When it comes to breasts, the curse of greener grass on the other side of the bridge seems to afflict us all.
Big breasts, small breasts, pointy breasts, pear-shaped breasts, sloping breasts, rounded breasts, perky breasts – no matter what you have, somehow you always want exactly what you don’t.
But at much as we all know that it’s what’s on the inside that counts (blood, bones, organs – you know, the important stuff!) – it can be damn hard not to get hung up about the parts of your body that you don’t like.
Jennifer Miller recently wrote a piece for Allure magazine about having her small-breasted confidence shattered while shopping for a wedding dress:
My mother had spotted [the] dress within weeks of my engagement and forwarded me a video of the model gliding down the runway, the fabric floating lightly around her body. It was love at first sight, not to mention something of a wedding miracle; I must have been six the last time I’d felt this enthusiastic about one of my mother’s fashion suggestions.
[I was at] fitting number three… and I’d been very specific from the start about wanting the dress to fit my body and hug my curves-such as they are. “But that will ruin the integrity of the dress,” said the appalled saleswoman, as though the integrity of my body were utterly irrelevant… She threw her hands up, half in jest and half in exasperation. “Don’t you want to look good for your husband?” asked another saleswoman.
“My husband knows what I look like under this dress,” I replied. “What is he going to think when I come down the aisle with breasts he’s never seen before?” I said this with a smile, but the truth was that I hadn’t felt so awkward about my A cups since junior high.
Hollywood has shown us time and time again that high school isn’t much fun when you’re a girl hitting puberty ahead of the rest. But it can be equally as tough, when you’re at the tail end of the development spectrum:
Soon enough, the world would teach me to see the (bra) cup as half empty rather than half full. By 14, I fumed with jealousy over my camp friends’ underwire bikinis and scowled at the supposed mortification of Molly Ringwald’s character in Sixteen Candles, when her grandmother exclaims to her grandfather, “Fred! She’s gotten her boobies!” I wanted to know when my grandmother was going to embarrass me like that.
It seemed perfectly clear to me that this lack of boobage (as it was known in junior-high parlance) put me at a serious disadvantage when it came to the opposite sex. I was sitting in the hallway at school one particular day I’ll never forget when a boy walked by and said to his friend, “Jen will be pretty-once she fills out.” His comment confirmed my fear that I would never have a boyfriend without the right breasts…
We all have those moments in life where you KNOW you should just repeat the ‘sticks and stones’ mantra but you simply cannot get hurtful comments out of your head. It’s hard to estimate how much of a better place the world would be if there were no asshole sales assistants or cruel teenage boys – but we’ll put money on it being at least a 10-per-cent improvement.
Rachael Finch married Michael Miziner
[When] I showed up to my for-real-this-time final fitting. The seamstress helped me into the gown and zipped it up; I looked at myself in the mirror. At long last, the bust fit my body, and the dress could be considered ready for my big walk down the aisle. But I still left the boutique that day feeling deflated. I’d always imagined that shopping for a wedding dress would be a magical experience… Instead, I felt like stuffing the dress in the nearest trash can and starting over from scratch.
I stood on the sidewalk outside the bridal boutique and looked up at the mannequins draped in lovely, opulent gowns. They all fit the mannequins perfectly, but the dresses themselves were artless on the stiff, plastic women. I’d grown up believing that my wedding dress would not just be perfect itself, but would also somehow make me perfect, if only for one night.
It was a lesson I’d learned again and again growing up with a small bust: The size of my chest mattered far less than the amount of pride I put behind it. Apparently I needed to learn it one last time. And guess what? When the day came and I was walking down the aisle, I wasn’t thinking about my dress or my breasts. I felt beautiful for the simple fact that I was about to marry the man I loved-and who loved me.
Do you sympathise with what Jennifer went through? Did you have someone talk about how you looked at school and carry the criticism with you into adulthood? Have you ever encountered a judgmental sales assistant? How did you deal with it?