Sunday, February 8, 2009

contemplating cleavage

I was flat-chested for what seemed like an eternity. I don't even remember wearing a bra until freshman year in college. I had gained 40 pounds and finally had breasts. My body changed and thinned out some after that, but the boobs pretty much remained front, center and fairly perky, hovering between a 34B and 36D (i was breastfeeding!), for the next 18 years. At 37, however, when child #2 had given up nursing, I was relatively flat-chested again.

I might not have felt the impact of flat, if I had not moved down to South Florida. There, breast implants are as common as highlights and with tank tops being the state uniform, it was impossible not to notice. I began contemplating surgical enhancement daily; my ego, like my chest, was deflated.

I had a boob fantasy. I would enroll a few girlfriends and we would “Beg for Boobs” at a busy intersection. We would have signs and "Tit Jars" and naturally there would be a website link about this particular project. I envisioned that this public fundraising ploy would get news coverage, and then an empathetic, opportunistic, and skilled plastic surgeon would take notice, and volunteer to do my surgery.

Then a cop friend of mine told me that I could get arrested for soliciting. When I imagined my children's faces peering at me through the bars, I scaled the plan down some. I bought a couple of Wonderbras instead, and watched my real breasts and nipples disappear into padded oblivion.

Six years went by, and after regularly contemplating cleavage at Publix and PTA meetings, I finally accepted my breasts and let go of the idea of surgery. Choosing real and natural in the land of milk and money was refreshingly liberating. My petite breasts were uniquely mine, and left room for other parts to be admired.

On this journey to basic acceptance, however, I amassed quite a collection of bras, and they are divided into three categories: No, Low, and Whoa! The No has no padding, the Low has a modest amount, and the Whoa! -- well, hmmm, take a guess.

When I told my teenage daughter about my bra rating system, she smiled so big which is no easy feat for her these days. She shared the story with some of her friends which made me happy because not only did she actually retain what I said, but she found it worth repeating. Her math instructor overheard one conversation, and he said that it had no place in his classroom.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

The years of angst are worth every word in this funny, perfectly written post, which you should submit for publication somewhere. I am amazed. I, too, experienced the anguish of no boobs for years, nursing, etc., but wound up finding a female plastic surgeon to make me look "normal" (no jessica rabbit, please). that said, i do admit i wish i could have just had thanked my boobs for their ability to feed my two sons and let them be. at the end of the day, we make our choices. it's the ability to accept them that is grace. your column is such a gift. thanks for a great read!