Friday, March 12, 2010


Occasionally you might find me watching one of those plastic surgery reality shows. In truth the actual operations are a little too gory for my taste: I don’t need such graphic reminders that we are all basically wobbly bags of sinew, fat (some more than others) and a dozen varieties of colorful goo.

I am, however, more of a fan of the examination portion of the program. And it’s not just the sheer fun of watching as the patient is humiliated by a surgeon who sketches black lines all over her naked body until she looks like something Vince Lombardi might have drawn on a locker room blackboard. No, the real appeal, of course, is that I get yet another opportunity to see a naked lady. And on basic cable no less.

But the ladies are never really naked, are they? Many of the women are there for breast lifts, or some such, and their breasts are quite exposed. Except, of course, for the nipple. For some reason that eludes me, somebody, somewhere has decided that this one square inch of skin (size may vary, as you may well have discovered for yourself by now) should never be seen by the general public, and so the nipple is invariably concealed, most commonly through the use of pixilation. (Don’t scoff—Janet Jackson’s nipple was partially exposed at the Super Bowl a few years back and many experts will tell you it’s the main reason we lost the war in Iraq.)

Ah, but not every nipple is censored on these shows, is it? There have been many nipples that have seen, have there not? The difference is that these particular nipples were attached to men. Apparently it’s OK to show male nipples but not female ones. And why should that be? Is it because the female nipple is attached to a breast? Haven’t we just explained that breasts are allowed to be seen and only the nipples aren’t?

OK, I swear I’m not obsessing on nipples. Here’s what started this whole thing. The other day I was watching one of these plastic surgery shows. The patient was a woman who was in the process of going through a sex change. (I mean “gender reassignment” or whatever the fuck they call it these days. God, staying p.c. is so exhausting.) She had already begun taking hormones and was now having her breasts reduced to look more like a man. After that, I assumed, she would deal with the complicated plumbing surgery, or as they call it in medical circles, an adadictomy. (Ha! Sometimes the old jokes are the best! And sometimes, I suppose, they’re not.)

So as they began the operation the basic cable censors covered the nipples with the dreaded pixilation, and so Mankind was protected as the surgeon got to work removing globs and globs of the offending breastal material. Now these surgeons are very skilled people, and so it wasn’t too long before, lo and behold and abracadabra, I was looking at a remarkable recreation of a male chest. The only thing left to do was to reattach the nipples, send her a bill for an obscene amount of money and call it a day. And so the reattachment began, and don’t go getting ahead of me here, smarty-pants.

Yeah, you’re right. When the nipples were reattached and we got to see the result it was a view that was unblemished by any of that annoying pixilation. In other words, the very same nipples that had been blocked from view at the start of the operation were now clearly and visibly on display at the end of the operation! Have I pointed out that these were the very same nipples attached to the very same body?

Many millennia from now when a different species has become lord of our planet they may wonder about the humans who preceded them. They may seek out clues as to how we lived and, even more intriguing, why we disappeared. They might theorize that we vanished as a result of global warming or that we finally used our own horrific weapons to permanently annihilate our foul species once and for all. But they’ll be wrong—the answer will be much simpler than that. The reason that humans no longer roamed planet Earth as they once had is painfully obvious: we were just too silly to live.
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