Boobs: A Rite of Passage


It was a rite of passage for every Jewish girl growing up in Baltimore to get your first bra at “We Fit”, which incidentally, is now a bike shop. You’ll have to imagine yourself in a John Water’s movie (such as Hairspray), to really have a good understanding for what it was like being dragged into a BRA shop, on the main road, in plain view of everyone. Once inside, you were greeted by an employee wearing least two pair of ½ glasses, one of which was in use while the other dangled on a decorative lanyard. After your mother engaged in very loud, humiliating small talk using ear-burning words such as: first bra, perky, men-STRU-ation, and correct fitting, you were led back to the ‘dressing room’ area  that was comprised of small cubicles missing the desperately needed privacy curtain. Walking to your cubby, you enjoyed a full-view naked (from the waist up) of women, trying on bras and carrying on full conversations across dressing rooms. My goal was two-fold:

  1. Keep my eyes at the floor for fear of staring my future directly in the downward-pointing boobs and
  2. Get furthest from the dressing room entrance

And now you’ll have to take a journey back in time… just go with me on this one…

Remember back to a time when you were just becoming a ‘woman’; for some it might have been as early as 10-years old, while for others it was closer to the teenage years. You were self- conscious about everything from your too straight/ too curly/ too short/ too long hair to your too big/ too small/ too flat/ too round butt. The very last thing you wanted was for a stranger, or really anyone for that matter, to see your too big/ too small/ too fat/ too skinny naked torso.

The first step according to the ladies at We Fit, is to get the perfect fitting bra. After about the first minute, you’ll get the general idea for what felt like an eternity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhQEE_UcFn4  (You’ll have to click the link as embedding a video is only for WordPress paying customers).

inside a bra shopYou’ve endured the humiliation of being in full view and felt up by a 70-year old “We Fit” employee, but at least you will now get your very first bra.You’ve thought about this moment for a while now: lacy, pink, sassy, and making your too big/ too small boobs to look bright eyed and bushy-tailed. Using the bra-fitting measurements, your options are brought back to you by the feeler-upper. You’ll not find a stitch of lace, a hint of pink, or a ounce of sass anywhere in the lot.

I was a late bloomer, but boy-oh-boy did I bloom! My 15-year old peers were sporting Farrah Fawcet hair, Jordache jeans, and perky boobs showcased in matching bra and panties from Victoria’s secret. While I got to enjoy unruly curly hair without the benefit of modern anti-friz products, k-mart jeans, and a selection of 36DD bras, which came in coffee, flesh, and salmon color options, with triple hooks in the back and reinforced shoulder straps.

Flash forward to today, Thanksgiving 2014.

Until my surgery heals, I’ve been given a ‘boob’ to replace Lefty, with the idea of taking out the cotton filling until it matches Righty. Standing in front of the mirror wearing my tank-top with a shelf-bra, I remove a little cotton, look in the mirror for a match, remove a little more cotton, and rinse and repeat. Below is the cotton pile removed for my final match-up:

20141126_085621You are probably asking yourself the same question I asked myself: What happened? Where did they go? As the years passed, so did my boobs.  The boob-casing, without the benefit of any cotton, ended up being a final perfect match to Righty. Let’s look at the glass as 1/2 full: just think of all the art projects that require a boob-full of cotton stuffing…. the options are endless!


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