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Sunday, Mar. 27, 2005 - 3:42 p.m.

His friends call him a breast-fiend and perhaps he is one, but he sees himself more as one of the last few remaining men in the country who sincerely appreciates a woman's breasts for what they are. To him, breasts are not an inconvenient delay; they are not merely where one has to make a customary pause, before proceeding to the terminus between the legs.

Breasts are never terminal, unlike the vagina, which marks both the geographical end of the anterior female body, as well as the singular completion of the sexual act. No, one may interact with breasts in myriad ways one can smile at them, defend them from another man, rest a cheek against their warmness (or coldness), and he is almost tempted to call breasts - infinite. No pair is ever the same, they grow as a woman grows, and change as a woman changes. Initially the woman takes no notice of them, then she hates them, grows to love them, and finally hates them again before she dies.

Even the same pair of breasts can be completely different under different conditions. First they merely exist as something that the man cannot have, because the rules of society frown upon the wanton sampling of a woman's breasts. At this stage, the breasts are rarely seen and mostly imagined, hidden behind the crisp whiteness of a colleague's blouse or trying to escape the neckline of a stranger's spaghetti-strap top. All the man has here, is the prohibited, fantastical mental picture of what her breasts look like. He has liked breasts for as long as he remembers, even before the tenuous years of puberty. His school days were days of dreaming, of female teachers and classmates; he liked school a lot but most of all he loved the P.E. lessons.

The next stage is a progression, but still the breasts cannot be directly visualized. Sometimes, this stage entails being (or pretending to be) drunk. In the deliberate darkness of a club, at Carpark E of East Coast Park, or at the little secret corner behind the school hall when he was younger, the breast is completely groped and acquainted with his hands; but because he has to kiss her to get to this stage, he is almost always forced to look at her face instead. Therefore he becomes like a blind man, guided on her skin by the expert touch of his fingertips.

Only late into the last stage, after a thousand SMSes and other exhausting forms of seduction, can the full breast be seen. He is always unhurried in undressing her, delighting in the slow revelation of what the breasts actually look like. He wants to see if his prediction is right, if the shape, the firmness of the breast, the height of the erect nipple, the pervading smell and taste, are as he guessed. He has even tried to predict what sex with the woman, or what the woman herself will be like after it from the appearance of her breasts, but there never is a pattern that he can discern. Post coitus, most men just fall asleep from one state of dreaming into the other, but he has trained his body to wake after an hour. This is so that he can pull down the covers and watch her naked breasts while she sleeps, and it is the part he enjoys the most. He always says this quietly to her: I am watching your breasts, and thinking of you while you sleep.

There is a fourth stage, but it is almost apocryphal because most Singaporean women are forgettable. This place is reserved for the one woman he regrets having left, and all that is kept here, is the memory of her breasts. Of course he is not that superficial and there is more to her than her wonderful, piquant breasts.

Once in a while, he will still revisit them because he believes a woman's breasts exist for the consolation of men, one for each hand, and the valley of skin between them to carry the weight of his head, which contains them.


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