It may be International Bikini Day, but the authorities of the Chinese city of Jinan have no interest in that. Hot men roll up their shirts over their bellies in the summer, as the mercury rises to 40 degrees. “Uncivilized,” it sounds. And that shouldn’t be allowed, according to the city council.
During the summer months, the temperature in Chinese cities rises high, and in order to cope with that unaffordable heat, middle-aged men roll up their shirts above their navel. 73 years after the French designer Louis Reard launched the two-piece bathing suit, named after the Bikini Atoll in Micronesia where the U.S. conducted nuclear tests, this variant of his creation is still going strong. And even now, moral Knights would prefer to ban the thing.
The custom of rolling up the shirt seems to originate in traditional Chinese medicine. The Washington Post writes that uncovering the diaphragm helps to get rid of the warm energy called chi around the organs. In parks, on the corners of the street, on motorcycles and in restaurants, many men take their shirts off and let the air out. Not aware of the offense and the implications, according to the authorities, the ideal position for the shirtloempia seems to be the edge of their beer belly.
The so-called ‘Beijing bikini’ (named after the Chinese capital, but now widely spread) is uncivilized by the Jinanese, no matter how hot it is. An opinion that is shared by many city dwellers. The image of their city is damaged by the uncivilized behavior and that is what Jinan wants to prevent at all costs. It is not yet clear which sanction should be imposed on partial exposure. In other places, bikini men are tapped with a fine. Such as in Tianjin, where recently a shirtless supermarket visitor was hurled for $7.
Jinan, where around 8.7 million residents sigh under the summer heat, has now issued a regulation that makes it compulsory to wear a shirt. ‘Inappropriate clothing’, ‘shirtlessness’ and the ‘willful exposure of body parts’ are equated with quarreling, penetration, pollution and letting dogs poop on the street. However, not everyone is happy with the new image rules. “Walking without a shirt emits less CO2 than switching on the air conditioning,” someone shouts. “Leave those old ones alone,” adds another.
It remains to be seen whether the criticism is being heard. The government seems so eager to suppress the “bikini problem” that it has started a tv campaign. An educational film shows a young woman who introduces her new boyfriend to her father, who is playing cards with friends without a shirt.
The newbies’ lover, clearly annoyed by that look, takes the woman aside and asks, “Is that your father? He’s so uncivilized.” After several meetings, Daddy decides to wear a shirt and wear a hat.
The heat in the Chinese cities rises to 40 degrees in the summer and so the shirts go off.