Now that I work at a lingerie store, I end up frequently talking about my boobs in a professional capacity. Since I've become a full bust blogger, I talk about my boobs a lot in my personal life. However, before I started doing either one, I felt that my chest was a surprisingly regular conversation topic. I suppose having anything physically "bigger" -- big hair, big butt, big lips -- are bound to be noticed and commented on more often than the "average" version of those characteristics. For instance, I have size 7 1/2 feet and I never think about them. I have no trouble finding shoes that fit and people never launch into conversations about the size of the appendages below:
[caption id="attachment_183" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="No trouble finding shoes, no trouble at all..."][/caption]
But boobs? Breasts are on everyone's mind. If they're large, it can seem like everyone has an opinion. I've heard friends crack jokes about my boobs. I've received nicknames about my chest at a job (casual sexual harassment + minimum wage = me, quitting). I've been the victim of unsolicited "advice" on my shape. Before I wore the proper fit, it seemed like everyone was telling me how easy, inexpensive, and painless it is to get a breast reduction. Now when I tell people my size, they say, "Really?! You don't look it!". I try to take this as a compliment since I hope that is how it's intended. But then again, it begs the question, what were they expecting?
After having hundreds of unsought conversations about my upper half, I'm better equipped to the rude/well-intentioned/jealous/observant/socially awkward folks out there who want to discuss my ta-tas. I've also learned a few things along the way:
1. Speak up for yourself: If you want to talk about your body, do it. I sure do! Ask my boyfriend, he's probably pretty sick of hearing about my lady lumps. I try to use a tone and a vocabulary to match my audience, but generally I've found that if you're comfortable in your skin, people can't help but pick up on that.
If you don't want to have a conversation about your boobs or any other part of your body, don't. I believe it's all about defining your boundaries. Like when I had to remind my (former) boss that when he "jokingly" mentioned a nickname that referenced my breasts, it's sexual harassment and I could sue him. Which was 1. true and 2. fun. Seriously, it feels great to stand up for yourself. If you're firm, honest, and direct, people will take notice. It seems counter-intuitive to have a conversation about not having a conversation, but smack-downs are part of life. Unless you're a hermit.
Occasionally, the situation is not that extreme. My grandmother would never fail to raise her eyebrows when she saw me in an "immodest" top or dress. I've had people make passing comments on my breasts or blatantly stare. In those situations, I ignore it. I stare too -- at babies, road kill, and clothes I can't afford! If it's a small transgression against my boob-boundaries, I can usually rise above it.
2. Don't be afraid to like what you like. Right now, I like it all! I love to have my boobs hanging out, Erin Brockovich-style, but I also love turtlenecks. Yeah, that's right, I'm one of those bad asses who wears turtlenecks even though I have tits. I also like the word "tits". I think it's a hilarious word and I want to take it away from all the gross dudes who use it.
[caption id="attachment_184" align="alignleft" width="129" caption="This looks as good as..."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_187" align="alignleft" width="122" caption="THIS!"][/caption]
Whatever vibe you're rocking, I'm sure you're doing a fantastic job because it's all yours. If the stand you're taking is not your own, that's when you've got some thinking to do. There are no rules against wearing your Hooters tank to the library. Nor are there any codes that require cleavage at the club. I know I've experimented a lot. In college, I wore a lot of bulky, shapeless sweaters. I felt warm, cuddly, and comfortable most of the time, but every once in awhile I felt like a nun. Recently, I've revealed more and felt super-sexy-here-comes-Joan-Holloway!...but then other days, I've felt naked.
What do you think? Do you wear your cleavage proudly or do you feel more comfortable covered?
Do people talk to you about your chest? Do strangers/friends/family comment on your size? How do you maintain respectful and appropriate conversations?