I was nine years old when I started wearing a bra. A girl at church gave me her hand-me-downs, and I was so excited to wear them, because I thought they were mysterious and pretty...
I was nine years old when I started wearing a bra. A girl at church gave me her hand-me-downs, and I was so excited to wear them, because I thought they were mysterious and pretty with their soft satin cups and sweet little bows.
However, breasts came with a responsibility I did not expect. Babies you’re innocently holding want to nurse on them. Neighborhood boys want to touch them. Siblings make fun of them. Men like to look at them. You have to watch how you bend over, and can’t play like you used to, or throw your arms over the back of the couch, because for some reason it’s not “modest.”
In time the sweet little bows got traded in for underwires and back-country-road honks, waves and whistles. The itinerant workers in my small southern town followed me around the grocery store, stared at me in the laundromat, and sometimes followed us home. Years later, men joked about my breasts and a busboy I worked with at a restaurant begged to pay me $100 to see them.
Aghast, I declined.
My breasts brought loads of discomfort, but they were not the only part of me that drew attention. “Did you know you have a big butt?” I heard from a boy of seventeen. I should have called him out for his wandering eyes, but at sixteen, I wanted to melt into the floor.