When I go on holiday/vacation to European beach resorts, I’m instantly reminded how long I’ve been in the States. There are grown women with children wandering around TOPLESS and I’m embarrassed. Not sure if I’m embarrassed for me or for them as some of the sights are not pretty. I was trying to think what might happen if someone tried this in the States, but no one would try it in the first place, perhaps with the exception of Miami Beach. In fact, I’m convinced there’s a secret law that says once you reach the age of about thirty, and/or have a child, you must wear a one-piece; bikinis are for smokin’ hot bodies only. Flash a flabby belly or display less than perfect abs and you are escorted from the beach or pool area.
There’s no doubt about it, Americans are still Puritans in some matters. My friend’s children go to a school where the girls’ uniform is a jumper/pinafore, but modesty demands they wear spandex running shorts underneath. Apparently children’s knickers/panties with Dora or Hello Kitty motifs are deemed too salacious, no matter that that the skirts aren’t short enough for even the quickest flash. (Simple solution in my opinion – let them wear trousers.)
Laws governing indecency or “public lewdness” are set at the state level, and indecency includes exposure of the female breast. Many of the fines are higher than those for drunk-driving, and only Virginia specifically excludes breast-feeding.
And now I’ll excuse myself. It’s Super Bowl night and who knows, there might be another “wardrobe malfunction” to titillate the nation.
The idea that the Europeans in general and the British specifically subscribe to a more casual outlook concerning the human body never occurred to me when I moved over here. It was not until I was here a few weeks I noticed topless women cavorting in a newspaper my mother-in-law was reading. I was stunned. When I pointed it out and remarked that such a thing was unheard of in the States, she said, "Yes, we have always thought of the Americans as a bit prudish."
Prudish? Moi? Well, I guess so, when you consider that I have heard the words, "Fuck" and "Cunt" on the telly and seen them in print in mainstream newspapers, and witnessed full-frontal nudity on programs shown after the 9 PM watershed (though, I hasten to add, not nearly often enough).
The people of Europe regard a naked body as something natural. While we Americans understand it is an utter perversion to be naked. (Say, you don't think we have a hang-up or anything, do you?)
The Brits also don't shy away from telling it like it is. If an opinion piece or new article requires an emphatic, "Fuck me!" then they put it in.
If you remain unconvinced, I remind you of the 2004 Superbowl. After flashing a pastie-clad boob, the Federal Communications Commission was called to investigate whether CBS violated decency laws, with potential fines running into the millions. A year or so later, during a singing contest, Javine flashed a totally unadorned boob and the British public were so outraged they did, well, nothing. No one got excited over it.
It does make life more interested, but it gives me a sore neck from staring at the TV for hours on end in case I miss something.
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