When I was a kid, my mom used to joke about her boobs. “They’re tube socks!” she’d hoot. “I have to roll them up to get them in my bra.”
I would cringe and recoil. “Mom,” I’d hiss. “You’re embarrassing me.”
“Why are you so red, honey?”
“Because you’re embarrassing me.”
“I’m just talking about tube socks.”
“You’re talking about your boobs.”
“Sweetie, my boobs are tube socks because I bore and birthed you and your sister, so if hearing about it embarrasses you, well, tough.”
Then she’d cross her eyes and stick out her tongue at me. I’d run to my room at that point and discreetly peer down the front of my shirt and wonder whether I’d ever have any kind boobs, let alone the tube sock kind. Although I’d have preferred not the tube sock kind, at that point in my adolescence I’d have been happy with just about anything.
Ah, the deluded innocence of youth.
I grew boobs, eventually. They were never all that impressive – I was always skinny, with the type of cleavage that, in nature, attends skinny bodies – but they were there, and they were kind of cute. Perky. The kind of breasts that you never called tits or gazongas or hooters or even just boobs. You referred to them to them in the diminutive – boobies – or in the unsexed abstract – chest. So it was that when I got pregnant and, later, began lactating and those puppies grew – like, seriously, epically grew, like frightened puffer fish – I was both alarmed and thrilled. I had hooters. I had gazongas. I had BOOBS.
For a few uncomfortable but nonetheless thrilling years, I had a rack, and it was spectacular.
And now it’s gone.
Gone, disappeared, deflated, defunct. It’s as if, after watching me wean Jasper and my husband get his parts snipped, Nature herself gave my body the once-over and said well, you won’t be needing those any more, will you? and unceremoniously removed them from my person.
They’re gone now, and I miss them. I miss them, not only because they really were kind of epic – and what girl doesn’t fantasize, occasionally, secretly, about what it would be like to have epic boobs? – but because Nature, in all of her douchey wisdom, did not restore my chest to its modest but nonetheless entirely presentable profile. Nature, being the stone-cold bitch-goddess that she is (the very same one who gave us menstrual cycles and the pain of childbirth and the indignity of random chin hairs), turned my boobs into tube socks. Just like my mother’s.
Except smaller. Small tube socks. The tube socks of an adolescent boy with irregularly-sized feet. Because, yes, one is actually – oh, god – smaller than the other.
Which is why, when I found myself, yesterday, in the fitting room of the lingerie department, desperately trying to find a bra into which my breasts would not just disappear like a pathetic wad of crumpled tissue, I lasted all of three minutes before bursting into tears.
It’s not that I want – what are the kids calling it these days? – a bangin’ bod. I’d be happy with a bod that just pinged a little. I just want to not to not look in the mirror and cringe. Which I know goes against everything that I said a few months ago, but a few months ago I had boobs. Muffin-tops and extra ass-padding are one thing when you have the upper curves to balance everything out. They’re quite another when your upper body looks like a deflated pool toy.
I’m straining to accept this new incarnation of me, to learn to love it as I’ve learned to love all the other incarnations. But I am finding, now, as summer approaches and I wrap my head and heart around the fact (is it fact? is it? I am still struggling with this) that I will have no more children, that I am still, in my way, vain, and that I want my beauty back. Maybe not the same beauty, the same body, the same sweet boobs of youth, but something, anything, that makes me swell with just a little bit of pride when I look in the mirror.
Or maybe just a tit-inflater. Anybody got one of those?