Keeping Abreast of the Times

Here’s to the Breasts of the Ladies!

A touchy, as it were, subject for your Wednesday Yorkshire Post breakfast tale but it has been in the news a lot this last week, has the Breasts of the Ladies, and somebody has to speak up for them. I’m the volunteer. I’m your man. My qualification is that I have always, from very young, liked them very much and still do. I shall stand up for them.

I like them as they are. Not as they are expected and supposed to be like. Not as they are cracked up to be or wanted or hoped to be. No. Just as they are.

There are two that I have made friends with over the years and all our children know them well. We are all the better for it.

In my early twenties I was shocked by the conversations of the men who talked about women – “Who? You mean that Emily with the great big jugs on it?” Or “Her? Ace face but no Bristols, hah! Hah!” or ”She’s the one with the big nose and the squint but what a top deck, eh? Just close your eyes, what?”

How callous and crass. All those silly words that some men use: knockers, they say, or tits, boobs, bigguns, cherrybowls, suckers, dumplings. What men, what words.

My own favourite word for one of Mother Nature’s best inventions is (page 129 Concise Oxford Dictionary) – bosom: the enclosure formed by a woman’s breasts and arms; an emotional and physical centre, esp. as the source of an enfolding relationship; as in “the bosom of one’s family”, “a bosom friend”.

The existence of the Breasts of the Ladies has surfaced a bit in the past few days. I know that it surfaces everyday in the page threes of the Suns, Stars, Mails, Mirrors, Peoples, Penthouses and the dreary News of the Worlds, but those are not real breasts are they? They are not bosoms as we know them, not the ones we get our life out of? I’m talking about real breastwork here. I’m talking bosom. They aren’t. They are talking tit.

The Times, September 17; “Michaelangelo curves fail surgeons’ test.” American cosmetic body architecturalists reveal that the figures of Aurora and Notts in the Medici Chapel do not conform to the ideal of female shapeliness as we know it.

World in Action, last week: the injection of silicon and the insertion of foam rubber moulds into the mammaries and fixed to the tissue with the same adhesive that plumbers use for bathroom fixtures is inadequate (they work loose and start pointing in funny directions) and dangerous (ladies can get cancer with grouting in their restoration upper furniture).

Washington Post Advertising Pullout (September 23): “Jenkinson and Grin, acknowledged kings of the brassiere world announce their new reinforced ricepaper disposable model. Any size cup. Slip it on. Slip it off. And make a meal of it afterwards!”

The Medical Association of Australia solemnly reveals that breast-feeding (by that it meant what we have always known about: the good old snuggling up and cuddling business with suckling and licking, maybe a burp and kisses and we all fall to sleep together afterwards – you know) is “life-enhancing, providing nourishment, health and pleasure to all parties”.

Well. Bless my soul! I’d never have guessed! Life enhancing, eh?

Let us pity those ladies who feel that one way or another they must conform to the harassments and blandishings of charlatans, advertisers, page threes, quacks and callous men who say their breasts must be big and sticky-outy.

I met my first breasts when I was very young and went for them with hungry gums for the nourishment of it and the health and the pleasure to all parties. I have loved them since. Just as they are – life-giving. Not as they are expected to be, supposed to be, cracked up or jumped up or architectured to be. As they are. Here’s to the Breasts of the Ladies!

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The DVD of the BBC series 'Jake Thackray and Songs' is now available to buy online via Amazon.

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'Jake Thackray and Songs', broadcast in 1981, captures him at the height of his powers; it paints an intimate portrait of Jake as a live artist, playing to audiences in the small venues where he felt most comfortable.

This BBC-licensed DVD, professionally produced from the original BBC masters, features all of Jake's performances from the series: thirty of his greatest songs, along with his inimitable between-songs chat and storytelling.

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