Oh, how happy we were as pre-teen males so long ago, when the annual Sears Roebuck catalog came out! Our parents used it quite the way people now use Amazon and other on-line shopping services. One could even buy all of the parts needed to make a complete Model-T Ford. Of course, most were merely buying one or a few replacement parts… but it would have been possible -and much more expensive- to build one’s own Model-T.
But for us, approaching adolescenthood, we could see ladies’ underwear!
The photos, in color, were far less suggestive than those in more recent catalogs. Pragmatic, in fact. Might as well have been on dummies. But there they were! “
I see London, I see France; I see someone’s underpants!” was an amusing chant while girls hung upside-down from the monkey bars, the jungle gyms, during recess. And bra straps!
Oh, we were young and silly, unsophisticated, not even knowing why we thought we were interested.
And then came Playboy! And some of the “mysteries,” or, sadly for those of us perceptive enough to separate Left and Right Brain reactions, the obvious facts, were presented and to some extent “solved.”
Oh, how young, unsophisticated, and silly we were. But it remains depressing, looking back from relative antiquity, to see this perpetual flirtation with the eventually depressing reality of normal bodies, as it continues.
Victorian era -19th and early 20th Century- British people, which includes we pseudo- or semi-British people here in what remained the at least cultural colonies, reportedly put “pants” on the nether regions of dogs and horses, and even on the “legs” of grand pianos, lest seeing them might drive men to lustful madness and women to embarrassed fainting spells.
And meanwhile, Freud was making so many objects into falik [sic] symbols… even though even he, a cigar smoker, did say that “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
What the Victorians -and many other inhibited people around the world- were hiding was the fact that humans are animals: we use those nether regions to make more humans; and those chest bumps are how human mothers -like animals!- feed these new humans… if they can’t hire another lactating female to do it for them.
Of course, by this reasoning, while we hide the exits, we should also hide our eating holes, because eating, too, is something we share with everything else. Oh, we can make it elegant, as we sip wine and crush overpriced fish eggs between our whitened teeth. But we’re grazing, energizing ourselves, not just gourmeting.
After I became slightly familiar with female torsos, I noticed similarities with those of fat men I’d see at the gym; and, likewise, some with thin men.
And then there are “trans” people, who add or subtract to suit their self-images. Are those the breasts of someone of our own gender, and therefore “normal”; or of the other gender -to retain the traditional binary view of humans- in which case they are somehow more stimulating?
Several years ago, in Ontario, Canada, a young woman was doing summer work, clearing brush and such, with a couple of young men, and on a particularly hot day, the guys took off their shirts… and, recognizing their good sense, young Gwen did so too, and was arrested, for Indecent Exposure. But eventually the Canadian Supreme Court acknowledged that what she was “exposing” exactly paralleled what the two lads, one himself a bit porky, were nonindecently showing. And females were henceforth permitted to appear “topless” in public… except when it was being done “commercially.” In public -not in the “topless bars” that sprang up around North America.
And the fantasies, going back to those catalog-days, were spoiled, dashed, for anyone who could afford a beer or a cup of coffee.
Of course, now anyone with an internet account can see, albeit in two dimensions, practically anything. Upon opening the google or whatever, up come “thumbnails,” a large proportion of which are about breasts: see-through dresses, underboob bras, nipple covers or reveals. Too much information, one could say.
And sometimes all of this, diminishing fantasy as it does, can be worse than disappointing.
Like so much else in life, as one learns about reality and truth.
Life then becomes Foolish Times.