BREASTS -- NOT THIS KIND
The following is neither an excuse nor an attempt to exonerate the male segment of our species. This is an attempt, admittedly feeble, to explain an inherent part of man’s nature. This is not something that each man, in his own way, tries to cultivate. All men, at least all the men I know were born this way. We can’t help it. It’s pathetic. Genetic. As far as I know, no male asked to be born with our fascination for breasts.
A FRIEND. A close friend, who my wife later christened ‘The Sexist, Would be Home Wrecker’ or S.W.H.W., would occasionally share ‘guy’ stuff through e-mails. Ribald jokes, pictures of vintage autos, sports statistics, the latest tool innovations from Black and Decker, vacation spots, cruise ship destinations, and exceptional restaurants in every corner of our planet. Example: “Tuck, found this incredible Italian restaurant in Edinburgh, near the castle, you go down two flights of stairs…”
A question. If you were going to Edinburgh, Scotland why would any sane person be looking for an incredible Italian restaurant? Though, on second thought, what is Scottish food? I googled Scottish restaurants in a fifteen-mile radius of my home. Nothing. At fifty miles, I found the same results. Nothing. Conversely, there are five Scottish pubs and a bagpipe association that meets every other Sunday. Which might explain the canine chorus in my neighborhood every other Sunday. Ah, but I digress. . .
In his defense, my close friend the S.W.H.W. sent me a series of: ‘YOU-HAVE-TO-SEE THESE VIDEOS’, videos. Squirrels dodging cars, elephants mating, pouncing cats, dogs, and birds that were apparently confused by their gender and species.
One, an Australian video featuring an emu, kangaroo, and a duck-billed platypus in a fascinating ménage had me riveted. The last time I visited the same site, I discovered seventeen million, four hundred and twelve viewers were equally enamored.
One of my favorite animal videos featured a chocolate lab named Buddy who befriended a baby, one-eyed, robin. Buddy’s family named the robin, Alice. I have no proof, but I think Alice was jettisoned from her nest by her parents in the middle of an avian custody debate and fell into Buddy’s dinner bowl. The lab apparently decided not to enjoy the robin red breast with his Alpo. Ah, but I digress. . .
Of course, no one enjoys ratting out a friend. I do it here reluctantly, sorry Thomas. I didn’t want to become a fink, but. . .
I was at my computer. I’d curiously opened Tom’s latest e-mail a few minutes before. An attractive bare-breasted woman occupied my screen and my attention.
“Anyone, we know?” Bobbie whispered in my ear. I jumped. My wife stood right behind me. “Someone from your past?”
I blamed the vision on my screen and everything else I could think of on my good friend, Tom. Later, I realized 'vision' was probably a poor choice of words.
I apologized. I feigned innocence. “Honey, how could I. . . how could anyone, know what was in an e-mail before you open your e-mail?”
Bobbie wasn’t buying it. She pointed to the title:
CELEBRATE NATIONAL BREAST MONTH
Busted. Yes, I’d seen the hash line. A cause most males could celebrate. What sort of male doesn’t enjoy a breast or two? And weren’t we glad they came in pairs?
In my left ear, Bobbie ‘sighed.’ It was that ‘aren’t men a disappointment’ sigh I’d heard often.
Then my IPad, traitor that it was, switched screens right in front of my wife. The ‘Breasts of July’ became the equally spectacular ‘Breasts of August.’
I didn’t realize I was already halfway through the calendar year. My mind had been somewhere else, which is probably how my wife was able to sneak up on me in the first place.
Bobbie put one hand on each of my shoulders. “Ah, ha. August,” she said. “Oh Honeeeeey, please don’t tell me I’ve already missed the mammary glands of January through June?” Her fingernails dug into my clavicle. Not deeply. Just a warning. I wanted to tell her the way she said Honneeey was warning enough.
Just as I reached for my IPad OFF button; the traitor switched to the ‘Breasts of September.’ Bobbie pointed to the new pair on the screen. “Um. Hum.” She um, hummed; followed by a “jeeez” thrown in for special effect.
“Honey, can I ask you something?” Again, I reached for the off button. I was quickly restrained by the talon of 112-pound female. I thought I knew where this was going. We’ve been married for a while.
“How many breasts do you think you’ve seen in your lifetime?”
I was wrong. Broadsided. Whoa. A LOADED question. Monumental. Barb and I didn’t have many secrets and I didn’t think she was probing for one of mine. I didn’t want to sound pitiful. Or needy. Or adolescent. “Female breasts?” I asked. Which sounded pitiful, needy, and adolescent. I hesitated.
“Come on. Come on. Give me a guestimate. How many?”
I couldn’t dodge Bobbie’s question. It was fair. An honest request. A question any guy might ask any other guy at the gym or a bar. Of course, both of men would lie and exaggerate the number of observations according to the gullibility of the other guy.
“You mean in photos and in person?” I asked.
“All of them. How many?”
Bobbie’s question was sincere, purposeful, mature. The honest response of any intelligent male spouse would take time to consider. An intelligent spouse would stall for a minimum of ten years. Three years of serious reflection; coupled with a breast count followed by five years of internal debate on just how honest an honest spouse honestly wanted to be.
Sure, I was embarrassed confessing to my wife. But I was more concerned with the reaction of my male counterparts. Would I be the Judas to my gender exposing to the opposite sex men’s fascination with breasts? My brain did a big, ‘HOLD IT.’ An ‘Oh, COME ON’ hiccup. Weren’t most women already well aware of our addiction? Weren’t men prey in a way? No? Then:
Why did women wear bikinis? I won’t discuss thongs. There’s not enough room here or anywhere to discuss the little room the common thong leaves to the imagination. And what about the evening dress with Vee cleavage that plunges to the navel. The deeper the Vee, the more I’m convinced the dress was designed by a woman. Designed specifically so the smug woman wearing the dress can admonish any man glancing at the exposed cleavage and say, “Hey, Mister Eyes Up Here.”
I know a confirmed agnostic that told me, “The design of the female torso almost makes him believe in a god. Through, one glance of male genitalia convinces me there isn’t.”
Bobbie sidled closer. Of its own volition, my computer screen advanced to October. They were beauts. Barb was persistent.
“In you’re lifetime how many breasts have you seen?” Here is another female trick. Change the position of the noun and verb and ask the exact same question. STUPID was not written on my forehead. I decided to be forthcoming, truthful. I thought back.
I think it all started with a special edition of National Geographic. I was ten. Just starting to get erections before I knew what they were for. Later I figured it was God's way of dangling the carrot of ‘good things to come.’
The article was, “Lost Tribes of the Amazon.” I liked the pictures of the snakes and spiders but the topless women best of all. I shared the issue with my best friend Alan Muniz. He Pooh-pahed it. He had an older brother, Gary. Gary had quite a collection of ‘adult’ magazines. Two things went through my mind as we flipped through the pages. I wished I had an older brother. And I wondered why Alan hadn’t shared any of this before. Weren’t we best friends?
“You’re stalling” Bobbie snapped me out of my reverie.
I was in a quandary. Breasts come in pairs. So if you see a pair of breasts does that count as one pair or two breasts? Suppose you only saw the profile of a breast. You know there is one on the other side. One or two. And what about over-weightoverweight men? Take away the chest hair and beer bellies. . .
“Tuck, I’m waiting.”
I took a stab, “2317.” The figure had to end in an odd number. I decided breast profiles only counted as one.
“I won’t ask how you came up with that number,” my wife said. “Two thousand three hundred and seventeen. Interesting.” The timber of her voice rose a bit. Not antagonistic. Nor argumentative. More of a, ‘when do little boys grow up’ tone of voice.
Bobbie looked at me. I looked back. I knew thoughts were roiling through her mind. I waited. I would not be sucked in. I would not say anything until it was time. We were in the middle of the old marital standoff.
The wife had something to say and in her good time, she would say it. The intelligent husband would listen. Reflect on her comment. Patiently consider every word. And then after a long pause, then, and only then would an intelligent husband reply.
Bobbie leaned forward. ‘Here it comes,’ I thought. And in an almost loving whisper, she asked, “In your lifetime, how many female breasts do you think. . . You need to see?”
I didn’t pause. Reflect. My mouth opened. I blurted, “All of them.”
My office door slammed.
I deleted Tom, the Sexist, Would be Home Wrecker from my contacts.