[Ed: Don't faint everybody, this is my first post here for nearly two years. Sorry it has been so long between drinks. I haven't forgotten this blog, just neglected it. Anyway, here goes.]
From time to time in the course or research for this blog, I type breast related terms into google.
Of course I get lots of porn sites in the results and I try to ignore them. However, being a male, I occasionally wander over there to see what's what. Now I'm pretty slow on the uptake so I'm sure most of you have known about this for years, but I just discovered a new category in the porn sites - "Nipple Slips".
These sites feature images and movies of women accidentally exposing their nipples. My first reaction is 'Yuk.' Of course nipples are going to be accidentally exposed from time to time. For most women, I imagine this ranges from slightly to extremely embarassing, This being the case, let's leave it at that. An accidental slip. I find it quite distasteful that there are people who would want to record that moment of embarassment and share it with potentially millions of others.
Getting past this initial reaction though, I started to think why this should lead to so much fuss. In our culture it is largely OK to expose as much of a breast as you like, as long as you don't show the nipple. Now this is not a universally accepted view. Some would regard any breast exposure as obscene while to others it would not matter if a whole breast including a nipple was exposed. But as a general rule my first statement applies.
Why should it be (or perhaps how did it come to be) that a nipple became such a symbol of lewdity? I don't have an answer for that although I can speak about what it is like from at least one man's point of view.
I am not proud of it, but I have to admit that from time to time I find myself seeking out a nipple sighting. It is as though the whole goal of breast watching is to see, or at least catch a glimpse of a nipple. In this game we play with ourselves, we allow ourselves points for how much of a breast we get to see. (I could go into the simple mindedness of the ritual we adopt but I won't bore you with that.) Regardless of how much else is visible, if you catch a glimpse of a nipple, you get the jackpot.
We know by instinct exactly when to look - if you are wearing a loose top and the breeze blows or you bend over are a couple of examples. As I said before this is at best mindless but in truth is just disrespectful.
Although I must diverge for a moment here to relay an incident from several years ago. I happened to be quite attracted to one of the women in a group I was working with. It didn't feel the attraction was out of hand. I thought she was pretty and had a lovely smile and I told her how I felt. She also happens to be one of a group of women I have known and liked over the years for having very small breasts. On one occasion when we were working together my friend was sitting next to me and each time she spoke I turned to face her. Whenever I did, my inbuilt radar kicked in and I found myself occasionally looking down her blouse in search of an elusive nipple sighting.
Afterwards, I was quite disappointed with myself and the next time we met I raised the subject with her. I feared raising my behaviour with her as I thought she would be justified in thinking a lot less of me for it. I was surprised then when she wasn't angry. Rather first off my colleague was very gentle with me. She smiled and said "That was really hard to say wasn't it?" Secondly she was quite delighted that she had been able to attract an interest in her breasts. She asked me "What was I wearing that night. I must wear it more often."
I guess the moral of that story is the moral of this blog. The first step to changing our (men's) behaviour towards women is to talk with them.
Maybe if we do that, nipple sightings and nipple slips will fade into insignificance.