My friend Sue was in her mid-fifties when she decided she wanted to be an exotic dancer. I did my best to talk her out of it, but she had friends who danced -- all younger than she -- and they were making great money, so she thought she could do it too. Her goal was to work until she saved enough to open a specialty bakery. Then she would quit.
Sue had an excellent body for a woman her age. She was raking in upwards of $250 a night, but she wasn't content. Other dancers, most of whom were named Barbie, made double that amount. Sue was convinced it was because the Barbies were better endowed, and in the business of selling fantasies to men, size definitely mattered. Men's tips grew in direct proportion to the size of the breasts they ogled. Whether they were the real deal or surgically enhanced made no difference.
Sue took her bakery shop savings and made an appointment to have her girls enlarged. To assure that she would pull in big bucks she said, "Heck, I might as well make this surgery worth it. Let's super size these cupcakes, Doc. How about building me a set of 46DDs ?"
Until then, I never knew a woman could hold up that kind of weight without crumbling to her knees.
We made plans to meet for lunch a few weeks later. I was already seated when Sue's enhanced appendages rounded the corner and entered the room a full minute before the rest of her. When I finally saw her face, she was beaming.
"Well? What do you think?" she asked, flaunting them in my face. "And if you think they look great now," she continued, "you should see them when I lie down. They stand right up perky as all get-out, which does make sleeping on my stomach somewhat challenging, but you'll never hear me complain. I'm pulling in close to $500 a night."
I gave that some thought. "There's something unnatural about that, don't you think?" I asked. "When I lie on my back and watch TV from bed, my girls accommodate me by flattening like deflated tires, and hanging out in my armpits. By the way, since your feet always travel in the shadow of those mountains, don't they get cold?"
A month later, Sue and I took a vacation to France. The resort we stayed at had a topless beach. Not one to be mistaken for bashful, Sue ripped off her bikini top and set those babies free. Within seconds, half the men on the beach were focused on her 46DDs.
"What the hell are they staring at?" Sue grizzled.
"You didn't expect to unleash those puppies and have them go unnoticed, did you?"
"All I know is when they were smaller men never paid this kind of attention to me. Now, suddenly, they're interested."
"You are kidding, right? Isn't this what you wanted? Could it be they're staring now because you didn't look like this before? Or, maybe it's all innocent and they're taking bets on whether you can walk without tipping over onto your nose."
Times certainly have changed. When I married the first time, I was barely 21 years old and had a shapely figure. On our honeymoon I wore a demure, fitted, red wool dress with a sweetheart neckline that revealed less than one half inch of cleavage. The first gift my husband ever bought me was from the little shop in the Catskill resort where we stayed. It was a small, heart-shaped gold and pearl brooch intended to cover my barely-existent cleavage. Apparently, he was afraid someone might mistake me for a woman.
Today's moral standards are the antithesis of those pounded into my head in the 1940s. Back then, I was taught what good girls did and didn't do, and that having a good reputation was critical, because it would arrive at any given place before I did, and was something by which I would be judged.
I'm not thrilled with the huge swing the pendulum has taken in the sexual revolution. What I am is conflicted. Sometimes I think about how much fun it might have been to wear a scanty bikini back when I had a great figure to flaunt, instead of those industrial strength one-piece suits that were carefully designed to reveal little more than neck and knees.
I hope I'm around when the pendulum finally comes to rest.