Boob Retrospective

The other night my husband turned to me and asked me if I ever miss my old boobs. My initial thought was to turn the question back on him and ask whether he missed my old boobs. But after a pause, I responded: “no, they were bad.” And I meant it.

I mean, I liked my boobs a lot before I found out one of them had cancer in it. Even though after two children they were not at their prime. (But they were still pretty good). After that I just sort of developed a surgeon’s mentality about them. Cut the bad shit out. Kill it. Please.

Hmmm. Let me reflect on my boobs. We had a long history. Well, sort of. It took them an awful long while to make an appearance. I went through puberty at 14 and didn’t have much to show in the way of boobs until then. By then I was a tall skinny kid without any curves and had suffered lots of jokes about anatomy throughout grammar school. “Hey, Emily, I’ve got a joke that’s so funny it’ll make your tits fall off. Oh, I see you’ve already heard it.” Hardee harrrrr harrrr. This really happened. I am not making it up.

I did not care for changing in the locker room for gym class. Most of the other girls had purchased bras (or desperately needed to) and had some hips going on (I didn’t — still don’t but that’s another story). I got impatient and finally went to a department store and bought a bra anyway. I found the thing about ten years later in the attic in a box of old clothes. It was white shiny polyester and about the size of a double eye patch. I remember when I bought it I showed it to my friend Beth and she remarked that it was baggy. This was true. Ouch.

In ninth grade they finally showed up. Overnight the commentary from the opposite sex went from banal remarks about their absence to “hey looking perky today.” In spite of myself I smiled shyly and blushed. Let’s face it; I was proud finally to have them and not going to pretend I was offended that someone noticed.

They were good. Smallish and neither too close together nor too far apart. A nice projection. And yes, perky.

Highschool was good. They were about a B-cup. They had some fans.

College, also good. I filled out a little more and was a solid C.

After college I worked as a legal assistant at a large New York law firm. I was known as bright and for my “posture.” I was able to wear dresses and tops without a bra and still look good. Not at the law firm! Geez!

They were good in law school. Of course I was still in my twenties… I bought a tight dress at Betsey Johnson in Manhattan after first year. A gal from Jersey trying on clothes too said “you have great boobs. Are they real?”

After law school I clerked for a judge in New Orleans. Her fast talking, animated and hilarious courtroom deputy at the time referred to my boobs in his Louisiana drawl as “the rack” and asked frequently after them as a surrogate for asking how I was. “Hey, Em. How’s the rack?” They were a nice D by then.

There was also the “decoy eye” incident, whereupon a man with strabismus entered the chambers and asked to speak to me about something procedural. I came out and talked to him for about ten minutes (during which it became clear that no one could help him because he was dumb as a post). After he had left, the judge’s assistant said that she had had to leave the room while we were speaking because she was so uncomfortable. I said “oh, yeah. I know what you mean. He was so dumb and I couldn’t help him understand…” She replied that no, in fact, she had been uncomfortable because he had been staring at my breasts the entire time we were speaking. “What?” I replied. “Are you sure? He was looking me in the eye the whole time.” Without missing a beat, the courtroom deputy chimed in “that was just the decoy eye.”

I wore a strapless dress to my wedding. It was fabulous. I purchased the white strapless bustier bra at a posh shop on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, had it altered to fit the rack just so and then sewed into my dress so there would be no wardrobe malfunction. And this was before that Janet Jackson incident.

During pregnancy, my boobs started creeping into scary letters of the alphabet, and when years later I unearthed the underwire bras I wore in the eighth and ninth months I was amazed at their size. They resembled two fabric salad bowls connected by a strip of material rather than the double eye patch I started with.

After the birth of our first child, I remarked that each boob was larger than the child’s head. Granted, she did have a small head. But still. I snapped a pic of myself holding my child with much of my boob strategically covered by one hand and sent it to a pregnant friend. She pinged back “I am SHOCKED. SHOCKED by the size of your boob.”

When I went to a postnatal yoga class about two weeks after giving birth, my adorable and tiny yoga instructor took one look at me and said “I see that your milk has come in.” Read: stay back or you might take me out with one of them things.

After giving birth to Isabel, a maternity nurse remarked that she thought “I was going to have quite a supply.” Indeed she was right. I nursed each of my babies for about a year and appeared to have enough leftover to feed several other children.

And after Charlotte was weened they were a little deflated but really still nice boobs. I was still able to wear some dresses and tops sans bra and look good.

So now I ask myself again: do I miss my old boobs?

I guess what I would say is that I think of them fondly. We had a good run.

Now when I watch television or a movie and there is nudity I don’t see breasts the same way I did before. I am more attuned to the shape, the projection, the way the breasts move or don’t move when the actress moves her body. When I take the tube (this is the London underground train for those who aren’t familiar) and a young lady with attractive boobs gets on I admire them more than I might have before. I try not to look for too long.

I miss softness and movement and that natural slope.

What I have now are my temporary boobs. Because I had immediate reconstruction after my bilateral mastectomies in early February, I have “place holders.” They are filled with saline and are making a nice pocket for my permanent silicone implants, which I will get, if all goes well, later this year. They look pretty good. Even in a bra you can’t tell. But they are hard and they do not move. I mean at all. I could jump off the top of a truck and the things wouldn’t budge.

But I do get to do something special. Every once in a while, I go into see my reconstruction surgeon and he expands them suckers with another 50 ccs of saline each. This takes a very little time. And I leave his office with bigger boobs. Instaboob. Bigger tits in 60 seconds. Think of the fortune that could be made if this service were available for normal women.

I am fembot hear me roar.

I get to try before I buy. The newbs will have more projection and softness and movement than my tempies even if they won’t be the real real thing. And they will never sag. I will be the hottest mama in the nursing home. Still killing it in a low-cut dress with no bra. Hooah.



5 thoughts on “Boob Retrospective

  1. Fell off the chair laughing reading this, my stomach hurts! Thanks, Em 🙂

    Also very nostalgic and thought provoking…

    I remember when the kids in grammar school would poke fun at boobies. I’m sure they still do and always will.

    In the movie “Carrie”, they’re referred to as “dirty pillows” by the whack job mother, in “Beaches” there’s a tacky musical encompassing the female breast, and Kathy Bates has no problem with exposing her boobs in “About Schmidt” after bragging her son nursed until he was 5! Makes me wonder why in our culture it’s “indescent exposure” to show boobs in public (but it’s ok in the movie theatres, on TV and the Internet). During the Oscars year after year, the designer gowns seem to get more and more revealing and the talk of the town the day after this year’s show was JLo. Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Superbowl is STILL being talked about and I was like “What is the big deal? So what if we saw her boob! She has a beautiful boob, you saw it, leave it alone and move on.”

    Boobs will definitely give you something to talk about. With this most excellent blog, I think boobs will be appreciated more and definitely looked at from a new perspective from your readers. Myself included. Em, you rock!

  2. A friend sent a link to your blog to me and, though this is all I’ve read so far, I am hooked. I love your writing – hilarious and heartfelt. Thanks for that!! Xxo

      • i saw that you made it over to my blog, so you know that i am/was a cervical cancer girl. but what i DEFINITELY am is a fellow cancer KILLER!
        i am DEFINITELY going to keep reading. and if it’s ok with you, i will probably add a link to (if not a full-on post about) your blog on mine. i feel like we are absolutely two of a kind.
        love love.

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