Bosoms, bust, chest, boobs, knockers, bazookas, melons, love muffins, bubbies, jugs, globes, hooters, bazooms, tits, and jugs are just some of the 300 alternative words for breasts in the English language. Many, if not most, men love breasts. Many women hate their own—they are either too small or too big, too flat, too low, too old, seldom just right.
Many girls are thrilled when they first develop breasts. They are a badge of our womanhood and notice to the world that we are growing up. Also, boys start taking notice, in looks and snide remarks.
Penny Z and I were the shortest girls in the 7th grade. We were flat as boards and tiny. Those were the days when we had gym every day and had to take a shower after PE, before we went back to other classes. There was a lot of covert staring during those brief wet downs in the lines of showers without curtains. Modesty was not an option. If a girl had her “period” then she was excused from taking a shower. Short me was the VERY LAST girl in her gym class to be excused from showers and that didn’t happen until halfway through 9th grade. I may have had a small bump on my chest by then, but I certainly didn’t need a bra.
Then all of a sudden at the end of 10th grade I had knockers, boobs, bosoms. They couldn’t have come on as quickly as I remember, but by the time I was in 12th grade I was wearing a 32D bra. That year I remember David-the-jerk saying loudly when I entered chemistry class, “Huh, the best part of Ruth enters the class 10 minutes before she does.” Needless to say, I wanted to kill David and disappear after I murdered him.
College came and went; then I was a young professional writer and dating. I remember my roommate went to France and brought back French bikinis for both of us, an item of clothing that was definitely not worn by “nice” girls in 1964. A guy asked me to the beach for the day and I daringly wore that bikini. I was a sensation – still young enough to be perky, but large enough to overflow that top. I didn’t wear it again, too self-conscious of my rack.
I married my “practice” husband and had three darling daughters with him. With every month of each pregnancy, my teats (think cow) grew and grew and grew. My sweet “M” was born in 1967 and I knew I wanted to nurse her. At that time, not many women did such a “primitive thing” according to my mother, who was horrified. I stayed in the hospital for five days, a luxury not given new mothers today. My breasts became ginormous, swollen and hard as a rock. Because I have axillary mammary glands (under my arms), I had two hard golf ball size lumps there as well.
I was trying to nurse M, who latched on without any trouble, but that did nothing to relieve my pain. A lactation nurse came to my bed after two days of my misery and asked if I’d expressed my milk yet. I had no idea what she was talking about. She expertly put her thumb at the top of my breast, pushed firmly down the length of my breast and blessed milk shot across the bed. I was lactating! By the time I got home, my milk had COME IN and M’s head looked tiny compared to my breasts, which looked like Dolly Parton’s.
I know many do not care for breast feeding, but I loved every minute of it. Even waking up during the night to feed my babies was not a problem for me. It was peaceful and quiet and rewarding. As a hyperactive person, when I nursed was the only time, after I had “A” and “J” (three babies in five years), I could sit and relax and “do nothing”.
Some women who are originally full breasted become considerably smaller when they stop nursing. NOT ME. I was still carrying around my large stack and my shoulders hurt as did my upper back. The creases dug deeper in my shoulders and in my mid-30s I was beginning to look “matronly” even though I was slim.
Divorce and then I was lucky to marry the love of my life. With “G” came a blended family with my three and his two–a 14 ½, 14, 12 ½, 12 and 9 years old. Obviously, there wasn’t a penny extra for such a frivolous cosmetic thing as breast reduction surgery.
In my 50s, I started putting on weight. I was no longer a 32 D, but had graduated to a 38 DD. I now looked fully matronly and hated my breasts even more. Everything I ate landed on my chest, not my lap. I couldn’t look down and see my feet; my breasts were too big. Putting five kids through college didn’t leave enough for cosmetic surgery.
Flash forward to a wonderful retirement life in Florida, still a 38DD, but at this point I thought, I am too old for breast reduction surgery. Then in February, before COVID-19 raised its ugly head, I spent two and a half hours getting a mammogram. Needless to say, I figured something was up, since I was called back for numerous right breast x-rays and multiple ultrasounds.
On March 11, I was called by my gynecologist, who referred me to a breast cancer surgeon because the mammograms and ultrasounds had found a small mass. I had a needle biopsy and, when I went back to the surgeon, he confirmed that I had a 5 mm mass in my right breast, which was invasive ductal carcinoma. He recommended a lumpectomy followed possibly by radiation.
I wasn’t alarmed at all. After all, I was almost 79-years-old, my mother had had the same thing at my exact age, and she died many years later of something else. I figured at my age the cancer couldn’t be fast growing and it was very small. I said to Dr. A, “Well, while you’re at it, couldn’t you take a bit off the other one and make both of them smaller?”
To my surprise and joy, he said, “Yes, I’ll send you to a plastic surgeon and we can do the surgery at the same time.”
Guess what? Surgery is done, cancer is gone, and I have a great report. Dr. A assured me I will die of something other than breast cancer. Finally, I can see my lap, I can see my toes, and I can guarantee, I am the only 79-years-old with PERKY, small boobs, at least in my over-55 development and maybe in all of Palm Beach County.