Ask Francine – Summertime, and the Clothing Is Optional

“And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stol’n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
My home economics degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., should have prepared me for all the temptations a good Christian might encounter. However, I’m finding that my fine education didn’t prepare me for everything.

Like, I have no clue what that quote up at the top means and I’m not sure about that William person. But I wrote the words down when I saw them on a lean, muscular young man’s T-shirt because two of them — naked and devil — are necessary to start out this week’s column. You sinners strip off every ounce of clothing when the temperature rises near the end of each summer, and it makes my stomach churn to see so much flesh exposed to Jesus. As His representative here in Kansas City, I abhor your pores.

The first sign of summer’s demise is when Union Station has its big “going-out-of-business” sale when it doesn’t meet its revenue goals. Just last week it had its naked cadavers out on the street, waving folks into the “Bodies Revealed” exhibition as the station tried to recover the shortfall resulting after fewer spectators than expected have paid to gaze upon skinned, nude Chinese people. Those dead plastic people didn’t hold up well in the hot, humid Kansas City weather, and they’re not good conversationalists, either. The next Union Station exhibit will take you through the world of the blind, which will be a welcome addition to my world, considering the nasty exposed flesh I’ve seen this week.

As Kansas City’s most respected Christian (despite that unfortunate DUI that resulted in a court-ordered punishment to write this column for Camp), I was in tears as I punched Bishop Robert Finn’s number yesterday to ask him how to approach the subject of summer, nudity and sinners.

He answered on the first ring (he always does for me), and his gentle voice swept over me as he described how he was wiping sin from the diocese here, restoring true Catholicism to Kansas City. The liberal media has made a mockery of Catholicism, he said, just because 12 local priests abused children for more than 40 years. And the fact that he just wrote a check for $10 million to shut up 47 whiners was making him cranky.

His first task, he told me, was to “commune and heal” with the locals, and he invited me to a special Healing Olympic Mass, held at the shiny gold-domed church downtown, where he was having the Kansas City Wave gay swim team participate as honorary altar boys. Even though I am a devout Southern Baptist, I felt a strange urge to attend this ceremony, where I quietly entered through a side door to observe.

The swim team was there, but the church secretary forgot to tell them to wear their swim trunks, so they all improvised the ceremony in their underpants. You gay boys all wear tighty-whities. And grayies. And blackies.

I love participating in symbolic religious acts, and I’ve often bared my soul to the Lord. But Kansas City, from now on, please keep your clothing on.

Francine offers her slightly skewed viewpoint on issues in the Kansas City metropolitan area’s LGBT community in each issue of Camp. And since you’re asking, yes, she’s a fictional character. Well, you asked. Would you like to respond to Francine or give her a tip on something that may be of interest? E-mail her at

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