It’s nearly the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Every other month, a friend pointed out to me, is plain, old breast awareness month. For him, anyway. And that he’s guilty of general breast awareness during breast cancer month, too.
Of course, my inner sci-fi nerd wants desperately to veer into a piece about breast awareness, a thoughtful, fact-supported discussion of precisely when and how one’s breasts would become sentient. (From birth? At puberty? The force is strong with this one.) But I’ll fight the impulse and cut right to the chase:
What if your boobs weren’t merely aware, but could talk?
Well, for starters, men probably wouldn’t like them as much, but beyond that, what would they say? Would they give advice or tell stories? Would they remember growing from nothingness into mosquito bites and from there into womanhood? Or the first training bra you and your mom went shopping for? Could they recall the gentle — or perhaps grabby-clumsy — caress of your first petting session? Like wet nurses of eras past, would they spin stories for the grown children they fed with a maternal sensibility all their own? Would they be able to warn you, well in advance of any manual or medical method of detection, that they were getting sick?
Would I be able to hear other breasts, or just my own?
I imagine flipping through the pages of the Victoria’s Secret catalog, ogling the merchandise. I pause, considering some lacy, new zero-gravity marvel of modern engineering and the boobies undo all of their pretty mama’s hard work, dropping the truth like it’s hot.
“Dude, we’re 17. And taped. And Photoshopped.” Inexplicably, this reedy Brazilian’s perky rack, likely just a month or two from being wined, dined and 69ed by Leonardo DiCaprio, is voiced by Owen Wilson at maximum surf guru. “Pull up a chair, have a drink and love what ya got, Sister. Be your own Gaia.”
But really, what would they say?
I asked around.
“Mine would probably tell me not to wish they were bigger because they are small and pretty. They’d remind me that I like going braless in the summer. They’d remind me — when I spot a big, round pair on the beach and get a little jealous — of how much I love wearing low-back dresses with no bra. And they’d remind me that even though it’s embarrassing when my nipples get hard under the silk, the stares sort of turn me on.” — Sumiko, 30, graphic designer
“I have A’s. They might have been B’s when I was pregnant. Barely. I think mine would talk like Maurice Chevalier in ‘Gigi.’ They’d sing ‘Thank Heaven for Little Girls.’” — Sylvia, 75, retired kindergarten teacher
“Don’t be embarrassed. Tell him to bite.” — Evelyn, 33, psychologist
“Go kiss our son and know you did the right thing.” — Donna, 39, stay-at-home-mom, breast cancer survivor “with sexy-ass fake ones”
“Mine would enter wet T-shirt contests and press themselves up against sliding-glass doors and get me backstage at rock shows. They’re sexy and skanky and they hate me because I cover them up all the time. I think my boobs are sluts. They think I’m the Taliban.” — Camille, 35, advertising executive
“Christ, we didn’t mean to steal so much attention from your face.” — Amy, 41, writer (had breast reduction surgery at 22)
“Growing old gracefully is for cowards. We want a bikini.” — Christine, 48, veterinary technician and burgeoning yoga instructor
“If you had any balls, you’d let us make you some money.” — Emma, 20, student, waitress and part-time nanny
“Pierce us, already, you wimp. We’re not getting any younger.” — Tara, 31, bartender
“Don’t worry about us, we’re fine. But you should probably reassure the vagina. She’s a nervous wreck.” — Katie, 30, six months pregnant with her first
“Remember those girls who made fun of you because you were flat in junior high school? Well, we’re sorry you still are, but fuck them, anyway.” — Doreen, 50, meeting professional
“I wonder what his hands would feel like. Or his. Oooh, how about her?” — Kim, 31, retail clerk, “newly single and feeling adventurous”
“Mine do talk. They sing Nina Simone’s ‘At Last’ on continuous loop. All women should love their bodies as I finally do mine, warts and all.” — Donna, 50, physical therapist (transgendered, post-op)
“Boy, we had fun, didn’t we? Especially the '60s.” — Joanne, 63, retired science teacher/real estate agent
“Ha ha, you don’t need to nurse anymore, so gotcha — cancer. We have no purpose, we’re bored – cancer. We were underappreciated. You thought we were a sign of your aging. But now you understand we’re just a beautiful part of who you are. You don’t take us for granted anymore. You were going to get rid of one of us, but it wouldn’t have felt right — so you fought. And now you’re even trying to figure out how to show us off a little. It’s fun seeing daylight. Between us and those new heels, you’re looking hot. You need to do it more often.” — Linda, 47; mother, architect, Stage 2 breast cancer survivor