Karma in a C-Cup
It all started when I learned how to haggle.
I was in Florence with my parents. Curious changes had been taking place in my 14-year-old body during the past couple of years. We were standing on the Ponte Vecchio bridge, noted for its shops and street vendors. After a particular leather wallet caught my eye, I approached a vendor. I named my price, which was significantly lower than the one marked on the wallet, while simultaneously tugging on my shirt to expose a slight bit of cleavage.
Needless to say, my parents beamed with pride.
It had worked like a charm. I walked away with a new wallet and the assurance that, with my breasts by my side — I mean, on my chest — I could do anything. I had discovered a pivotal secret to womanhood: my breasts. In short, I had discovered the power of the rack.
For the next year or so, I experienced a sort of honeymoon phase with my breasts. I loved them, they loved me, and all was right with the world. Sure, there were problems, but the advantages of being well-endowed certainly outweighed the disadvantages.
Then things started to get out of hand. Instead of peaking at the C-cup size I had come to adore, they kept growing. Like when a kitten grows into a mean old cat, and it isn’t cute anymore.
By my sophomore year in high school I was wearing a 36DD. I started to wonder if this was my karma for manipulating the street vendor on the Ponte Vecchio. The “power of the rack” had turned into the “monstrous burden of disproportionate breasts.” At 5-foot-4 and 120 pounds, it seemed absurd that my bra could have easily concealed a football in each cup. (And I don’t mean a kiddie-sized football; I’m talking NFL stuff here.)
Finding clothes had become an immense challenge. Anything V-cut was out of the question, as were any dresses that zipped in back. Shopping attempts frequently ended in tears, and as a result, my wardrobe was painfully limited. I wanted to wear my Catholic school uniform even on the weekends, even if it meant looking like a 24/7 Britney Spears music video … but by this point, Britney was in one of her rehab stages. I didn’t want to step on her toes.
Over the next few years, I did the best I could with the situation. I wore button-up sports bras that vaguely resembled 19th-century corsets and hunted for underwire bathing suits. I even used my busty figure to get a summer job at Victoria’s Secret (discounts!).
When my mother brought up the possibility of breast reduction surgery, I was hesitant at first, thinking about the recovery time involved. A few weeks on the couch with chick flicks and ice cream — what kind of sick torture was this? After all, it was the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, and I had serious commitments. This would totally mess up my routine — gym in the morning, pool in the afternoon.
But I needed to get my priorities in order. I decided to plunge breastsfirst into pursuing this surgery.
At my consultation appointment at the Plastic Surgery Center of Nashville, I found out that I was a “great candidate,” according to the surgeon. She was impeccably dressed, beautiful and had a nice pair of hooters herself, so I took her word for it.
The procedure would involve three incisions per breast. In the days prior to the surgery, I planned out numerous jokes to tell the surgeon’s team right before they put me under. Something to the effect of “Make sure they’re even,” or “Please don’t lose my nipple.” As it happened, the anesthesia took immediate effect and I was out before you can say “breast.”
The first few days were a struggle, as I was unbelievably sore, drugged up and tethered to drainage tubes dangling from each breast. (I tried to make this a fashionable look by hooking the tubes to a scarf around my neck; I expect this style to appear in Vogue within the next few months.) At my first post-op visit, I found out that the surgeon had removed 220 grams from my left breast and 290 from my right, totaling more than a pound of breast tissue. This was quite pleasing to me, since it was weight loss that didn’t involve cutting bread, sweets or alcohol out of my diet.
As I started to heal, I found my 36C breasts were perfectly proportionate to the rest of my body and had completely transformed my figure into something new. I felt like a total babe. I could do ordinary things — work out comfortably, wear a normal bathing suit and even go braless in outfits that permitted it. Perhaps the best part was finding that once my breasts were raised to a normal level, I actually had a torso. I had never known.
Two months after surgery, I am pleased to say I have rediscovered the power of the rack, although this time it’s more of an intrinsic power. I don’t manipulate street vendors anymore, mainly because Brentwood has some kind of ordinance against street vendors. However, even if I do return to the Ponte Vecchio, I won’t use my breasts to wield bargaining power again. I don’t want to mess up my karma.
“I was putting up my Christmas tree when I got the phone call,” says Teri Johnson-Hiett, referring to the moment she found out she had breast cancer. It was right around Thanksgiving in 2005, eight short months after losing her mother at age 51 to the same disease. Teri was only 29.
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