Womyn, you probably know by now I spend much of my life freezing my ass off, with the well-known, undeniable physiological effect. On the other hand, I have not particularly noticed the supposed nipples-arousal link that seems to so enchant men. Maybe it's just me, but mainly when they're pointy, I'm just COLD (obviously I'm talking about normal everyday activities here...). About five years ago it suddenly dawned on me that this was becoming an unacceptable fashion faux pas in the U.S. [Five years previous to that it dawned on me that large segments of American society apparently believe I should remove some fraction, ranging from 10 to 100%, of my pubic hair, but that merits its own post]. After a period of some angst, characterized by indecision (should I actually be wasting my time worrying about these things??), in 2004 I began planning a trip to Egypt. It seemed that there, indeed, I should very much worry about my nipples, at least while in Cairo, which is not warm in winter. I thought back to my first visit to India in 2001, to the salwaar/kameez/dupatta outfits, where I had determined that the dupatta, a thick scarf draped in a large fold over the entire chest, could have only one possible purpose. The damn things are both hot and continually slide off as they are not wrapped the correct ergonomical/anatomical way, which is around the neck. Definitionally, they are nipple shields!
I got busy buying padded bras for Egypt, which rather irritated me as I don't exactly need any further endowment. Then I thought little more of it until a trip back to the U.S. last summer, where I intended to stock up on cheap underwear. What I now realize had been a slowly increasing trend finally hit me -- it's next to impossible these days to find regular-weight bras in the U.S.; they have virtually disappeared. And, oh, oh, I learned a new term from an extremely overweight Midwestern sales clerk with the flattest accent imaginable (I was buying in an outlet mall in a scary red-state area while on an obligatory family visit). Modesty panel, my dears, is what we are now expected to shield our endowments with. I tartly informed said clerk that in Europe it's still allowed to reveal one's nipples, and needless to say I high-tailed it right back to the land of generously-nippled mannequins. But back in India last month what did I find myself doing once again? More dupatta-ized nipple shielding. Sigh. What happened to the days when womyn burned their bras?