04 May 2007

Cleavage: setting the record straight

"I am so sick of cleavage-haters like you who clearly are just insecure about their own inadequate chests. You love your legs, I love my breasts. You show off your legs, I proudly show off my breasts. What a double-standard you weave, Ms. Editrix. You are what my well-endowed friends and I call a 'cleavage-phobe.' So instead of hating on those who have what you wish you had, maybe you should expend your energy earning more money so you can buy a nice chest."

A sizist, yes.

An elitist, yes.

An education-ist, yes.

A good-looks-ist...well, maybe, but I have really odd taste (i.e. him over him any day), so it's not as offensive as most might assume.

But a cleavage-phobe? Sorry Ms. H, but you are SO barking up the wrong pair of pins with that accusation.

There's no way for me to respond to this reader's e-mail without sounding defensive, so just bear with me while I attempt to navigate each of her misguided points one-by-one without sounding too transparently self-protective.

First, to the assertion that my distaste for baring breast-age at weddings is an admission of my own breast inadequacy: I have little else to say here but that I actually have an amazing chest. Amazing. I do. There's no getting around it, it's an objective fact. And it's not just the construction workers and homeless men who tell me so - though they do and often - it's also random women, my friends' grandparents (okay, grandfathers) and throngs of schoolchildren and foreign tourists who barely know how to ask, "Where is the White House?" but who somehow break free from whatever language barrier they face to pay verbal homage to my precious girls. Sorry sweetie, but the gloriousness of my symmetrical-as-Halle-Berry C-cups is just not up for debate. But if you want to throw-down some kind of breast-off whereby the two of us and our ladybits undergo a series of victory-determinable challenges, I'd be more than willing to commit. Just name the date, venue and dress-code.

Now, as for out of where this "no cleavage" rule of mine was borne, it comes from an unwavering belief in adhering to a certain level of class - and even more than that, a belief in not egregiously drawing attention to oneself when it's not your day to do so - at a function such as a wedding, a black-tie state dinner or an event which you know beforehand will be attended primarily by people 20-30 years your senior.

As a well-endowed woman, H, you should know there are few body parts a woman can put on display that are more beguiling, more entrancing and ultimately more distracting than a fabulous pair of lush, young, pushed-up-and-out breasts. You'll always get noticed, you'll probably get a lot of phone numbers, and yes, you're likely to get a night-full of "who-does-she-think-she-is?" looks from mostly envious, mostly insecure women. And while I admit, receiving those looks is pretty much the only "interaction" I look forward to when attending wedding receptions, my approach is to elicit them with my natural beauty, my searing wit, and my undeniable air of sophistication, not with my chest.

Second, yes, I do like to show off my legs in a blousy mini or dressy short shorts and stilettos, but what you may not know is that I also indulge in a little deep-plunge v-neck and down-to-there scoopneck when the occasion - i.e. going out for cocktails in New York or celebrating my birthday with girlfriends at the Mayflower - merits it. Where we diverge may be on the point that I prefer braless cleavage (like Sienna Miller's shown above) to the balconet-push-up variety - some things I like to savor for the private one-on-one(-on-one) situations - but as for being a hypocrite, again, you're sorely mistaken for I'm an equal asset flaunter.

And if you read my formal dress rules more meticulously, you'd see that right above banning cleavage, I also rail against the high-hemline. Though I do believe heaving breasts to be markedly more offensive than showing off your upper thighs, neither in my book is permissible at a formal affair.

As much as it pains me - and perhaps you - to attend any event where I'm not the center of attention, sometimes I have to set aside the vanity and the competitiveness, wear the dress I don't quite like as much and fib as sarcasm-free as I can through my nude lip gloss to every guest with whom I come in contact that, "Oh yes, I certainly do think the bride is the most beautiful woman here."

As long as there's an open-bar, a DJ willing to play Journey and at least one other disillusioned sizist/elitist/education-ist in the crowd who thinks she's the bees-knees, too, it's not always a complete loss.

Just be sure the following night to restore your inner-equilibrium by strapping on your highest heels, your sexiest - not trashiest, but sexiest - asset-highlighting outfit and preen around town with the rest of your wedding-weary friends.


Brooke said...

I had to laugh (a lot) when I read that someone accused you, Johanna, of being a "cleavage-hater"!!!!! Let me tell the person who wrote that email that Johanna has NOOOO problem showing off her assets! As her co-worker, I can attest that though she may have an aversion to bearing their beauty at a wedding, she has absolutely no qualms about showing them off at work!!!!

Johanna said...

In Broooke's comment, the phrase "baring their beauty" simply means wearing fitted clothing, it does NOT mean baring cleavage. Now *that* would be hypocritical of me.

Anonymous said...

I want to hate you (I really do), but you make me laugh out loud, and that's hard to find.

You really told this girl off, and it was a joy to watch!

west coast devotee said...

I don't believe you yet.

More documentation, please.

nyc admirer said...

"private one-on-one(-on-one) situations"


L said...

AMEN! There's a time and a place to flaunt your assets, and knowing when and where is part of having class and sophistication. And no, people aren't just 'haters' or jealous just because they think it's inappropriate to show off one's rack at an event like a wedding. That's called not being a ho!!

brown rowergirl said...

I can attest to the perfection of Ms. Johanna's chest. Oh the memories of a tipsy Manhattan night out and a Library Bar bathroom stall!

Speaking of which, we need a repeat meeting, your chest and I -- when are you friggin' making the trip up here??

Anonymous said...

Just because someone thinks cleavage in certain social situations is inappropriate doesn't make them a cleavage hater or insecure. More than that, I think most women (which our editrix is clearly not among :) ) wouldn't "hate on" women who are more well-endowed then them. I for one admire women who are more beautiful, smarter, kinder, or sexier than me. I understand I may be better looking than some women, while others will look better than me. It's just the way of the world. Also, people prefer certain looks over others. I think it's a little presumptious of the poster to think small breasted women would be jealous of her. I know I am never jealous of busty women, nor smart and beautiful women. If anything, I would want to emulate them or befriend them. Or at least appreciate their unique beauty.

Good respone btw!


a fan said...

I need to repeat NYC's comment and ask what "private one-on-one(-on-one) situations" is all about.

Please, Jo, in detail. Slowly.

Anonymous said...

breast implants, ugh! that's tackier than acrylic nails! the horror.

Anonymous said...

In response to "west coast devotee": It's true. She does have nice breasts.

But me thinks the lady doth protest too much.

Johanna said...

you think I doth protest too much, eh?