Oh, those ******* dresses! Not even champagne and friendly encouragement could convince me that they suit me..Not even my mother could manage to look entranced at the sight of me in The BWD (Big White Dress). Not even the addition of a tiara and a veil to cover my face would ever convince me to appear in public in one of these dresses.
It’s Just Not Me.
There may be a reason for this; two reasons, in fact. As I try on a dress, there they are, making the top of the dress stick out almost horizontally, as there is certainly not enough material to go around them.
‘Well, obviously the dress will need some adjustments, or the vicar is going to get an eyeful. He’ll be like, hmm, let’s take our time over these vows!’ the shop owner is saying. Oo-er missus, we are indeed talking about my chest, and what hangs there: those vicar-distracting, dress-ruining, joke-inducing mammary glands which are here today to teach me not to tempt Fate by saying anything as sappy as ‘today I am going to choose the dress that I will wear to marry the man I love’. Fate will simply slap you in the face (well, it would if I jumped, but I learned long ago not to make THAT mistake).
Fate endowed me with these ‘assets’ very early on in life, and has been having a good laugh ever since. ‘Boobs’ are funny, everyone knows that. They’re just so rude. At the age of 10, boys would ask if I was a ‘Page 3’ girl and dissolve into helpless laughter. At 14, myself and a friend (who shared with me the affliction of a D-cup) would spend our PE sessions resolutely walking (NEVER running) past the school classroom windows. The wrath of the PE teacher was nothing compared to the laughing and pointing of the boys on seeing a pair of jugs jiggling before their eyes. When I got older, this tendency of males to point out to me that I had breasts still continued, but could seem a little darker, sometimes quite disturbing. When at university, a male colleague suddenly interrupted me mid-sentence with a look of utter contempt on his face and the question
‘Do you ever read Mayfair magazine? You remind me of a girl I saw in there,’ I had no idea what to reply. A friend who had overheard, yelled
‘Who do you think you are? You can’t talk to women like they’re a piece of shit on your shoe!!’ and explained to me that he wasn’t talking about some prestigious high fashion magazine where women were showing off clothes, but a porn magazine where women were showing off their large breasts. In either case, he would have been following the misogynistic tradition of reducing a woman to her physical characteristics, but the second comparison did seem more insulting to me at the time.
I began to feel quite disconnected from my breasts, what with them being so very rude and funny, and me being really quite polite and serious. They seemed like a separate entity, entering the room before me and getting all the attention, while the real me resided somewhere else, in my head.
I realise that complaining about being a 30H provokes the same reaction in some women as thin women complaining about being thin provokes in me, that is: a) it isn’t a real problem and b) isn’t it considered by most people to be a Good Thing? The problem is, that for women there is perceived to be a Right and a Wrong way to look, and there is always pressure to conform. Nowhere is this pressure more apparent than in the choosing of a wedding dress. More than any other garment, the wedding dress says something about the wearer. Its very colour has been taken to symbolize the purity of the woman. Nowadays, we think that white wedding dresses signify virginity, although initially they weren’t worn for this reason, but to symbolize the wealth of the bride’s family; white can only be worn once, and only a rich family could afford to buy a dress that wouldn’t be used again. So, the dress came to be a statement of both ostentatious wealth, and modesty and purity. The groom’s dress, on the other hand, came to signify…nothing at all. Men were free to walk down the aisle as themselves, their clothes being simply clothes, rather than statements about their sexuality, purity, or wealth.
Modern day wedding dresses definitely symbolize wealth, being quite expensive, and while they no longer have to signify purity, a pair of breasts is seen as giving the wrong message. As the women in the wedding dress shop circle around me, adding a sparkly belt here, a head-dress there, and muttering ‘that’s nice, it distracts a bit from…’ with vague gestures in the direction of my unmentionables, I realise that I am probably in the wrong shop.
My ‘boobs’ often seem to take on a significance all of their own, mainly down to the portrayal of large breasts in our culture. They conjure up the idea of sex, and availability. Yet to me, they’re just a part of my body. It is quite pointless to try to hide them, or to worry about whether other people will see them as ‘rude. I decide to reclaim them, to decorate them with pride.
Typing ‘corset makers’into a search engine, I come up with this website of beautiful dresses. Dresses fit for a queen.