Last week, I was at an out-of-town event when someone came up to me and asked, "Do I know you?"
When I told him my name, the lights came on.
"Of course!" he exclaimed. "You had me on your radio show years ago debating whether women should be allowed to go topless in public."
Turns out he's a Kamloops pastor, and I did, indeed, have him on Mel Rothenburger Live (a call-in show I did on CFJC during the '90s) along with a women's equality activist debating that very issue.
The question revolved around whether women were discriminated against because they were legally not allowed to take their shirts off in public, while men were.
A Maple Ridge woman named Linda Meyer (whom I also interviewed on the radio show) had been charged with violated a municipal bylaw that banned females over the age of eight from baring their nipples in a public place.
Having one law for men and one for women became a tough thing to enforce, and the charge against Meyer was eventually dropped. Years later, Meyer was reported still cycling around Maple Ridge topless - or, as supporters of her cause prefer, top free.
Out in Ontario, a woman named Gwen Jacob staged a similar protest, and was charged with indecency. Her conviction was overturned on appeal, and being topless is no longer considered indecent under the Criminal Code.
So why, last weekend, were there rallies of bare-breasted women all over North America demanding equality for women on the topless front?
Because in some places it's still against the law, and in Canada, some women want it as a constitutional right.
Go Topless Day was supposed to raise awareness of the issue.
I suppose, to some extent, it succeeded - news reports indicated the top-free parades attracted a lot of men, with cameras.
Whether the women succeeded in getting people to take their cause seriously is another matter. Websites attracted the predictable clever comments, such as, "She said she was going topless. It was her divine right. The left was pretty good, too."
The male brain simply has trouble wrapping itself around the issue, and the top-free movers and shakers (sorry, that's the kind of immature pun we fall into) are largely preaching to the converted.
"Only a perverted mindset thinks that exposing a female breast is more humiliating than exposing a male breast," Go Topless president Nadine Gary tried to explain. "Female breasts are as beautiful as men's and they likewise come in all sizes."
Who would argue with her?
"Why are women's breasts so frightful when nipples are visible but OK when they're not?" asked the Feminist eZone blog.
Logically, there's no argument; there really isn't. Hormonally and prudishly, it's a different matter. It took a long time before it became socially acceptable for women to breast-feed in public, but now nobody has a problem with it.
On many European beaches, and some in Canada, women go topless, or top-free. Everybody's comfortable with it.
But the street is another matter. In one U.S. city, a couple of politicians are suing police for failing to enforce the law, alleging that a "sexual act" had occurred during one of the parades.
If you had asked me 13 years ago, when the Linda Meyer case came up, whether we'd still be arguing about it like children in 2012, I'd have laughed.
Yet, it remains top of mind for some.