Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Now and then I feel the need to explore some aspect of the Move Back to Jamaica that I should probably just leave alone.


Not chicken. Not turkey. Not udders.

Breasts - like the ones God gave to Jamaican women.

There I was, driving innocently through a town on Portland's coast. My wife and I were chatting away happily when we stopped at a pedestrian crossing. 2 young women walked across the road, talking with each other, barely glancing at us, wearing T-shirts stretched tightly across their "unfettered" breasts. (i.e. bra-less)

As usual, I tried my best not to notice...

Thankfully, my wife broke the silence with some well-aimed ''Tut-tuts" of disapproval, to which I added my own "wise" judgements. Obviously, I ''informed" her, bras were expensive. This was a basic economic issue.

And there definitely is an issue here.

Moving Back to Jamaica involves getting used to lots and lots of breasts. Not the naked variety, but the kind that surprise you from behind a T-shirt, or blouse in the middle of a typical day because they are not bra-ed.

Everything in your First World experience tells you that this is not happening... it cannot be. "How could she expect to get away with that? Doesn't she know better?''

Of course, as a man I must say that the surprise is sometimes not an unpleasant one. If the surprise is a genuine one, then so is the lingering, appreciative and even (mildly) lustful glance.

But, the fact is -- there are a LOT more unbra-ed breasts bouncing around Jamaica than any other place I have been in the world. I have a feeling (from some of the knowing looks I have exchanged) that this is not a matter of affordability, but one of attraction.

If I were to judge by the length of the skirts and the tight fit of the jeans, I would conclude that the J$1000/US$15 needed to purchase another bra, has instead been converted into a nice new pair of shoes.

However, I could be wrong about the motive.

It is difficult to tell, as the women I am friends, with would never be caught dead "unfettered" in public.

As for those who ARE busy being caught dead in public "unfettered" -- well, they are just not saying.


At 6/29/2006 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Francis, time for you to re-visit Ghana, where exposed breasts do not come as a complete shock. After a while you become immune to seeing the ocassional bare breasts, but at first you are beside yourself with the awkwardness of the situation...after a while you just go with the flow, and breasts aren't such a big deal...if you can imagine that!


At 6/30/2006 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I need to move to Jamaica! LOL.

At 6/30/2006 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe unconsciously these young women are expressing their freedom....a la the 1960's when feminists used to burn their bras.

At 7/01/2006 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason for "undettered" breasts is obvious to every woman -bras, even the best, are damned uncomfortable! Ask any woman in "fettered" society, and she will tell you the first thing she does when she gets home is get out of it. Bras were, of course, invented by a man.

At 7/06/2006 7:45 AM, Blogger fwade said...

Hmm... I can see the point about the discomfort.

And I imagine that the most expensive bras are the ones that are the most comfortable, which would explain why they are "missing."

Now, about those knowing looks...

At 7/06/2006 7:47 AM, Blogger fwade said...


Yeah, I imagine that is going on also. After all, it is "woman time" now in Jamaica with our PM being a woman for the first time.

Jamaican woman are quite defiant, also! (part of their beauty)

At 7/21/2006 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen, a tittie is a tittie is a tittie. That you have noticed women not wearing bras and decided to write about it, and that your wife thinks these women don't meet her standards of "decency" says far more about your and your wife's sexual values, than it says about the women who are going about their business, bra or no bra.

There is nothing for you to explain, really. If women don't want to wear a bra, they don't have to, regardless of who approves (so they can be titillated) or disapproves (so they can feel they are better than others).

Please, just go about your business and stop subjecting Jamaican (and all women, really) to this oversexualized gaze -- its bad enough that everybody, especially men like yourself, has to have something to say ie. approve or disapprove, about what we wear, how we wear it and why we wear it. And its funny, and telling, how it's a fashionable thing when brown or upper class women do it, but when ordinary working class women do it, "they don't have pride", "why them ca'an act like decent smaddy?" etc. etc. The endless speculation and watchy-watchy is just ridiculous -- the dj's have to sing about it, the pastors have to pray on it, the "keepers of culture" have to explain it, the highfaluting women who have somebody else to wash and iron their clothes have to turn up their noses...enough already! And that "woman time" comment was just entirely irrelevant.


At 7/08/2008 10:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the comment of the last poster, which basically read "nobody is allowed to have opinions on breasts, especially men and especially you!". Thanks for that delicious piece of tolerance.


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