The boob tube

A corporate lawyer and his daughter arrive at the safari guesthouse. The girl is an aspiring actress who has landed a supporting role in a BBC costume drama. I am tending bar when she approaches me for a refill.

“I’m soooo worried about being typecast, GB,” she says. “If people get used to me being a virgin in a petticoat I’ll never get a part where I show off my tits.”

I know better than to suggest that she work in a strip club in her spare time. A serious actress wants to flash her tits in an artistically appropriate context, where the emotional nuances of her character complement the perkiness of her boobies.

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” I reply. “Do you remember Lisa Bonet who played Old Pop Cosby’s daughter? She got a part in a film called
Angel Heart where her nipples were memorably erect. I’m sure you’ll get similar opportunities in due course. In the meantime, there’s no need to show your tits to anyone but the producer. And then only if he asks.”

“What about the leading man?” she inquires.

“He can show his tits to whomever he wants,” I reply.

“You big hairy fool!” she says chuckling, twisting her finger into my torso before sauntering off with drink in hand.

Thespians can be pretty forward, but beneath the bravado they are riddled with anxieties. I hope I succeeded in soothing this particular young lady, who is an exciting prospect in many respects. Of course there is nothing wrong with an actress showing off her titties provided it’s done in the right way. They must always be a side-order to the main dish, which is the acting and the story, and never be cast in a starring role. If possible, their exposure should take the viewer by surprise.

Here’s an example of that I mean. Imagine a tense psychological thriller in which Jamie Lee Curtis witnesses a murder. She enters her flat in a state of disquiet and runs a bath before returning to her bedroom. She looks at herself in the mirror before pulling off her sweater to reveal a phenomenal pair of puppies. Who needs a bra with breasts that pliant? She walks around the room so you can appreciate their buoyancy before the scene changes abruptly to James Woods in a police station. You leave the cinema having watched a gripping drama with fine acting and an intelligent plot. The display of Jamie Lee’s tatas were merely an extra squirt of cream in the chocolate éclair.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have Mr Ali G at the
Cannes film festival, asking a budding porn star to show him her breasts. Without hesitation, she unfastens the straps of her frock and gaily flourishes her hooters at the camera. Mr G says that girls in Staines make you buy them dinner before doing that, and comments un-profoundly on diverse cultural practices across the globe. All in all, an unedifying spectacle which cheapens and sullies the female bosom.

A vacuous person once said “It’s not what you do but the way that you do it”. Even vacuous people occasionally stumble upon the truth. I worry about talented young actresses being in such a hurry to give audiences a sight of their boobs. The wrong sort of exposure could ruin a promising career and force them into coarser genres of screen entertainment. It’s at times like this that we miss the wise counsel of the late Oliver Reed. I bet he would have had something insightful to say about it.

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