Thursday, May 24, 2012

Big boobs: blessing or curse?

Breathes there a maiden raised in our culture who, upon seeing a full body profile of herself that reveals a modest bustline, has not wished for bigger boobs?

The desire for large breasts is nothing new—when I hit puberty in the late 1950s, I prayed for big. Jayne Mansfield was famous for her large (often brazenly displayed) breasts more than anything else. Women wore tortuous undergarments and teenaged girls “stuffed” with gym socks, toilet paper, or anything else readily at hand, all to give the illusion of a fuller, more generous endowment.

Well, I got my wish. Jayne Mansfield reportedly carried around a pair of 40D or DDs…I’m packing a pair of 44 DDs. And it ain’t what it is cracked up to be!

Breast augmentation surgery is the single most-often performed cosmetic surgery in the world today. A lot of women out there are unhappy with themselves and many of them think (consciously or subconsciously) that the answer to their self esteem issues is a pair of big breasts. And it’s not just women with AA or A cup breasts who are seeking enhancement—women with respectable B and C cups, sizes that are a good fit for their clothes, balance of bodily features and musculoskeletal health are focussing their feelings of inadequacy or inferiority on their breasts, believing that by “fixing” their “inadequate” breasts they will be fixing themselves. But when the surgery heals and they are still as unhappy, still feel as inadequate, still don’t have the life they thought their breasts would bring, do they hie themselves off to a therapist to fix their psyches? No—a large number of them return to their plastic surgeons for even bigger boobs or for other “work,” continuing to believe that changing the outside will somehow fix what is wrong on the inside. It’s like believing a paint job and a new roof will magically fix the problems caused by bad wiring, leaking pipes and termite-eaten timbers inside a house.

Even if you are emotionally well balanced, there are other issues to consider before moving from smaller to spectacular. One of the social downsides of big breasts is the perception others have of them: for every cup size you go up, expect people to perceive your IQ to go down at least 10 points. If I had a nickel for every time someone could tear their attention away from The Girls long enough to actually hear something I said and react with a surprised “You’re very smart, aren’t you?” I would be a rich woman today. And if you are a blonde (natural or otherwise), make that IQ drop 20 points per cup size.

Then there are the gender-specific reactions you have to deal with. Depending on the kind of manners your social/work set of friends ascribe to, expect anything from chilly to hostile reactions from women and salacious to downright crude reactions from men. And if you change your wardrobe to include clingy, low cut tops or otherwise showcase your new assets, expect those unpleasant reactions in spades.

You see, even if you are socially well-integrated, adding inches to your bosom will suddenly take you out of the social niche you have carved for yourself. Others will have to reassess where you fit in their group because by increasing your bust size, you are changing the dynamic of the group. Whatever primary attribute you had that defined your place in the group, in-your-face breasts will cause that place to be redefined. You may have been the “funny one” or the “smart one” or the “sweet one,” but once those massive mammaries make their debut, you will be the “sexy one” or the “pathetic, attention-seeking one” or even the “not-to-be-trusted man-stealing one.” Whatever your role in your social and work groups, suddenly pitching up with big boobs is going to change it, for good or for ill.

Do plastic surgeons ever tell women about the downsides, medically, of having large breasts? I know they discuss such things as breast feeding after augmentation and capsular contracture and ruptured/leaking implants, but do they tell you about backaches and shoulder grooves and things like that? I’ve been toting around a pair of “big ’uns” for decades now and I can tell you from personal experience what to expect.

Nobody…and I mean nobody…escapes the pull of gravity. My mother barely had a B cup, her mother barely an A, but given enough years, even gravity got them. And when you are big, you tempt gravity early. Factor in a few lifestyle choices…like having babies and breastfeeding, going without a good, supportive bra, or exercises that make them bounce (jogging, running, even dancing) and you guarantee sag. So, you’re too smart to let those ligaments stretch out and introduce your nipples to your navel, right? You’re going to wear properly supporting brassieres to keep The Girls perky and pretty forever, hm?

Welcome to the world of bra fashion where the prettiest bras are made for those who have no boobs at all. Welcome to wide, cushioned straps, breath-restricting bra bands, “structurally engineered” bra designs that look more like bridge trusses than boob supports, and the horrors of twisted, bent, pinching, rubbing, and broken underwires. Welcome to bras for big boobs, where the really pretty ones (if you can find any) offer little or no support and the ones that support you properly look like something a nun…or your great grandma…would wear.

Being female and vain enough to think your whole life will be improved by having big boobs, you are not going for the industrial strength bras, are you? So you opt for the pretty ones despite your horror at their cost…and you discover something new. Your back hurts. The muscles in your upper back are having to support the weight of your boobs because your bra isn’t. You get a different bra—maybe a sports bra—only to find that in order to properly support you, it has to be cinched so tight around your ribs, it is a challenge to draw a deep breath. Or, if your bra doesn’t need to encircle your ribs like a constricting boa, then your shoulders take the weight, digging grooves into your shoulders and even abrading the skin. And your back still hurts.

So you try an underwire bra…you didn’t have trouble with them when you were only a B cup, so you know they should be ok. Trust me, honey, there is a HUGE difference between a B cup underwire and a DD cup underwire, and it is not just how wide the wire is. Small breasts do not have the weight large ones do, nor do they move around as much as big ones. The wires in smaller bras do not take on the stresses that the wires in larger bras do. In large size bras, the wires bend, twist, and move, all due to the stresses the weight of the breast puts on them. Most commonly, I have found, is that one wire (usually on your dominant side) will eventually poke through the end of the casing—usually at the end between the breasts, not under the arm—and pop out. Mending a bra to contain this escaped wire is next to impossible and the cheaper the bra, the less likely the manufacturer has taken steps to prevent this by reinforcing the fabric at the ends of the casing. But even the “good” bras that don’t suffer from underwire escape have a problem—when the wire can’t move to accommodate stress, it stresses in the same place over and over again. I cannot begin to tell you how many bras I have had—good, expensive, well made bras—that have a broken wire and it is always the right wire and always at the same spot where it breaks. A comfortable, supportive, pretty bra for big boobs that doesn’t break your budget is yet to be designed.

Then there are the practical aspects—buying clothes that fit. OK, if you are a bimbo and habitually run around in Daisy Dukes, thigh-high boots, and skin-tight sweaters à la Pam Anderson, then you probably don’t have much to worry about. But if you need proper business attire, if you like your clothes to fit you properly, if you like to look well turned-out, giant gazongas are going to get in your way. Unless, of course, you are rich enough to have your clothes custom-made or custom-tailored (that’s the secret of the Hollywood stars and starlets who have ginormous bosoms but still manage to look “normally” dressed—someone who makes or tailors their clothes for them). Forget one-piece garments like swim suits, jump suits and dresses, forget suits (unless they come as separates): you will have to buy to fit the boobs, which (unless you are obese) will automatically mean the bottom part is going to be too big. Regardless of passé fashion to the contrary, blouses that strain at the bosom and expose your bra to even the unprying eye are not properly fitted nor are they proper business attire. You can also say goodbye to such things as ruffled necklines and shirt fronts, neck bows (which have just come back from the 80s), and jewellery that hangs down to the bosom: shorter pieces fall between the boobs and get stuck, longer pieces refuse to fall gracefully and usually end up framing The Girls, one strand of beads or chain on each side. In fact, anything that shows detail between your waist and your throat are no longer appropriate as the boobs themselves are your primary accessory now. No shirts with pockets, no tshirts with sayings, no jackets with zippers and buttons and plackets—not even busy prints! Simplicity is the word of the day when it comes to dressing the overblown upper half.

Now, imagine shopping under even some of those conditions. Tastes aside, finding clothes, especially good quality designer clothes, to fit a 40”+ bust is an uphill battle. Even prêt a porter design is made with the slender female physique in mind—and that includes a slender upper torso. If you are into quality clothing and looking chic, big boobs will sabotage you every time.

So, before you break open that piggy bank and head to your local Dr. Rey clone, give this exposé another, slower read-through and then spend some time thinking about it. You may decide your money is better spent on some chicken cutlets for less than 1% of the cost of a boob job, and use the rest of the money for those fab boots or that gorgeous leather coat…or even some therapy sessions to figure out why you feel so bad about yourself you are willing to mutilate your body in an attempt to feel better. Now that would be a truly healthy, long-lasting, life-enhancing use for that money!


  1. Oh SV you have said most of it all... However if you are tall and have big boobs, you can count on NEVER seeing mens' eyes, and what you do see of their body language indicates they want to rest their noses in your cleavage - even those whom you assumed were "nice" men. Fortunately my face looks much like a school teacher's; but the 48Hs do get in the way of any number of things. NF

    1. Oh, that's a fact--I cannot give myself my night time insulin injections because of them. Seriously! The short acting insulin I take at meals goes into the tummy, but the bedtime long-acting insulin must be given in the thigh or butt. You have to pinch a bunch of skin on the outside of the upper thigh and inject into the pinch. THAT does not happen--I cannot reach across my chest and grab the skin of my upper thigh--my arms are not long enough to cross the bosom. Hubby gives me my injection at night since I cannot do it myself. (Our diabetes doctor is a tiny, thin woman--probably smaller than a size 0--with no boobs at all. You can imagine her surprise when I told her I couldn't inject my thigh properly--I had to do it without pinching that fold of skin and it was causing bruises. This was something that had never even occurred to her!)


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