Here’s a story I just need to get off my chest.
Last month I went to Vegas. Had a blast, didn’t end up drunk, in jail, or naked on top of Caesar’s Palace. My good friend H did get stopped in the security line by TSA. She was adamant that they’ve never checked her for liquids before, so that day would be no different. But there’s a rule: NO LIQUIDS/GELS BIGGER than 3oz per bottle. That means that a 6oz and 8oz bottle are NOT gonna make it through. And they didn’t. No big deal though, security didn’t make a spectacle or anything. Just tossed them out and we were on our way to the N Gate.
Fast forward 5 days, another airport adventure, dragging our Sin-City worn out selves back to Sea-Tac. Our bags were strategically packed and considerably more full than on the way there (in fact we have established that next year we will bring an empty suitcase just for the all the sweet loot we snag at the conference). Inventory was done; Liquids in the check-on baggage? Check. Ziploc bags holding liquids and gels at 3oz or less in size? Check. No firearms or weapons? One carry on and one personal item such as a laptop or purse? Check, check, check.
But no one accounted for the boobs.
“Ma’am, we’re going to have to check your bags.” Oh crap, I thought. I better not have to throw out my new RE9 skincare! I will NOT give it up! Or my spa set? Hell no! I know I put it in my checked luggage!
“Ok, no problem.” I calmly replied, although my heart had sped up a little and my palms were starting to sweat. Authority in uniform can still make me nervous, even though the last time I was 15 the last time I was in any trouble with the police.
Security man used a little white swab and wiped the inside of my bag. Michelle whispered “He’s checking for bomb powder!”. My next thought was that they must have Xray’d my Genius Ultra device, which is an ultrasound device for skincare, but looks a little like…uh um, a device of an adult nature. And I had two of them in there.
“Ma’am, is there only one of these in here?” Peeking over to see what he was referring to, I racked my brain to think what could be inside.
He hesitated, blushed a bit, and then pulled it out. “This.”
oh. my god. kill me now.
He was holding up my boob.
Alright alright….not my REAL boob. An insert…a “chicken cutlet”, gel style, peel ‘n stick fake breast. No joke, you can buy them on Amazon under the name “chicken cutlet.”
A few years ago I might have died of embarrassment. Although not always a picture of confidence, I’ve spent hours in therapy and pouring over personal development books to improve my self-, uptight behavior. So I didn’t totally faint from humiliation.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I still stuff my bra!
Ok, maybe a little ashamed.
What is it with us and breast size anyway? Do all countries feel this way? Is bigger really better? Humans are inherently attracted to a physical stature that implies fertility, longevity and health. Men especially, but even women, talk about, look at and think about breast size all the time. Comparing, admiring, judging, worrying.
We spend millions of dollars a year to fix, change, support, pierce, increase, decrease, and otherwise augment our breasts in limitless ways.
In my job as a nurse, I see naked bodies and breasts of all shapes and sizes almost daily. Functional and for feeding, petite and tomboyish, or plastic, proud and perky – maybe even inside an 89 year old body. Over time, nudity has lost it’s allure. No longer taboo or forbidden, the human body and all it’s personal areas are part of my routine shift assessment and therefore I’m just not as captivated by the naked form. That doesn’t mean I’m not susceptible to societal norms and the concern that I don’t measure up, so to speak.
My obsession with my diminutive decolletage began around age 8, when I started stuffing my bra with toilet paper, socks, and even made my own “cutlets” out of play-dough. An impressionable young lady, I had a sense that bigger breasts were coveted, were “normal” although I couldn’t tell you where I learned it or exactly what it meant to men.
For sure I thought I would develop into a fabulous full C by middle school. Everyone else did, why not me? But I’m a grown – ass woman now, and barely matured into a basic “B”.
Perhaps this criticism was self-imposed, but I wasn’t the only one that noticed I didn’t fill out my shirt. In my early 20’s I worked as a patient care tech and a certain ornery old patient fondly nicknamed me “Midget”. Now, I’m not short, and I’m certainly not petite in any form. But he looked at my chest and laughed to himself as he chose the name.
So began the grown up phase of stuffing my bra – the cutlet.
No guy has ever complained; not to my face anyway. But the evidence of what is preferred is plastered all over the media, therefore everywhere we look. Often it’s not what’s said about small breasts, or lack of cleavage. Instead it’s the incessant support and celebration of big breasts that causes us modest – chested women to feel so inferior. I can’t tell you how many hours I have wasted worrying and self-shaming, or researching exercises, creams or miracles that might “fix” this “problem” on my body.
Happily, self-love, vulnerability and anti-shame have become running themes in my life the last couple years. The older I get the more comfortable I am with my body, including the two lumps of “fatty tissue on the anterior aspect of my body that overlie my pectoral muscles.” I’ve concluded that implants are not for me, although for most of my life I thought for sure I would eventually have that surgery.
Since I’m being honest here, I’m going to admit that I haven’t risen above researching other options. Autologous fat transfer…relocating adipose tissue from one area to another…now that could be something worth considering!
Until that surgery becomes risk free, I’ve resorted to stuffing when necessary. Like for my party dress in Vegas…Which looked great from certain angles…and absolutely ridiculous in others. See example here.
I’m also not immune to new devices and equipment advertised to enhance, push up, perk up and otherwise completely falsely advertise what I’m actually carrying. In a weak moment I succumbed to the bullsh&#*@ …for 8.99 and 20 days of waiting I received a self-adhesive, silicone ,gel, strapless, push-up ,backless, stick-on bra. There’s a corset in the middle and a string which you pull down like a cord on a lamp. Just pull it down and WaLa! Big boobs, comely cleavage, and perfect perk. Of course it worked like a charm right? Just like the girls in the video.
Who am I fooling anyway? That thing went straight into the garbage.
Fortunately there are companies that are jumping on board and realizing that all women love to look pretty in a bra or swimsuit. Title 9 has an excellent line for a wide range of sizes, and the lingerie/bathing suit company Adore Me is running an ad right now featuring a model that is completely “flat” (as well as a plus-size model with an incredible set of breasts). It used to be only runway models who could get away with the breast-less look. My dream is that “chicken cutlets” will become obsolete; that women will continue to empower each other and demand a world that doesn’t tolerate body -shaming . A world that celebrates ALL females.
Let’s wrap this up and travel back to the Vegas story …. A few nights prior to the airport….
There are a lot of breasts hanging out in Sin City. Many augmented, most all of them impressive. One night we walked by 3 ladies covered in body paint…no clothes, only paint. One brightly colored beauty, who could barely be a B, was proudly displaying star covered nipples with the best of them. Damn, I thought. Now that’s some confidence.
We returned to the hotel and I stuffed the cutlets somewhere else…back into my luggage. Never to be thought of again.
Until TSA, of course, who mistook my “boobs” for a bomb threat.
“Ma’am, is there only one of these in here?”
Once I realized what he was referring to, I laughed a bit. “No of course not! There better be two!”
His partner confirmed that there was no explosive residue and I wasn’t planning to detonate a bomb in Mccarran International. Mr. TSA respectfully tucked the flesh colored gel back in my bag. “Have a good day Ma’am.”
I puffed my chest out proudly and made my way to flight 619.
Love yourselves, friends. Love your bodies. There’s only one beautiful you that you carry around in a human body, with parts and pieces that happen to come in a variety of sizes. Walk with your chest out and your head held high.
Cheers & Gratitude,
Tiffany (aka Midget)