Valeria Marini: showgirl
Maria Grazia Cucinotta: actress
Monica Bellucci: actress
This may be an unpleasant truth, but when Italians visit the U.S., especially if it's the first time, one of their initial reactions is to comment on how many Americans, especially women, are grossly overweight. Conversely, when Americans visit here, especially American men, one of the first thing they notice is the visibility of breasts. Italian women are very much into the "let it all hang out" mode and often everyone from TV anchors to the girl next door are letting us all have an eyeful.
I'll be coming back to this another time, with some negative reflections on the subject. As pleasant a view that you men are getting, I believe that Italian women are much too much caught up in appearance and far too ready to transform themselves into sex kittens. No one says a woman should be ugly. I am lucky enough to have been fairly blessed by nature and have enjoyed being appreciated. But there's a big difference between enjoying good looks and even enhancing them and identifying yourself first and foremost as a sex object.
But more about that another time. After idly reflecting an interesting op-ed article in the New York Times on Saturday, October 10, 2009, lamenting the fact that there are no "mammologists" in the United States, I wondered if there might be a connection with the aesthetic importance given in Italy to breasts (remember Sophia Lore and Gina Lolobrigida, and the fact that mammology, which the Italians call senologia, the study of the seno or breast, is a very well established medical profession here.
When I was told (after a mammogram done in New York) that I had some suspicious calcifications in a breast and that they probably should be taken out, I first went to Milan to see Italy's most famous breast cancer specialist. Umberto Veronesi, who is by the way the man who invented the lumpectomy. A lovely person who at 84 is still going strong - he operates several times a week - he reassured me that once I had the calcifications out I would be fine, and sent me to a doctor in Rome. But he didn't send me to either a gynaecologist or an oncologist, but to a senologo, that which the writer of the NYTimes article calls a mammologist.
To be sure, Dr. Riccardo Masetti is blond, charming, funny and VERY attractive. But that was just a perk. The fact is that his training and his experience are in the study of the breast and any of the afflictions that can affect it. I was operated on, didn't need radiation or anything, and was told just to keep up my yearly check-ups. So these days I don't even show my breasts to my gynocologist because they are, now permanently, under Dr, Masetti's care. He is a real breast man. Indeed, the best kind.