Among the more scintillating New Year's resolutions I heard this year was one friend's declaration that 2005 is the year of cleavage. While I don't often have a whole lot in common with straight men, this is a place where our interests overlap, and I can sound like a fraternity pledge at a kegger in the right company. There is a certain chain restaurant known for objectifying women that I'd not-so-secretly love to eat at sometime.
To put it tastefully, I am a breast gal. To put it less tastefully, I notice a nice set of knockers. I bow to the bosom. I cherish the chest.
In other words, this friend's resolution -- which I interpret as a call to arms (or thereabouts) for the entirety of womankind -- is A-OK with me. Bring on the cleavage! Happy New Year! I refuse to limit my admiration to my friend's particular bodacious set of ta-tas, but it doesn't hurt that she has, to put it into scientific terms, a nice rack.
It also doesn't hurt that when she declared this lofty goal for our sisters across this great land and beyond, she was sitting at her own birthday party, between me and my partner, a little wound up on cosmopolitans, and illustrated her point by stretching her v-neck down to display what is meant by the term "cleavage." Va-va-va-vooom!
It's noteworthy to point out that I couldn't make cleavage unless you stuck two slabs of silicone on my chest. I'm pretty unremarkable in the breast department. Over the years, straight men trying to woo me have told me things like, "I like them small! Really!" and "More than a handful's a waste, you know" -- but I still feel disadvantaged. I'm told I could excel at golf, and it's much easier for me to find sweaters that fit than it is for my upper-cupped counterparts, but I can't help but feel, well, lacking when it comes to lactation capacity.
Interestingly, while I do adore a dame's adornments, I tend not to notice them on anyone besides those lucky enough to find their way into my boudoir. Uneasy straight females and anxious lesbian friends, relax: I am not checking you out. I promise.
I can't count the number of times I've spent some quality time with someone, only to be confounded later when a third party mentioned the size of her breasts as I realize that detail eluded me completely. How can I, a self-proclaimed booby-gazer, not perk up at the sight of a woman's upper womanhood? But it happens, time and again; I sit silent through conversations about who's especially petite and who must have chronic back pain.
Obviously this New Year's declaration will serve me well in the attentiveness arena. But why am I so oblivious to breasts publicly and so appreciative of them privately? Freud would suggest that I'm trying to recreate my relationship with my mother in romantic contexts, but the fact is that I inherited my predicament from her. (He might be interested to know she only breastfed me for a few weeks, though, due to intestinal rebellion on Baby Kristina's part.)
When I was young, at some point after puberty as my lot in life was becoming clear, my mother came home with a T-shirt that said, "Small-breasted women have big hearts." She thought it was hilarious. Shortly afterward, she brought one home in my size. I refused to wear it; I had no interest in pointing out the obvious. Besides, I held out hope for a growth spurt.
It never happened, but my plight was not without cruel twists and bitter ironies that haunt me to this day. In sixth grade, when I was a mere 10-years-old, some of my classmates decided to ridicule me for my immaturity -- not because I was flat-chested, but because I didn't wear a bra. I thought this was asinine; I had nothing needing support.
But they persisted, laughing in the locker room before and after gym class when I'd take my shirt off and making a point of talking about bras anytime I was in earshot. My closest friend at the time was aware of the chiding I received regularly, and she was sympathetic, but she was also safely clad in the requisite undergarment. I was alone in their mockery.
Eventually I'd had enough, and I approached my mother in the only reasonable fashion: I slipped her a note. It was short and to the point -- I told her I wanted a bra. She wrote back on the same piece of paper -- OK, we'll go shopping. I think she asked me if there was a reason I was bringing this up. I lied and said no, that I just thought it was time.
We went shopping one weekend during a trip to the town where my grandfather lived, but I turned out to be a picky consumer. We gave up and I was left still unsupported. That evening we went to dinner with my grandfather, who was a mischievous man. He sat across the table, looked me in the eye and said, "Did you get a padded one?"
Eventually I bought a bra (but never, ever wore a padded one) and at some point I made peace with my size. I don't have what I so admire in other women, but I suppose this is good. After all, this way I am able to walk away from mirrors after I shower and am able to keep my hands off myself in mixed company.
And, belching loudly between shots from the beer bong, I'm able to high-five with my frat brothers about the hooters on that chick who just walked by.
Kristina Campbell and her barely-B-cups live in Takoma Park, Md., home to many fine-figured females. "Alphabet Soup" appears biweekly and its author can be fondled -- er, fondly fawned over -- at firstname.lastname@example.org.