Ask a Woman: On Cleavage

Ask a Woman: On Cleavage
Ask A Woman:  Is cleavage just a way to mess with our heads?

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Hello Beth,

Here’s a mystery that has confounded me since puberty, and was recently brought to my attention again by Sofia Vergara’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Check it out.  Is cleavage some sort of test for us men?  Women must know that keeping our eyes from drifting down there is difficult, don’t they? Or am I just being a total pig?



Hi Dan,

Great question, and I appreciate your honesty.  I think most (straight) women feel pulled between wanting to be looked upon as desirable by men, while not wanting to be perceived as a sex object or a slut.  It’s a well-tread topic, so forgive me if you’ve heard this a million times before before, but women get a lot of mixed messages thrown at them by our culture.  You need to have a shapely (but not too big) butt, and an ample bust, as well as other desirable features.  The flip side of that, though, is that you’re whoring yourself out if you make it too apparent that you have a shapely butt and an ample bust.

I think, on a personal level, I really embody (no pun intended) this struggle.  My clothing fits well, but I tend to gravitate towards modest cuts.  I have a couple short skirts, but they stay in the closet most of the time; I don’t have any tops that cut down low in front to reveal cleavage.   The few times I’ve allowed myself a blouse that stretched tightly across my chest, I wondered throughout the day what kind of message I was sending.  Would people think I was a slut?  Desperate?  Pathetic?  My body unworthy to even wear such a thing?  Yet I do think some of these more risqué articles of clothing flatter my figure and would even make me feel good about myself if I could stop obsessing about what I was communicating to other people.

Hey. Eyes up Sophia.

What’s interesting is that this struggle I’ve described is precisely indicative of WHAT style exactly is.  We dress for self-expression (“Today is a blue day; I am feeling this blue dress shirt”), but also for interpersonal communication (“I rock this moto jacket to convey that I have a hard side to my personality”).  Thus when a woman dresses to feel sexy, she is also reminded that other people will understand she is dressing to feel sexy, and what will that, in turn, make them think of her?

Maybe men go through this sort of thing too, albeit on a different level.  Do you ever wonder if the muscle shirt you’re wearing, to prove you log many hours in the gym, is too tight, too showy?

Look, if a woman is wearing a cleavage-revealing top, she knows men will look at her cleavage.  I mean, that’s one of the reasons she’s probably wearing it right?   But that doesn’t mean she wants you to have a conversation with her breasts.  (This will make her feel like the sex object or slut she doesn’t want to be.  She just wants to feel sexy, remember?)  Don’t gawk obviously at cleavage, and if you’re lucky enough to talk to a busty lady, try to spend most of that time looking in her eyes.  And for God’s sake, try to develop better breast-spying skills over time.   If you’re 40 and still find yourself getting busted every time you check out a woman’s rack, you really need to make some changes to your game.

And no, I don’t have any suggestions for how to do that.


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