Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The compound accessory reproductive organs of female mammals

This one’s triggered by two things. First, having been accused on Michael Malone’s May Contain Nuts (justifiably, I must confess) of a typical male obsession with the contents of bras, I feel a compulsion to explain myself. Second, from that starting point I arrived at messages on t-shirts and a particularly nasty one. Together, they seem to make it worthwhile posting this. (You may disagree.)

The point de départ, then. The fact that the Sun newspaper in the UK was a hit from day one because it featured a topless page 3 ‘girl’ every day immediately relegates anyone who admires the curves of breasts to a dark, onanistic underclass. There, we (I’m including myself for the moment because I haven’t yet offered any exculpatory evidence to indicate otherwise) hunch in our shifty, fetid corners, slavering, drooling and unconsciously giving in to Freudian longings and urges centred around deeply-buried memories of contented suckling. We’re primitive, unreconstructed creatures led not by what’s in our skulls but rather by an organ that has little to do with rational behaviour. Along with the ‘obsession’ goes the assumption that we have society’s permission to whistle at the owners of the admired appendages, make lubricious remarks and generally be thought of as ‘one of the lads’.

No point trying to deny that the world is crawling with such still-to-evolve individuals. And they make it difficult to articulate a case for the defence. For them, women and their component parts are sex objects, full stop. So how can I say that I find breasts (and many other anatomical bits of women) attractive? I have no urge to grab them, but they’re a source of innocent (yes, innocent) pleasure. (By the way, I'm not impressed by sheer size and certainly not by lumps of silicone such as those which the famous novelist Katie Price hangs on her collar bones, or by whatever it is that's been clamped to the top of Mrs Beckham's rib cage.) It would sound defensive, evasive, even insincere to claim that my response is aesthetic but it’s closer to that than to depraved. I really wish it were possible to tell women one passes in the street that they look good or walk beautifully without fear of being arrested for accosting them and/or making lewd suggestions. Surely they’d be happy to know that they were being appreciated in a totally unthreatening way.

Anyway, this led to the t-shirt messages because, if one’s gaze tends reflexively to drop to chests, one reads all sorts of quips on them and, surprisingly often, they relate to the things which the t-shirt is concealing. Scrawled across two rather large mounds on one were the words:


Another, which I saw in an illustration rather than being worn, had a ‘C’ on the front of the right arm and an ‘L’ on the front of the left. The front of the garment carried other specially chosen symbols, to create this overall effect:


You’ve no doubt seen your own (or maybe even have favourites which you wear) so I won’t multiply the examples. (And, for a wee aside, which has nothing to do with the central point of all this, my favourite t-shirt message is one I saw on a man in one of the less affluent areas of Glasgow. He was an ordinary guy but his t-shirt told everyone:


That is class.)

Anyway, to my final point. On a bus in St Andrews, two of my fellow passengers were biker types – not bikers the way Marlon Brando was a biker in The Wild One, but overweight, unattractive, greasy haired slouchers. They were probably in their early twenties but they didn’t look scary or threatening. Then, when they walked to the front to get off, I saw the message they had stitched across the back of their leather jackets:


If it weren’t such a chilling thought that these individuals considered such an assertion worth sharing with the world, their infinitely sub-Wildean wit could be the source of amused speculation about the number of live girls who’d taken one look at them and said ‘no’ in ways which confirmed their essential impotence. To me, the brash proclamation was born of fear, inadequacy. Let’s face it, you don’t get street cred by confessing to necrophilia. But, for all that these were two sad, unpleasant individuals incapable of seeing how self-defeating their boast was, it left a nasty taste in my mouth and a sadness which soured the rest of the day. And, in the end, I wonder whether the innocence I claim for my appreciation of how women look isn’t after all on the same spectrum as the bikers’ message. I bloody well hope not.


  1. Dude, you're being too hard on yourself. Appreciation is part of the programme but what these two biker have is downright nasty. Different spectrum. Different ball park. Different species.

  2. My husband still recalls one of the very early dates we had back in Baku. We sat at a dinner table outside, in a summer hot night, and a girl was making a speech. She was not particularly pretty, but she had the most beautifully shaped breasts I personally had ever seen. As she stood up, I noticed that she was not wearing a bra, and her t-shirt was a bit too tight. I looked at my then boyfriend, and asked him: "Are you looking at what I am looking at? They are pretty good, aren't they?" And he says these days that he thought to himself then: "wow, this girl is cool!"

    There is nothing wrong in admiring a nice pair of breasts. I would worry about any male who did not.

    And I admire this lovely picture you put here for the ladies. I am not ashamed to admit this is just fan-tas-tic.

    AS for those two sick bikers...You know what I think it is/

    They probably get rejected so often, so many times... they gave up. And that awful statement is their pathetic attempt at appearing cool.

    They reckon they might as well try to pretend they don't care what women think. Because, either way...they ain't getting any, are they.

  3. I'm not sure what it says about me, but I really loved this post. Many smiles, and sad, chilled thoughts for those bikers.

  4. Michael. Thanks for the absolution – and for the ‘different species’ reassurance.

    Scary, I’d like to have been present at the Breasts Appreciation Society meeting in Baku and I’m relieved to find that I’m still more or less normal. As for the torso, I suppose I could say it was a self-portrait but Michael has seen me and his silence would cost far too much. And I agree with your conclusions about the sicko bikers: if they are getting any, it’s at the morgue.

    Sheila, thanks for that. If you do find out ‘what it says about' you, you will let us know, won’t you?

  5. I could climb on my soapbox here, Bill, and rant about how women are judged by the way they look, not what's in their heads or how talented they happen to be. I certainly understand the T-shirt message: I wish these were brains. :-) I also understand that cetain people are works of art and that their beauty will soon fade and they'd damn well better have something else going for them. In the meantime, we can appreciate that beauty as one of the Lord's rare gifts.

  6. Don't get me wrong Jean - I'm sure you know I don't judge women by appearances. Sense of humour, intelligence, compassionate tendencies - these and other things come first. I can't imagine the tedium of a long evening spent with a woman whose only attributes were in her bra (or a man whose primary qualities were his impeccable pecs for that matter).

    As for the Lord and his rare gifts - I'd like a strong word with him precisely about their rarity but he never seems to be around.

  7. I truly, sincerely appreciate and share your comment about your aesthetic response to physical beauty. Unfortunately, society tends to equate nudity or certain parts of the human body with sexuality - all the time - and the association is not always appropriate.

    I have often seen a beautiful woman and responded with awe and appreciation - which has nothing to do with my sexuality. Sometimes it has involved a touch of envy, oftentimes it hasn't. It is precisely the same response I have when I see a beautiful infant (especially a chubby one with bare feet) - does that make me a pedophile? Ditto for a handsome, well-built man. (I'm seeing more of those, these days, especially men my son's age - does that make me a pedophile, too?)

    I will also go out on a limb here and risk stoning by fellow women, but I believe that many women deliberately attract attention to certain portions of their anatomy, either consciously or unconsciously knowing they will receive attention. These women are a completely different species of woman from those who happen to have a body and are comfortable with it, neither shying away from attention nor inviting it - simply being who they are, blessed with a body from God.

    So, I agree with your friend Michael. You're being too hard on yourself.

    And as far as those biker necrophiliacs: YUCK!

  8. Thanks Linda for yet another considered comment on my ramblings. There’s so much in what you say that it calls for another blog in response but I’m rushing about (as usual) so will have to content myself with a few brief remarks.

    First, you’ve widened the scope to consider the overall notion of ‘beauty’ and I think that merits a much more complex approach than my crass slavering over just one anatomical feature. The title of the blog, taken from a dictionary definition of breasts, does imply a direct sexual link between this bit of the body and carnality – which certainly isn’t the case for chubby feet, gleaming teeth, glossy hair, etc.. Also, and perhaps strangely, naked breasts are beautiful, yes, but somehow less so than … (embarrassed cough) … cleavage. Maybe there’s a suggestion of mystery or inaccessibility that adds to the frisson.

    And don’t fret about me being too hard on myself. I rarely take anything in life seriously. I think many of the problems we all face come from the fact that people have an elevated idea of their own importance and/or the importance of their beliefs and attitudes. In my case, it’s curiosity that makes me ask these questions about how things (and people) relate to one another.

  9. You're a dear soul, Bill, and I wasn't aiming my rant at you. It touched off a nerve when I read about the "biker types" who weren't getting any satisfaction with the opposite gender.

    I think the reason the Lord doesn't seem to be around is because we're all here in a test pattern, like an ant farm, to see who's deserving enough to advance to a higher plane. (Just one of my quirky theories.)

  10. In that case Jean, let's make the most of our contact here because I know for a fact I won't make it to the next level.

  11. Great blog post.
    I think most of the attraction of the contents of bras lies in the fact that it's about something that's hidden. Men fantasise about what's there, and I'm not sure if they are prepared to face reality: the great variety in shape, the influence of gravity, squeezed into the bra, pretending the perfect uniformity of the Sun models.
    As for giving compliments, the size of body parts is not a personal achievement, unlike for example writing a novel, painting the ceiling or standing on your head. A compliment on that part isn't worth much. As if a man says: you are great looking but I'm not interested in the rest of you. I do agree that, in general, it would be nice if it was more common to say nice things to each other's appearance. Still, it's true art to do it right.
    I love good t-shirt texts. I once saw a teenage boy, arms and legs grown too fast, slowly crossing a camp ground. The struggle of growing up on his face and 'born to be wild' on his t-shirt.
    The dead girl guys made me laugh out loud. They might as well wear the text: 'I'm such a loser, I can't get a girlfriend. I'm desperately trying to shock people, but I'm only making a fool of myself.'

  12. As usual Anneke, you open up observations and invite further exploration. But equally as usual, my trivialising approach to things leads me to puerile speculation rather than mature reflection. It was the combination of the subject matter, the influence of gravity and the idea of standing on one's head that conjured up totally unworthy images to which I shouldn't really confess. But your analysis is spot on, of course, and I should move on and post a more serious blog about some abstract subject. I'll try to think of one.

  13. I'm afraid that if you start writing serious blogs about abstract subjects, such as whether Noam Chomsky is right, you'll lose all your readers. Curiosity is the best source of inspiration. Exploring seemingly unimportant thoughts and observations may lead to interesting things or, even better, to fiction.
    However, the answer to the question whether Noam Chomsky was right depends on what you are referring at. Maybe he was right when he said: 'If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.'
    But in this discussion Groucho Marx's approach is much more useful as he said: 'Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.' 

  14. It's too bad we can't simply appreciate the beauty of the human body without having to rationalize it, explain it, condemn it. Living in redneck country I see the entire spectrum from appreciation to likenesses of your, sorry, THE bikers. Do you think sometimes we think too much?

    I already read your blog but I'd read it twice if you'd put a nice picture like that on it everytime. ;D Just saying...

  15. Marley, as well as my tedious insistence on repeating 'Hell is other people', I frequently resort to 'There's nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so'. I agree with you.

    Also, thanks to you I at last have the secret of how to attract readers to my blog. From now on, away with attempts at wit and wisdom, keep the minutiae of my days to myself - just find shots of rippling abs, pecs, lats and whatever other body parts lend themselves to fantasy. Thank you.

  16. Well, it'll work with the female readers of course, but lest you should begin to think we who like cool bods don't like cool minds, don't change anything else. I come here for the WISDOM...

  17. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  18. Thanks, Marion. 'Enjoyed reading' is exactly the right thing to say.