Friday, June 28, 2013


In 1965 the theatre critic Kenneth Tynan became the first person to use a certain four-letter word on British television. Despite the intellectual context of the remark, the incident caused a sensation and I remember, from that time, a newspaper cartoon in which a man, flicking at leisure through his own newspaper, is unmoved by reports of war, tragedy and disaster. When he comes upon a report of the Tynan incident, however, the man is so ouraged that he starts shouting and threatening all kinds of legal action and protest.  

I was reminded of this cartoon when I read the other day of the 139 people who had complained to the BBC about TV presenter Holly Willoughby's attire in the final programme of this season's series of the British talent show "The Voice".  In the end the BBC had to apologise and even the quality British press had a field day with "boob" puns. The dress in question is revealing and might not be very tasteful but it is hardly offensive or scandalous - or have I become Italianised?

The matter of Miss Willoughby's dress has been reported in Italy, too but with considerable puzzlement because no one can see what is wrong with it. How times have changed! When I first came to Italy in 1969 I was always being told that my dresses were "too low" [I didn't have the legs for mini-skirts but I did have boobs] and I felt I had to cover the upper part of my body wherever I went. [In a photo I've kept of myself in one of these "low-cut" dresses, there is no hint of cleavage at all to be seen.] These days, necklines are not only much lower here but you are nobody if you don't have half of your breasts exposed vertically as well. Even Sophia does it so it must be all right. [You have to have the right bra, of course, and, as I've written before, Italians are absolutely brilliant at bra manufacture.] 

I've still got boobs and am getting to the age when I shouldn't show them, I know. I've got a few low-cut day dresses and every time I wear one I remind myself that I wouldn't get away with it in the UK, where men often deal with femininity by insulting it. My dresses - and my body - are nothing like Miss Willoughby's but , with the help of the Italian lingerie industry, I'm enjoying my final seasons of the "If you've got it, flaunt it" variety!


Rosaria Williams said...

You're in the right place for flaunting your femininity. The problem is having the right bra,something not easily remedied. I'm still searching.

Liz Hinds said...

You keep flaunting it, welshcakes!

I couldn't believe the fuss over the dress either.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Totally agree, Rosaria. Thanks, Liz and glad you agree.

Betty said...

I remember going to St. Peter's in 1970. I was pregnant at the time, but my skirt was considered too short. I ended up pulling it down around my hips to make it longer. Fortunately I was wearing a long maternity top and could do it. I'm wondering how much things have changed. When we were in Sicily there were rules about how widows dressed and many wore black for life. Do you still see that?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Betty. Yes, sometimes you still see that, although now some widoes do this from choice, not because of any societal rules. And some people of all ages still wear mourning for a year after a bereavement.

Lee said...

Times and attitudes certainly have changed, that's for sure.

Back in 1965 Jean Shrimpton visited our fair, uncorrupted shores. Shrimpton stirred up the stiff and proper ladies of Melbourne (those who believed they were "stiff, proper, upright ladies, that is!)by wearing a white mini-skirt to the Victoria Derby...a lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup! Oh! My God! Shrimpton's "dress" was 10cm above her knees! And Lordy! Lordy! On top of that she wore no hat, no stockings and no gloves!!! The ladies were fainting and having heart palpitations!! What a to-do it was!! A storm in a mini!!

A high profile TV personality here in Aus caused much controversy and heart attacks in 1975 when he imitated crow calls on live TV (his impersonation upset many of the "high brows" because it reminded them too much of another word...that was their bad luck, if you get my meaning!)!!! He was booted off and the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal banned him from doing live television...he had to then pre-record everything!

I remember upsetting a few of the oldies and stiff-upper-lippers at a wedding back in the early Seventies...the dress I wore displayed a little too much of my boobs for their liking...poor dears...not my boobs...those poor souls who stood shuddering in their panty-hose clad feet! I loved that dress. It was and white wide vertical panels. I was working in the fashion industry at the time and it was one of our was a Carla Zampatti design. The company had signed Zampatti to a contract to design a range for the season. Zampatti designs are highly rated here. She is an Italian-Australian...having migrated to Australia with her family as an eight year old.

That's more than enough out of me, I think. Keep wearing what you want to wear, Pat....and keep telling it as it is! :)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks for the stories and the vote of confidence, Lee!


View My Stats