My daughter gave me a shirt that she no longer wanted. It’s a tissue thin cotton tee, sliding off the shoulders and short at the waist. The odd print mess is an alarming color combo of purple, orange, brown and white. It’s not a shirt I would ever select, aesthetically, but it has become a favorite because it’s so comfortable. The fabric and drape is a loose whisper that feels a breath away from my naked self, which is perfection on a hot day. The fact of my breasts makes it problematic in public, though, and I feel the need for a bra or a sculpting tank.
This is my fury.
On the first warm day of the season, I spend hours clearing brush in my yard, wearing a corset-like sports bra under my tee. It’s wildly uncomfortable, itchy and tight, a sweaty constraint. When I get back in the house, I rip it off in a frenzy. Why do I wear this torturous garment in my own yard? I don’t care what my family thinks, they’ve seen it all before.
It’s because of my horrible neighbor.
Jimmy has opinions about my boobs. I’ve never heard them, thank god, but I can tell by the way he has stared, gape-mouthed and entirely too close, at my chest. It’s a regular chest, medium-sized, always clothed modestly in his presence, but he is creepy and prone to leering and space-invading. This means that every time I take a walk or work in the yard, I must consider what I wear. I must consider the complete coverage and control of my boobs, lest I give him too much to gawp at. Even though I live in a sparsely populated rural place, my neighbor is always just a leer away and it dictates the way I dress my body. It enrages me.
My breasts are lovely — all breasts are — but not for public consumption (unless I change my mind). It’s up to me. On a hot day, I’d love to charge out the door in that tissue thin, vomit colored tee and not worry about it. I’d love to exist in the world as myself, without armor. Why, here in the middle of my life, when I’ve got very few fucks left to give, do I care about this?
Boobs are delightful. They’re lovely and funny, sexy and silly. Sometimes they feel delicious and sometimes they hurt. They are both function and decoration. They complete outfits and ruin…