The worst of the recession has finally hit us where we live. Forget about housing and energy and our greenbacks suddenly being equal to Canadian play-money-the worldwide reversal of fortune is depriving us of breasts! The beaches of France, long renowned for their topless bathing beauties, are being plagued by tops this summer. According to people who study such things, when women are not feeling happy about their economic and social status, they feel less inclined to expose their flesh to the viewing public.

"French academic Dr. Guy Fournier said while female beach goers in France have traditionally bared their breasts without a second thought, the trend has declined due in part to the declining economy, The (Britain) Daily Mail said Friday. 'Bare breasts are viewed as a totally natural state on the beach,' Fournier said. But public morality follows people's confidence and optimism in their wealth and lifestyle.'

"'During an economic downturn, women are less inclined to let it all hang out and more likely to cover up.'

"The Mail said similar changes in beach fashion occurred in 1929 during the Great Depression and after World War II. Such negative events appeared to influence beach goers to wear more clothing during their leisurely beach activities, the newspaper said." [UPI]