Why Can't We Live In Enlightened Topless Europe?Commentary • Opinion • culture • sex • europe • ISSUE 39•08 • Mar 5, 2003 By Kyle Delsman Kyle Delsman I realize that speaking out in favor of Europe is not a wise thing to do these days, but I must give credit where credit is due. My tour of Europe last summer opened my eyes to a rich culture where people place a premium on conversations about philosophy and ideas rather than last night's episode of Friends. Food is prepared and savored, not popped in the microwave and inhaled. And women are free to expose their breasts, not forced to hide them behind layers of constricting fabric. Why, oh, why, can't we live in enlightened topless Europe? The United States is so backwards and repressed. Americans don't value the arts nearly as much as Europeans. Here in America, artists struggle to make ends meet. In Europe, artists have patrons in the government. Painters and sculptors are free to create as many works of art with the breast as they wish. Or they may choose not to include breasts in their art. But even when they don't, they know that breasts are an accepted and encouraged option. Unlike us philistines, Europeans appreciate beauty and aesthetics, and incorporate them into everyday life. Instead of soulless edifices of concrete and steel, European buildings are beautifully crafted with intricate Old World ornamentation. Instead of garish, fluorescent-lit food courts, Europeans gather in magnificent open-air plazas. And instead of breasts crushed by shape-obscuring bras, Europeans routinely enjoy the sight of pert young breasts, presented with their graceful curves fully intact. In the piazzas of Italy, the fountains are rich with statues where pointy little breasts are left exposed for anyone to see and appreciate. Bellissimo! Breasts in Europe aren't just exposed—they're celebrated. In London, for example, the newspapers feature a "Page Three" girl who poses with her top off. What do we have on the third page of our nation's so-called "paper of record," The New York Times? News. What is wrong with this country that some explosion or election somewhere is more important than the beauty of the female form? Nowhere are Americans more repressed than in matters of health. We sunbathe modestly, take unisex saunas, and cover our torsos everywhere but in the privacy of our own homes. The French don't hesitate to maximize their intake of vitamin D from the sun by doffing their bikini tops whenever possible. In the spas of Austria, patrons not only go topless, but bottomless, as well. Would you ever see a fully naked young woman in a YWCA in Atlanta or Chicago? Of course not. We Americans simply wouldn't be able to handle such a shocking sight. The U.S. government doesn't do anything to help foster a social climate in which breasts can flourish. In fact, they do just the opposite. Breasts are often declared "lewd" or "indecent," and those who express themselves with pure hearts and open brassieres are ticketed and fined. In Europe, breasts are free to express themselves and interact with the world. Now, assuming I am someone who enjoys the glorious sight of naked breasts (which I am), how can I see them in America? My only options are to frequent sleazy gentlemen's clubs or buy pornographic magazines. This is exactly what's wrong with America. When you repress the breast, you turn it into a dirty thing. You take something lovely and natural, and pervert it into something impure. That's what our country has done. I still hold out hope for us. Most Americans, after all, still have traces of European blood coursing through their veins. Their ancestors came from France, from Germany, from Italy—places where they have naked breasts on the cover of mainstream magazines. Somewhere, buried deep within our DNA, is the potential to break free from our self-imposed, mammary-despising shackles. We must tap into these long-dormant European genes and unleash the wellspring of enlightenment. Only then will we live in a truly enlightened—and topless—United States of America.