Tales from the Chair of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee
When I opened the envelope containing the small windfall that was my graduate school refund check only one word came to mind.
Big, giant, bouncy tits. Big, giant, bouncy tits to squish and jiggle and pop out of my clothes. Tits so big they’d compromise my balance, causing me to fall flat on my face the minute I stood up. I wanted to cash that check, locate the nearest plastic surgeon and demand that he immediately shove two oversized, silicone orbs into my chest. I had been waiting no fewer than twenty years for my chest to grow and since nature wasn’t cooperating, I was going to take matters into my own hands. (as well as those of anyone else who would like to feel me up.)
I’m not one of those women who claim to be flat-chested, but has a relatively, nice handful or easily fills out a sweater. I am really, genuinely, that woman who is the so-flat-the-walls-are-jealous type. My breasts—and I use that term loosely since last I checked 4-year-old chests were not referred to as “breasts”— are an immensely small B-cup, on the verge of being an A. And while many women complain about the misfortunes and misadventures that go along with being well endowed, believe me when I tell you that we flat gals have our fair share of daily embarrassments and occasional calamities.
Case in point: My last bra-shopping experience found me in the little girl’s department purchasing a vibrant purple selection with a decorative label over the hanger informing me—and everyone else—that I was the proud owner of a brand-new Pretty Pretty Princess brand training bra. Now don’t get me wrong—I am not opposed to being a Pretty Pretty Princess. In fact, I like to fancy myself one in most areas of my life. However, I am opposed to wearing pint-sized undergarments displayed on a pink princess-castle shaped rack, hung conveniently at a child’s level alongside Days of the Week underwear.
When I got to the register to pay for my ridiculously un-sexy (but perfectly fitting) bra, the cashier attempted, unsuccessfully, to stifle her laughter.
“This is for you?!”
I could think of at least half a dozen retorts— quick-witted, clever, cruel retorts of the “no bitch, but I have some gum in my purse for you and your stank-ass breath” variety—but I decided against using them.
“It’s for my daughter.” I muttered.
“Then why did you just come out of the fitting room with it?”
What the hell was this? An interrogation?
“Look, can you just tell me what I owe?” By this point a line was forming behind me, everyone privy to this demeaning exchange.
“It comes to five dollars even. Hey, at least you save some money. Training bras are much cheaper than real bras.”
Really, lady? You had to go there?
“I said it was for my daughter.” I slapped a five on the counter and extended my hand for the bag.
“Awww. There’s no shame in you still wearing training bras,” she laughed.
Could you say that a little bit louder? I don’t think the entire department store heard you. In fact, why don’t you get on that little phone next to the register and press “intercom” and we’ll have this conversation all over again.
I left with my glorified undershirt, humiliated and deflated. Yes, deflated—go ahead, insert your favorite breast-oriented joke here.
And yet, as traumatizing as bra-buying experiences are, they don’t even scratch the surface of my deep-seated issues as a flat chick. Do you remember in junior high how all the boys were obsessed with getting that first feel of an actual breast? Since boys didn’t have them, they were immensely curious what boobs felt like and, the first chance they got, they fondled and squeezed and noozled and suckled. News flash: it wasn’t just the boys. If you have boobs and went to school with me…nay. If you have boobs and you have ever been anywhere near me—I can guarantee I’ve been mesmerized by your rack and fantasized about going to second base with you. This is how flat I am. Like a junior high boy, I have no boobs so I am dying to know what they feel like—I am fascinated with them, thinking about them more often than any grown woman ought to, other than say, the lady who does the mammograms at the doctor’s office. However, unlike a junior high boy, I don’t have slutty girls with daddy-abandonment issues offering up their chests to me to grope under the bleachers.
From the age of nine through what should have been ripe age of 15, I attended overnight camp. Changing in front of those in the cabin was never much of an issue; it was easy to turn your back to the other girls while disrobing. However, the showers were communal— a room with six to eight shower heads hanging from the walls and no curtains or barriers of any type. Short of showering with your bathing suit on, everyone was going to see what was sprouting, or in my case, what wasn’t. When I was in the youngest cabin, we girls had been dubbed the Itty Bitty Titty Committee—a highly (un)esteemed society with which most American adolescents are familiar—by those girls who had already begun to develop. Each successive year, age 10…age 11….age 12, more of the girls in my cabin were excitedly having their memberships revoked. Age 13….age 14…
By age 15, I was the oldest member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, with a good three years on the next oldest member.
There are issues that come with my affliction that big-breasted women can identify with, if on the opposite end of the spectrum: the inability to find a good-looking, age appropriate bra, the frustration that goes along with shopping and realizing that a great shirt, dress or bathing suit is not going to fit, that awkward feeling when people notice the size of your breasts and it’s obvious they’re judging you. Certainly, we can empathize with each other.
My quest for larger breasts has taken me down some strange paths. It began in high school with lotions and creams promising an ample bosom, which I massaged (or more accurately heaped) in massive quantities over my flat chest. To expedite the process, I shirked regular gym class my sophomore year in favor of weight training class, where I focused specifically on enlarging my pectoral muscles which I’d read would make my chest look larger. After a tip from the movie Sixteen Candles, I began consuming an entire pound of carrots a day, a habit which, thanks to the beta-carotene, left the palms of my hands with a socially unacceptable orange tint. Of course there were bras—many, many bras—which I used to fool the casual observer into thinking there was something there. Not much, but something. Padded bras, Wonder Bras, water bras, air-filled bras, gel-padded bras…I even supplemented these bras with the tried-and-true silicone “chicken cutlet” inserts. While this worked when my shirt was on, when I had to take my shirt off humiliation always ensued. I was basically selling a bill of goods that I couldn’t fulfill. False advertising, if you will. And while it dismayed men en masse to find that the breasts I had promised—at least visually anyway—were not there, nothing was more mortifying to both parties when the actual “breasts” were truly revealed. Upon unhooking my bra, many a silicone insert have fallen onto the backseat with a dehumanizing, audible plop. This was usually immediately followed by a puzzled look and a “what the fuck…?” from my would-have-been conquest.
I never did use that graduate school refund check to make my breasts bigger, opting instead to use it for its intended purpose: making my brain bigger. So since my chest may not be getting larger anytime soon, I am continuing on my journey to embracing my flatness…one humiliating experience at a time.