In evolutionary terms, female nipples are straightforwardly utilitarian, providing a vehicle for feeding later generations while also playing a secondary part in the sexual attraction and arousal that leads to procreation. Male nipples, however, are a genetic dead end – functionless and futile, even if their absence is perhaps even more grotesque. In The History of Nipples, Ron (Joseph Macnab) channels his own sense of uselessness – his inability to get a proper job or to look after himself without constant intervention from his better employed, altogether more capable girlfriend Chloe (Lily Wood) – into a fixation with male nipples. He devotes his spare time to reading a book – The History of Nipples – on ancient Celtic beliefs about the powerful connection of the King’s teats to the land’s prosperity and fertility.
For all his interest in a past of noble swordsmen and mythic action, Ron is a hilariously pathetic specimen of emasculated manhood in a dreary modern world of bus stops, business suits and smartphones. As he diverts a fantasy/nightmare of castration to a different organ, he either liberates himself from his sense of redundancy, or merely marks himself with the permanent scars of pointlessness. Either way, this surreal debut shows filmmaker Bailey Tom Bailey, who writes, directs, edits, produces and contributes digital effects, as being far less useless than a male nipple, or indeed than his tit of a protagonist.
© Anton Bitel