Michael Murray currently lives and works in Toronto. He has an extensive wardrobe and is a dominant and intimidating presence on the Bocce Ball field...

I really like the way that I look.

I may be middle-aged, but I haven’t become some “invisible dad type” the way that most men my age do. I still have “pop,” like a cowboy or shark trainer, a rugged individualist that a hot waitress would want to have sex with. Honestly, I don’t mean to brag, but people have told me I look like actor Charlie Sheen, I have that kind of masculine, physical presence.

Some say that exhibitionism is a mental disorder, but I don’t see it that way. I think of it as sharing. You see, I like people to know that I feel comfortable enough around them to take my shirt off, and as I’m not the conforming type, I resent living in an oppressive society that attempts to restrict my individuality by making me keep my shirt on.

However, with our society being as prissy as it is, you have to understand some of the protocols surrounding being topless in public.

They may post a “No shirt, no service,” sign on the wall but I find that they very rarely enforce it, especially if you’re just getting something to go. Just tie your shirt around your waist like it was a belt.

If the buffet is indoors it’s probably a good idea to keep the shirt on as people have irrational sensitivities about body hair migrating into food sources. Obviously, these types have never worked in a restaurant or traveled to a foreign country. However, if the buffet is taking place outdoors you should take your shirt off with complete confidence. Do squirrels wear shirts? No, no they do not.

Hospital Visits:
I have a small scar from a paring accident that happened while I was instructing my ex-wife on how to properly peel carrots. I think of scars as badges of honour, something to proudly display rather than shamefully conceal, and so I think it’s inspiring for a person who just had surgery to see me, so strong, vital and good looking with my shirt off. It gives them hope, you know? However, if the person you’re visiting is dying of a wasting disease it’s probably best to keep your shirt on so as not to rub it in.

Coaching Your Daughter’s Soccer Team:
Yes, not only should young girls become familiar with the appearance of a fine male body, but your bare chest and impressive array of tattoos (if you have them) also sends a clear and intimidating message about just what sort of game your opponents can expect to get from the Daisy Wheels.

Why waste a shirt? Yes, the paintball pellets will leave welts on your exposed skin and it’s possible that there is some toxicity in the paint, too, but war is hell, right? And look, there’s nothing quite as liberating or fierce as being stripped down to your primal essence and pretending to kill.

Greek Orthodox Church:
I was the Best Man in a wedding rehearsal at a Greek Orthodox Church and the heat in that place was absolutely stifling. To make matters worse I had to hold some sort of crown over the head of the groom for 40 minutes, which proved exhausting and made me feel subordinate. I was sweating, big time, and so I took my shirt off. As it was just a rehearsal I didn’t think that anybody would get all freaked-out. Well, the priest just about went insane with rage and the bride began to cry. My bad, I guess. It’s clear to me now that this church just isn't ready to be dragged into the 21st century, and so I can say without hesitation that it is not a good idea to go shirtless in a Greek Orthodox Church. Sometimes, you have to bow to convention. However, it’s still cool to take your shirt off at the reception while dancing, and a good tune to song to do this to is Shock The Monkey by the entirely awesome Sting.

Barber Shop:
I find the apron they drape over me when I’m getting my hair cut to be really lousy protection and I hate, just hate getting little hairs stuck all over the place. Because of this I always take my shirt off when I’m getting a trim. It just makes sense. In fact, I will be appearing on Dragon’s Den to seek funding to open a unisex hair salon that will be really, really hot-- so it will be like a sauna or spa-- and the clients will all have the option of going shirtless. The idea is gold.

When I serve as Skip, I take my shirt off, but when I’m not the leader I keep my shirt on out of respect for the game.

Photo by davitydave

Michael Murray currently lives and works in Toronto. He has an extensive wardrobe and is a dominant and intimidating presence on the Bocce Ball field. He won the New Yorker Cartoon Caption contest and dislikes Cuba. He works as a creative writer, copywriter, blogger and “journalist” and as he is modest, he feels awkward talking about his genius, which he recently found out does not translate into IQ tests. His work has appeared in the Toronto Standard, Slant Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen and