In a red-neck version of a Gomer Pyle accent; “When God was giving out brains, you must have thought he said boobs and asked for double! Hahahaha.” Very funny. Very witty indeed. This was the kind of thing I heard every.single.time. I saw my uncle and one of my more educated neighbours just as I hit puberty and my breasts were beginning to ‘blossom’. Hooray for small town livin’.
I grew up pretty rough and tumble, and by that age, nothing surprised me any more. I was taught from a very early age to stand up for myself and dish talk like that right back to whomever had sent it my way in the first place. It was common for older male relatives (cousins), and classmates to make fun of you the first few weeks you had to wear a bra. They snapped the strap, tried to unclasp it, and made public announcements in an effort to embarrass you. I was embarrassed, but I was even more irritated that my body had betrayed me in such a way.
Now I had to wear an extra layer of scratchy, sticky clothing. Thanks a lot boobs! I resisted wearing a bra as long as possible after I made my first humiliating trip to the pink and white section at the local Woolco. I remember my mother making me try the darn thing on and then reaching under the band to make sure it fit properly. I hated her for that, but it’s the very thing I would do today if I had a daughter.
Until my mother finally put her foot down and said I was NOT allowed out of the house without getting the girls under control, I was still innocent and free. The first day I wore a bra to school, I was in grade 6. I wore a white polo shirt and my favourite pair of yellow cotton pants. My hair was dirty blond and tightly Toni-permed to my head. I still had a gap between my front teeth, and enjoyed playing marbles and baseball at recess. I could not stand pig-tails, dresses or leotards. Needless to say the addition of an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder was not a welcome addition to my wardrobe. I wore it in the same indignant way that I wore rubber galoshes. It took years before I frolicked in lingerie stores and loved wearing frilly things that made me feel sexy and confident.
When I was 11, a brassiere was torture. All of a sudden when I was bent down with my hands in the dirt eyeing a shot, vying for someone else’s pretty or biggie it became a big deal that at girl was beating the boys at marbles. I was the only kid at school who had two whole McDonald’s happy meal buckets full of the spoils of my shark-like marble playing. Who needed boobs when I had two buckets of marbles?
But soon the subtle brassiere line in the back of my shirt started to part the sea of the sexes even further. I’m sure it was an ill-timed bra snapping that instigated the garden hose incident with my Grandma’s neighbour boys. They were around the same age as my cousin and I (we both had big boobs at an early age). We wrestled them to the ground and tied them together with an outdoor electrical cord, and then stuffed the garden hose somewhere in the fray, turned it on, and ran like heck, leaving the two boob commentators to reflect on their boyscout knowledge of knots. My grandmother likely watched what was going on from her kitchen window thinking, “Them’s my girls!”. My grandfather would have given us the dickens, except my grandmother scared the bejesus out of him.
And so it went. My breasts became my primary identifier. You know, that girl with the blonde hair and big boobs. Not the girl who worked at the store, the girl who wrote for the newspaper, not the girl who was the astrophysicst….oh wait, I’m fantasizing.
Throughout the years I spent partying in clubs with my friends who said they were going out with me and ‘the girls’ to get a few free drinks, my breasts were front and centre like good little soldiers. It was a rare night that some inebriated genius wouldn’t come up to me and say, slurring and slobbering, “You’ve got great tits.” Really? I hadn’t noticed. Someone give this guy an honorary degree to the University of Dumber than Doorknobs. My usual response was, “Well, don’t just stand there! Buy the girls a round,” and they did. Round after round of Gin and Lime, Cosmopolitans, Double Martinis and Ameretto Sours were bought in an effort to get a feel of the glands that balanced in my overpriced, hard to find super-duper cup-sized bra.
In the past, while trying to have a serious discussion with a (male) coworker, leaning across the photocopier in heated debate, one of my nipples touched the ‘start’ button, startling us both, and making a zillion unwanted copies. I have sat through meetings with buttons popped open from boobs too huge for buttons. Imagine trying to design an entire wardrobe around shirts that don’t button?! I have been pawed by all ages of babies thinking I’m the milk truck, and almost tempted to punch drunks in the teeth for reaching out to touch them. Big boobs take on a life of their own.
To be honest, my experience in being over-chested is that people think you’re; sleazy, fat, lazy and easy. Sometimes, people would have been right, because we’re all a little of those things once in a while. But I’m tired of carrying them around. A number of women in my family have chosen to have breast-reduction surgery, and I can relate to wanting my girls cut down to size.
Just tonight two women of the blue-perm set approached me at a meeting to make small talk, and even their eyes bowed to the girls first.
I’m tired of running every day and having my boobs feel like bruises when I take my over-priced, size flipping-huge bra off. I’m tired of paddling with my left tit sticking out the armpit of my life jacket so I don’t get chafed. I’m tired of my neck popping and hurting, and carrying around this natural blessing that I didn’t ask for…AND…I’m also damn thankful I have healthy ones.
I’m not sure what going under the knife would mean, but I am pondering it. To ‘C’ or not to ‘C’, that my friends, is the question.