On my first day of middle school, I was horrified to discover that I would actually have to take off my shirt in a locker-room full of strangers. You see, at that point in my prepubescent life, my runt-boobs didn't even need a training bra, and since it hadn't occurred to me that I might be seen topless, I hadn't purchased a bra for the occasion. So, I did what any other shy, scared, under-developed 7th grader would do: While the girls far more breast-blessed than I strutted around the locker-room in their black lace bras like something out of a twisted dream sequence in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, I grabbed my shirt and shorts and changed in the bathroom stall.
And so, for the first two weeks of school, I would scurry to the scuzzy gym bathroom and lock myself in a cramped stall before each PE class. I was sure my clandestine maneuvers had gone unnoticed, until one day, on my way into the bathroom, an 8th grade girl with big breasts and an even bigger mouth, pointed at me and said loudly, "Girl, why are you always changing in the bathroom? You got something to hide?" Um, obviously, yeah, I did have something to hide, but I wasn't about to tell her that, so I pretended I hadn't heard her and scuttled off to my stall. After class, she was waiting for me with a few of her friends.
"How come we never seen your titties?" She said, practically without a question mark. "Maybe you aren't a girl after all." Her friends slapped her a few high-fives, and cackled fiendishly.
So, after school that day, I dragged my mom to the Westside Pavilion for a little late afternoon bra shopping.
"But honey, you don't really need a bra." She said gently.
Still, she humored me. The Junior's Department at Macy's had an assortment of pastel training bras listlessly hanging from the clothing racks. Some bras were festooned with flowers, others had bows. All looked anemic and sad. The sales girl came over to help us, and after eyeballing my puny chest for a few minutes, she said "well, we better try something in extra small."
Yeah, I got the memo. I have no boobs. Thank you, Captain Obvious.
She handed me a few pathetic polka-dotted training bras that were more like undershirts minus the midsection than actual bras, and I went into the dressing room to try them on.
While I resented the pale and pathetic training bras the salesgirl gave me, I knew that if I didn't undress in the locker-room the next day, the 8th grade girls would tell everyone that I was a boy. And, if I didn't cover up my nonexistent breasts and mosquito bite-sized nipples with some sort of bra, they might actually believe their cruel little rumor.
And so, under the judgmental lights of the junior's department dressing room, I took off my shirt, and put on the only training bra that actually had the illusion of cups. (Hey, a girl can dream, right?) Anyway, my meager mammaries had room to spare in the extra small polka-dotted training bra, and I actually looked more flat chested with it on, than without. As I glared at myself in the mirror, hating my body, the brutal locker-room scene from the movie Carrie flashed before my eyes, and I felt a hard lump form in my throat. My mom poked her head in to see how I was doing, and I started sobbing. She wrapped her arms around me and held me against her chest while she rocked me like a baby. "Shhh..." she said. "Shhh...It'll be ok." She let me cry for a few minutes and then said "Let's try some place else."
So, we left Macy's with nary a training bra, and headed down the mall to Victoria's Secret. There, we found an attractive, but modest black satin number in 32 AAA which not only fit, but even gave me a hint of cleavage. And, I couldn't wait to take of my top in the locker-room the next day.
But even with my cute, black satin bra, I yearned for bigger breasts. While I certainly felt more comfortable undressing in the locker-room -- especially after I received a nod of approval from my big-breasted, big-mouthed bully, I continued to secretly covet the voluptuous figures of the confident 8th grade girls.
When I confided these feelings to my mom, she smiled and said, "You know, Pumpkin, having small breasts is actually a good thing."
"Really?" I asked, unconvinced.
"Yes, really. Because at least you know that they won't be sagging down to your vagina by the time you're 30."
Flashforward 15 years later -- past puberty, past pregnancy -- and where are my boobs? You guessed it. Yeah, Irony's a big-titted bitch. And while I cram myself into a 32 H maternity bra, (yes, that's H as in Holy Shit) I am the full-figured embodiment of the mantra, "be careful what you wish for."