Sex Edition: Boys, bras and boobs — five stories under the collarbone

It was no secret that Bobby had a crush on me in the fourth grade… By Amy Friedenberger

It was no secret that Bobby had a crush on me in the fourth grade. I knew it, everyone knew it, and I can’t say I was opposed to the novel male attention.

The innocent crush didn’t last long. A group of girls, being typical females even in the fourth grade, confronted me during a bathroom break one day, and mid-hand-wash I was told, “You know, he only likes you because of your boobs.”

I was horrified.

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For many girls, starting to develop breasts is a sign of becoming a woman. But for those who mature early, it can be a source of trauma with long-term effects.

That first fourth-grade revelation was the beginning of many unwanted boob-related situations.

In my junior high art class, I simply leaned against a table, and was greeted with a surprised “Whoa!” from the guy across from me. Confused, I looked down and saw that I was giving him a generous look at my cleavage.

High school was no different. I played soccer throughout, and always considered myself to be like the other girls, never thinking that I had large breasts — until our team sat down to some game films. I was appalled by how large they looked on the screen, moving up and down as I ran.

The next day at practice, everyone was talking about how their breasts shrunk when they worked out. No matter how many bench press reps I did or how hard I exercised, my boobs never diminished in size.

“Your boobs are huge,” one of my teammates said to me. I started wearing three bras every time I played.

By my senior year of high school, I was up to a D cup. After going to my friend’s house for a cookout, I was later told that after I met the girl’s uncle, he’d jokingly commented, “Your friend is pretty big up there.”

Breasts, as a concept, are not only considered sexy, but are seen as a comedic element to a woman’s appearance, only adding to overall self-consciousness. In 1986, Playboy published a list of 300 synonyms for breasts. They ranged from the more common “bazookas,” “bosoms” and “knockers,” to the not-so-common “zingers” and “angel cakes.”

Now here I am — a double-D cup. I’m not going to be one of those women who shouts, “Woe is me! My large breasts are a burden. I wish I didn’t have them.” I wouldn’t trade them for a B cup just so I could sleep on my stomach or eliminate the back pain.

But they make me incredibly conscious about how they look to others and how I’m perceived because of my chest.

I notice when men start off looking me in the eye and then do quick eye drop to glance at my breasts.

I try not to wear low-cut tops, and even button-down shirts are a challenge because the buttons are tight at the middle. When I go to job interviews, I always yank my top up; I don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to use my chest as an advantage.

Having to constantly worry about how my breasts look is certainly a burden. Yet what it comes down to is whether I continue to allow my breasts to control me or just stop caring and learn to love them.

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By Adelia Mohan

The educational diagrams of happily postpubescent girls were no preparation for what actually happened during a girl’s first period. Graphic details aside, starting my period in a third-world country at the age of 11 wasn’t exactly how I envisioned my entrance into lady land. Unfortunately, I did as any other girl would: I cried, I yelled at my mother, I took evening angst walks alone.

When the estrogen attack subsided, I realized a perk of the big P. The esoteric, wonderful emergence of boobs was going to surface from the inner depths of my immortal being.

Simply put: Lady boobs! I was going to be a real girl!

Of course, the land of lady parts didn’t turn out to be sunshine and happiness and B cups. Instead, I resembled a brown Marilyn Manson — long, dark hair and an entirely masculine chest.

Like Manson, I too longed to be a real girl. I spent unrecoverable moments between the ages of 11 and 17 searching my chest for any type of growth. After a severe bout of scrutiny, I almost convinced myself I had breast cancer. Then I realized that if puberty couldn’t locate my boobs, cancer would hardly have better luck.

Yet, as in every underdog story, things could continue this way for only so long. There I was, floundering in the lull of summer before college. I had no plans, no job, no money, just ever-comforting reruns of “The O.C.” and the company of Susan, the poodle.

It took one insignificant laundry day to change everything.

I was transferring clothes to the dryer and discussing with Susan why she shouldn’t have such a judgmental face when an unusual amount of change fell to the tiled floor. Flabbergasted, I counted out nearly $1.50 — the first substantial amount of money in my possession since I spent my net worth on a pair of Ray-Bans.

Since saving money is a concept to be learned in your early thirties, Susan and I headed to the only place $2 was worth anything: Taco Bell.

Little did I know, Taco Bell would be my Mexican miracle worker. A month into our grotesque routine of treasure-hunting for burrito quarters, I noticed a change in my chest, an uncomfortable garroting by my bra, something that resembled cleavage.

My boobs were growing.

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By Natalie Bell

I’ve never particularly liked turtlenecks.

What a sweater is to a hug, a turtleneck is to a strangle.

And as someone who’s well-endowed, I’ve tried really hard to avoid ever deciding that I needed to be dressed like a ’90s substitute teacher just so people don’t stare.

Because I made that decision, I thought that I deserved the cracks.

Look, pet names like “Honey” and “Love” are adorable. But no matter how sweetly you say it, “Jugs,” “you and the twins” and “Thunder Tits” will never, ever sound affectionate.

Yes, they may be funny, and if you’re a friend of mine and we have a good mocking rapport, I might not have the desire to hit you. But if I’ve just met you, keep your mouth shut.

So we’re all clear, there’s no graph that demonstrates that the amount something protrudes outward is proportional to how much you can openly and awkwardly talk about it. I’m talking to you handsy stranger at the bar, friend of a friend who suggests we play strip beer pong and starts with bras.

I’m not ashamed of my rack, but I don’t want a side of degradation with my small talk for it.

And because it would have never occurred to me to play tit for tat in public, I’ll share the story that helped me explain why I don’t think I need to have a sense of humor about it when you try to grope me in public.

One night in Sorrento’s a girl stood on a chair and started cheering. A strange guy walked up to her and said, “Show us your tits.”

She didn’t get offended, she didn’t tell him he was an asshole.

She just said, “You want to see my tits? You show me your dick first.”

The guy called her a b*tch and slinked away while everyone laughed at him.

And that’s when it hit me: I like myself, and I like my breasts, but don’t ask to see mine if you’re not going to ante up and show yours.

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By Anna Weldon

In fifth grade, I was the first girl in my class to wear a bra.

My measly 32AA training bra held up the “breasts” I’d developed earlier than the rest of my classmates. For an 11-year-old, I was well-endowed — a physical trait that did not follow me past my middle school years.

Wearing a bra was more of a nuisance than a blessing. The almost-adolescent male population of my class took particular notice of the fifth grade girls’ physical differences. They thought the horrendous process of puberty was utterly amusing until their voices started to crack.

As the only girl in my class with a bra, I became an easy target. Every boy wanted to know what it looked like, how it felt and what was underneath the thin material.

They wanted answers. So one braved the unknown frontier and elected himself to answer these questions: He was going to snap my bra strap.

I went to take a drink from the water fountain and, as my friends and I chatted, the fifth grade bully approached from behind me, inching closer to my back with every step.

As I bent down to sip some water from the fountain, I felt a strange hand on my back. He took my innocent water break as the opportune moment to find the answers to his questions. He grabbed my right bra strap and flicked it against my skin, causing a shot of pain to course through my shoulder.

Even as an 11-year-old I knew something was wrong about his actions. Because I had the only signs of development coming out of my chest, I became the target of his joke. There was only one solution to my problem.

I turned around and punched Justin in the face.

He walked away from my reaction unscathed, but no other boy in the class attempted to touch my 32AA bra.

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By Larissa Gula

During my final semester at Pitt, I’ve begun experiencing something absolutely wonderful: confidence. I look in the mirror and I see a young woman who’s proud of her majors, pleased with her accomplishments so far in life and even happy with her body.

Unfortunately, when I was younger, I did not like the way I looked. Even more unfortunately, I hit puberty earlier than a lot of my female classmates. So when my chest started growing, I apparently began hunching over in an attempt to hide my changing body from my peers. I say “apparently” because no one mentioned my bad habit to me, so I didn’t initially notice it.

Not long after entering high school, years of bad posture and trying to hide my chest caught up with me. My back went out. I was 14, and at the time, it was mortifying. I was the youngest person at the chiropractor’s office, and I went through months of rehabilitation to fix my back and posture.

Even though this is a fairly unusual story, it’s a story about a common problem: my failure to accept my body. Self-confidence issues related to our bodies are a big issue. They’re a universal anxiety.

While we primarily think of body-image issues being related to weight and obesity, for women, the size of our breasts is a big deal. Our breasts strongly tie into our self-image, and our self-perception is often overridden by the fear of how others will perceive us based on how we look. My lack of confidence regarding my girls started at a very young age, and it could easily still be a problem today.

Fortunately, now, at the end of my undergraduate career, I’ve come to a radical conclusion: my body — and my breasts — are perfect the way they are. Denying that from a young age only hurt my health — physically and, in many ways, emotionally.