My husband is what we old-time southerners would say – a “real card.” That means he does weird stuff like sticking balloons down his shirt and hamming it up for the camera. It is his way of trying to make me laugh.
It’s also his best imitation of me.
All my life I’ve had this problem, y’all. Yes, I’m afflicted with big ole boobies.
I don’t really know how I got them either. In weird twist of fate, my mother is decidedly flat. She can wear an A cup, only if she adds a few Kleenex. She once bought a ball gown that cost a small fortune. When I asked her why in the world she spent that much on a dress, when she could have bought a used Volkswagon instead, she replied as if it should be blatantly obvious.
“Because it makes me look like I have boobs!”
Having boobs becomes real important when you don’t have any. On the other hand, when you’re overly blessed with them, like I am, you will spend inordinate amounts of money to keep them from being the first thing everyone notices when you enter the room.
It all started when I was about nine. I started to develop a little jiggle in my blouse, so my mother decided it was time to take me to Belk’s to buy my first training bra. The sales lady took me by the hand and led me back into the dressing room, where she ordered me to take off me shirt. While I was about to faint with embarrassment, she measured me. To all the other customers that where on the Ladie’s Fine Garments floor that day, and to my mother’s size 34-almost-A-cupped horror, the sales lady announced, “She’s too big for a training bra. She needs a 36-C.”
It was hell at the next door neighbor’s swimming pool. While all the other ten year old girls were splashing around in little string-tied pink, strawberry shortcake themed suits, I was an Ester Williams look-alike in a white, matronly two-piece number, complete with a built-in shelf bra. When I jumped off the diving board, the boys would all stop and stare, hoping something would fall out all give then the thrill of their lives.
From then on, I was always called “The Girl With The Big Boobs” or simply, “Big Boobies.”
It’s not a great feeling. In addition to having men openly stare at my chest, I get the “look” from other women a lot. You know the one: “Look at her with those big titties! She thinks she’s really hot/ a slut/ able to get my man.”
Ladies, trust me. I do not feel like I’m hot and I’m not trying to seduce your man. The truth is, I’m too busy obsessively worrying about what I look like. At the beach I try to make sure I’m lying flat on my back before I take my shirt off becuase “the girls” look flatter if they’re falling off to each side. I have spent a fortune through the years on minimizing bras, sports bras, strapless bras, one-piece shapers, seamless bras, full-figure bras, uplifting bras, soft cup bras, sleeping bras and tee-shirt bras.
I’ve tried every bra that’s on Oprah’s Favorite List. It sounds real exotic, but the The Goddess Bra did not make me feel like a goddess, y’all.
And here’s the thing: years of being self-conscious have caused my shoulders to curve inward, in an attempt to make the boobies disappear, or at least look smaller than a breadbox. Years of wearing full-figured bras with large straps have made permanent dents in my shoulders. My poor posture has led to chronic neck and shoulder pain. Menopause has made me sick and tired of waking up in the middle of the night (or day, since I work shift work) and having the pain in my shoulders keep me awake.
A casual conversation with my female doctor a few months ago was a real eye-opener for me. It took a lot of courage for me to bring up the subject of breast reduction. Even at age 53, I am still wary of discussing the size of my breasts with other women. I’m afraid they will say I’m exaggerating or tell me how blessed I am to have them.
My doctor, bless her heart, did neither. She glanced down at my file and asked, “What size bra do you wear?”
Oh dear, there it was. Big Boobie Shame. I cringed as I mumbled, “A 36-G.”
She looked at my chest area. She said, “Really? You hide it well.”
“I’m wearing the most expensive minimizer on the market,” I explained. “So do you think a breast reduction would help with my neck pain?”
“Honey,” she said, kindly, “Not only is it going to help you, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I think it will transform your whole life.”
To Be Continued…