At 13 I was at a distinct disadvantage. While all the girls in my class were blossoming and blooming into womanhood, I remained, physically speaking, a child: no pretty, lacy double A bras for me, no embarrassing trips to the Woolies lingerie section, no humiliating teasing in the playground, no, none of that for me. And I was heartbroken. At 13 my flat-chested fate seemed sealed.
On tearfully discussing the issue with my dad (who in retrospect was probably thanking the Lord above), it was suggested that I ask for a solution to my diminutive problem in my bedtime prayers. I don’t come from a particularly religious or spiritual family, but at such a tender young age, it seemed like an okay idea. So, pray I did. And, as my dad now cynically points out, be careful what you wish for.
I shall skip a number of years now. Years filled with embarrassing trips to Woolies - until Woolies could no longer help. Years filled with playground teasing and then more intelligent varsity refectory teasing and years filled with lacy C-cups and then D-cups and then DD-cups and E-cups and finally not-so-lacy G-cup bras.
You see, strangely enough, with all the stuff that God has to deal with - war and famine and global warming - he decided to listen to me. Now, this certainly doesn’t make me special (although some people do most definitely consider a size 34 G-cup special) because in all honesty, he’s never listened since. But, when I asked for big breasts at the age of 13, he listened and gave in abundance.
Oh, I can hear all you B-cups now. “Ungrateful girl,” you’re all saying. “What we wouldn’t give to have just a little of what you have.” Yeah right, until you have them. Look, I am not complaining, not really complaining. There are advantages and benefits. I’d be lying if I were to say there weren’t.
And, because my assets are somewhat larger than life, they have shaped who I am in many ways - the way I move and dress, even the way I respond to people - and if I am to be entirely sincere, I‘d be pretty lost without them. But they are something of a double-edged sword.
Let me elaborate with four exceptionally good reasons as to why you should never look upon a fuller-figured women with envy.
The purchase of the lacy bra
Say the word ‘beige’. Roll it around on your tongue. Beige. It is as is sounds -boring, unappealing, flat - okay, not a good choice of words under the circumstances, but you get my drift.
Now that, ladies, is what South African well-endowed women are forced to wear. Listen to me… forced. I don’t use that word lightly. Why, you ask? After all, aren’t the stores brimming with sexy, lacy bras of all colours? Sure, if you are a 34 C. So, in a country where a large number of the female population is rather heavy chested, there is not a single South African bra manufacturer that caters to this particular need. (Platex, are you listening?) Beige. Say it with me now, out loud. Beige!
The unnecessary bounce in the game
Please don’t invite me to play tennis or squash or table tennis or badminton or beach volleyball… especially, please God, not beach volleyball. Come on, let’s be honest, how many successful sportswomen do you know whose jaunty orbs out-bounce the actual squash ball? Not any, if I were to hazard a guess. Sure, you get sports bras, and they’re very effective if you’re a petite 34 C, even a well rounded 34 DD, but once you’re beyond that, it really is hard to, well, keep a good thing down.
The designer dress debacle
You have squeezed and wiggled, tugged and pulled to a point of near seam tearing. You’re hot. You’re sweaty. You’re frustrated. And deep down inside that niggly voice keeps saying, “Fat. Fat. Fat.” But you see, we’re not. The dresses fit almost perfectly everywhere, just not there… and in a woman’s mind, where it doesn’t fit doesn’t matter. The point is, it doesn’t fit.
So, it’s goodbye to those off-the-shelf designer dresses, goodbye to beautiful pleating in cream satin and to handcrafted neckline beading, goodbye and farewell. No, don’t turn back, it’s too upsetting.
The stare and glare
These are basically two sides of the same coin. The husband stares with lascivious intent; the wife glares with intent to murder. Each is equally unpleasant. Worse still is the full family gawk. Now this can happen anywhere, although favourite gathering spots for this particular breed are the beach and a very prestigious shopping centre in Jozi. Like meerkats, they all stand to attention at once, heads turning in unison aaaand… GAWK. Occasionally, one of the less subtle, younger members of the mob may even point.
What’s lovelier still is that you are actually blamed for their inability to control themselves: just imagine my surprise one day at being called to HR to be told I was being removed from an account because my ‘appearance’ in meetings made the client (a grown-ass man in his 40s) uncomfortable. Clearly my level of comfort was not a consideration. After all, I’m the busty one. So it had to be my fault.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some benefits too. I almost always get served first at a bar and generally manage to get through a roadblock with just a smile and wiggle. They have got me through the doors of exclusive nightclubs, and I am very seldom forgotten.
Do these pros weigh up against the cons? No, probably not. Would things be a little easier if I were a little more average? Yes, probably. Am I going to do something about it? I don’t know, but when I think of how happy my 13-year-old self would be if she could see me now, probably not.
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