Josh Muggins's Blah Blah Blah


April 19, 2010

Tits: Some Random Observations

The new school year began here in Japan a few weeks ago and I was sitting in my office the other day perusing the head shots that I had collected from my freshmen for the purpose of learning their names more quickly. A sullen senior boy dropped by, and I sought to cheer him up by sharing with him pictures of the prettier freshman girls—but to no avail. “I can’t tell what their tits are like from these pictures,” he said dismissively.

I wanted to denounce his blatant sexism, but found that hard to do given my own track record re tits. I mean--you know--that is to say--I really like tits. I can’t honestly say that I like tits more than other heterosexual men like tits, but I take a back seat to no man in trumpeting my great fondness for tits*. It is a theme that pervades this blog. In the back pages of my second memoir, Summer of Marv, the entry for tits is far longer than any other in the whole seven-page index—and that’s without even counting the separate entries for bras, bralessness, and bra-sniffing. You’d think it wouldn’t be too hard for me to perceive a problem here that cries out for a 12-step program.

Other male writers eschew too strong or too frequent expressions of their views on tits, and more power to them for that. I suppose they wish to avoid the sort of gaminess that begins to adhere to one’s reputation when one starts blabbing incontinently about tits all over the place. But I for one cannot help myself. I mean, what a delightful, fun body part!

Picture this: Two ladies are standing side by side, one of whom (oh, say, Christina Hendricks) possesses tits twenty times as massive as the other (oh, say, pre-surgery Kate Hudson)—and yet both ladies are generally considered to be not merely normal, but attractive. Of what other body part can that be said? Imagine living in a world where that was true of people’s heads. Or their kneecaps. Anything, really. The mind reels…

It may surprise readers—those few of you still with me at this point—to know that I do not own the DVD of the classic titfest Showgirls. However, I never pass up an opportunity to watch it on cable, and I’d like to share with you my favorite snippet of dialogue:

Cristal Connors: You have great tits. They're really beautiful.
Nomi Malone: Thank you.
Cristal Connors: I like nice tits. I always have. How about you?
Nomi Malone: I like having nice tits.
Cristal Connors: How do you like having 'em?
Nomi Malone: What do you mean?
Cristal Connors: You know what I mean.
Nomi Malone: I like having them in a nice dress, or a tight top.
Cristal Connors: Mmmm. You like to show ‘em off.
Nomi Malone: I didn't like showing them off at the Cheetah.

I like this exchange, because I like nice tits, too. And I like listening to ladies saying the word tits, just as I like typing the word tits.

What I’m not sure I’d enjoy all that much, however, is having tits—even nice ones. Then again, the having might not be all that bad, but the showing—well, that’s another matter. No matter how nice my hypothetical tits were, I do not think that I’d like showing any portion of them. Not at the Cheetah, nor at the Laundromat nor the corner pub nor the office nor anywhere else, for that matter. Unfortunately, when it comes to tits, having and showing are inextricably intertwined.

Devoid as I am of the experience of raising a daughter, I’ve been slow to grasp certain commonsense concepts regarding females and their body issues. I’m belatedly catching on, however, and developing odd, unsettling sensations that I suspect might be akin to what smarter people than I refer to as “empathy.” And through these sensations, I have come to feel that having tits might not be all that great a deal. Tit-having might even be considered a burden, even if the tits themselves are fairly compact and portable. Perhaps especially in such cases. And that burden might be aggravated for tit-havers by the unseemly enthusiasm of tit aficionados like myself. In short, the imbalance of tit-related pleasure between those of us who do the having and those of us who do the appreciating begins to become clear, and to trouble me.

For one thing, there is this huge gap between the sexes in what, for lack of a better term, I’ll call “check-out-ability.” In non-Islamic societies at least, a man usually gleans a pretty good idea of what a lady has to offer before he even expresses interest, whereas the lady doesn’t get the vaguest notion what the fellow has until the third to fifth date on average (according to this random survey).

Two people in the presexual courting stage of a relationship are, in this sense, rather like two kids looking forward to Christmas. The boy gets to see his wrapped presents under the tree. No, not merely to see them, but—as Christmas draws nearer—to touch them and pick them up to feel their heft and, when in a particularly bold mood, to shake them.

The girl's present isn’t under the tree. She knows in general terms what she’s getting, but has no opportunity to estimate how big or heavy it might be right up to Christmas morning.

Now, that’s not fair. And I don’t know what can be done about it but… Well, I hadn’t thought about this for years but the memory popped back into my head not long ago, quite unbidden, while I was sitting around thinking about someone or other’s tits.

In the early Eighties, when I was in my twenties, erstwhile Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver did something that no one expected an erstwhile Black Panther leader to do: He turned fashion designer. His lone achievement of note was a line of men’s trousers that featured a rather explicit codpiece, pictured here. As you can see, Cleaver anticipated by over two decades the Saturday Night Live “Dick in a Box” bit with his patented Dick in a Pouch. (Note: If the ad copy sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is: The ad is a parody that appeared in Rolling Stone. The pictures of Cleaver modeling his pants are unretouched, however.)

Like Rolling Stone, Esquire, and any number of publications, I laughed at Cleaver’s conceit. But mine was a hollow, nervous laugh, a laugh tinged with a low-level, pulsating terror over the minuscule but nonetheless real possibility that this fashion would catch on while I was still single. Or, for that matter, still alive.

Imagine, if you will—and as I really did imagine for those few giddy months after the debut of the "Cleaver Sleeve"—a Bizarro World on which no man can be considered truly fashionable without at least one pair of codpiece trousers in his closet. The same not-so-subtle societal pressures that compel women to go out at least occasionally in form-fitting or skin-baring tops during the warmer months whether they want to or not would now backfire nightmarishly on us males.

Not even men of advancing years such as myself would be exempt. We would have to parade our shrink-wrapped junk around for the perusal of female coworkers, relatives and total strangers, while never ceasing to be aware of the comparative judgments being made about said junk, every minute of the day.

My God—no wonder all women are mad.

* Unless that man is Hugh Hefner, I suppose.