Mae West took an early interest in developing beautiful breasts. Starting in her teens she began to take special care, regularly massaging them with cocoa butter every night and again sometimes in the morning, then spraying them with cold water.
“This treatment made them smooth and firm, and developed muscle tone which kept them right up where they were supposed to be,” Mae wrote in her 1960 autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It. “Once the healthy structure of the bust is well established, it is not necessary to carry on the treatment too regularly.”
Mae also tells us about effective exercises for raising and developing the bust. They needn’t occupy much of your time, “but you must do them regularly to get any benefit from them,” she says. “Your bookseller or librarian can refer you to excellent books on body building and keeping fit that will show you what exercises to do and how to do them.”
To Mae I say: “You go, girl.” Mae has absolutely got the right attitude. There’s nothing wrong with a little vanity—it keeps you young and healthy. My Grandma Mil was one of the vainest women I’ve ever met, may she rest in peace, and she lived to be 96. Mil and Mae were contemporaries, in fact, both coming to full-blossoming womanhood in the 1920s and 1930s, back in the days when women were women and men were men. Wow. I’ve just had a revelation—my grandma really was a lot like Mae West. Mil liked to surround herself with nice things, her house had lots of fresh-looking pinks and whites, she was always very put together when she left the house, she had lots of special outfits and jewels, she enjoyed social events and dancing, she liked men but preferred sleeping alone, and she was clever with money and earned herself a tidy fortune in her later years. Mil knew how to take care of Mil.
But back to Mae’s breasts. By now you’ve probably figured out that vanity is one of the character traits that marks a bad girl, and the attention that Mae West lavished over her breasts is just one example of how well she loved herself. That’s what vanity is about. Oh, I know it’s one of the seven deadly sins, but isn’t vanity just another word for self-respect? Plus, vain women give other people a lot of visual pleasure, and I see no harm in that.
Mae advises women to have an arrangement of mirrors so you can see the back of your head and also a full-length mirror that allows you to see both the front and back of your dress. “Remember you aren’t always coming, you are also going away from. And often the rear view can be quite as spectacular as the front one.”
There’s more. Mae understood that beauty comes from within, and an active and positive mind is essential.
“Get that rewarding attitude of ‘I can do anything you can do, better,’” she says. “Get with the beat. Don’t say, ‘Elvis Presley is for kids.’ Say, ‘That’s for me.’ I’m sayin’, “Live, girl—all your life. Rock with the rock and roll with the roll.”
Who can argue with that?
OK, that’s all for today, but now that I’ve been digging around in my research papers to remember what Mae said about her breasts, I’ve come across some more great stuff that I want to share. Next time, I’m going to talk about Ninon de Lenclos’ dog.