9:45 am, May 11th | by Florence Williams
If there’s one thing starlets like Jayne Mansfield and Mae West understood, it was the power of their ample endowments. In her 1959 memoir, Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It, West writes that beginning in her teens, she regularly rubbed cocoa butter on her breasts, then spritzed them with cold water. “This treatment made them smooth and firm, and developed muscle tone which kept them right up where they were supposed to be.” West has good company in doling out ridiculous breast-enhancing tips. On the Internet, you can find creams, pills, pumps, pectoral exercises, even a YouTube video on how to master the boob-inflating “liquefy tool” in Photoshop.
In our culture at least, big breasts get a lot of attention. So I’m told. I display, or rather, don’t display, the traditional average American size, a B cup. Women I know tell me that having large breasts is like walking around with a neon sign hanging around their necks. Men, women, small children, everyone stares. The eyes linger. Some men pant. It’s not surprising that some anthropologists have called breasts “a signal.” Breasts, they say, must be telling us something about how fit and mature and healthy and maternal their owner is. Why else have them?