Hi. I'm new here & thought I would give some background about myself. It turned out longer than I expected!
I was always one of the little, scrawny kids in class growing up. A natural introvert I also got glasses in the fourth grade which doesn't exactly add to one's self confidence socially. My dad was a big man and I very rarely saw him with his shirt off. Having no brothers there were no other males in the house. I didn't mind being shirtless for swimming but that pretty much the only time I had it off.
Come middle school you start changing clothes for PE and was my first real locker room experiences. Middle school is also the time you start to notice your body more and compare to others as physical maturing begins. I was still a scrawny little kid as I saw a few friends start to get into better shape and get hair on their arms and legs. I was also not the athletic type at all, another thing that did not help me feel better about my looks. I was your basic bookworm nerd.
High school starts and things are not much better. Plus there's older kids and the physical differences stand out even more. I was definitely a late bloomer. By the end of my sophomore year though I had contact lenses and was finally starting to catch up a little. While this is when I started hanging out more with friends the guys I hung out with were also not the types to have their shirts off. Besides, the thought of having my shirt off in a social situation was overwhelming.
By graduation I had filled out some, still thin but not as scrawny as before. I tan very well and it was the one physical thing I got complimented on. So I started being shirtless when outside at home. I never felt completely at ease around my family that way but I wanted to get dark. A family moved in behind us and they had two sons, one a year older than me and the other two years younger. I rarely saw the older one around but the younger one was outside a good bit and he rarely had a shirt on. You know the type. We didn't have much in common, he was bit of a redneck to be honest, but we did start playing one-on-one basketball in his driveway and more often than not we both had our shirts off. I remember playing that way one Christmas Day actually. Sometimes he had friends over and we'd play that way too.
College begins and like many I live in a dorm my first year. I'm not completely comfortable being shirtless but I was a little more so than before. In a college dorm obviously there are guys just hanging out all the time but also inevitably there's one or two at least without a shirt, even when it's coolish. My roommate, who I didn't know going in, was not the shirtless guy type but there were a few guys on my end of the hall that were. I slowly became friends most of the guys who lived around me. I was becoming comfortable being around them without a shirt when it occurred to me.
I didn't need to have a reason to not have a shirt on.
Before I would only take my shirt off to go swimming, or because it would get hot and sweaty. But it was also perfectly okay not to have a shirt on just because. I could walk in on a conversation in a friend's room or study in the common area and not feel the out of place if I had my shirt off. Sometimes I might get a little teasing or a nipple comment (I have big, always pokey ones) but it was just playful crap that guys give each other and nothing to take personal. And it felt great, sitting around playing video games or watching a movie with other guys, some shirted, some not. I really felt like one of the guys, a bonding thing. Once I moved into college apartments this continued and probably even expanded.
Summer at home I never felt completely comfortable around my family shirtless (oddly I still don't) but around certain groups of friends the same type of things continued and now with things like going to baseball games or music festivals. I'm not as young as I used to be but I also don't care about what other people think as much anymore. I hope to be one of those shirtless guys you see at a park or out in their see from time to time for years to come.
And yes, that is me in my profile.
Good story about you. Glad to see that you have grown up i
Great story! A natural progression. My son is 14 but the local culture is quite conservative so I have never seen him shirtless in public. No redneck neighbors unfortunately. At home we are lax but he is always comparing himself to his peers and no one is shirtless unless at the pool, and even there they have these nylon shirts to hide the boy boobs. I hope my example will give him more freedom when he gets to college.
This afternoon I took my dad's old Ford pickup out for a drive. It doesn't get driven much anymore so it's good to get it cranked up and taken for a spin now & then. It's already hot here so the shirt came off before even leaving the driveway. Some vehicles just feel more masculine to drive shirtless and a 20 year old truck certainly qualifies. My old Jeep was even better; today would have definitely been a top down/shirt off kind of day.
That sounds awesome!
I'm fat so I don't take my shirt off