this is going to sound like a ridiculous question, but I’ll try — what is a guy to do about too much cleavage between friends?
here’s the deal: I met up with an ex-coworker for lunch last week at a Ruby Tuesdays near my client’s site. I’ve known her since 2001, and she left my company about three years ago; we were pretty close when we worked out of the same office, going to lunch together and in groups about three days each week (give or take). we’d make Starbucks runs about as frequently, griping about the boss, or client, or coworker. we’ve stayed in contact pretty reliably since she left, and I consider her a good friend. (a good-old friend, if you have to break it down further — I mean it’s not like we ever hung out on weekends.)
so we sit down in a booth and we’re chatting, and as much as I try not to, I’m distracted by her shirt. or lack of shirt. it’s not like she was dressed scantily, it was a nice blouse. before lunch was done, I was regretting not having taken a picture, because I knew I was going to blog about this later… but it looked a little something like this:
well, minus the man–hands (ugh!?) and minus the un-buttoning gesture. but move that top button down 3/4″ and add in about 50% more, um, surface area, and you get the idea of what I was dealing with.
now if I was ordering up a batch of wings and some fried pickles, this wouldn’t have been an issue at all. even if it was the Ruby’s waitress or hostess, it would have been a different situation. but it was a friend who I have described as being “like a sister”… and nobody wants to see that from their sister*. so sitting back and enjoying it (like the pig that I am may be — that all men are may be [on some level]) just was not an option.
but what else could I do? tell her that it was distracting? she had to know it was distracting — she was periodically adjusting things (not in a “dude, you’re creeping me out” kind of way; more in a “I think I might actually be falling out” kind of way). at one point she placed her soda down, and as my eyes followed her hand, down, they landed on the danger zone, and I think I zoned out for a second or two mid-speech. again, not a willful thing. not a lustful thing. just a testosterone thing, an XY-chromosome thing. granted, an awkward thing.
so you understand the juxtaposition, it was almost exactly like the glass-position and observer point-of-view of this picture:
without the creepy guy lunging, mouth agape, at the margarita (I like his shirt though — SERENITY NOW!). and though she’s “like my sister”, I have noticed that her girls** dwarf the glass, instead of the other way around (as in the above pic; well ‘smaller glass, bigger backdrop’ might be more a better way to describe it).
[for the record, I don’t know these people, and I probably shouldn’t use their photos to prove a point… but then again, that’s what you get for uploading your whole life to Flickr and making it public.]
…but the situation was not so awkward that it made an impact on lunch. we continued on chatting about ex-coworkers, spouses, and children; and hugged goodbye just as we had hugged hello, promising to do lunch again soon.
so I guess we need to turn to the experts… from ABC News (Cleavage: What’s Appropriate, What’s Not):
“We have to remember that while more women are showing more cleavage, you really have to use your breast power responsibly,” Squires said.
true dat. with great power comes great responsibility.
Squires suggested that women also keep things respectable at family events, like a kids’ soccer game.
“This is not the time to show off your girls,” she said. “Your children should not have to compete with your cleavage for attention.”
not sure if I agree with that or not. definitely keep it respectable at funerals, baptisms, children’s birthday parties, court appearances; but a soccer game isn’t really a family event. live a little. if the kids aren’t capable of keeping spectators attention, maybe they need to find a sport they’re good at. don’t blame ‘the girls’ when it’s really a case of bad soccer.
but back to my predicament; should I say something the next time I’m planning lunch with this friend? like, “you might want to pack a sweater; chain-restaurants get awfully cold when they crank the AC up to combat summer…” even admitting that I noticed will surely make an awkward situation worse.
I bet Maxim or Stuff or one of the lads mags has run columns on this — since their whole value proposition is “a place where you can safely ogle (two dimensional) women”, they must have some tips for acting like a gentleman once you’ve put down the magazine and are back in public again.
* YMMV. you may also want to seek therapy.
** I only use this phrase because ABC News did. and they’re a respected news organization, last time I checked.
[update: this is the picture I was thinking of when I was writing the post — Ms.Bux reads Killer Boob:]