Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mammograms, gravity, and The Breast

I am really, really lucky to have my boobs. Not because they require very expensive bras, not because they make it difficult to buy clothes that don’t separate tops from bottoms, and certainly not because they must add ten pounds to my body weight.

I am really, really lucky because I still have them. I have made it to my Third Third with boobs intact.

So I never miss a mammogram. Except that I have switched to biennial ones after the Great Mammogram Controversy over annual or biennial, false positives vs early findings, anxiety vs reassurance. If the experts can’t agree, I took the minimalist option.

Today was the day.

Little-boobed women tell me of the pain of stretching themselves over the table, grabbing skin from their sides to put more skin in the game. Not my problem. I just fling my cantaloupes onto the table and wait for the squish.
When I was growing up on Long Island, my mother took her big-boobed daughters to Dora Meyers Corsetry to buy our bras. I HATED Dora Meyers: all those fitting ladies touching us to make sure the bras fit. What self-respecting First Thirder would go to a “corsetry” anyway? Thank heavens Dora Meyers went out of business.

But my mother found a replacement, and nearly every trip I make to New York includes a stop at the “Bra Ladies.” Mary Corsetieres is a phenomenon: women make appointments and wait on line. Bras are personally altered at the bank of sewing machines, and Mary keeps a file on exactly what alterations are made to my bras. My sisters and I wouldn’t buy a bra anywhere else. Mary saved me from having to wear two sports bras at the same time. Funny how a couple of Thirds changes your viewpoint.

Nevertheless, at the end of a day, the bra comes off with a sigh of relief. And often, the end of a day comes earlier than the end of the day, if you know what I mean. If I’m not going back out, the bra is history. I used to feel that way about pantyhose, but they’re ancient history.

Bra-less big boobs may be comfortable lounging around, but the effects of gravity only worsen with age. There I was, going through security for a recent red-eye flight. If I’m going to be miserable on a red-eye flight, I’m at least not going to be miserable in a bra. So I stash the bra in my backpack and go through security in a bulky sweatshirt. This time, however, I had scored “TSA pre-check,” so I could just wear my jacket.

“Empty your pockets, please, Miss,” said the TSA agent.

“There’s nothing in them,” I replied.

“No, you missed something,” he said. “I can see there’s something in your pockets.”

I poked around. “They’re empty.” I looked down. Uh, oh.

“Those are my boobs.”
(sob) Third Third boobs no longer leave the house without a bra.

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