Barefoot Bacteria: NS3

It’s 4am, below freezing outside (and inside) our touring bus here at the circus, I can’t sleep, so I’m writing another post – not exactly another rant like the past two, but certainly thoughts on another issue of boy/gay behaviour and the increasingly common notice you see, especially in US: ‘No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.

Exhibit ‘A’: the human foot:


Most of us have above the average number of feet, because the average is 1.996 inclusive of the unfortunate members of the population who have lost a leg. So I’ll assume that like me you have two. Feet sweat more readily than any other part of the body (yes, even armpits), and especially at the toe end. This provides a foetid environment for bacteria (‘human flora’) to thrive and multiply, and these bacteria excrete smelly chemicals. Especially when the feet are encased in socks and trainers or other tight shoes. Is it not better, therefore, to go barefoot whenever possible, so  they do not get sweaty and these parasitic nasties cannot develop so fast? Barefoot in the park? Why not?


Yet, if one of those guys goes to a nearby store for a drink or something, chances are he will have to put on shoes and a shirt as well. Does this make sense?

Many people wander around their homes barefoot, and get up to various activities  (such as acrobatics, like us)…13820

…but their homes don’t smell constantly of cheesy feet. Because feet which are used to the feel of cool grass under their soles, feet which can ‘breathe’ and don’t get sweaty, don’t get smelly.

Guys don’t swim in shoes, do they?


Actually, on a beach with sharp pebbles I might well slip on a pair of canvas shoes, but I have seen guys in a public pool wearing not only shoes but a shirt as well. Why?

OK, if they ashamed of their physique, they know what they need to do. But otherwise? And why is an uncovered chest wandering in to a store less hygienic than one in a scruffy germ-ridden wooly jumper that hasn’t been washed for months? Or, to quote an example from near our place in Wales UK, where a young shop assistant served a smelly old farmer sneezing over the cheese display and with shit dropping off his wellies and then complained about my son’s bare feet and chest (freshly cleaned in a mountain stream). Thankfully, as I reported at the time, the sweet older lady owner had more sense and wanted to retain our custom!

I love to hold my partner’s feet anytime…

H010528 (657)

…or, indeed any one of the other performers, or gym members, we share our lives with. In fact, the only reason I can think of for not doing training barefoot is the risk of dropping something very heavy on your toes!




They’re not afraid to touch each other’s feet: I’m sure they were well showered and washed before they arrived at their gym. And, of course, in the ‘foot fighting’ sport I featured a couple of posts back, or in wrestling, you’re bound to get your opponents feet smack in the face anyway. But we still do the sports…

…and, guess what… nobody died from shared human flora!

Some facts: when two people kiss for ten seconds, 80 million bacteria are transferred.


So, when Zach hangs by his teeth from a small widget which hangs from mine for about a minute during  the show, my dribble delivers him about a trillion of my bacteria! And vice versa when Dave suspends me, as is normal when we are both performing (unlike now – he’s home). Actually several pounds of our body mass is made up of bacteria which we ‘kindly’ host. They live everywhere throughout our bodies, and on our skin and hair. I only need to touch my body against one of my fellow performers, and zillions of bacteria change partners!


Lovers who kiss ten times a day are said to have ‘synchronised their oral flora’.

And everyone who posts ‘No shoes, no shirts, no service’ notices (aka ‘NS3’) – I bet you all kissed someone! And they’ll have given you (personally) far more additional bacteria than I could by entering a store barefoot and shirtless…..

Zach says I ‘rant’ too much in this blog. He’s right. I’ll shut up now (for a while). It’s just that I object very strongly to anyone who expects me to change my lifestyle choices just to suit them: they’ll always cite ‘Health and Safety’ nonsense of some kind to back up their position, but in reality there simply is no health or safety issue about going around barefoot or shirtless. Except that it was -4C (25F) outside this morning, and that is NOT shirtless temperature (well not for more than the few minutes it took to stretch and have a wash, anyway). We’re well used to cold-water showers back home and, until the circus diesels get started and do their thing,  that’s all there is here.

Cover1 ThumbCover2 ThumbCover 3 ThumbAd break: an (un)subtle reminder of something you might like to check out before Christmas present time…

Now let’s synchronise a few more oral flora:





…and a couple more barefooters (shirtless, of course!)…



Let’s end as we began. Same guy, same foot…’spot the difference’!



About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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