Taking Your Shirt off in Public – The Proper Etiquette

Matt Richardson Personal Training > blog > Uncategorised > Taking Your Shirt off in Public – The Proper Etiquette

I’ll admit, this is more for the guys. I can only speak from experience so be cautious if you are a woman and you’re using these guidelines. 
So you’ve worked hard on your body. But how do you let everyone know. Maybe you post regular fitness selfies. Maybe you’re buying tighter fitting clothes. Maybe you’re bulking to the point your shirts are ripping apart. These are all perfectly acceptable ways to show off your gains. But nothing compares to showing off the real thing. After all, you’ve worked hard on your body. It’s only natural to want to show off your hard work. I’m here to offer some insight into when it’s okay to take off your shirt. And, when people will think you’re a total whopper.

I should point out that there are some great guidelines on BroScience [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTUW77ie8sE]. That’s where I got my guidelines from, I’ve added a little from personal experience. Learn from my mistakes!

Now, I’m from the north of England. As you may be aware, we spend most of the year under a grey, unforgiving sky. Sometimes a crack of light gets through and the majority of people become shirtless. It’s sometimes quite disturbing. But we don’t judge, while others complain, we find opportunity. You don’t want to be the first shirtless guy, in any situation. People will see your physique and assume you’re just showing off. You have to play it cooler than that. If it’s sunny you either wait until two other people have taken their shirts off, then it’s free game. You’re not ‘that shirtless guy’, and you’re not, ‘that shirtless couple’… Everyone is doing it. I’ve recently found an exception to this rule. If you’re with your parents then it’s not cool. A grown ass man without a shirt walking round with their parents just screams of being unemployed and still living at home. I can tell you this from experience.

At the beach is pretty much self explanatory. That’s, quite literally, where people go to take their shirt off. A bit of sun and you can pretend you’re on your holidays in Spain. Catch some of the rare, Northern-English sun. At the beach it doesn’t matter if you’re the first one to take your shirt off. It’s expected. I will, however, offer some advice. If it’s cold leave your shirt on. It cancels out your gains if you’re sat there shivering.

When taking part in sports it’s okay to take it off. No point in sweating through a perfectly good shirt. Here it comes down to a bit of self- awareness. Sure, take it off if you’re playing football outside. Don’t take it off if you’re bowling. As a martial artist, I’ll point out that it is a grey area. I don’t mind training shirtless, but I’d never be the first guy. In this situation I wouldn’t need to be the third guy either. If one guy has his shirt off and the instructor is cool with it, then it’s cool. It may be the same for other sports but you’ll have to use your own initiative.

Finally, when you’re out in a club and it’s sweaty as! I’m pretty bad for this, so there’s a few things to remember. It’s okay if you’re drunk. You have diminished responsibility over your actions if you’re drunk. But remember, you do it a couple of times and your friends will claim ‘you always take your shirt off’. They will refer to it in front of people you haven’t been out with, they will try to embarrass you with it. But, obviously, you don’t care. Just be aware that this will happen. Try not to get told to put your shirt back on by the bouncers or any other member of staff at a venue, it kind of kills the buzz a bit. If you take your shirt off on a night out. Be aware that you will get more attention off guys than girls. They will be mirin’ your gains. Removing my shirt has never done anything to improve my chances with a girl. But I often get compliments from guys. But, lets be honest, if you spend all your time in the gym. A compliment from a guy is what you’re looking for. Especially if he lifts (see below). I don’t pretend to understand women, but they don’t appreciate muscle size and vascularity as much as they should (or at least they say they don’t)

An exception to all the rules is when you’re on holiday. Fuck it, don’t even wear a shirt. You’ve got a couple of weeks of sun, in a place where nobody knows you. Save space in your luggage, don’t even pack any shirts and bring back some extra duty free.

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