Okay, here’s some background info.
I got my first bra when I was nine. I had to wear a bra for two years of primary school. I remember getting changed for P.E. for the first time after getting it and a girl in my class ran into the boys changing room and told the whole year that Jayne wears a bra. I was mortified, but that was the start of it all.
By the time I started senior school, my boobs were a C-cup. In year nine, I wore a double-D. In fact, my friends called me DeeDee for a while. Until they kept growing. By the time I left senior school, I had G-cup boobs. 16 and a G-cup. There were two Jaynes in my year (actually, one Jayne and one Jane) but if someone said ‘Ja(y)ne’ and they didn’t know which one, I’d invariably be described as ‘The One with the Boobs’. I put up with years of conversations with teenage boys who couldn’t tell you what I looked like from the neck up, but were familiar with every contour that nestled under my shirt.
I remember one occasion when I was walking along with my Mum, we were going into town on a Saturday and I was about 13. We walked under a bridge that workmen were fixing and I got the usual barrage of catcalls from them. I put my head down and carried on walking but my Mum got cross and tried to defend me, telling them that I was only a child and that they must be paedophiles. It wasn’t until MUCH later that my Mum realised that I hadn’t looked like a child for some time and these men simply thought they were shouting at an amply chested woman. No excuse for such misogyny, but still not as nefarious as she’d thought.
Because I’ve always had a large chest, it’s always been part of me, I guess I did get to a point where I thought “fuck it” and I started wearing low-cut tops. If people were going to stare anyway, I may as well give them something to stare at. Not the best attitude, but I was young and fed up.
Then came the touching. I was standing in a pub once and a guy made a bee-line for me and grabbed my chest, hard, with both hands. Luckily, I knew the doorman and he’d been looking over so before I even got a chance to turn around, the guy had been dragged out of the pub and thrown onto the pavement, and I’m not saying this is the norm, but this is tantamount to sexual assault – would he have been so ‘handy’ had I a small chest?
I don’t want to be all ‘woe is me’, I know plenty of women who’d love a bit more in the chesticles department, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
The crux of this post is this; I had a physiotherapy appointment this week for a long-term neck and back problem and my physio advised that I consider a reduction. They’re so heavy now that they’re causing serious strain on my neck muscles (several of which are in permanent spasm) and I have the beginning of a fatty deposit on the base of my neck which could turn into a Dowager’s Hump when I’m older. It’s pretty serious. But I don’t think I want an operation.
Aside from the fact that I watch far too many “surgery gone wrong” programmes and I’m terrified of my nipples not reattaching properly, it’s a bloody massive operation. And even aside from all that, I’m not sure I’m ready to change my body that much. I suppose it’s psychological too, I see my chest as part of my identity, which is really sad, but if I really analyse how I feel about them I guess I spent many years believing that they were the only that about me that was even vaguely remarkable (when I should have realised that I have fantastic legs and rapier wit). If I get rid of them, I’ll just be human wallpaper. I know…I’m a fruitcake, right?
I realise now, after 28 years of life and 19 years of boobs, that I have a very complicated relationship with my chest. I guess I have some thinking to do.