I used to hold a radical—or, at the very least, cavalier thought. I argued that woman’s breasts should eventually diminish to the state of prepubescence as she ages. Mammary glands are useful at certain stages of life, but when there is no child left to nurse and no man left to entice, why not send them the way of the appendix and vestigial tail? There was a time when I was younger and firmer that men spoke directly to my ‘twins,’ but I hated that experience and often reminded the intruders that my eyes were on another level. Amazons cut off at least one breast to improve their archery skills. They took a practical approach. Why not us? That’s all I was suggesting.
Practically speaking, once they outlive their usefulness, breasts should shrink back into oblivion instead of hanging around, getting in the way, and inviting lumps to grow—as they did to my Amazon sister. As I watch my contented daughter breast feed my first, and probably only, grandchild, I muse. She, a wiser woman than her mother, waited until 35 to have her first, and probably only, child. I was wife and twice-over mother—not in that order—by the time I was 20. She was my save-the marriage-baby when I was 30. She thrived, the marriage did not. Another husband and several lovers later, I realized that an ample bosom is a mixed blessing.
I know the toll of breast cancer, and I contribute every year to the cause. Even those who will read too much into my meandering thoughts must agree that when breasts are sagging and pendulous, they often get in the way. My gardening would be so much easier without them, but then where would my beautiful granddaughter lay her sweet head as I sing her to sleep?