When people first started imploring us to weigh in on the Open Source Boob Project we had this scary image of a website featuring a picture of a pair of fake tits that registered computer programmers could modify and reshape and manipulate with nanotechnology or whatever else until the resultant pair of tits reflected the internet's consensus of the ideal pair of boobs. (The consensus would, of course, change and grow over time, reflecting an anthropological study in the ever-changing depiction of breasts in the media, anime and videogames; that's how the project would get academic funding.) Anyway: why did I give the geeks so much credit? The Open Source Boob Project was actually just a consensual gropeathon that went down at PenguiCon, which is, naturally, a science fiction convention, though its genesis happened at ConFusion, another science fiction convention, when one geek, probably inspired by a booth babe, said to another geek:
I wish this was the kind of world where say, 'Wow, I'd like to touch your breasts,' and people would understand that it's not a way of reducing you to a set of nipples and ignoring the rest of you, but rather a way of saying that I may not yet know your mind, but your body is beautiful.
At which point — another "friend" spoke up. (Who is this friend? And will the blogosphere hear from her? One can only hope.
We were standing in the hallway of ConFusion, about nine of us, and we all nodded. Then another friend spoke up.
"You can touch my boobs," she said to all of us in the hallway. "It's no big deal."
Now, you have to understand the way she said that, because it's the key to the whole project. The spirit of everything was formed within those nine words - and if she'd said them shyly, as though having her breasts touched by people was something to be endured or afraid of, the Open-Source Boob Project would have died aborning. But she didn't. Her words were loud and clearly audible to anyone who walked by, an offer made to friends and acquaintances alike.
Yet it wasn't a come-on, either. There wasn't that undertow of desperation of come on, touch me, I need you to validate my self-esteem and maybe we'll hook up later tonight. There was no promise of anything but a simple grope.
We all reached out in the hallway, hands and fingers extended, to get a handful. And lo, we touched her breasts - taking turns to put our hands on the creamy tops exposed through the sheer top she wore, cupping our palms to touch the clothed swell underneath, exploring thoroughly but briefly lest we cross the line from 'touching" to "unwanted heavy petting." They were awesome breasts, worthy of being touched.
At which point the whole crew decided that an awesome tradition had been born, and next time, they would just print up buttons saying "Yes, you may!" or alternately "No, you may not."
Well, that didn't go over so well. Ferrett and his nerd cohorts were showered with outrage and mockery and virtual kicks in the balls and now he's apologized, saying what "works in a microcosm can't work in a macrocosm" and all sorts of stupid shit someone is surely saving for a screenplay on a GeekCon Rom Com about a booth babe who falls in love with a friendly hacker, because the Open Source Boob Project is seriously the funniest thing since Band Camp, unless you're the type to get offended by "double standards" or whatever, and we talked to someone who gets offended by that stuff (and also, has to actually attend science fiction conventions) and the only thing that offended her was that there were no rules for groping dudes. "I am a total repressed groper," she admitted. Me too, kinda! But um...that's what crowded bars in Williamsburg are for, right? Wait, forget I said that.