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Breasts In Youth and Age

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Kathi of My Sister Was a St. Bernard has sent in her photo for Where Elders Blog and there are two new quarterstaff photos. Here is one from AQ of Always Question and the other from Wally Blue of The Resident Curmudgeon. Yours are welcome too.]

Yes, readers, the topic today is breasts. You know, those two things that sit on women’s chests also known as tits, boobs, bazooms, bosom, hooters, knockers, jugs and a hundred other names. Crabby Old Lady’s personal favorite, a fitting description of her non-pulchritude, is titties.

Last week at The Elder Storytelling Place, Camille Koepnick Shaffer related the adolescent drama of her first brassiere – a rite of passage for every young girl on her path to womanhood, and Crabby has her own first-bra story too:

Her mother had small breasts and as they walked together through the lingerie department toward the counter in the back, bras of amazingly big sizes (to young Crabby) were laid out on display tables. At a volume that apparently sounded like a police siren to her mother, Crabby asked, “Do people really come that big?”

When they reached the clerk at the counter, her mother spoke in a volume to match Crabby’s, “Do you have bras for beginners?” Crabby Young Lady, of course, was mortified.

Back in those days, the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe – who was chubby, even fat, by today’s standards – was the feminine ideal all women aspired to. It didn’t take long to become apparent that Crabby’s puny titties would never match Monroe’s. In fact, she never outgrew a beginner’s bra which, until she discovered foam inserts, looked wrinkly through the fabric of anything she wore except the heaviest sweaters. Cleavage would never be part of Crabby’s life.

Early on, then, she determined to ignore her titties (no point in wasting time being miserable over something that cannot be) and when, in the 1960s, feminists began burning their bras as a symbol of throwing off male, cultural oppression, Crabby got rid of those, for her, needless harnesses and she has been happily bra-less ever since.

That doesn’t mean she could stop thinking about her silly, little titties. During the standard recrimination period as her marriage was breaking up, Crabby’s husband once shouted, “And I never liked women with small breasts, anyway.” Funny now, adolescent-sounding. But Crabby assures you it was not, in her then-dubious sense of female confidence. It cut her to the core although, in due course, she recovered.

But involvement with her nearly non-existent breasts didn’t end with her marriage. Every mammogram (agony when there is nothing for that cold, metal, grapefruit squeezer to grasp) showed tiny, white dots on the x-ray that each physician assured Crabby must be biopsied to determine if they were cancer.

Those poor, little titties have been chopped open six times only to find on every occasion that the spots on the film are unimportant calcium deposits. Crabby Old Lady can read those pictures now as well as any radiologist and no one has been allowed to cut into her titties for two or three decades. Nor will they, until she sees something different.

Meanwhile, in the wider world beyond Crabby's personal tittie travails, breasts – mostly naked or barely covered – became a cultural fetish. What would spring break - and even TV, these days - be without wet teeshirt contests. Wonderbras and their ilk have created cleavage where none naturally exists (where were these when Crabby still thought she needed them?). Most cable news anchorettes appear to be hired as much for their unmistakably impressive chests as their facial beauty. And there is hardly a woman cop or lawyer in television dramas whose shirt or suit jacket isn’t open nearly to her navel – even in court.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast implants are the No. 1 cosmetic enhancement requested by women. 347,500 were performed in 2007, in the U.S.

What does all this concentration on big, bazoom-sized breasts mean, Crabby Old Lady wonders – if anything? Without wanting to give away too much of her personal history, no man has ever fled when he got her clothes off and if any didn’t enjoy themselves, they were, unlike her husband, gentlemanly enough not to mention it. Oh, and not one didn’t come back unless Crabby intended it so.

Which brings her to the present day.

Although Crabby’s lifelong determination to ignore her baby boobs failed, she is nonetheless chagrined to discover in old age, that even her little titties are not immune to gravity. She didn’t expect it, but sag they have and she feels a bit like Maxine:


On the other hand, Crabby believes she (and any other old woman) would look silly with perky, upturned tits, so she waits gleefully for that eighth and most satisfying deadly sin, schadenfreude, to overtake her when, one day, a pair of surgically-enhanced, 75-year-old, artificial hooters eternally pointing north, rolls into view.

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Claire Jean takes on the irritating phenomenon of minor memory lapses in Where Did I Leave My Glasses?]


I smile at this post on this early morning.
My problem the opposite.
Developing late. Doctor had stated if I did not start developing by 16 there might be a problem.
Well no problem. The summer I turned 16 I began to be like my mother and grandmothers.
I became very well endowed. The problem is that I am of small frame and when not pregnant in early years weigh about 110 lbs. So I spent early years trying to hide what nature had given me. At times totally embarrassed.
Even now with grandchildren and 4 children that were breast fed I receive comments of having a nice shape.
So past 3 score and 10 and grow weary of needing special support wishing at times they were not there!!!

Like Ernestine, I too, have to opposite problem. With the weight I've put on since the menopause my boobs are sometimes uncomfortably heavy. However, new bras (with more support) recently worked wonders.

I'm with you, Crabby. I was able to wear those little triangle halter tops in the 70s with not a jiggle. Unlike you, my mom did not think I needed anything to cover nothing so I pondered over the Sears & Roebuck catalog at those little beginner bras--at 13 years old!

I, too, belonged to the opposite side. I was a 34 DD, and I looked top-heavy. Bra burning seemed silly, and impossible for me. That all ended in 1990, when I got breast cancer and had a bilaterial modified radical masetectomy, with no reconstruction. Today, I can be any size I want to be, thanks to prosthetics. After all these years, I'm used to being "boobless," but I sometimes look at those old pictures and remember. By the way, my wonderful husband was very supportive throughout the whole ordeal, and he had previously called himself a "breast man" occasionally. Life's turns are strange, indeed.

I was flat one day at 15 and 34DD the next - it seemed - and no pretty bras to fit unless I paid a fortune for a French one, or a real matronly one like my granny wore.

All the women in my family have big boobs. My niece is 32J and definitely top heavy. None of us has had medical problems with them but, oh, how the mammograms hurt and we couldn't get them all in!

I remember watching an operation on BBC t.v. where a woman had breast reduction to enable her to feed her baby better. The surgeon weighed the excess after removal and it was 14 lbs. Imagine that.

I go bra-less a lot in these hot summers in Spain, but I have to be careful not to damage my knees with these 36FF ones. LOL!

I shared Ronni's problem. I was not well endowed and didn't even know there were beginning bras. For years I stuffed kleenex in my AA cup bras and looked lopsided when the tissues shifted. At some point I started wearing padded bras and they really made me look funny. Now I would go bra-less if it weren't for those blasted nipples that seem to poke out, even when I wear a sweater. The tavails of being feminine.

When I was a teen and approached a group of boys, they would laugh and say, "Here they come". I was an adult before I knew they meant my breasts. It wasn't that I was that big, I was just among the first in our age group to mature.

Did you know there is a difference between city titties and country boobs? I thought I was fairly well endowed until we moved to rural Kansas and I saw the huge breasts of farm women. All Ma Kettle. I look nearly flat chested in comparison.

A receptinist at one of the banks I worked in was so flat chested that she only needed to wear bandaids to conceal her nipples.

This post is the best, Crabby!

Gave me a big ol' smile this morning, and a chuckle since I was just cussin' my pair this morning while trying to make them behave in a slightly too small holster I bought over vacation last week.

Word to the adventurous wise: Ladies - do NOT bother with purchasing foundations in a Presidio, Texas Alco store.

I loved all the 'first bra' stories, having gone through something very similar myself at 13. I so much wanted my own pair of titties to be bigger. When Marilyn Monroe came to the theatre where I worked and I watched her sashay up the aisle on Arthur's arm in her peach velvet sheath with the low neckline, my envy knew no bounds.
But all that changed at 29 when I became a mother. The morning my milk first came in (gallons of it!) I was awestruck. Those tiny tits of mine were absolutely amazing. They did just what they were meant for and did it superbly well, month after month. I apologised to them, then, for all my former ingratitude and have loved them ever since. I haven't worn a bra in nearly forty years and I am so glad, nowadays, that I don't need to.

Gee whiz! Why didn't I think of band aids? Thank you Granny Annie for the tip. Bra-less i shall be from now on.

I'm struck that, so far, only women have commented. I'm contemplating a post on my blog about my 'member.' Seems appropriate, since it is the body part that we guys spend a lot of time measuring!

Give this a listen, it will have you rolling on the floor laughing (and crying...) Here's a teaser verse, but you should really go listen...

(Boob Job)

You know, silicone is permanent
Even after you have passed
When the rest of you has faded
In some box under some stone
Yeah you'll still have your silly cones
Balanced on your bones

Ronni, you'll want a link to this one. David Wilcox is a wonderful song writer...

I feel the same about tatoos. Not that I ever wanted one but just thinking about them, even when I was young, I thought how awful that would look, being old, and having a sagging heart or droopy wings displayed whenever you went to the beach!

I was small breasted as a teen-ager and young adult but when I passed midlife I became almost too well endowed. No way could I go bra less.

I have discovered the solution to my comments posting problems on TGB. It is my computer and some odd glitch. I can post fine on my husband's computer. Now if I could only get my busy son who is the computer guru to help me solve this glitz. I sure don't want to pay "Geek Squad"
My 10 year old grandson may be able to solve it and he is more available.

He changed the refrigerator water filter for me and saved me about $80 bucks. To change this filter you must lie flat on the floor and twist the filter cap to replace it. Since we are both in our late 70's there is not way we could accomplish this feat.
What was Kitchenaide thinking?

OK, I've done it. Read Membership Has Its Privileges on Having Fun Until I Die.

I never thought mine were particularly big (34B) but a few weeks ago when I was standing around in my bathing suit my personal trainer asked me if I'd had a boob job. I wasn't sure whether to be insulted or what, but she meant it as a compliment.

I've liked to complain for years that I wasn't blessed with my mother's ample bosom, but given her back problems, I think I'm better off. They don't get in the way, I don't spill food on them, and I can sleep on my front if I want to.

I've wondered if it's some conspiracy that mammograms are so painful to women; that if women had designed the process it wouldn't be such an ordeal. I haven't had one yet, so I'm just talking from what I've heard.

Been a 36C forever now. Which would be nice, kind of the perfect size, except for the hips which are far more prominent. But no guy has ever complained about them. ;^)

Our culture is great at making all of us insecure about how we look. Sad, really.

BTW, for all that they worry us over breast cancer, far more women die from colon cancer. So get that unsexy stuff checked, too! Could save your life.

Oh, my, Mizz Ronni. What an article, and what responses you've gotten, Gramma! What touched me esp. about your top shelf story:

I never knew what microcalcifications were until I went in for that first baseline mammogram. They spelled big trouble, and a lousy Xmas '85 that year when the right-sided offender was removed. Now I really wish I'd had the other taken, as being lop-sided is no picnic either.

They called me Itty Bitty in high school, and it waren't fer my height. Somewhere after menopause and *&(&*% weight gain, the leftie left began to reach for my shoes.

I remember my tiny grandmother with big ones used to sling hers up onto the dining table and disturb the lacy tablecloth, and my Mom was pretty busty, too, but just having one lumpy, hangy droopy boobie is also a drag (literally).

Sounds like most of us would have some suggestions for The Designer about these fleshy objects (de art?).

Cheers, ~Kathi

Anymore than a handful is a waste. Viva la ittie bitties!

I just returned from the mall. My reason for going was to buy bras. I've grown from A,B, C to D cup. The mammogram technician has advised me that it's all fatty tissue (lovely).
The two things that come off when I enter my house are shoes and bra. I never liked bras and never will. I cannot comfortably leave the house bra-less, especially since one is noticeably larger than the other due to surgery. Now for the new bras--one is called Friday's Bra; the other is called Passion For Comfort. It's all about wireless.

I go through spurts of not wearing a bra and totally have resisted the underwire except with one black bra for special occasions. People who see me assume I have a big cup size but it's really not as large as it looks. Fortunately my breasts have never been uncomfortable-- well running I notice them without a bra. Over the years there have been a few crude comments from men and very few meet my gaze first, but I feel lucky they have been healthy so far.

At my age, my breast health is the bigger issue and while mammograms are essential, they are uncomfortable and do put women through a lot of worry sometimes for nothing. I have read that ultrasounds are more effective. Our local mammogram unit has improved and doesn't require holding my breath anymore and the results are seen right away to be clear or not; so no waiting in the waiting room for the okay to go home. What I wish the most is that the doctor could look at them sooner and I'd hear the results right away because that week to 10 days seems a long one each time.

All right, Ronni, I guess after all of this frank talk about titties it is safe for me to tell you my story.

Last week I was down at Atlantic City and went in the ocean for a swim. I have gigantic boobs and a two piece bathing suit. While in the water a large wave came and knocked me down and ,worse, it took the top of my bathing suit off.

I staggered out of the water holding my boobs in my arms and covering up as best I could as I ran for my blanket. before I got there a little boy came running up to me shouting;

"Hey, lady, if you're gonna drown those pups, give me the one with the brown nose."

My problem has always been the opposite and you won't believe that in fact I think that my left breast, the one that had surgery looks better than the right one, as it is smaller. But we do have one thing in common, they SAG! ;)
Hilarious post, Ronni, well done!

What a great subject for us.
About 10 years ago I went bra shopping with my then teenage dauughter.
I tried on many different styles but the one style that I ended up buying was the one that when my daughter saw me she said: "holy moley Mom--you've got cleavage."

As for breast implants, lately I've been saying, "I don't want any more up on top, I'd just like them back where they used to be."


It's when your bosoms start to hit your knees you have to worry.

A close friend of mine is a therapist and sent me an email that went around her office. "Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them." Had me pondering.

this wonder-filled post, take that however you will, reinforced my belief that you really know how to get our attention. and the responses!

a friend of mine has always been so bra-focused that her daughter, did an hilarious performance about it at her 70th birthday party.

on top of all else (not intentional), those of us plagued with largeness have to struggle with the discontinued favorite bra...over and over again. if it were more comfortable, i'd choose your bralessness. sigh.

I found this blog to be in poor taste for a public blog. What's next? Digestive processes? Illegal drug use? Sexual fantasy life?

I hope this blog does not continue in such a direction.


This post and comments are real hoots. Like you, Ronni, I always have been small breasted. I didn't really have to wear a bra all through high school, but of course -- it being the Marilyn Monroe era -- I talked my mom into buying me a little padded bra. At various times in my life, associated with various circumstances, I have tried Wonder Bras, bra inserts and various other mechanisms to help me fill out those darted areas in clothes. I also, thanks to the 70s, have gone through periods of not wearing a bra.

These days I opt for the "barely there" type non-bra with a double front lining. Then nipples don't show through and I don't feel constricted.

I shamefully admit that the most comfortable bra-replacement for all sizes is one I found at Wal-Mart. It's called "The Best Fitting Intimates in the World" -- made of soft microfiber and you just pull it over your head and down over your titties.

I don't wear a bra at home, but I prefer not to jiggle when I go out into the world.

I've been inventing another solution, since I often wear t-shirts. I have taken to lining the front of t-shirts with fabric from old t-shirts. I sew it in a rectangle across the area of the shirt that goes across my breasts and I edge the rectangle with a decorative stitch. That gives me a couple of layers to soften whatever might jiggle or protrude.

As my grandmother used to say in Polish (and it sounds better in Polish) -- the dumb person will not notice the difference, and the smart person will assume that the shirt was designed to be that way.

I have to come back and say it....Dr. Ron, can you really be serious, thinking that this subject is tasteless and shouldn't be here? That doesn't seem to be the views of the women who have commented here, but of course, it's a post that applies to and interests women.

Why are you reading it if it's a topic you find distasteful?

Ronni, let's consider the facts. The first bra is as memorable to a woman as the first - uh, well, you know. It's because we women have come out of the bra closet and can talk and joke about our boobs, that more and more breast cancers are being detected and cured at earlier stages than even a year ago. Considering the number of your daily readers, there’s bound to be a few who disagree with you. I occasionally get mean and stupid comments, too, but I hit the delete button, followed by an audible “pppttttthhhhh.” I lost a dear friend to breast cancer three years ago, but the time we shared between her diagnosis and death was filled with laughter and jokes with many of the jokes about boobies. Months after her passing, during an annual checkup, my post, “Mammogram,” poured out. So for those who dislike your posts, let’s see them develop their own blog with as large a following as you have.

Loved your boob article. When my children were young, many moons ago, I worked as a correspondent for a metrolitan newspaper covering local town meetings and events, writing three articles a week. I remember how difficult it was to come up with a creative article when there was no "hard news." Thank you for sharing your physical attributes and a portion of your personal life with us. It was very generous of you!

This is a fun post with great comments. As always, you caught my attention with humor and honesty.

LOL! I remember talking about my 32Bs with a guy one time--who knows why?--and quoting to him what an earlier "gentleman caller" had said: "More than a mouthful is too much." When the guy du jour stopped laughing, he said, "The way that saying really goes is, 'More than a *handful* is too much.' "

Oh, this is funny! And interesting to hear everyone's different experiences.

When I was a young teen, I had to beg my mother to get me a bra, and then she sorted me out one of her old ones which kind of, sort of, fitted. It was more embarrassing in the school changing rooms than not having a bra at all to cover my burgeoning boobs. I ended up feeling very self-conscious about my breasts generally - I felt they were enormous, and the first thing the boys would look at (well, I might have been right there, I suppose). I spent a lot of my teenage years with my arms crossed over my chest.

Now, I'm aware that my 36-38 Ds (depending on which make of bra I buy) are really not that gigantic, but they stand out because I not only have that rare thing, an 'hourglass' figure, but my shoulders are broad and accentuate my top part. My waist goes in, my hips go out - and sadly my stomach too.

At nearly 55 I've come to accept and like my shape, but it took me a very, very long time - and I still envy those who can sleep on their stomachs.

And by the way, I'm told by one who knows that mammograms are much more painful for those with implants.

I got here so late I wasn't even going to comment until I read the unbelievable! Somebody actually thought this post was in poor taste???

I thought you wrote this really well. I just wish I had a good story to add, but nothing unusual happened when I was young. I was jealous I couldn't join the bra burners, but it was just too uncomfortable to be without support. Now, I've just got the droop and sag every other older women experiences and still need support.

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