August 26, 2008

bosom buddies

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 9:30 pm by marinagrey

“Beige and giant, like you could parachute out of a plane with [it]”

“Its attempts at coy femininity — an off-pink shade, a wee bow — are utterly unconvincing. I’ve seen less fabric in a sweater.”

“a flesh-colored medieval torture device”

Are you wondering, yet, what on earth I’m talking about? I’m quoting three wonderful women who wrote very personal, touching, frank and completely hilarious articles about shopping for large, large bras and the realities of having huge hooters.  They wrote, essentially, of every joy, sorrow, embarassment, and shame women of my..um…stature have experienced. All links to these great articles are found in this post.

At 5 foot 3, I wear medium-sized clothes and have a size 7 foot– normal. 

Petite, even.

But the boobs? I’ll quote from writer Sarah Hepola: “Well, I could hazard a guess. I was something bigger than double D. I was a 34 ridiculous. A 34 pain in the ass.” 

While my bra size has shrunk to a more manageable size due to daily 3-mile runs (and fantastic, amazing, wonderful sports bras from Title Nine), there have been times in my life–times I’m not proud of– where I quite honestly haven’t had the guts to know my true bra size.

So where did the knockers come from?  I’m blaming my Italian paternal grandmother, and weight gained (and, mostly, lost) in college. But really, there’s no way of knowing. There’s just the everyday existence of being known as Tits McGee and Chesty McChesterson, of guys being either turned on or put off by them, of eternal back (and shoulder, and knee, and ankle) pain and the embarassment of having to change in front of anyone.  There are the charges, not from men alone but a fair number of my fellow women, that occur anytime I’m wearing something more fitting than a muumuu: slut, skank, attention-whore.  There are stares while walking down the street, and angry looks from girlfriends if I so much as talk to their boyfriends. 

The attention, to me, is not positive.  It is not thrilling, nor is it desired or sought out.  But I haven’t lost much sleep over it, either.  Honestly, I have better things to worry about.

Like how to find a bra created for women who <gasp!> actually have breasts.  Or a dress that doesn’t make me look like I work on a street corner, nor in a convent. 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I realize that the pain and stigma goes both ways.  One of my very best friends, with whom I grew up, is pretty much entirely flat-chested.  She dreads having to buy “almost-A” cups at 23 years old. And with the huge numbers of women paying lots of money for bigger breasts, it is evident that society has little place for “mosquito bites”.  However, I must remind Flat Frida and her friends that in 20 years, when we Mammoth Marinas are hoisting our chests into said “torture devices”, they will be picking out cutsie, feather-light training bras with their granddaughters.

 There are probably very few women out there who feel entirely at peace with their bra size, and that is a very sad thing.

We can point fingers, lecture, and hypothesize all day long about what America’s mania over mammaries stems from, and I encourage your comments along those lines! But starting today, I’m proclaiming myself a Bosom Buddy.  I will not make disparaging remarks about breasts- neither mine nor anyone else’s.  I will buy top quality bras, regardless of how much they set me back, because I deserve cuteness and bows and SUPPORT alongside my smaller-chested sisters. I will be sure to keep fit and eat well, because in truth, they only start to become unmanageable when I’m over my healthy weight. 

And maybe one day, I will decide to have a reduction.  And a lift.  But for now, I’m happy just the way I am:

Boobalicious. Boobtastic. Boobarific.

me :)

August 21, 2008

ode to the semicolon

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 4:54 am by marinagrey

I read an article in Salon today about my most favorite punctuation mark of all time: the semicolon.

Basically, the gist of the article is that the semicolon is perceived by some as a feminine punctuation mark, with all the caprice of a young girl and nuance of a mature and experienced woman.

Here here, I say! The semicolon and I have been through good times and bad, short stories and term papers. Sure, I may have flirted with the exclamation point (!) in grammar school. And there was a fling with the comma in high school, but like all things in high school, it came to an overly emotional and dramatic ending.

The semicolon and I are lifelong partners in crime. We are soulmates; the semicolon anticipates my every need. We are womanly, curvy, and hesitant. We are thoughtful, organized, and resolute.

So, here’s to you, semicolon; you certainly deserve my praise!

much love and fondness,

the grammar goddess (aka marinagrey)

August 10, 2008

in praise of les femmes

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 11:20 pm by marinagrey

note: this post was written in June of 2008, one month before my move to Chicago and in the midst of the release of Sex and the City and the end (and aftermath) of Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency. -MG

For whatever reason- maybe because I’m moving into womanhood, or maybe because I’m just moving, again, I’ve become acutely aware of the women in my life. Its not that I was ever without a strong female presence, just that for the past few months I’ve really noticed how vital female companionship and love is. One theory is that with the strong presence of women in the media these past few weeks, I cannot help but think of those present in my own life. Indeed, between Carrie Bradshaw and Hillary Clinton, how could I help but reflect?

I am twenty-three. I am recently out of a long-term relationship. I am leaving my first “real” job and returning to school. I am moving to a big city with a girlfriend, and it seems like lately, everyone is either getting engaged, getting pregnant, or getting a life of their very own. So there are many reasons why I’ve noticed the women in my life; the important part is what, exactly, I have noticed.

It began with the breakup. After the end, I called two girlfriends and talked with a third, my housemate. The girls were available immediately, telling me just what I needed to hear and making plans to keep me occupied for the next few days. They sent cards, took me out to dinner, offered a glass of wine. They knew, instinctively, what I needed. I didn’t have to ask; I simply informed them of what had happened and they were there.

That female bonding came into play at a bridal shower I attended (actually, I helped throw it) this past weekend. My family is close with the groom and his parents, not the bride. Yet my mother and the other (female) neighbors spent an entire Saturday ensuring that this young woman had a proper shower. She had food, and family, and beautiful decorations. She even had cake and a goofy tiara to wear. Why? Why did a group of women decide to do this?

That’s the thing about women. We don’t decide to do the things we do. We simply act. Men and women both joke about how much thought females put into things, but the truth is that when it comes to acting on instinct, we can make snap decisions alongside the most primal of men. Women are nurturers. We do not think about consoling a friend through the end of a relationship; it simply must be done. We do not ponder whether we know a fiancée well enough to buy her kitchen appliances; we simply check out the registry.

Perhaps that’s why, as my move-in date draws near, I am increasingly grateful for the women in my life. I know, deep down, that Chicago is not the last city I will live in. After 5 moves in as many years, this is something I sense and know to be true. And I believe also that I will take many missteps and learn some tough lessons in the future, as I have in the past. Most importantly, I know that the women who lived with me, taught me, listened to me, and helped to cushion my falls are also the women who will support me, laugh with me, and be by my side, through our quarterlife and well beyond.

Many thanks, and cheers, to the gals!