Stacked A 32DDD Reports from the Front
By Susan Seligson
Bloomsbury Copyright © 2007 Susan Seligson
All right reserved. ISBN: 978-1-5969-1117-8
Introduction My Face Is Up Here, Pal
One spring day in Central Park I crossed paths with a generously endowed woman wearing a T-shirt with an arrow and the words "My face is up here, pal." I longed to give her a sisterly hug. I restrained myself not only because we were strangers to each other, but also because I feared the mayhem that might result from such a collision of boobs. Still I looked her right in her lovely, underappreciated eyes and offered a nod of solidarity. All too often my own face plays a supporting role to the main attraction, my 32DDD breasts.
That is not a typo. Allow me to help you with the math. Proportionally speaking, this is the equivalent of the USS Nimitz anchored in a pond. My bra size makes me, in the eyes of Maidenform at least, a freak. In the days before rampant breast augmentation, the juxtaposition of such immense breasts with such a diminutive frame confounded bra manufacturers. Elsie, saleswoman emerita at the downtown Boston Filene's, referred to me as "her 32DDD." She'd special-order one Lilyette minimizer for me, and another for a customer from Newton, a nameless sister-in-stackdom for whom I'd developed an irrational affection. Elsie did the best she could. But these bras had the sex appeal of a truss. With very few exceptions, the men in my life have felt compelled at one time or another to wear one of these bras on their heads. Ha, ha, ha. As a kid at summer camp I had a counselor with outsized breasts, whom my bunkmates and I taunted by imprisoning a live toad in the tentlike cups of her bra. All these years later, in a karmic twist this woman would no doubt find hilarious, I don brassieres that could hold a viable terrarium.
I can't recall ever having small breasts. I remember having no breasts, but it seems I went from the Great Plains to the Tetons in the blink of an eye. I was two years ahead of myself in public school, and so the very last of my classmates to develop. While the bodies of my friends sprouted breasts, curves, and pubic hair, mine remained pudgy and babyish. I didn't begin menstruating until ninth grade. I was twelve years old at the time and existing in a state of unrelenting embarrassment and mortification. The boys I liked had five o'clock shadows. To them I was a freckled android in pigtails. We were great pals, but the only time boys wanted to get really close to me was during a geometry test. "Well," says my mother, "you certainly showed them." By the time I started college, at age sixteen, the rest of me finally stopped growing, but my breasts didn't quit. I still remember the day, in my late teens, when my mother studied me as I climbed out of the tub and declared, "You overreacted."
There are mornings, in the days just before my period, when my breasts are so heavy I find myself carrying them as I walk to the bathroom. They are fleshy torpedoes, exploding from my narrow shoulders, hovering ominously above my tiny waist. They're pale, warm, and smooth. They can conceal not one, but an entire pack of pencils. They can be cradled like puppies or made to slap each other like window weights. They're ridiculous.
It is within this Stupefyin' Jones body that I must greet the world. It's not that the rest of me is particularly hard on the eyes. But there are times I'm convinced that my breasts would attract a comparable level of admiration if they were to amble along the street on their own. During the years we spent summers in Woodstock, New York, there was a local fellow who liked to dog me as I strolled downtown, his attention wholly consumed by my breasts as they presented themselves under a T-shirt, tank top, or summer frock. This became an everyday occurrence. The man was harmless but irritating as hell. Only his status in the town's sixties hall of fame-his frontal lobe having succumbed to a variety of potent hallucinogens long ago-prevented me from seeking a restraining order. When I return for visits in the dead of winter, wrapped in fleecy layers, I sometimes find myself face-to-face with this same man. He registers not the faintest spark of recognition as he makes his way along Tinker Street. Breasts obscured, I may as well consist of vapor. Similar scenarios have played themselves out so many times in my life, I've come to believe that I can significantly alter the events of my day by either flaunting my breasts or hiding them. I'm Pussy Galore, or I'm Yentl.
What is it about an anatomical feature possessed by half of humanity that can render the other half senseless? No other body part looms so large in the human imagination. While there are around a hundred slang words for penis, there are many hundreds for breasts. There is such a profusion of big-breast websites-millions of hits last I checked, and that's just for big ones-that scores of them serve as mere gateways to the others. If you're a busy guy, bigbooblinks.com can propel you to boobywood.com before you can say Tawny Peaks. Pour yourself a tequila and visit titfiesta.com. For you intergalactic types, beam yourself to boobplanet.com. Prefer amateurs? Check out Ilovemycleavage.com. Into full disclosure? Let me direct you to yesthey'refake.com.
Who was it that said, "If you've seen two, you've seen 'em all?" What would he make of the ever-expanding recessionproof industry that spawned Juggs and Busty Beauties magazines? You'd think that, with this embarrassment of boob-riches at their fingertips, men would grow weary of this writer's unairbrushed pair, prosaic by comparison.
At age fifty-one, I sometimes take a detached, almost academic interest in the way my bust-to-waist-to-hips ratio continues to jangle the brains of teenaged stock clerks and of the pensioners in golf shorts who shuffle along the aisles of the kosher grocery near my mother's condo. And I have welcomed the tenderness and reverence my breasts have inspired over the years in the men I've loved. But at times I wish I owned an emergency burka. It could be tightly folded into a snug packet, like a space blanket, and I could reach into my purse and be completely enshrouded within seconds. I remember meeting a cross-dresser whose linebacker frame was crammed into a vinyl miniskirt and tight sweater, prosthetic titties thrusting forth like twin Matterhorns. "If I had a body like yours," he said, "I'd dress like this all the time." "The hell you would," I sweetly replied.
What doors, if any, have opened for me because of my large breasts? Do I have them to thank for the mechanic who said "No charge today," for the airport screener who volunteered cheerfully to mail my contraband pocketknife to me, or for the cop who insisted on providing an escort to an address in a strange city? How many situations in my life might have played out differently had I chosen to wear a different shirt that day? One historical account tells of the fourth-century B.C. prostitute Phryne who was spared the death penalty after baring her breasts to the judges. It's a testament to enduring breast lust that this story survives the long, populous march of history, along with the wardrobe functions and malfunctions of Dolly Parton and Janet Jackson.
How many millions of men could have written, in all honesty, the following personal from the London Review of Books: "I like you because you read magazines with big words. And you've got great booblies. I can live without the first. But the second is non-negotiable. Shallow man, 34 ..."
It isn't just men; everyone's obsessed with breasts. Toddlers are enthralled with my "boobies," my women friends marvel at them, my doctor and I puzzle over how much they weigh. Even the poker-faced mammographer is not above a good-natured wisecrack or two. The most lugubrious one will smile when the machine begins rolling south with my boob still in it. "Excuse me," I say. "Those are attached." My 32DDDs also captivate my gay male friends, who display an abiding curiosity about their erotic sensitivity.
Apparently this fascination isn't even limited to members of my own species. Once when I went to give a pat to my friend Heidi's two-hundred-pound goat, the beast gummed my right breast so passionately it left a bruise. I was reminded of this when I read recently of a lawsuit filed against the Gorilla Foundation by two women who maintained that Koko, the "talking" gorilla, was breast-obsessed. In the course of the women's sessions with her, Koko was insistent in her sign language requests for them to show her their nipples.
I'll give Koko the benefit of the doubt and decide that her curiosity is less prurient than scientific. After all, when it comes to our breasts, human females are alone in the animal kingdom. Other mammals grow plump breasts only when pregnant or lactating. But a set of DDD knockers can bring out the ape in anyone. Here are just a few of the less idyllic encounters that can befall a woman of my gifts.
I set out on Truro's Longnook Beach one balmy fall morning for a long walk with my twin mutts, Manny and Fanny. Just one other car was parked in the lot. At the bottom of the dune I encountered a lone fisherman. We exchanged greetings and small talk about the weather. A while later, when I returned to my car, the fisherman was gone but I saw, written in the veil of dirt on the rear windshield, the words NICE TITS.
When I was just seventeen, a friend and I spent a summer touring Europe on the cheap. Joining the sweaty crowd at the Louvre, we waited our turn to gape at the Mona Lisa. Just when I came face-to-face with that cryptic smile, a man's arm emerged seemingly from nowhere to tweak my left nipple really hard. Just as swiftly the arm receded; I never saw his face. On a recent solo trip to Rome, I flagged a taxi to take me across the river to Trastevere. I chatted with the driver in my kiddy Italian. When we reached my destination I thanked him warmly and handed him the fare plus a generous tip. In one continuous motion, he pocketed the cash and grabbed my breast.
On rare occasions, the tit man on the street has been surprisingly polite, even genteel. "Pardon me, miss," said an expensively suited businessman as he strode toward me on a crowded avenue in Hempstead, New York. "But you really have beautiful breasts. I'd like to get a look at them, if I may. I'd pay you ten dollars and I promise I won't lay a hand on you." I was all of eighteen. I pushed my way past this weirdo, but to this day regret not asking, "Ten dollars for each, or the pair?"
Living life, as the personals would put it, as a BBW has made me concerned for my safety. I'm not talking about the risk of getting my nipples caught in an elevator door, though I'm sure it's possible. I'm talking about walking home at night on a near deserted street when my breasts might make me appear juicier than the usual prey. But it was in benign daylight, when my guard was down, that my breasts put me in the most imminent danger. Dressed in a tank top and shorts and out walking my dog one infernally hot summer afternoon in Boston, I was on a stately stretch of Commonwealth Avenue when I noticed a man cruising alongside me in his car, matching my pace and looking at my breasts as if they belonged to him but had been stolen years ago. "Nice tits," he called, craning his head out the window in my direction. Seconds later he plowed into a lamppost. He got out of the car to survey the damage, which was considerable, and cursed me as I beat a retreat to my apartment.
In retrospect, some of my breast-related experiences might have been actionable. For example, there was my boss at a weekly newspaper who prefaced a demanding assignment with the words, "I didn't just hire you because you have great tits, you know." But over the years I have served up justice in my own way. In graduate school I worked at a high-toned consulting firm where one of the pedigreed Harvard graduates had a habit of addressing work-related comments directly to my breasts. One day, in a fit of exasperation, I grabbed my right breast and gave it a chirpy falsetto as I moved it up and down in reply. Once on a muggy day at a summer office job, my grandfatherly boss asked to "have a word." "You do a good job," he said. "And you're fortunate to be a very well-endowed young woman. But I'm going to have to ask you to wear loose blouses when you come to work here. My salesmen are having trouble concentrating."
I needed the job. But I followed my instincts, and my boobs and I got the hell out of there. I wasn't the most articulate or motivated feminist at the time but I still knew the problem was his, not mine. He called for days, and sent flowers, but I never went back. It was decades later, after back surgery and countless cries of "Nice tits!" in a string of languages, that I considered making the problem go away by the only means available to me. I would go under the knife and cash those DDDs in for a saner set of Cs, maybe even Bs. That was when I met Nancy. Nancy had a tight, boyish runner's body. She had closely cropped hair and wore halters and short shorts. She reminded me of Peter Pan. One day she whispered to me, "You know, my breasts used to be as big as yours."
The revelation stunned me. I'd always considered myself as belonging to a different species from women who look like Nancy. Like many women who are thrilled with the results of their breast reductions, Nancy insisted the surgery could change my life. I took her up on her offer to show me her compact new breasts. Without examining them too closely, I detected two inverted T-shaped scars. And though I could be wrong, it seemed to me that the nipples pointed at odd angles, like airplane reading lights in need of adjustment.
"Aren't they fabulous?" she asked.
Though I couldn't quite agree, I did allow myself to fantasize about unhooking and hooking my bra without an ensuing gravitational thud. Imagine crossing over to that other species, for which loose straps don't mean flabby tits. How lovely to see a bra as a sexy wisp of a thing, not an over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. Consider an existence in which certain yoga poses don't carry the risk of suffocation by one's own bosom.
Sure, it would be great not to have to hear another saleswoman tell me a sports bra is "one size fits ... um ... I can't help you, honey." But I've endured surgery of the nonbreast variety several times. It's awful. Instead of taking that journey I've decided to embark on a different one. I have chosen to lay breast obsession bare-to enter, as it were, the belly of the boob.
In the pages that follow, for less than, oh, the price of two pickets to Titsburgh, I will take you to the heart of breast culture. The tour is not for the squeamish. Tag along with my boobs and me as we step into scrubs and enter the sterile confines of the operating room where tender flesh is sliced and sculpted. Join us as we linger in the raucous lair of the exotic dancer and wend our way from the academic perch of the anthropologist to the dressing rooms of the legendary retail institution that lives by the boast "No bra size too bizarre." Allow me to be your guide from the battle lines of the topfreedom crusade to the editorial offices of Busty Beauties. Browse alongside me in an ever-burgeoning marketplace of vacuum-powered breast developers, water-padded corsets, "bust-enhancing" creams, pills, patches, and chewing gum. Travel with me through time over centuries of lifting, separating, binding, wrapping, squashing, exposing, enshrouding, scaffolding, and piercing.
Excerpted from Stacked by Susan Seligson Copyright © 2007 by Susan Seligson. Excerpted by permission.
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