Did you know that breasts are out of fashion? Apparently Millennials have little interest in cleavage. As a result, restaurant chains like Hooters and Twin Peaks (hadn’t heard of that one!), where the main draw is busty waitresses in low cut blouses, are losing money, closing stores, and being forced to reevaluate their business strategies.
While I can’t say that I feel much sympathy for the silliness of “breastaurants”, I find the apparent shift in tastes for particular sorts of bodies quite intriguing. I could posit a variety of explanations. Maybe the increased cultural acceptance of LGBTQ individuals had led to a more androgynous physical ideal. Maybe, with sexting and other sexual instantiations of social media, the sight of naked tits has become so commonplace that it’s uninteresting. Could there be a Freudian explanation, a repudiation of the maternal principle as women choose careers over motherhood? Or perhaps this is simply a typical rejection by one generation of the values and preferences of its predecessors—a breast rebellion.
Of course, throughout history, we’ve seen cyclical changes in cultural norms about body type and sexuality. Perhaps we’re headed back to the days of flappers, with their slender, boyish figures. Hopefully we’re not also on the brink of another economic collapse, like the Great Depression.
Now there’s a topic for someone’s doctoral dissertation: the relationship between popular breast size and the health of the economy. After all, ample bosoms were exceedingly popular during the boom years of the nineteen fifties. Full-figured ladies were much admired in the prosperous Victorian period, when England reaped the benefits of scientific progress and a far-flung empire. If we believe the paintings, breasts were big in the Renaissance as well, with its flowering of trade, art and culture.
But I digress.
The article above reminded me of the link between sex and money. Sex sells. The fact that this is a cliché does not make it any less true. And when one’s marketing strategy is based primarily on sex, a change in popular sexual culture can spell economic ruin.
Have you checked out the latest innovations in sex toys? You really can’t get a simple vibrator anymore. Anything you purchase is likely to be USB-chargeable. It has a Bluetooth connection to your iPhone. To use it, you need to download an app. Innovate or die. That’s apparently the law of the market, even in the realm of sexual implements.
Which brings me to erotic writing. I have to ask myself: am I just as guilty of exploiting the Id for my own enrichment as tasteless and gimmicky places like Hooters? And if I am, do my personal sexual preferences, molded in the Golden Age of the sixties and seventies between the invention of the Pill and the advent of AIDS, doom my work to eventual obsolescence? Am I headed in the direction of Twin Peaks, scrambling to reinvent myself in order to sell my stories?
For instance, how many millennials find pubic hair arousing? Or chest hair on men, for that matter? Dangly earrings and long skirts, worn with no underwear? Sweaty sex in the back seats of automobiles? The sweet bounce of unfettered breasts under a loose tee shirt?
I really can’t imagine what sort of sex twenty-somethings find interesting. Given the general decline in literacy, it may be Millennials aren’t likely to read my books no matter what sort of sexual content they contain.
Fortunately, it doesn’t matter. My livelihood doesn’t depend on my writing—praise the Goddess. I love seeing the royalty payments bump up my PayPal account, but that’s primarily because it’s evidence that someone is reading my stuff. I am writing for fun, to explore new ideas and genres, to entertain myself and my readers, and yes, to turn myself on. If Millennial’s can’t connect with my characters, well, that’s too bad, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t claim to understand them. I’m not surprised if they feel the same about me.
I’d like to believe there are some universal truths about human sexuality captured in my tales, that I can tell a story that will resonate and arouse despite one’s background or generation. I am probably deluding myself, though.
For one thing, I like breasts too much.