So I was getting dressed this morning, and looked in the mirror, and thought, for about the zillionth time–"Dude! I’ve got big boobs!"
I realize a fair percentage of my female readership is throwing things at the screen at this point, but seriously, bear with me for a moment here. I’m goin’ somewhere with this.
First off, you’d think I’d be used to this by now. It was sometime around 2005 that I went in for a bra fitting and discovered that instead of a C cup, I was a DD. (No wonder the things had always been uncomfortable…*) Five years oughta be enough time to adjust one’s body image to just about anything–I adjusted to a huge wonkin’ tattoo in about two weeks (two weeks when I grinned involuntarily whenever I looking in a mirror) but for some reason, apparently the after-market additions are easier to adjust to. I don’t know why. All I know is that to this day, I am still startled by…dude. Boobs. How did that happen?
Intellectually I know they’re there. But on that level that’s not even "emotional" just….urrr…body awareness, I suppose, I am startled whenever I see them. It’s like discovering a bit of spinach caught in your teeth, except in this case it would be discovering that a pair of extra-jumbo grapefruit have somehow gotten caught on your collarbone. Whoops! How did those get there?
The vital bit of information that might clarify this for people is that I was flat as a board in high school.
There’s a theory, usually put forward by writers rather than psychologists, that we all have an age when our body image is set, and for the rest of our lives, we look in the mirror and are startled by the fact that we look so much older or fatter than we know we are in our head. We’re all still eighteen in our heads (or twenty two, or twenty five, or fifteen or whatever.) I can’t speak to the truth of this in a literal sense, but it sure explains a lot about some people, doesn’t it? And at whatever age my body sense got set, I was apparently a B. Maybe a C if you got me in profile with good backlighting. Near a period. And had hipbones like axeblades and fairly bad acne, but y’know. (Both of those things went away. Well, the hipbones didn’t exactly go away, but there’s a lot more hip over top of ’em.)
Sometime in my late twenties, apparently something occurred in t’ol endocrine system–well, and I gained a fair amount of weight–and wham, I had boobs. Rather large ones, in an objective measurement. But here I am used to being flat as a board, both inherently and in comparison to most of the women I spent a lot of time associated with.
See, all the other women in my family were HUGE. I mean, for awhile there when she was breastfeeding my brother, my mother was shopping in letters in the MIDDLE of the alphabet, and she was the smallest of the clan. My grandmother and late aunt were built like brick dollhouses. I was the one who had apparently completely flaunted heredity, and also it didn’t help that I have a lot of friends who are very well-endowed, most notably my buddy Carlota, who looks like she’s being attacked by watermelons and has not slept on her stomach since she was twelve.**
Don’t get me wrong, I’m deleriously happy to have them, they’re a part of my anatomy I have no beef with. (Maybe what we’re dissatisfied with about our bodies gets set at that age, too, I dunno.) And my back problems all went away with my divorce, and haven’t come back yet, which is the primary argument against them.*** But they’re just…not in my self-image. Not the real one that I carry around in my bones, anyway–my brain has a slightly different one that it updates regularly, whenever I get a particularly egregious zit, say.
I don’t know. Maybe in another five years I’ll have gotten used to it. And I realize I’m gettin’ no sympathy from a lot of quarters, but really–anybody else develop boobs later in life and still baffled by them?
*For those wondering how the hell anybody could make this mistake, I’ll just say that…uh…look, I had a lot on my mind, I just assumed my band size was a lot bigger and my cup size smaller. And wearing a badly fitted bra minimizes boobs A LOT. I didn’t look like a DD until I put on the correct bra and went "Oh dear god, are those MINE?" So the moral of the story is, ladies–if you hate bras, if they’re not comfortable, don’t shop at Target, go get fitted by an actual woman with a measuring tape for a high end one, they make ’em without underwire these days, and for a lot of people (not all, alas) it actually makes a HUGE difference.
**And gets the best service in restaraunts I’ve ever SEEN.
***Along with my sleep paralysis, carpal tunnel, and severe acid reflux. I could just about see the acid reflux, maybe even the sleep paralysis, but carpal tunnel!? My doctor shrugged and opined that constant stress makes everything fall apart. I get occasional heartburn still, but I haven’t neededthe serious reflux meds for years. Who knew?