason to dismiss SF as the city of nuts and flakes, where throngs of nude diners roam the streets, demanding to press their moist parts against seats that will later cup unsuspecting members of the public, perhaps even you, perhaps even your children!
Won't somebody please think of the children?
But really, down here on the ground, you barely ever see a naked person. It's cold here. Foggy. Other than random crazies, the Folsom Street Fair, and this annual race we have with a big contingent of nude drunks, the only people you regularly see naked are a group of dudes in the Castro neighborhood. The naked people are, as Scott Reed of Castro restaurant The Cove puts it, "Just a bunch of radical/commune types, and they mostly stay in the park sunning themselves."
Reed says he's never had a nude diner come in and ask for service, though he is accustomed to seeing dudes in chaps and nothing underneath around Folsom time. "Tempest in a teapot," he says of the nude fracas. "I'd rather the supervisors spend time on other stuff."
Reed's customers might be more or less clothed, but other Castro restaurants see their share of nude diners. Burger joint Orphan Andy's has even designated its outdoor tables the "zone of nakedness" (which, incidentally, would be a great band name).
According to the Castro Courier, local police have been getting complaints about the naked guys for a while now, and local supervisor Scott Wiener says he introduced the proposal after receiving gripes from constituents. And also, as the San Francisco Chronicle's City Insider blog reports, Wiener himself had a fidgety dinner recently alongside a table of nudists.
"When I proposed this, I knew it would get attention, but I never thought it'd get international attention," says Wiener, sounding understandably weary of the topic. "In San Francisco there is no local law on public nudity; we're guided by the California penal code that does not prohibit nudity unless you're doing something lewd, like being aroused."
So for now, it's legal to plop your nude ass down wherever it wants to sit in San Francisco. But if Wiener has his way (and judging from the lack of local opposition, it looks like he will), in public places like restaurants all you'll have to do is put something down on the seat before lowering your nether parts into it.
"I think this is a very San Francisco way of addressing it," says Wiener. Yes, Supervisor—with a towel.