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Nipples in America
April 15 , 2004
by Craig Curtice

You must be dead if you haven’t noticed that this country has a pretty serious infatuation with women’s breasts. Men completely love looking at them, talking about them, and of course playing with them – while women spend billions on bras to support them, to hide them, and to show them off. Interestingly there’s a fair amount of gay men that enjoy dressing them up too. Few women seem completely satisfied with their boobs, which explains why billions more is spent on plastic surgery, and why extreme makeover television shows continue to garner strong ratings. You might have even heard about a popular restaurant chain named after them.

“By the way, they’re real and they’re spectacular!” – Seinfeld, 1995

Throughout history artists have recorded the beauty of the female bosom through drawings, paintings, and sculpture, and now in the 21st Century we simply broadcast them live on television, celebrate them in movies, and drool over them standing in line at supermarket checkouts. It’s impossible not to notice the flesh-filled covers of Maxim, FHM, Stuff, and often Esquire, while women’s magazines like Cosmo, Shape, InStyle, Elle, and Vogue routinely flaunt serious breast action too. Lately Jessica Simpson’s are just everywhere.

Currently, showing off cleavage is socially acceptable, but strangely enough, any nipple visibility is strictly taboo. So as digital airbrushing techniques continue to revolutionize photography, we’re seeing the eradication of nipples in the print media. A long-standing joke is that the gorgeous women that model bras in Victoria’s Secret catalogs don’t actually have nipples – they’ve been airbrushed away like an unsightly kitchen mess. Last year the well-proportioned actress Angelina Jolie was furious that Paramount airbrushed out her nipples on her Laura Croft Tomb Raider poster, and currently there’s an online petition to U.S. Congress calling for the abolishment of female nipple censorship on television.

“Fred, she’s gotten her boobies...oh and they are so perky!” – Sixteen Candles, 1984

I’ve been doing some informal research and have found that few things are as traumatic in a woman’s life as developing breasts (or not developing them as the case may be). Seems that the accidental exposure of boobs and nipples in public are a constant concern, and every woman has an awkward nipple story they’d probably rather forget. Many will recall the classic Seinfeld episode when Elaine mistakenly mailed out a Christmas card bearing her visible nipple.

My wife confessed a couple of her most embarrassing moments that she still remembers quite vividly. Years ago she was teaching a class of youngsters to swim in a rather chilly pool. Seeing right through her wet bathing suit, this five-year old boy pointed at her and literally sang, “I can see your knob-bies...” Another time she suffered crippling embarrassment at the hands of her three brothers, when a souvenir photo taken at a renaissance fair captured some revealing nipplage.

Now you can’t talk about boobs and nipples without bringing up Janet Jackson’s name. I hate to mention her because I think she’s suffered enough, but her Super Bowl fiasco unwittingly sparked a morality wildfire. What bothers me about Janet is you’d think that after creating Nipplegate she would’ve toned down the boobage for her comeback television appearance on Letterman, but instead she wore a leather bustier that mashed her boobs halfway up to her chin. It’s safe to say that everyone who saw the program was totally checking out her cleavage. Dave sure got a few good looks in.

“Would you look at the fun bags on that hose hound!” – Dumb and Dumber, 1994

Now it’s not only magazines and catalogs that fight those pesky nipples, network television’s concealment war began decades ago with shows like Three’s Company and it continues today with Jennifer Aniston. During a recent airing of the schlock behind-the-scenes Charlie’s Angels biopic, there was a scene showing an upset ABC executive telling Aaron Spelling to lower the show’s nipple count. It wasn’t a problem that bra-less breasts jiggled, but rather it was the outline or protrusion of nipples that caused all the fuss. Hilarious. Though off the subject, there was another a great scene depicting the Six Million Dollar Man battling Bigfoot in the woods. After the director yells cut, Andre the Giant (in his Bigfoot costume) pats Lee Majors on the back and tells him that his kid totally loves watching Farrah Fawcett every week. Now that’s some brilliant television.

Sex and the City often dealt with breast and nipple topics, and there was even an episode in which Samantha experimented with press-on nipples to get noticed. Funny, but for every product out there made to conceal nipples (like Nippets) there’s another to make them more noticeable. The following is from Décolleté Enhancement, a website selling Ultra Realistic Attachable Nipples:

“The Ultra Realistic Nipples are specifically designed to work with your breasts for that extra-perky, extra-sexy look. Achieve far greater projection that you would from breast forms alone! The attachable nipples offer the greatest protrusion of any others available, and with their detail and quality, they look and feel incredibly realistic.”

One can never be exactly sure if women want men to notice the high beams or not, but I’m completely positive that you should never ask a woman “Hey is it cold in here, or are you just glad to see me?”

(Craig Curtice is a volunteer staff writer for 2 Walls Webzine)

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