At dinner with friends the other night, the conversation turned to boobs and one of the girls on the table started explaining to the boys how bra sizing works.
After explaining the numbers and the alphabets, she declares, “Yeah, so basically, if you’re a 34A, that’s the worst possible thing.”
I’m a 34A.
And no, I don’t think that’s a particularly terrible thing.
A few years ago, this would have upset me tremendously, sent me flying into a wicked, hateful depression. This time, I was glad (and surprised) to notice, I merely did an internal shrug of the shoulders and reached over for another helping of rice.
But yes, I spent all my teenage years and almost all of my twenties wishing I had bigger breasts, a more prominent cleavage, that men would look at my chest instead of my face when they talked to me.
I had friends with magnificent, Marilyn-Monroe-esque breasts to put me to shame. I would envy the curves they had in places I didn’t. I would, at the lowest boobie-point in my life, stand in front of the mirror in the mornings and spend minutes staring at my small-chestedness, filling myself up with sadness and inadequacy. It would be enough to spin me into a depression for the rest of the day.
My boyfriends never complained and it was never an issue in the bedroom. Nobody had ever insulted me about my less-than breasts. Even the nastiest of girls at high school (and you know how girls can be at high school!) had never said anything about anything. It seemed that the only one who ever had a problem with my breasts was me.
I think now how funny it all is; how much time I wasted feeling sad over something so inconsequential and (mind the pun) small. One of my best friends, V, has an enormous chest. She has told me how badly she was teased in school for it and how it was often a burden for her when she worked out or did any kind of sport. But, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it, eh?” She’d wear the skimpiest so that all you could see were her boobs. You had to look at them and she didn’t mind if you did.
I thought to start living the way she did. There will alway be something not quite perfect about every part of us if we choose to look at it as imperfection. Or, we could just flaunt what we have. So I decided that while V made the most of her chest, I would too.
There was a point I decided I would just embrace the flat-chestedness. I would love it for all that it is (or isn’t). I would sleep on belly and enjoy the fact that I was flat-chested enough to do this comfortably. I would go running and be thankful that my chest didn’t add any additional weight. I would go out without a bra and be glad that things didn’t flop about.
Over the course of a few years, I would also learn that girls with bigger boobs than me had their own set of problems. When I went shopping with V, I’d point out that “I can’t wear lingerie like that because I’m too small”. She’d reply, “Yah, I can’t either. I’m too big.”
Another friend once asked me what I’d choose to do if I could do one plastic surgery procedure. When I said I’d get a breast enlargement, she looked at me slightly horrified and said, “I was thinking how I’d really want to make them smaller.” This surprised me because I had envied her breasts from the very first day I had met her.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have bigger boobs. This isn’t supposed to be an article about boob-envy. It’s saying that there are good things in everything we have and, as long as we obsess, there will also, inevitably be bad things. It’s down to that old adage of making the best of all that we have. It is good enough, I think, to consider that we even have boobs—no matter how small or large they may be—and that they’re healthy.
So if you have big ones, enjoy em, flaunt em, manipulate a gorgeous cleavage in V-neck top that can only be worn with a sizeable chest. If you have small ones, also enjoy em, revel in the weightless flatness that allows you to move and stretch, wear a loose, low-slung sundress can only be worn with a flat chest.
My friends with the splendid breasts may very well get many more stares at their chests than I can ever hope to get. Girls like me may get rude comments about looking like airport runways and ironing boards. But at the end of the day, I’d hope that the reason anyone really wants to be around me, talk to my eyes and pay me a compliment has nothing to do with any single body part.
I disagree with what that lady at dinner said about wearing a 34A bra. I think the truly ‘worst possible thing’, is if someone is judging you—of all the possible things you could be judged by—by your bra.
Photo via Ivan Gonzales on Flickr Creative Commons