The Role of Pasties
If indeed the g-string enters the world of swimwear as a gift from the ecdysiast, so to do pasties, those small circles of material that are glued to the areolae of strippers in towns where bare nipples are forbidden. Pasties thus help define the line between the illegal and legal on stage and in public.
Pasties are characterized by an absence of straps or other breast covering. They differ from nipple jewelry, including nipple shields, in that they involve fixative, usually gum arabic, and not a piercing or stud.
Practically speaking, pasties provide no support; their function is either to provide a minimal covering for the woman (or man) who insists on or requires nipple containment, or to decorate the already topless, and echo nature stylistically. Like most effects of the censor, they raise the power of an erogenous zone.
A nipple covered with a pasty is as much in play as an uncovered nipple. Simply put, pasties provide an alternative to going topless, both at the topped Bikini Beach as well at Topless Beach (fig. 35-1c), where some women argue that they help prevent nipple damage (NY8810).
Pasties emerge in the modern dance hall during the early 1920s as toplessness is attacked by censors (BH192720). At Parisian dance halls like Ledo, Follies Bergage, and Folichons (IS193210) complicated rules dictate when pasties must be worn. Pasties are also seen in the European cinema, although one is not sure if their purpose is to hide or eroticize the nipple (EC6510).
Pasties in American burlesque play a more complicated role as vocal conservative elements demand a more covered stage presence (LL5616). The American experience ranges from the rich displays of the Ziegfield Follies to recent Supreme Count cases on centered around the regulation of free speech, alcohol, and "community effects."
Pasties have flirted in swimwear for years with little more than novelty success. If nothing else they have enjoyed a rich nomenclature. An advertisements in Life Magazine in 1949 calls them poses, short for pose-ease, and depicts full-breasted coverage (fig. 35-1a). In the 1960s Fashion advertisers pick up the kini theme and label a pasties and briefs combination a trikini (BZ6801).
In the late 1980s, pasties again emerge, available from Frederick's of Hollywood (fig. 35-1, JD89FA), and in time for spring break at Fort Lauderdale. Trade names include Tosaway Tops and Bare Casuals. Another option are smaller circles called kinis that cover only the nipple (RD8734, JE8907B, fig. 35-1c). "For swimming, tanning, fashion and fun," states a promotional on a Sun Kinis package, and the salesman adds, "Well, nobody really wears these on the beach, but you can wear them at the hotel pools, out on boats, and so on." Pasties provide a "strapless tan, free from strap and tan lines, and freedom of movement," and they provide "uplifting and gentle support," to top quote some of the benefits. The major disadvantage is that they must be glued on and dissolved off, and if the glue weakens....
Pasties are occasionally worn in high metal fashion (V9209), at Carnival in Rio (Nayo9310), by pop singers like Madonna (M199310), and by art-statement all-girl bands (T199310).
In practice pasties are exceedingly rare in public (PT199470), although after the late 1990s they appear in increased profusion in Coney Island's Mermaid Parade (MP9608, MP9692, MPA220-23, MPA231, MPA233, MPA2J6, MPA2T2, and others). Their most natural companion might be the g-string.
Pasties come in different diameters and materials. Many modern pasties are made from flexible, thin woven rayon taffeta backed with hypo-allergenic peal-away self-adhesive (MP9641, SPA010). Pasties may also be glued to the nipple using gum arabic, which is not water or sweat soluble and must be washed off with alcohol. Many dancers who are forced to wear pasties for legal reasons complain that the continuous administration of adhesives and solvents is unhealthy to their nipples (TF9503).
Pasties are made in a wide range of shapes, colors and trim. Creative images are often a theme, including cat heads (DT199347) and paws, eyeballs, hands, yin and yang symbols, circles and stars (RD96WX, MPA233), waterdrops (MPA231), starfish (MPA259, MPA2M7), and shells (MPA2T2). Florals are popular (JD89FA), as are small diameter stiff circles of all color and description (RD8734, JE8907B, MP9650).
Pasties with tassels provide extra focus (AB199352, AB199357, MPA220-23). Better dancers are able to spin the tassels together, or in opposite directions. In some clubs, e.g. Tampa, Florida, dancers adopt the curious practice of transparent pasties (TF9502) and pasties of liquid latex (TF9503).
Band-Aid pasties are a choice of modest high-fashion models who have to bare their breasts but want to remain innocent while shooting shampoo commercials so "the boys in the editing room don't actually see nips" (KN9239). Colored band aids can be very playful (WK9546BS, WK9554BS, MPA2J6). Band aids and black electrical tape are also a choice for the club scene, when toplessness is forbidden.
The ultimate in daring is a set of sized pasties, such as the Annie l'String Sized Crochet Pasties Set (RD89G1-G7BS, JD89P0). These seven different color circular pairs of crochet have increasingly smaller diameter size. This allows a pastieite to explore the bounds of the environment with caution, not unlike the dance companies of the 1920s who played a town and wore smaller pasties each successive night.
The Sized Pasties illustrates how pasties regulate areolage. Pasties are areolage are buddies, duals, a duet in scandal. Areolas come in different sizes, so the right pasty for one gal might not be the right one for the dancer left or right out in the chorus line.
Sizing out the world might begin wearing the ridiculously large red size A (KP88F7), or the natural fitting size AA (2A) in pink (KP88F9, LO8912). The lavender is next smallest, size 3A (KP88F6, RD89G3) and this AAA shrinks to a turquoise, size 4A (LO8913, JE9026), which is sometimes also AAAA. Shrinking smaller still one encounters the green, size 5A; the green may (JE8912) or may not cover the areola and leave it exposed surrounding the pasty (PRI8805). Trust a Bikini Scientist who can recognize a AAAAA suntan. Finally there is the yellow, size 6A, which only a few are able to dodge (KP88F8). Finally, the orange, a size 7A which enables just about everybody to areolage (JD89M0, JE9028).
But remember it is areolage which is the play with pasties, not the nipple, although ....
One Pasty Two Pasties
Because pasties come in pairs they are both a unit and divisible. Four combinations of two pasties exist: both (RD8739), left (RD8733), right (RD8735), none (RD8708D.
Other models who shoot this combination matrix include JD89M0 (orange), AB9358, KP8909, KP8912, PBW88 (orange), and JE9026 (blue); some also some shoot it bottomless (e.g., RD8740). Obviously the "none" case would more broadly be called topless; it only exists here as a point of completion.
Single pasties also go cute with the maillot halftop (JD89E).
Bikiniites who wish to advance beyond the status quo can again consult with the ecdysiast and the realm of wild tops, including breast painting and decorations around the nipple. This interesting bikini features two "string pasties" but is in fact technically a halter top (ST9640).
Pasties are also related to nipple jewelry, including piercing and shields around the nipple. And sometimes "pasties" that are permanently tattooed in place (UGA521BS).