Epiphany: You can avoid any fist fight … if you’re naked.

I didn’t experience this, per se, but it was something my younger brother told me while in conversation. Whether or not he actually employed this tactic is still a mystery, but I found it funny and entertaining regardless. We were bantering on the phone about life and what not when he suddenly joked that “nobody wants to fight a naked guy”. I laughed; he laughed and we went on in the conversation. But once I hung up the phone, the thought returned to me. Not of one guy fighting another guy who was nude; my mind simply returned to that peculiar notion.

So here’s the question – does anybody want to fight a man who is without clothes, aka naked?

When I think of the fights I’ve witnessed (and there were a few), I discover that there are a few common denominators in each of these situations. One, both participants were of about equal size in stature. Sure, one guy may have been slightly larger than the other, but this isn’t heavyweight boxing. You don’t exactly “weigh in” before an impromptu bout. Second, these fights revolved around a disagreement that apparently warranted a physical altercation because for whatever the reason, their differing views were not solvable with words alone. And Third, each party wore his own suit of armor – pants, a shirt, and maybe a ballcap for good measure. So there’s the key components, but of course, one fraction stands out from the rest.

The first two are no-brainers when you think of fighting. Nobody heads into a fight they knowingly think they’ll get pounded in. It’s the real reason for why I sought out the larger, stronger upper classmen during my middle school days. When you’re 5’5″ and weigh 110 pounds soaking wet, you understand that making big friends is as much a priority as getting decent grades. More to the point, you calculate the risk involved. If you’re of simliar size, relative girth, and possibly foresee a victory – you may charge in with the hope that all the hours you spent watching those Jackie Chan or Chuck Norris films will pay off. So, in this case, size does matter.

Once you’ve decided you’re relatively big enough to tackle your opponent, you may still attempt to “talk down” your offender. Nobody wants to face physical harm if he can avoid it, so you may taunt or jostle back and forth on who has the better car, who knows more stats on ESPN, and whose mother is more saintly than the other. But if these open threats don’t cut it, and the words about your mother are too brash, you may feel the tension reaching a fever pitch. And you know what’s about to transpire – a fight is on your doorstep. But just before the critical moment when the first punch is thrown, you do something rash.

You tear your pants off and expose yourself.

So what happens next? I can only imagine the types of responses you’d receive, but I’m sure your would-be attacker will be utterly miffed on how to proceed next. “I can’t hit a naked guy”, he may think. “That’s just…weird.” And so, the crisis is averted. And peacefully nonetheless. You may have invoked public humiliation but what a story people will have to say about you later.

“Hey, did you hear about the ‘naked brawler’?”
“No, but you’re saying this guy fights when he’s naked?”
“No, man. He stopped a fight by getting naked.”
“Whoa. Brave dude….”

So you see, by openly avoiding the confrontation, you may initially be labeled as a crazy person, but in the end you’ll be seen as a brave soul who was willing to bear it all. At least that’s what I would hope to happen. But who can be sure as to what may actually occur? I’m just inclined to believe that nobody wants to tussle with somebody that’s naked. Whether it’s out of sheer guilt or just being creeped out by the circumstances, all anger directed towards a naked person runs away like a streaker at a football game.

We all have disagreements with one another so that’s always going to be a given. I will never get along perfectly with my peers; that’s just the result of human interaction in daily living. And since I’m a human that’s interacting daily, I’m going to wear clothes to cover myself. This is yet another human trait we accept as being socially permissable since we don’t want to experience public shame. Being naked exposes us and who wants to be exposed like that regularly? All you nudist colony dwellers can just be silent for a moment, please. I’m speaking in generalities here.

But to take this one step further, a physical “fight” is meant to establish boundaries, is it not? If I’ve upset you and overstepped your boundaries to the point of no return, a fight may occur between us. We have both been exposed, if you will, for something that has ultimately irked us to the core. We don’t see eye-to-eye so now we have a problem. We can either walk away or try to prove that our way is better than the other (and vice versa). Sometimes we walk away; other times we don’t and thus, an argument ensues. But if you tear away the clothes of either party, then one of us is completely and utterly, exposed. And when we see another person whose guard is completely dropped, their very being beared, we are in shock at their sudden self disclosure. And hence forth, our minds will be burned with the image of someone whose body we may have never wanted to see.

Once again, problem solved.

So am I saying that all fights need to end in nudity? No, not exactly – unless you’re married, right? (a little marriage humor there for you…) But it does make one think what drives us to enact physical harm upon one another. Are we so insecure with ourselves that we must resort to physical pain in order to ebb a disagreement? Or is the finality of bringing physical harm to another the only way to “get one’s point across”? If it’s the former, then being naked strips us (literally) of our insecurities before the other person; thus eliminating the need to fight. And if it’s the latter, then we’ve already achieved physical harm since the other person’s body has been revealed to others. So yet again, the need to prove a point is superceded by the other person’s sudden act of behavior.

That may sound all philosophical and such, but I think it has some reverance. But if we are still requiring a simpler explanation then I give you this – fighting a naked person, stranger or relative, is just too weird to comprehend. So if you ever find yourself backed into a corner and about to throw down with somebody, remember this – a quick drop of trousers will change the dynamic of your situation in an instant. And hopefully for the better.

And to my little brother, I pray that you never did this. But if you did, I’m proud to know you avoided all manner of confrontations with this method. Just don’t do it around the house on holidays. Because let’s face it, I will still fight you despite the weirdness.


  1. I’ve always thought about doing this if I ever got challenged to a fight. Let’s be honest, I’m a little white girl who goes to a school with ghetto people who could easily jump me, and I’d be screwed, but I know that if I ever saw a girl about to kick my ass I’d most likely start stripping. Sure, I’d get a week of OSS for sexual harassment, which is more than defending yourself in a fight, but my pretty face would still be intact and people would stay the fuck away from me.

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