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The Evolution of a Pair of Breasts

We're going to need considerably larger buns

When I was about twelve years old, my mother handed me a brown, paper bag. It came with a knowing whisper, a clandestine, over-the-shoulder glance. What on Earth could it be?

A packet of class A drugs?

A junior version of the Karma Sutra?

I opened it with eager fingers, my life about to change, all because of a modest piece of material, 28 AA in size, designed to cover up the fact that I had nothing to cover up. Except my shame that I had nothing to cover up. And the knowledge that I was officially no longer a harmless little girl.

No shopping trip? — I hear you cry. Of course not, are you mad? This was 1980s Catholic Ireland. Besides, I didn’t need to go shopping because my aunt’s father worked in the curtain department of Arnotts — one of Dublin’s most famous department stores — now extinct. So this was the explanation given, for the method by which said article was procured and delivered.

When I mentioned the incident to my mother many years later, she claimed to have no recollection of it. I can only speculate how she came to be in possession of her first bra. Perhaps it was left by the fairies on the lawn at midnight …

So how can such a tiny scrap of fabric shape a life? Well, the development — or lack thereof — of a young girl’s breasts determines quite a lot. If she doesn’t have any, she is largely ignored — scorned by members of the opposite sex. And if she happens to blossom early, she is often the recipient of too much unsolicited attention.

You can only hope that you and your own daughters strike a happy medium: not small enough as to be non-existent; not large enough to garner too many unwanted leers.

I was flat as a pancake for more years than I care to remember, a trait which went along with my tall-skinniness. So what to do? To put on breasts, you also need to put on weight — also undesirable. No wonder many young women consider the solution to be: buy a pair of plastic knockers and stick them on the front like a pair of neon headlights. Who cares if you have to undergo unnecessary surgery? Or introduce harmful toxins into the area of your body designed to nourish future generations? Society dictates, does it not?

My own breasts have accompanied me on quite a fascinating and vacillating journey. And no, in spite of it all, I wouldn’t be without them. They have slowly and imperceptibly grown with their owner, aka me. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that they made a slight appearance, me being no longer such a girlish skinny-milink. Yes, I put on a bit of weight, nothing to get too alarmed about. The extra boobage was a welcome addition to my armoury. Then a significant jump in size, with the advent of my first pregnancy in my early 30s. Yes, people, they are actually for the purpose of milk production! And frilly, fancy numbers were replaced by utilitarian garments made of institutional, table-cloth-like material, ugly in the extreme.

With breast feeding at an end, my boobs looked very sad, as if they’d been through a war and were suffering from post traumatic stress. They recovered somewhat, just in time for the second pregnancy. I was more prepared this time, but the aftermath was still unexpected. This time my appendages wanted to fly free. They were looser, bouncier, liable to take off at the slightest gust of wind. The bra came into its own at this time and I began to value a more structured approach — enter the era of the undercover scaffolding.

By the time pregnancy three occurred, forty loomed, as did the attendant squidgier body. All the while my breasts had been growing stealthily, quietly in the background, careful not to draw too much attention to themselves.

Culminating in an incident at my son’s confirmation ceremony. Me, in a dress bought in haste and barely tried on, teamed with a pair of heels I had scarcely tried to walk in. It wasn’t until I was leaving the house that my daughters drew attention, with great merriment it has to be said, to mammy’s big, bouncy boobies. I couldn’t exactly ask my ex-husband for his opinion. Do my boobs look big in this? Clearly, they did.

The trouble was that, in my head, I was still a skinny teenager in a 28AA sized scrap of material. But somewhere along the way, I’d grown into a big-breasted mama. Who knew? The bishop certainly did, when I went up to the altar, the combination of my heels and his short stature causing him to get an eyeful of my over ripe melons. He gave me a thunderous look — this haridan of a woman, flaunting her devilish fun bags in his sacred house of God.

So there you have it. My message to all you small-breasted young women out there. Fear not. Life will sort you out, and even it if doesn’t, by the time you get to my age you won’t give a rat’s arse anyway. Oh happy days!