Wonder Breasts

On pasties, bullet bras, and a tenderness for things beautiful and fleeting

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My friend Pete put it this way: You can't argue with a great pair of tits.

Straight men love them. Gay men dig the spectacle; lots of them want to touch if not necessarily hug and kiss them. Gay women are also fond of them.

Straight women are probably the only ones who don't love tits, judging from the dangerously stupid things we do to them. Although the government's drug agency tells us not to, we pump salt water, plastic, and other gunk into them so they can look and feel like an inferior version of the real thing.

But there are a few sick women who genuinely like their own unaugmented, non-Barbie titties, and I'm proud to count myself in that group--the bold and beautiful gals who don't have 'Mattel' stamped across our hineys.

I've been into breasts of all shapes and sizes as long as I can remember. As my body grew into its inevitable voluptuous form, Marilyn Monroe and Julie Newmar were my idols. I also admired the way Betty Page, Deborah Harry, and the young Goldie Hawn used their pectoral gifts.

Concerning breasts, I've always felt very lucky: I have two nice ones of my own that I have adorned or left alone according to my will. I'm not opposed to using bras like cosmetics: the Flower Bali for a '50s ever-so-slight bullet-bra effect; the Warner Not So Innocent Nude for an almost-bare, natural '70s look; any Olga make for minimal daytime display; Perla and Christian Dior bras for date night. A nursing bra with the panels cut out re-creates the Rudi Gernreich look of the '60s. For maximum effect, ice your nipples for a half hour before you go out, like Jean Harlow used to do.

I like foam rubber because, like bleached-blond hair, it's so obviously fake that it takes on a new meaning. I have merry widows, bustiers, and push-up bras galore; I have been known to argue--after a few cocktails, pontificate on--the advantages of the Cadillac Bra from Frederick's of Hollywood over the Wonderbra. (the Cadillac is cheaper and infinitely more evocative, and its history is far cooler.)