A while ago, I read a column somewhere, or a paragraph in a column, maybe after watching Juno, that discussed the current cinematographical fad in which scenes of sexual congress are filmed with the female participant (in the heterosexual case) remaining clothed, in full or in part, above the waist.

Such discreet draping of the bosom would occur in nature, as opposed to in film, in the case of (a) panting sex driven by an onslaught of desire too demanding to allow time for complete disrobement, or even time to unhook that one vital snap in the back, or (b) chilly weather causing a conflict between the heat of passion and the cold of skin, or (c) modesty on the distaff side, or (d) the male partner being what they call in the vernacular “an ass man.”

In the movies in question, however, none of these conditions obtain. The couple is normally young, in love, in the apartment of one or the other and, as a required element of plot development, doing it. I’m watching these lovers, who are sort of under the covers, when the halter top or T-shirt or a bra strap inches into view at blanket’s edge. Is it my duty as a good viewer to suspend my disbelief, whereas, for ninety-nine percent of the straight guys out there, job one is to get that piece of clothing off and get hold of what they call, out on the stoop at 5th and 98th, the ta ta’s?

Who gets a base hit and runs directly to third base without passing first or second? It don’t make sense. You spend your formative years just trying to get a good look at the damn things, never mind handling them, and now I’m supposed to sit here and watch the guy, who is in bed with a freakin movie star, him all smiling or whatever, and he can’t be bothered to pull her shirt off? What is he, a priest?

I’m not saying she should take her top off. Far from it. Back in the day, an actress who exposed her midriff was through, washed up. No InterTubes existed to display Joan Crawford’s mistake to the world. You knew the actresses had them but you were never never going to see them on God’s green Earth, not in this life. Of course all of that has changed now. An actress like Marisa Tomei or Maria Bello will not miss an opportunity to get naked onscreen, but that doesn’t mean everybody has to do it. It’s the actress’s choice.

Having said that, though, why can’t the director tell the couple to keep the blanket pulled up to their ears? What, it’s summer outside and that wouldn’t make sense? Well then, as she rides the guy out in the open, can’t the actress say something like, “I’m leaving my top on, if that’s all right with you, because… because… well, I was badly bitten back when I was developing… and there was an accident with acid… and they just didn’t come in right.” Something like that? You know, an explanation? We might still want to see them, but now for a different reason.

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