Thursday, January 08, 2009

Let's talk about boobs

I've been thinking about all of this serious stuff lately, unquestionably brought on by the crazy circumstances of my life. Philosophical musings on the usefulness of hope and optimism in the face of the general shittiness of the human condition -- things like that. And I thought about writing about some of it, but I didn't feel like being a big fat downer, because I feel like lately I am a big fat downer most of the time, and I hate that.

But then I was searching through my drawers today getting ready to teach a Baby Boot Camp class, utterly frustrated by my inability to find any of my sports bras that I like (Jason does the laundry most of the time, and sometimes he hangs them on a line outside, sometimes he hangs them in the laundry room, and it's always a surprise). And that got me to thinking about my love-hate relationship with bras in general, particularly sports bras. And that got me to thinking about my love-hate (mostly love) relationship with my boobs themselves.

If you've got big boobs, which I do, it's really hard to find one with enough support on the one hand, but enough give on the other hand, so that you can still breathe. Since I tend to do high impact sports like tennis and running and plyometrics, I need to be able to breathe, but the girls still need enough support that they have stretched down to my knees by the end of the tennis.

It's been a lifelong struggle. The search for the perfect sports bra, for me, is akin to the search for the Holy Grail.

Which is not to suggest that regular bras that fit and give me support and don't result in overspill or undercleavage or excessively squeezed back fat are easy to find either. Whenever I find a brand or style that works, I buy a bunch of them, because you never knew when a particular company is going to go out of business or discontinue a style number or something.

My point is that having a big rack isn't all fun and games.

I've had these knockers since I was 12 or 13. At first all of the attention they garnered from men of all ages was confusing and kind of embarrassing. As I got older, that same attention became a source of amusement, and somewhat of a source of power. So sometimes it's fun. There's something hilarious about watching intelligent grown men react so overtly and helplessly to looking at my chest when I'm wearing something as innocuous as a turtleneck. I mean, jeez, that isn't even close to the best I can do.

But there are downsides. Because I've got big breasts on a small frame, it's hard to find clothes that fit properly.

I couldn't wear spaghetti strap tank tops until they started making them with underwire bras built in. Anything backless is a big problem, because backless = braless. Strapless is also out, because they don't really make strapless bras that work in my size. Nothing too baggy, because then it just hangs off my chest and makes me look fat. Nothing too low-cut, otherwise I look like a prostitute. And don't even get me started on bathing suits.

And then there are the bras themselves. Those pretty little confections of lace and seed pearls that Victoria's Secret call "bras"? I couldn't wear them in a million years. I need the industrial strength versions that involve a Belgian company's years and years of R & D. Which means I've got a 32F, ferchrissakes, and it fits, but it costs me $90 a pop instead of the 2 for $20 that smaller-breasted women can get away with at Victoria's Secret.

Plus, as I got older, they continued to get bigger. Maybe part of "getting older" weight gain, and instead of the weight going to my butt or legs, it went to my boobs. It finally got to be too much, so I had reduction surgery. My friends sent me off to the surgical center with a "Ta-Ta to the Ta-Tas" party.

And the surgery went fine. I wanted C cups, but even after removing over a pound from each breast, I still have DDs. But they're well-shaped and they don't sag and they're more in proportion with my body, even thought they're bigger than I'd like. The surgery caused too much trauma to my milk ducts for me to be able to breast-feed, which was a bummer, but Zeke did just fine on formula, so whatev.

On TV and at the beach and just about everywhere else, I see these teeny-tiny women sashaying around with ginormous implants that look like canteloupe halves stuck to their chests. And I have to laugh. Because in spite of society's obsession with breasts, I would give anything to have nice perky little B cups that fit nicely into run-of-the-mill bras. That can handle a jog or a game of tennis without being mashed into a constricting piece of spandex. That I can put in a little drape-y top and have it look cute or benignly sexy rather than obscene.

But, they are what they are. They can be frustrating, they can be painful, they can be pretty. But they're mine, and I love them.


  1. Three thoughts:
    1) I had to look up what plyometrics meant.
    2) the ta-ta to the ta-tas dinner was loads of fun.
    3) you do have a nice rack.
    that is all!

  2. and J loves them as well

  3. Elizabeth -- plyo is a great workout, but wait until Pickle arrives before you try it. That dinner was loads of fun, and props to Dr. Michele for coming up with the name. Thank you for the compliment. I can't take much credit -- big knockers runs in the family. Miss you and love you. xoxo

    Josh -- he does. He jokes that the day I had my breasts reduced, he had his tear-ducts removed. Wah wah.

  4. I'm right there with you. My boobs just burst out of my body at about age 11 or 12. The horror.

    My fantasy is a nice 32B with dime sized nipples. TMI, I know, but just for one day I'd love perky instead of pendulous.

  5. Lisa -- I can absolutely relate. Pendulous can be fun sometimes, but perky would be much better.