Revealing Bach dress ‘broke the rules’
When we grow up in a civilised society, there are rules we are taught, and rules we pick up instinctively along the way. We're all subject to millions of rules, from how to drive on the road to how not to sneeze on another human.
Some rules are formalised, like how not to commit murder. Some we learn from our parents, like how to say please and thank you. And some we learn from reality TV, like how much boob to show in any given outfit.
Now, the Rules of the Boob are complex and numerous, and, like most unwritten rules, only become evident when they are broken. And broken they were this week on the breast-abundant show The Bachelor.
The infraction occurred at one of the interminable cocktail parties, at which the ladies are required to wear semi-formal frocks. There were curves being flaunted all over the shop, but one contestant, Juliette, sported an extremely plunging neckline, which caused the Twitter audience to erupt in a frenzy.
You see, while the Rules of the Boob support a seductive show of cleavage, they also dictate that the cleavage is not immodestly fulsome. The line between sexy and trashy is but a millimetre or two, and Juliette, apparently, took it a full centimetre too far.
Now, The Bachelor breaks far more social rules than how much bosom is appropriate to display. The rule that one shouldn't try to woo numerous suitors at once is just one that springs to mind.
Still, the show does help to demonstrate the accepted etiquette relating to how we must present our mammary glands.
First, we women can highlight our breasts in a dress - in fact, we are encouraged to highlight our breasts in a dress - we cannot highlight them too much. Show a tad too much flesh and we'll go from Ms Classy Aspirational to Lady Tarty McTartface before we can do up our zip.
Clingy dresses are allowed, and can come with a whisper of a nipple, but the full outline of the nipple is considered tacky in the extreme. Ditto transparent dresses, which are 'daring' when the nipple is disguised, and 'attention-seeking' when the nipple can be seen.
We can have side boob as long as we're not showing cleavage, because showing our boobs from two angles is too confronting.
We can have underboob under very specific circumstances, when it's a tiny hint only, and there's no side boob or cleavage.
Now, the rules are inconsistent, as social rules generally are. There are different rules for different sizes; small breasted women can show more cleavage, percentage wise, than large breasted women, presumably because they have less total skin to make us anxious.
Shape is absolutely a factor, too. It's fine for women with pert boobs to wear plunging necklines, but when saggy-boobed women do the same, they are pilloried on the socials.
Clearly, we women are supposed to show our boobs, as long as we don't show too much, and our boobs are of modest size and conventionally appealing. Got it.
Except … when it comes to bikinis, anything goes. We can wear tiny triangles over our breasts, reveal the contours of our nipples, even wear our bikini top upside down!
Unless, of course, we have large breasts, or saggy boobs, in which case we must cover ourselves up, and hide our shame.
Meanwhile, men can go topless whenever they want. Clearly their nipples are rather less terrifying than ours.
Of course, unlike other social rules - say, the need to stop at a red light, or cover our mouths when we cough - the Rules of the Boob aren't designed to keep us safe. They exist simply to give us all fodder for outrage, and something exciting to tweet about during The Bachelor.
So, Juliette, you gorgeous thing, wear whatever the hell you want. But get away from the Bachelor. He's breaking all the rules.
Originally published as Revealing Bach dress 'broke the rules'