By Nikki Reklitis
When I was 9, my mom told me it was time to get a bra. I looked down and asked her why. She told me that it would look better, people wouldn't stare. What do you mean stare? I thought about our recess boys-and-girls-still-play-together soccer games, June school trips to La Grande Splashe, and my Superwoman Halloween costume and assured myself that some stupid little wire, a couple of straps, some elastic, and a bit o' bounce wasn't gonna change any of that.
I didn't start with a training bra, un-uh, B cup, bang, right away. I mean it, I was amply proportioned long before I knew what to do about it. I made as much light as I could out of my heavy lovelies and still the oohs and the aahs they came, and the eyes were all around. I wore big sweatshirts and coats that were two sizes too big and I carried whatever I could in front of me. I crouched a lot and forget about swim day on Wednesdays at the community centre: "Sorry sir, I'm feeling a bit dizzy, could I stay and dust your trophies instead?"
My girlfriends would swoon and insist that they would do anything for that awesome, mysterious elastic I had strapped across my chest. Didn't I feel like a woman? I told them they didn't know what the fuck they were talking about. Now, the boys, well it was even harder than usual for them to put sentences together and they looked a bit redder in the face during badminton practice.
My Greek Orthodox up-bringing didn't leave a lot of room for unabashed pride in my blossoming booty. It's not that they were a bad thing, or an anomaly even (I mean, we're talking about a community of cups overflowing with lovely, full, Greek-woman genes); it was just really important that they didn't show up anywhere, like in eye-shot of boys, uncles, and priests. Turtle necks were good, as long as they weren't the tight kind.
I stepped unprepared, confused, into the brave new world of dressing for church. I had to accompany my mother into cramped dressing rooms all of a sudden. I mean, what the fuck was the big deal? What was a little button-down on Sunday going to do? Weren't they supposed to be looking in front of them anyway? The Byzantine icons were all of a sudden looking at me with worry in their eyes? turning away in disgust? I mean what did my body do to deserve this new hassle?
So, yes, I was fed up. My temper was rising, my bosom heaving, and the straps just kept getting tighter and tighter. My clasp of patience was hanging on for dear life, all three of its hooks on the verge of release, ready to wildly unleash my darling developments in all directions. The ultimate test: my brother was getting married and I was in the wedding party. You know, wedding party-bridesmaid dresses-bridesmaid dresses-annoying. Especially when your boobs are bigger than your grandmother's.
It's not like I could have said no though. What? "Sorry I can't be a part of your day, my breasts are too large"...or, "I'm afraid of loosing sight of my feet and falling down the aisle"...or , "They don't make off-the-shoulder taffeta in my size". So, I took a deep breath, squared my shoulders, raised my chin, straightened my spine, and walked on through the bashfulness and trepidation (all borrowed by the way, never mine originally).
The big day was on its way and I was going to be a part of it, naughty looking bosom and all. I survived fittings with skinny a-cup bridesmaids and got me a pair of solid shoes. But alas, at the final fitting, on the afternoon before the ceremony, in the mirror in front of me, from inside the lime green shine of my dress, emerged my mother's worst nightmares. Two of them. In the flesh.
"You can't wear that", she said, without blinking.
"Ma, the wedding's tomorrow."
"I don't care, you can't wear that, what are they going to say?"
With help from my aunt's bold rantings and some creative stuffing I managed to make myself presentable. I made it to the church and even down the aisle. The air was hot and so were my pantyhose. To my mother's surprise, a guest had yet to keel over at the sight of my cleavage. The priest sang, the organ played and the weight was off of my tired back. Until Shitface crossed my sorry path.
Now, let's establish this: Shitface was a 16 year old tough guy who thought that a car as red and as tacky as his brother's was making serious contributions to the development of his completely absent sex appeal. Yes, imagine gooey hair, a suit that was too big, and a mouth that I wanted to stuff shut with sweaty sound-proof polyester. I'd known him since he was a child and I wished he'd stayed that way.
I was making my way out of the clouds of incense, to the wonderfully open front doors of the church, and down the crowded steps when he saw me. He was holding on to his silver-buckled belt with one hand and smoking a cigarette that was longer than his pinky. I thought I was having a good day. And then he said: "hey-snort-snort-you gotta piece of rice in between your tits-snort-snort". His geekiness took my breath away...and then it came back.
I looked down for a moment and slowly shifted my gaze 'till it landed in between his legs: "hey that's neat, you've got a grain too", I smiled, "in your pants ..." Puzzled, he dusted his groin area, I waited two seconds and shaking my head, overcome with sudden insight, I said: "oh I'm sorry, that must be your dick". Girlfriends, I swear, his face was as rosy as my mother's garden. Pleased, I took a deep breath, looked down at my chest, walked down those steps, and I couldn't have been more proud, rice and all.
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