Breasts — extolled in poetry and song, exploited in fashion and film, augmented, minimized, and, oh horrors, removed by the Amazon women warriors to enhance their archery — have always defined femininity. Mae West, Jane Russell, and Dolly Parton, with their double “D’s” diminished most women, but I am totally satisfied with my size 34C, and well-proportioned, athletically toned body. When my baby girl was born, my 34C’s became their slang name “jugs” by providing ample nourishment for her. It was great — no sterilizers, formula, bottles. 24/7, there was always plenty to satisfy her, and I watched in amazement as a scrawny newborn turned into a sturdy little girl. At eight months she ended that happy relationship by trying out her first tooth and biting the boob that fed her.
There have been times when my 34C’s took on far greater proportions than their actual size. When shopping at my favorite farmers’ market, I carefully guided the organic eggs into my shopping cart but I did not notice the label had adhered to the tip of my left breast. When people started staring, I, too looked and was totally embarrassed to see the label from the egg box proclaiming, “jumbo white.” The next time I ran into difficulty was at a family dinner in an exquisite, expensive steak house. The place was mostly empty when we arrived, but as the evening progressed, the noise level accelerated as the crowd grew, and I had to lean closer to the table to hear the conversation. Suddenly my right nipple felt cold. “That’s weird,” I thought and looked down to see it fully encased in raspberry sorbet. Walking out of that crowded restaurant with one very pink breast was a challenge.
When my physical therapist was helping me with the exercises to repair my shoulder, he showed me how to pull the pink and green bands, saying, “Up front and proud, pull your shoulders blades back as if you are trying to make them touch each other.” I started pulling the pink band — 20 times, then the green 20 times, back to the pink and then the green again. About half way through, I noticed another patient, comfortably ensconced in a heat wrap, literally leering at my 34C’s. Hmmm, I thought, still getting leered at at 81 isn’t bad. Up front and proud I shall remain.