Wow, I have to say I am just blown away by the comments you all have left in response to my oral diplomacy post. Thank you so much! There is so much wisdom there, so much to think about, so much inspiration for... well, okay, here's an interesting twist. I just realized this morning that this confession of mine and the conversation it sparked has been very valuable in firming up the direction for my next novel. The one I haven't really done much work on for seven months. Part of the story will involve the protagonist taking a hard, honest look at her "promiscuous" past. Just as I'm doing. I hadn't meant for it to be "research" and yet all the feelings of hesitation, shame, anger, self-forgiveness, even tenderness are definitely going to be part of my protagonist's self-exploration. And it really makes me feel braver about going ahead with it with your support and interest.
Erobintica attended a workshop with Stephen Elliott and among other memorable things he said: "A book that everybody likes, nobody loves." I must plead guilty to thinking too much about the market at times. As if a "downer" book won't sell. But then I do circle back to the truism that if a writer isn't passionate about her work, readers sense that. Or at least if she is passionate, then whether it's published or not, it's a job well worth doing. The best job there is.
So I'm going to go for honesty in the book and it may not all be pretty.
Even so, I wanted to end this poignant tale on an up note of sorts. After Avignon, I returned to my junior year at Princeton that autumn with a few pretentious French-isms to my speech (for about a week), some cool posters, a nice denim mini-skirt, and some sad lessons about the low exchange rate of small breasts out there in the real world. At Princeton, my "deficit" didn't really seem to matter all that much, fortunately, but I knew my days in This Side of Paradise were numbered. I decided to adopt the same wry cynicism I used to deal with the "smart-girl-as-undateable" rule that operated beyond the Ivy as well and mostly forgot about the boob issue.
But then I got the opportunity to conduct a little anthropological experiment.
One of the eating clubs was hosting a "Come As You're Not" party around Halloween. As I was pondering possible costumes, I got a brilliant idea. I would borrow my roommate's 34D bra, stuff it with socks and go as a chick with knockers. My roommate agreed although she gave me a dubious look. Before I headed out to Prospect Street that Saturday at 11 or so, I stuffed the bra and took the additional measure of dressing all in pink. Definitely not me. I was amused that my sweater was straining in new places, but I put on my innocent mask and sauntered in to the party.
The results were fascinating.
I'll start with the people who knew me. Closer friends remarked on the change immediately and seemed amused. Acquaintances gave me funny looks, as if they couldn't quite figure out what was different, and were embarrassed to guess. But the strangers--the soldier boys in town for the Army game, especially, were staring at my temporary boobs with such longing, it was hard to keep from cracking up laughing. Yep, my chest was practically smoking from all the hot male gazes trained on those twin mounds. One rather cute, crew-cutted, tipsy-looking soldier stared and stared. When I moved, the eyes moved with me, at chest level of course.
What can I say? I loved it. I really enjoyed that feeling of pulling one over on them, of turning the American male's obsession with breasts into a joke. Guess what? You're in lust with a couple of pairs of sweat socks, buddy.
I don't think I stopped smiling all night.
But I was also glad I didn't have to deal with that kind of thing all the time. It felt good to take off the bra, toss the socks back into my drawer, smooth out the sweater, and go back to being me. Still, it was an interesting study--if I'd gone into anthropology, it might have made a good thesis.
Do you think any of those army boys dreamed about that "stacked" girl in pink? Alas, nothing but a dream....
Ah yes, form is emptiness, emptiness is form indeed.
Too bad for them they were distracted by the imaginary boobs instead of admiring your beautiful blue eyes.
Too bad for us no one took a picture. If it happened today, I'm sure it would be on someone's FB page.
Aw, I'm so glad I married you!
You guys are so cute, I feel kind of out of place chiming in. :-)
Hmm, an experiment: "Big Chested Like Me."
What you observed doesn't surprise me...sadly. There are a lot of guys out there who go all ga-ga over breast size.
I'm with Herr Doktor. It all starts with the eyes.
I'm with Craig and feel a little fifth wheelish after such sweet and loving comments...but I feel compelled to do so anyway -
I have a friend and I've mentioned her before out here in blogland. She's much more mainstream than me. Our friendship waivers because of her obsession over what she looks like. All. The. Time. Her 5'0", maybe 100 lbs frame got a brand new set of a-ta's at the beginning of this year and I nearly had a stroke when she actually went through with it. She elected to put those dangerous, and ridiculous looking plastic doo-jobbies into her body. Suffice to say, men do look at her boobs now, but nothing has changed for her where it matters, inside. She's still struggles with all the same old issues -
I guess I don't understand the obsession with boobs. I just don't get it. To me, a nice pair of legs, a firm ass, a great smile, an infectious laugh and yeah, pretty, soul searching eyes are so much more appealing.
Hmmm...I'm not a guy though. What do I know?
Thanks for sharing, Donna. I'm so glad all this feedback is helping you with your novel research.
Part of the story will involve the protagonist taking a hard, honest look at her "promiscuous" past. Just as I'm doing...And it really makes me feel braver about going ahead with it with your support and interest.
This is actually what I felt you did with Lydia. She's very promiscuous, and yet, she's very self reflective in her telling of her story to her students. She on the path to self discovery in doing so, but I also loved that she doesn't judge herself for her actions, nor does she put blame on others for her actions. It was one of those things that made her such a real and interesting character.
I really enjoyed that feeling of pulling one over on them, of turning the American male's obsession with breasts into a joke.
Well, it's not only American men who are obsessed with breasts; it's pretty much any man. LOL Most women too for that matter.
But I tell you one time for Purim when I lived in Israel on a Kibbutz, not having a full wardrobe as a traveler, I wore my bra and panties overtop a tight fitting Danskin top with long pants, both of a dark blue color.
I swear to God, I was fighting off guys right and left all night. It got so bad, guys begging me to go to their room with them that I went and hid out for a while. And I have no boobs! I was shocked since these same guys barely said hi to me during the day. It was almost like I was naked or something LOL. So it's not always about the size of the boobs. LOL
Still though, I think it would be fun to walk around for a day with a nice rack.
Do you think any of those army boys dreamed about that "stacked" girl in pink? Alas, nothing but a dream....
Hmmm... probably. Probably in the same way we women dream of a hot looking guy who we think would be the perfect lover, satisfying us completely, and with a huge cock. LOL
MB, regarding the statement it's not only American men who are obsessed with breasts; it's pretty much any man.
Do I enjoy breasts? Yes, but they are not a focal point to me, and size never has mattered. Check that, my eyes boggled at big breasts (such as I saw in Playboy and Penthouse) when I was going through puberty, but that changed by the time I was dating.
I do know men who are obsessed with breasts, but I know a good many who aren't.
Oh, come on in, Craig and Neve (and you, too, MB). We're all familiar enough with group scenes ;-).
The eyes are it for me, too. You can really tell so much. When I'm writing words fail me at capturing the humor, intelligence, attraction that the eye conveys. But I feel it!
I think the title of my thesis would be something like "Mammary Size and the Mating Rituals of Young Adults" lol.
I remember you mentioning your friend, Neve, and it's so interesting (and not surprising) that big boobs haven't filled the empty places. I also wonder about loss of sensitivity. I mean quality over quantity, ya know? It must also be intense to be so close to this situation, although plenty of doctors get rich off of that operation.
Your kibbutz story is so interesting, MB! It's almost as if you were sending an "I'm available" signal or something. Make up is a bit that way, too. "I wear lipstick, I play the game." (I rarely wear makeup, but I will this weekend to impress everyone ;-).
And you are exactly right. It's the lover we don't know who has it all!
Hey, I really don't have a breast obsession, in spite of the evidence. My oldest sister actually had a breast reduction because she was having severe back pain. So I know it ain't all good news on the other side.
You know, Craig, Jeremy mentioned he's not a breast man either. Add in Herr Doktor and we have three enlightened, intelligent, humorous, subtle gentlemen who aren't boob-maniacs. Could there be a relationship between the two here :-)?
Now, I can appreciate a lovely hourglass figure myself, I guess when it's just so...simple-minded...it pushes my buttons, lol.
To elaborate on what Donna said about my perspective (coincidentally, I was just in the middle of composing this comment to regurgitate what I'd written to her) ...
It's always a shock to me to be reminded how big a deal gets made of the breast thing in our culture. I was halfway oblivious to it in my own coming of age. I guess I was looking at other attributes (including physical ones—I'm not pretending I was or am blind to those), and it always surprised me when I was confronted with how narrowly many of my peers took breast size as the arbiter of attractiveness. It's especially weird because of the way this phenomenon is about the size rather than merely "we luv breasts." I mean, I like breasts, but if I find a set of breasts attractive it's because of the shapes, the texture and color, how they work with the contours of the entire body, etc. ... it's not like big = beautiful, small = not. I
like the way some women look with their smaller breasts, and the way
some look with their larger ones. I don't think I've ever thought a woman would look "better" with different breasts than what she had—the individual's physique works as a whole, after all.
Granted, in the sexual universe there's room for all sorts of favorites, fetishes, and fixations. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a particular individual having a "thing" for big breasts—or big asses or big cocks or whatever. But a societal fixation is perhaps a different issue than a personal fetish.
Oops: different from, not than, Jeremy. : )
i m late..again..the kids just eat up all my time right now..:-)
anyway...big boobs or not..i m sure there are many men dreaming of you ...still...:-)
thanx for sharing this personal piece
Jeremy, you really expressed it so well--I feel the same way. Who wants everyone to be the same or be what they are not. Variety is a gift and to appreciate each kind of beauty is a gift, too!
Lol, Danielle, well, that's a nice thing to say. I certainly hope my memory has lingered on ;-).
Craig- I only mentioned that because Donna specifically said "American" as if it's only American men while the rest of the world's men aren't obsessed.
To both Craig and Jeremy- as a small busted woman who's never had a problem attracting men, I can attest to the fact that boob size is not a factor often. I know lots of men for whom this is not an issue.
My first love, an artist and musician who was much older than me and who also practiced tantra, used to constantly tell me that my breasts emanated such beautiful energy. Size was of no importance to him because the woman he was with when I met him had the most gorgeous breasts I'd ever seen. Just perfect. Even I wanted to touch them and look at them. But he chose me.
So yes, there are many men out there for whom other things are more important.
But I do think that boobs in general are a fascination for most humans, male and female even if it's only what they represent primally: warmth, comfort and nourishment. Women want and need to be able to offer that and men want to sink into that. And generally larger breasts seem to be an obvious representation of that.
Yes, MB, I'm the one who put the blame on Americans, but you are certainly right it's an international thing--remember the French guys in the disco for starters. Just that in Japan, I sensed there wasn't that same focus. Large-breasted women were sort of made fun of a bit. Did you experience the same thing?
And definitely breasts are fascinating to all humans! As always, there's so much more to say about this. Perhaps in a later discussion!
Your story about your first love is really cool. I love that comment about the beautiful energy around your friends. I think I have some of that too ;-).
By the way, I was so focused on breasts (the topic, I mean) that I forgot to say thank you for having been included in the compliment below!
we have three enlightened, intelligent, humorous, subtle gentlemen
Just that in Japan, I sensed there wasn't that same focus. Large-breasted women were sort of made fun of a bit. Did you experience the same thing?
Well, I was there almost 10 years after you and I think it was becoming a thing that larger breasts were desirable to men. I think that in those 10 years more and more of western ideals in beauty were incorporated into the Japanese psyche.
I don't know if it was the case when you were in Japan, but even the "respectable" newspapers, which every man read on the train, always had a huge picture of a topless woman in one section and those woman all had large breasts. Not humongous mind you, but certainly much larger than the average Japanese woman. So I do think it was something becoming...
I also know that my best friend complained to me that her C cup was not enough for her Japanese husband who had been with a Mexican woman in America who was a double DD and preferred those. So there ya go! LOL
It's kind of weird, but I was more self conscious about my lack of boobage in Japan than in the west.
Maybe it's because in the west it's common to see large breasted women often whereas in Japan it was much rarer. It's kind of like how because I wasn't Japanese I wanted to be judged as a westerner and not put into the same categories as a Japanese girl and felt that having larger breasts would have fully identified me as a westerner or that I would be fully representative of a western woman.
Does that make sense? I know it's very odd. Growing up in America and living in Europe I was never preoccupied with my breast size. Only in Asia.
I read an article today in a fashion magazine that reported that 10.2 million people had cosmetic or nonsurgical procedures performed in the United States in 2008.
Some of the top five procedures preformed were:
Or in plain everyday language, wrinkle shots, boob jobs, nose jobs, and tummy tucks! So I think it is safe to say that most of these 10.2 million people were women afraid of looking old before their time.
It used to be that only the Joan Rivers of the world, the rich and famous were using these procedures to secure eternal youth, but nowadays everyone in the neighborhood is doing it or at least thinking it is an option!
I can't see it. But of course,
I am very curvy. But, sometimes I wish a man would look in my eyes instead of at my chest!
What a cool story! I just wanted to make a quick comment to tell you how much I enjoyed meeting you and Herr Dr DGS (and the boys) this weekend. It was such a pleasure getting to know you!
Donna, "downer" books sell big time, holy shit. I can think of a zillion downer books that are classics, must reads, golden. Maybe in "downer" you meant erotica, as in downer erotica? I don't know. I just jumped in and opened my fat mouth, but I can tell you that I've had more than one editor turn my stuff down because it's "dark," indeed, "downer," and that's okay. I write what comes natural to me. And I know who not to bother with my stuff anymore. You write, you submit, you learn.
Speaking of "downer" books: I just finished The Ruins. That was a fucking downer book, holy shit. Scary, suspenseful, and a real downer. Nobody lives, unlike in the film adaptation, and the book is so much better.
You are a sweet lady and a talented writer. That's all I care about, downer, no downer, who cares? Just stay true. :-)
Yes, it was so wonderful meeting you and Cyn (and Craig, too ;-). You all have such a positive, nurturing creative energy--so great to share that as a family. And I'm still enjoying the memory of that black raspberry ice cream and gnocchi! I hope we can do it all again some day.
Well you know, the sad part about this is, I don't think my story will be that much of a downer as they go. I'm just going through the pre-novel jitters and feeling like I want to be liked by everyone which means not being true. But thanks for that reminder--the truth. That goal excites and engages me. There may be a chance for light-hearted entertainment in my writing life, but I really get a weird feeling when I think about writing just to "sell." That's selling out big time. Anyhow, I'm back from vacation now and warming up the typing fingers for new work. I really do feel stronger with you in my corner! Hope your move is going well :-).
Post a Comment