If I tell you I want to talk about fake boobs that came from the state of Texas, you’re probably going to assume I’m referring to George W. Bush or Rick Perry. They’re arguably the biggest pair of fake boobs we’ve seen around here in a long time, but they’re not the fake boobs I’m talking about. I’m talking about the “trophy” wife variety. I’m talking about a major “cougar” accessory. I’m talking about the 50th anniversary of the Lone Star invention that changed American topography for good (or bad, depending on how you look at it).
The first breast augmentation processes popped up (pardon the pun) in the late 19th century. In 1889, Austrian physician Robert Gersuny tried paraffin injections. In 1895, German physician Vincenz Czerny placed tissue from a benign growth on a patient’s back in a breast where he had removed a tumor to “avoid asymmetry.”
In the first half of the 20th century, the race for the perfect fake boobs heated up. Well-apportioned actresses like Lana Turner and Ava Gardner were lighting up the big screen and gracing the covers of all the big-name magazines. Women and their husbands wanted topographical equality and doctors were eager to lend their talents and pad their bank accounts. By the late 40s, physicians were augmenting breasts with glass balls, ground rubber, ivory, ox cartilage, Terylene wool, gutta-percha, Dicora, polyethylene chips, polyvinyl alcohol-formaldehyde polymer sponge, polymer sponge in a polyethylene sac, polyether foam sponge, polyethylene strips wound into a ball, teflon-silicone, polyester rubber, etc.
In 1950, New York doctor Jacques Maliniac tried a “flap-based” augmentation and rotated a woman’s chest wall tissue into her breast to increase volume. In the 1950s and early 1960s, approximately 50,000 women received silicone injections, but they led to dangerous granulomas and painful breast hardening.
In 1961, the first silicone breast implants were developed by Dr. Thomas Cronin and Dr. Frank Gerow, two plastic surgeons from Houston. They were made of a tear drop shaped rubber sac and filled with a thick, viscous silicone gel. They caught on in Hollywood first, because the price tag for the prosthetics was cost prohibitive. But, eventually, prices came down and they migrated back home.
Today, in most affluent areas in Texas, you can hardly stand in line at the supermarket or go watch your kids’ basketball games without being confronted by trophy topography, and it’s a little bit sad.
What happened to dancing with the ones that brung ya? Are the real things just not good enough for us anymore? And wasn’t there a revolution in the 1970s that involved women railing against sexual objectification?
Is there any greater embrace of sexual objectification than fake boobs?
In the end I guess my own gender is most to blame. Gratuitous breast images sell us material goods and anchor the marketing campaigns for some of our favorite entertainment mediums. Even as adults, middle-aged dads and graying solitary or married men, we still lead with or can be led by our loins. And the bearings of our existential compasses are too often affected by women’s breasts, real or fake.
Men are obviously pathetic for placing a premium on such things, and women are silly for caring so much about male premiums. Perhaps it’s simply our nature but, if so, it’s probably time for a little transcendence. Topographical transcendence.
It’s often said that everything is bigger in Texas and, 50 years ago, two Houston doctors developed prosthetics to make sure such was the case. But their invention was a mockery of the Lone Star quality of authenticity. And I’ll take authenticity over artificiality any day.
When you get right down to it, fake boobs are about as attractive as toupees. And I don’t know how folks are turned on by the former any more than the latter.