By Shelly Cone
Recently, my husband and I celebrated our 12-year wedding anniversary. Yeah, congratulations to me, right? Of course I’m thrilled that 12 wonderful years of wedded bliss has been easy peasy for us, but anniversaries cause me some amount of anxiety. What should be a happy occasion I usually look upon with dread because it requires me to “dress.”
Knowing this, my husband usually includes a pre-dinner shopping trip, which, for most girls, is a welcome bonus, but for me, it adds more pressure, partly because of my lack of fashion sense, but mostly for two other insidious reasons: my left and my right breasts.
Like an evil arch nemesis, they have infamously thwarted my fashion choices, embarrassed me to tears, and even dominated significant events I’ve attended. They have exposed themselves to world leaders by way of ill-timed and unnoticed button breaks (unfortunately, not to the U.S. president I would’ve chosen to expose myself to).
They have a tendency to collect and display various food items like a waiter carrying a dessert platter, and they have invited my 3-year-old to nuzzle his little arms between them and use them as warmers whenever I’m at the cash register at the store, talking to a friend, or otherwise occupied. Once, at a social engagement, they even lured a stranger to abruptly and without warning, squeeze them forcefully; I had to assure her they were very real before she would loosen her grip. I mean, who does that, right?
But more often than not, they simply dictate my wardrobe. Victoria’s Secret bras? “Nope, too dainty.” Strappy tops? “Not unless you want us to make an unwanted appearance.” Bikinis? Holy torpedoes, Batman! Not a good choice if you plan to surf or swim.
This dictatorship was at an all-time high three years ago after I had my fourth child. Let’s just say God either took favor with me or really didn’t like me, depending on your perspective of boobs. This was very evident at that time. This abundance is not a good thing, unless you shop at the same place as the dancers from Spearmint Rhino. Because I don’t make that kind of wage, I shop at regular places, like Walmart.
I wanted something pretty, but in my size, I could only find an industrial-strength steel-beamed support bra with a tiny bow in the center, because you know, nothing says sexy like a microscopic white bow. Then I spotted the only colorful bra in my size. It was pea green satin. I tried it on anyway, and it was too small. I tossed it on the go-back counter and tried on some other things.
Then I heard the dressing room attendants approach the counter. “Who would wear this thing. It’s a hideous green?” one asked. Then the other added, “And look how big it is! Oh my God, it’s huge! Who fits in this?”
To be fair, I could probably cradle a newborn baby in one cup and his buddy in the other. I walked out of the dressing room and answered, “Well, I guess, not me, because it didn’t fit.” Then I hurried outside, passed my husband, and I cried in the parking lot.
Did you hear that, Walmart ladies who worked in the dressing room in 2008? I CRIED! And my breasts probably laughed a maniacal laugh, but I don’t know for sure because it was probably muffled.
And all of this still lingered in my psyche this week as I went on our annual anniversary shopping trip—except this time I concentrated on all the good my boobs stand for in my life. Like, when I am tired of listening to someone at a dinner party, my boobs often act as a stand in for eye contact, allowing that person to blabber on without noticing me rolling my eyes. Hey, without them as my wing women, I’d have to actually pay attention and engage in that boring conversation about that guy’s latest book.
And on that rare occasion when my husband and I are too lazy for romance, my husband can just bat at them like a bear pondering food in a half hearted attempt at asking “Do you wanna?” and I can either respond or remain in my pretend sleep mode—without either of us saying a word. And you know, maybe my toddler has the right idea. Who couldn’t use a convenient hand warmer every now and then?
So, with a renewed outlook about my overflowing cornucopias, I shopped; my husband patiently stood outside every dressing room, quietly nodding his approval and silently handing me crisp bills with which to pay. I came away with a few very nice things and subsequently the dinner found us both in great spirits. Of course, I did carry home leftover crumbs of seafood fondue, a bite of crème brulee, and a martini olive in my cleavage, but hopefully no one noticed.
This column originally appeared in the Sun newspaper.