Big Breasts Burden


 

Too Well-Endowed

I’m in the fitting area of an extravagant lingerie store. Purple-draped changing rooms loop around a plump, cream chaise longue, and on the walls hang sepia-toned photos of exceptionally sexy—and well-endowed women.

They aren’t the breakable, thigh-gapped girls you see on Victoria’s Secret posters; they’re plus-sized models with voluptuous bodies, their breasts bigger than DDs.

Through an open door, I glimpse a stockroom filled with gleaming racks of bras in every size, style, and color imaginable.

Peach, crimson, black, cream, dark blue, magenta; full-cups, demi-cups, balconettes; with wires and without. It’s a candy shop of bras, and I’m the fat kid. I’m in big boob heaven.

But I’m not used to glamorous bra shopping experiences. For me, and many other women “blessed” with big breasts, bra shopping is a stressful, even shameful, experience wrought with self-delusion, loathing, and disenchantment.

I didn’t always have this problem. At age 11, it was quite the opposite. When I asked my mother—from whom I’ve inherited my now 32G chest—to take me shopping for my first bra, her response was ambivalent; she’d be happy to buy me a bra, but did I need one just yet?

Well, I wanted a bra and breasts sumptuous enough to fill it, so mum took me to John Lewis, a British department store, to get fitted.

I had dreams of pretty black lace, something sheer and sultry. Alas, my first bra—a white, sensible under-thing that landed flatly against my flatter chest—didn’t live up to my expectations. Because a black lace bra is not the sort your mother buys you.

Like most preteen girls, I was desperate for big boobs. But as my breasts developed, through my teenage years, into D, E, F, and—in the last couple of years—G to H territory, they’ve become too big for dainty bras; ones with barely-there lace and spaghetti-thin straps, or scalloped balconettes and delicate bows.

On my first visit at 17 to a specialist bra shop, the chatty, busty woman fitting me (without a tape measure, I should add) lectured me about wearing the wrong bra size.

The right bra should fit so the middle section between the cups digs in here against your rib cage. And the straps should be tight enough to squeeze your shoulders and back, which should make you feel somewhat like a whale being hoisted into a fisherman’s net.

Oh, and sweetie, you want to make sure the cups completely cover each breast. Well now, there’s a great fit. Let’s wrap those up for you, shall we, poppet?

When my breasts first properly showed up, an agreeable C cup by the age of fourteen, they became a secret I wanted to share—in some way that wouldn’t attract what I recognized to be the wrong kind of attention.

There’s tension between wanting to show off our new breasts and not wanting anyone creepy to notice them. And that predicament was exquisite for a while.

I thought that with cleavage came power. But as my cleavage amassed, I found the opposite to be true. My ample cups seemed to hint at certain unpleasant possibilities. Like, maybe I was dumb. Maybe I was slutty.

Maybe I liked it when people gawked at my breasts, and when the guy driving that van rolled down the window to say “nice tits, love” as I walked past in my school uniform.

And I probably didn’t mind when I said no thank you to the boy who wanted to snap a photo on his phone looking down my top, but he didn’t listen and took the photo anyway.

Since forever ago, breasts have been the butt of jokes. People were laughing at them long before Dolly Parton. In Austin Powers movies, breasts double up as firing and floating devices.

And what of the hullabaloo caused by British television presenter Holly Willoughby’s breasts when they appeared in a low-cut dress before the watershed hour (when racier stuff’s allowed on air) on The Voice last June.

139 viewers to complain to the BBC on account of her indecent exposure? The Guardian declared the controversy “Boobgate,” while the British tabloids began referring to Holly’s cleavage as “Willough-booby.”

Some people think large breasts are a nice problem to have. Nora Ephron was one of them. At the close of “A Few Words About Breasts,” her Esquire essay from 1972 in which she confesses that “breasts were the hang-up of my life” and that had she had them, she “would have been a completely different person,” she writes:

“My girl friends, the ones with nice big breasts, would go on endlessly about how their lives had been far more miserable than mine. Their bra straps were snapped in class. They couldn’t sleep on their stomachs.

“They were stared at whenever the word ‘mountain’ cropped up in geography… It was much worse for them, they tell me… I don’t know how lucky I was, they say.

“I have thought about their remarks, tried to put myself in their place, considered their point of view. I think they are full of shit.”

Large breasts aren’t a fun burden to carry. For years, my breasts have been spoken to (but as yet, they haven’t talked back). Not only that, they’re sometimes touched without my permission—not by men but usually by smaller-chested women curious to know “what if feels like” to have big breasts.

One of my girlfriends can hardly have dinner with me without peeking at my breasts between sentences, or announcing “Anna! Your boobs!” to the restaurant.

Then there was that charming guy at a bar who thought it would be a swell idea, on first meeting me, to pellet popcorn at my cleavage.

When a friend heard I was writing this story, she told me, because I have “great tits,” it’s “unfair” for me to write about them. Why can everybody talk abou tmy breasts but me?

Leave a Reply