Everyone should have a 'thing'.
Some folks have a 'thing' about stamp-collecting, others go in for birdwatching or becoming an authority on rare Oriental vases. A 'thing' usually translates into some interesting aspect of one's character, a perhaps slightly-dotty passion that one wants to share.
My 'thing', then, is running shirtless. My times are south of pathetic and I don't have what is called a 'great bod', so I'm not trying to showcase my extraordinary athleticism or Adonis-like physique. But it feels good to stride along with the wind in my hair, the sun on my body. Compared to when I'm encased in a T-shirt or tank top, I feel free-er and faster.
Like many folks who have come to enjoy a harmless, healthful activity, I want others to partake in it. For one thing, there is a camaraderie - or there should be - among those who exercise bare-chested that I find pleasurable and wish to foster. For another, I believe there are many people who would like to go shirtless, but have been held back for various reasons. Hopefully, some of these will be addressed in future blog posts.
I'll just mention three last points :
1) First, in all that I write about here, I include as effectively shirtless women who strip down to jogbras to exercise. They are included in the camaraderie I refer to above, though they will forgive references to 'bare-chestedness', which is not meant to be exclusionary.
2) Second, there are many debates about where and when it is seemly - or otherwise - to be shirtless in public. There are folks who hew to the line that men ought to feel free to strip to the waist everywhere. I would not go so far: Mine is a terribly unmilitant shirtlessness.
3) Lastly, I do hope that readers will leave their comments, share their experiences or engage in dialogue. Perhaps one of us could convince the other of a contrary point of view, or we might together strengthen an argument that we both endorse. More ominously, some may consider this blog a quixotic venture at best, or batty or even a threat at some level. I'll ensure that your voices are not stifled.
If this blog ends up convincing just a few folks to shed the shirt - even if it's to 'give it a try' - I'll feel that it's been worth the effort invested. For those who might return occasionally to it as a mildly barmy enterprise, you are a welcome visitor always too.
May 2015: First up, though I still try to put up blog content whenever I can, it has been easier to more regularly visit the the Twitterverse. Follow me at @barethomas10 and let's keep the shirtless running flag flying. Of course, the blog still attracts very interesting comments, and good discussion. Keep it up.
Second, in the years since this venture launched, and as shirtless running among women has gone increasingly mainstream, the term "jogbra" has clearly declined in use. I will thus prefer "sportsbra" henceforth - as has already been the case on Twitter, and in recent posts here.
I continue to welcome guest posts (sent to email@example.com) on any related topic, including from those who would discourage stripping to the waist. I am myself of course a fervent convert to the joys of running bare. But let all voices be heard!