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by Abigail Van Buren

'New' Topless Swimsuits Enjoy Worldwide Support

DEAR ABBY: This is regarding the letter from "Mother of Girls" who was indignant because she had heard they were coming out with topless bathing suits for women. Evidently, Mother is ignorant of the world beyond the United States.

Topless attire for women has been commonplace in France, Italy, Greece (the cradle of Western civilization), the Turkish Coast, Israel (the cradle of Judaism and Christianity), Germany (the cradle of the Reformation), the Scandinavian countries, Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, Malta, the Netherlands, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and every island in the Pacific Ocean save the Hawaiian Islands.

In fact, the only remaining "bastion of the bikini top" in the Western world is the United States. So before anybody starts tying women's beach attire to the collapse of Western civilization, it would be a good idea to take a good look around. -- ENLIGHTENED

DEAR ENLIGHTENED: Thanks for the enlightenment. My mail has been top-heavy with comment about that letter. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Regarding the letter from the "Mother of Girls" about topless bathing suits for women:

I wonder if she finds overweight men in swim trunks obscene? Personally, I'd prefer seeing a woman in a topless bathing suit than a beer-gutted slob parading around on the beach!

Last week I noticed a man of this description sunning himself. His stomach was so big he had to stand up before I could tell he was wearing trunks! Wouldn't you call that "indecent exposure"?

All human beings have breasts -- men and women. Some just happen to be bigger than others. The "low" in our civilization is not the amount of clothing people choose to wear; it is the person who believes that nudity is nasty. In a world where horrible crimes against humanity are committed every day, I have a hard time believing that women's bare breasts will bomb us back to the Stone Age. So, "Mother of Girls," what do I think is "left to save"? Perhaps our skins! -- RACHEL EMILIE MILLER, SISTER OF WOMEN