This post is about knockers. Not the kind on the front of your house, the kind on the front of your chest. I’m talking about Boobs. Ba-zoongas. Melons. Sweater puppies. Headlights. Jugs.
I’m not even halfway through my list …
Anyway, this post is about breasts. That’s what my mom has tried to get me to call them since I was about 3. She, in fact, always tried to get me to use the proper names for all my body parts. You can see how well that worked. I wouldn’t normally write a whole post about hooters but they’ve been on my mind lately. I’ve been thinking a lot about them. Pondering. Ever since I went to Paris.
Paris was the first stop on my 2 1/2 week trip that culminated with the Running of the Bulls. When I arrived in Paris, my sister and her husband, Bobby, were already there. Originally this trip was exclusively for my sister and me. However, a couple of months before we left, Bobby decided he wanted to go on the Paris portion of the trip. It was important to him to see Paris for the first time together with Carrie. And since I was using his frequent flyer miles to get my international ticket, well, it was important to me too. I’m not stupid.
So the plan was Bobby and Carrie would fly in early in the week and spend a few days enjoying the city. I would then come in later in the week and we’d all be in Paris for one night then Bobby would fly back to the states and Beek and I would continue on our trip. Good plan.
The night Carrie and Bobby left for Paris, I got a frantic phone call – apparently while sitting in the airport in Detroit waiting for their flight Carrie began going over our itinerary in detail. Upon this deep investigation, she found I was not booked at the same hotel as the two of them for that one shared night in Paris. This was not the plan. It was not expected. I’ve explained my sister in a previous post. And needless to say, she went into red-alert near freak-out mode and began calling every travel agent on the east coast to figure out a way to fix it before her plane left the states. One of the calls she made was to me. I got the message that we were booked in separate hotels while I was eating dinner. When I did, I shrugged, hung up and continued eating my guacamole.
Like I said, we’re different.
She did what she could to fix the situation before their plane left. And, by the time they arrived in Paris, the problem had been solved.
The travel agent couldn’t get a hold of Carrie and so he made an executive decision. Upon hearing how upset Carrie was that we were in different hotels he did everything he could to get us in the same hotel for that one night. Everything. His solution? He put the three of us in a single room.
By the time I found out about this so called solution, it was too late to change it. The other reservation had been canceled. There were no other rooms available. This was how it was going to be.
Maybe you all are in a suite! My mother said when I told her the news. She tries. She really does. But I knew what it would be like. I just knew. He didn’t say “suite” mom, he said we were in a “three-person room”. I could imagine what this room would be like. Those freakin’ Frenchies. They are the inventors of various phrases that involved three people after all.
The plane ride to Paris was uneventful but I was incredibly tired when I arrived. I drug myself and my backpack through the Paris airport and customs and meandered to the bus line and got myself onto a bus that went to the Arc de Triomphe – where I would be meeting Carrie. I tried to keep my eyes open on the bus ride but was soon lulled to sleep by the overwhelming smell of 7 day old body odor – more about this later. When I awoke (came to) we were at the Arc.
How. Very. Cool.
I propped my eyes open with my fingers so I could see the arc. It was spectacular. I was trying to take in the whole thing and comment on how neat-o mosquito it all was but I kept falling asleep mid-sentence. I think it’s best if you go take a nap, Carrie suggested. Good thinking. Yes. A nap sounds ver…….<honk shew> ….er, what were you saying?
So we set off to the hotel so I could try to catch up on some shut-eye.
On the walk to the hotel room I asked Carrie how big our room was. She answered something like, I don’t know how big yours is but ours is pretty small. And that’s when I threw up in my mouth. I think I said something like, Yours IS ours. And she said something like, Whachoo talkin’ bout Willis? And that’s when I let it spill,
We’re all in the same room.
I think she said something like,
There was a lot good about the hotel. The location, for example, could NOT have been better. The hotel itself was quaint and charming and the people were quite helpful. Not helpful enough to carry me up the 1700 steps to the room but helpful nonetheless. By the time we got to the room I was in that strange half-awake state where you are functioning but snoring at the same time. Carrie opened the door for me. I drug myself and my backpack through the door into a small hallway. Later I found out this was the living room. In the middle of the hallway was a circular staircase going up to a small storage space – that was the bedroom. At the end of the hallway was a couch the size of a large potato – that was the “suite” part and the third bed.
I truly think this room would have been completely charming and comfortable for two moderately sized midgets. We, however, are not midgets and not moderately-sized.
It was a bit like putting three watermelons into a tic-tac box.
But we survived. Once, 100 years ago, the three of us lived together in an apartment the sized of a small kitchen cupboard so we know how to stay out of each others’ way.
I’ve said nothing so far about boobs. I’m getting to that.
As a treat, and as a way to get us out of the tic-tac box, Bobby took us both to the Moulin Rouge that night. It’s touristy – but just something you have to do when you are in Paris. It’s everything you’d expect – gaudy, tacky, overpriced – and worth every euro. None of us knew any French and I hadn’t yet learned the words for pork, chicken and beef so in order to place my meal order I was reduced to barnyard noises, Excuse me sir, is this <cluck cluck cluck>? or <oooiiink ooooiink>? Of course, this was done with the motions too – both hands tucked in the armpits with “wings” flapping for the cluck cluck cluck and a shoved-up nose for the oooooinnnking.
I ended up with beef.
Regardless, it was delicious – minus the salmon jello that was served for an appetizer – and soon after eating, the show began.
And oh what a show. There was dancing and singing and a cancan line and women with enormous headdresses and fabulous glittery costumes that covered some of their bodies and none of their tits. And we’ve finally come to the point of my story. As each gorgeous gal flitted and spun on stage I sat open-mouthed. One by one they came out. One by one they danced to the front of the stage. One by one they revealed smooth perfect skin and flawlessly shaped legs and the most perfect, most beautiful TOTALLY TEENY BOOBS I’ve ever seen. Small. Every one of them. I looked and looked. I closed my eyes and pictured these women with clothes on and realized by most standards they would be considered small-chested. In America, they would be considered downright flat-chested. In Vegas, they would have to drive cabs to make a living.
After the 3rd or 4th group of these ladies came on stage I turned to my sister who sat behind me. Before I could even open my mouth she shook her head and said, Not a C-cup among them!
She was right. And Bs would be hard to find too.
It took me years to learn to like my boobs. Years and years. It’s not easy growing up without them. I heard them all, all the teases, all the jokes, Hey Jenne, you’re a trucker’s dream girl … no bumps and no curves! Hey Jenne, you should marry a carpenter … because you’re flat as a board! Hey Jenne, are those boobs or spider bites?
And that was just from my own family.
Eventually, however, I learned to like my chest – love it actually. I’m ga-ga about my ta-tas. They are small, sure, but they are really nice. And they don’t get in my way – no, not at all. I can sleep on my tummy if I want, I can wear tops without bras, I can jump on a trampoline without worry. And my boobs will never… can’t EVER sag. And I think that’s like a triple D worth of cool. And in all these years I never once thought that seeing all the big-tittied women out there on tv and in magazines had an effect on me …
Until I saw the small-breasted ladies at the Moulin Rouge and thought, They are just beautiful! And I began to feel so good about myself. I began to sit up straighter and do what I could to stick MY chest out. I’m built like that! I thought to myself and I got all starry-eyed and confident. I was so proud of them … so proud of me … so proud of all of us – GO TINY TITTY TEAM!!! And that’s when it hit me … if seeing small breasted women makes me feel GOOD about myself, then all those years seeing BIG boobied women must have had an effect too.
I have a daughter. I so want her to grow up proud of herself and her accomplishments. I want her to know that what matters most is what she has on the inside. I want her to know – at a core level – that the way she thinks and the way she treats herself and others and the way she relates and gives back the world around her is some of the most significant stuff about her. I want her to grasp the deep and simple concept of Beauty is only skin deep. If you ask my mother about beauty she will tell you a story of an ugly man and potato chips. It’s a good story and has a core message that is Forrest Gump in it’s simplicity – Beauty is as beauty does. I want The Kid to get this. To understand it. To know it.
However. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want her to also be proud of the outside. I not only want her to feel good about her person, I also want her to feel good about her body. I want her to be confident when she looks in the mirror and like what she sees – regardless of what it is. Big boobs, small boobs, no boobs. Wide hips, snake hips, curvy hips. Knobby or fat knees, bulky or skinny calves, high arches or flat-feet. I want her to appreciate all of it. And for the first time I realized just how difficult that is going to be.
The images we see, every day of what is considered beautiful, or even normal is so skewed. It’s bad enough normal women don’t grace the covers of any magazines or stare back at us from the glossy pages inside. What’s worse? Even the beautiful women aren’t good enough anymore. Jezebel.com recently ran a contest to find the worst airbrushing violations out there and guess who won? Redbook – for airbrushing the be-jeezus out of Faith Hill on their July cover. FAITH HILL for goodness sake. The took away her crow-lines, removed the single ounce of back fat she had, turned her arms into twigs and gave her more hair … for starters. Because the other Faith Hill – the normal one – wasn’t good enough.
I try to tell The Kid everyday that she is amazing in some way. I tell her I like the way she spoke to the waitress or I enjoyed her company and her opinion about something or I tell her she’s the smartest kid in the world. Up until recently, I’ve avoided telling her how pretty she was or how cute her freckles are or how much I love the softness of her hair and the lankiness of her legs. I resisted because I didn’t want her to focus on those things. I didn’t want her to think that those things mattered all that much. But now I can see I need to be even more vocal than ever. I need to include the outside right along with the inside. I need to somehow try to counteract the thousand of other voices she’s going hear about her body. I need to tell her about the ugly man and the potato chips – yes but I also need to stand her in front of the mirror and point out how perfect her nose is and how cute her ears are and how pretty she is.
And then I need to book airfare to Paris and tickets to the Moulin Rouge for immediately after puberty.