In the spirit of full disclosure going on around these parts lately, I’d like to tread into familiar-yet-not territory. I’d like to climb the mountains of womanhood. I’d like to bury my face into the soft pillows of femininity. I’d like to pinch at the nipples of formality.
You guys, I want to talk about boobs – specifically, big ones.
You see, earlier this year, I dragged my 34C cups to a bra fitting. The shop here is called Linda’s and their specialty is accurate bra fittings. I decided to treat myself to a fitting because my bras were always shifting on me; sometimes Lefty, the bigger of the two, would rise out of her constraints like a toddler climbing out of her crib. I would always stuff her back in (sometimes discreetly, sometimes not), but she was incorrigible and would always find her way back out. And the straps! When they weren’t slipping off my shoulders, they were too tight or not tight enough to provide any lift.
So I stood, naked from the top down, in front of the bra specialist in a small fitting room at Linda’s. She studied my bare chest, one eye squinting.
“You’re not a 34C,” she said. “I can tell by looking at you.”
“Can you tell I’m cold, too?”
She didn’t laugh. Instead, she wrapped a measuring tape around me twice, her fingers nimble and professional. “Most women are not the size they think they are. Most wear the wrong bra size.”
“What’s the prognosis, doc?”
“You’re a 32F. Let me see what I can find.” She stepped out of the fitting room.
I stared at myself in the mirror. F? A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, and F! My breasts had blitzed their way through the alphabet, skipped to my Lou, and landed on the letter that fronts only the most unsavory words – fail, fart, f*ck. “F” for Full Frontal Funbags. My breasts gave me a lopsided smirk. How does it feel to get an “F” for the first time in your life? they seemed to ask.
“Terrible,” I said out loud.
So: I have big boobs. I’m going to take a minute to acknowledge that, yes, big boobs are generally celebrated in American culture. Not for feeding babies – no! That’s shameful and you mustn’t do it in public without the cover of an elephantine canvas that might suffocate your kid! No, I mean big boobs are celebrated in other ways: when they’re not bouncing off the pages of men’s magazines, they’re prized in plastic surgery offices and become the centerpieces of the skimpiest fashions. This is all the patriarchy at work. So congratulations, self, on being born with the right genetic code to suit the heterosexual male gaze!
But please believe me when I tell you that big boobs don’t have all the fun. Those of you who think that having the chest of a comic book heroine doesn’t have its drawbacks, all I can tell you is that those heroines are fictional for a reason. Boobs that size would be a detriment when fighting crime – unless the boobs themselves are weapons. (Note to self: Need a new comic book heroine named Chesty LaVu. Boobs shoot lava/acid/poison/insults. Mortal enemy is The Humidifier, which makes Chesty retain water. Falls in love with Batman, just for the hell of it.)
Maybe this will come as a surprise to you, but big boobs can do more harm than good. Consider that:
Big Boobs Can Hurt
For maybe 1.5-2 weeks out of the month, my boobs retain water and become torpedoes firing off dull aches. Even an accidental brush against them with my arm, my coat, my shirt, or anything else, can send shockwaves of owies throughout the chestral region. Even taking a shower might make them angry. And while I don’t personally suffer from back problems, I know quite a few busty ladies who do.
Basically, big boobs are terrible two-year-olds that you can’t put in the corner.
Big Boobs Always Require a Bra
You know that cute summer outfit you have that has a weird back/is strapless/is backless, but it keeps you cool and looking darling, so you wear it and go without a bra? Know what I’m talking about?
That’s nice. Because I don’t.
Big Boobs are Naturally Shy
Big boobs are far from the boisterous can-can dancers of your fantasies. Rather, my big boobs are like shy bookworms who cast their eyes away when you speak to them directly. What I’m saying is: they face downward. The bigger they are, the more they act like humbled puppies.
Big Boobs Sometimes Do the Talking For You
People assume certain things about my sexuality because of my boobs. People might assume I’m wanton, fresh, and dirty-mouthed because my boobs are upfront and center. I am, in fact, all of these things, but it’s not because of my boobs. It’s because of my Catholic upbringing.
Big Boobs Can Limit Fashion Choices
Listen, I’m never going to tell you what to wear. You can wear whatever you want! But I recognize that not everything looks good on me; this is my own observation. A large majority of popular fashions are not cut for big boobs. Fashion is, after all, meant to drape on “human hangers.”
Shirts that fit my boobs do not fit my midsection. Scoop neck or v-neck tops become too cleavage-baring. High necks become matronly. Empire-waisted or flowy blouses become tent-like. Anything not structured or cut in at the waist makes me look like a human square. Strapless dresses are the devil’s work. I can’t even talk about bathing suits without weeping the tears of a thousand sad dragons.
Big Boobs Make People Stare
It’s true. It’s uncomfortable. And it probably can’t be helped by either party. It’s what you might call a good, old-fashioned stand-off.
Big Bras Are Not Cute
“F” is for functional. Bras up in the alphabet stratosphere come in three colors: nude (as in, White people nude), white, and black. There are very few in fun colors, with lace, bows, polka dots, or silk/satin. They instead appear like German-engineered fabric from the Depression era. And good luck trying to find a bra in your size for cheap. Most of the typical chain stores don’t even carry bras above D-cup size. Forget finding a decent sports bra – just let those suckers bounce.
This entire post is a humblebrag!, I hear you say. For those of you who are lifelong members of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, I know I can never convince you that small breasts are best. I suppose we will always look at one another askew regarding this issue, thinking the other has it better.
There are days I fantasize about having less-than-A cups, going under the knife for a breast reduction, or wrapping myself up in ace bandages, like Yentl. But I never do. Other days, I embrace my boobyliciousness, cares be damned.
I waver back and forth, complainer or celebrator, knowing that I’m likely to stick with what I have. My boobs are a part of who I am, after all, faults and all.