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She Always Wanted Bigger Boobs, Then Learned to Be Careful What She Wished For

All her life she wanted to really fill out a bra—a B cup at least—but then came breast cancer. Now Densie Webb would take back her smaller, imperfect boobs in a minute.

I’ve wished for bigger boobs ever since I realized at about age 15 that my A cups were all I was going to get. My “condition” is a genetic hand-me-down from my mother.

Padding was an option (“falsies” as we called them then), but when I was single and dating, there was always that moment of truth. My least favorite memory was the guy who, as I exposed myself both literally and figuratively said, “You have really small breasts.” Really?  I’m shocked, but thanks for bringing that to my attention. The perfect rejoinder, of course, would have been to comment about his shortcomings. But, unfortunately, he had none. On a scale of 1-10, he was an 11, maybe a 12, now that I think about it. Probably why he was so arrogant.

Then there was the guy who, bless his pea-pickin’ heart, thought he was being complimentary, when he offered up this unsolicited comment, “I like small breasts,” as if he was preemptively soothing my feelings of inadequacy. It felt like a slap in the face. Just imagine if I had offered up a similar comment after assessing his attributes. “Gee, I love small penises.”

The Braless Phase

I went through a phase in the 80s when I figured why wear a bra? (In fact, another wonderfully sensitive person of the male persuasion had asked me that exact question.) So, I began thinking, what is it exactly I’m trying to support here? But my braless phase ended when I realized that the guys in the mailroom at work were staring like Beavis and Butthead (remember them?) whenever I bent over and my loose top gave a panoramic view of what (little) was underneath. Men.

Breast implants were not as common then. I did mention it to my husband a few years ago, but he let me know I was too old for such nonsense. Thanks, Hon. To his credit, it never seemed to bother him. I do remember once, shortly after he came to this country from Israel, and before his English had reached the advanced level, he looked at me while I was changing and said, “You’re so sneaky.” Translation: “You’re so skinny.” I have a feeling he might have been referring to more than my rib cage, but I didn’t pursue it.

Men have their own size issues, but the discrepancy is far less obvious than it is for women. While men can make themselves feel incredibly inadequate, obsessing over the difference of an inch or two, women get to compare massive side-by-side differences that are pretty much out there for the world to see.

I’ve heard really large breasted women say it’s a curse, not a blessing, and I’ve known a couple who had to resort to the messy and quite painful business of breast reduction surgery. Given a choice between that and my puny chest, I’d stick with what I was given. Still, almost any small-breasted woman will tell you that the other end of the spectrum is a curse as well. Clothes never fit well, especially dresses and swimsuits. Few clothes are made for bodies with a top that’s two sizes smaller than the bottom.

Read More: My Cups Runneth Over: What Menopause Has Done to My Boobs

The Victoria’s Secret Dressing Room

My daughter, however, has been spared my fate. And as ridiculous as it may seem to the women who actually have something to fill out a bra, I am thrilled for her. When she was in high school, I went with her to Victoria’s Secret to shop for a swimsuit. As I waited outside the door while she changed, I saw women of all shapes, sizes and ages entering and exiting dressing rooms with all manner of underthings. I overheard one woman ask the salesgirl. “Do you have this push-up in a 34 Double D?” Say what??

Even the salesgirl hesitated for a second and said, “I’ll check, but I doubt if we carry it. Usually if you’re that ‘blessed’ you don’t need anything to enhance it.” Or something to that effect. She definitely used the word “blessed.” I looked down at my own chest and thought, I must have been absent the day they were handing out the boobie blessings.

When my daughter emerged from the dressing room to model her bikini for me, I was amazed and relieved that I had to tell her, “You’re hanging out of that top. You need a bigger size.” She had not inherited my genetic hand-me-down of tiny titties.

Another Surprise

A few years after I saw for certain that I hadn’t passed on my boob genes, I had another surprise. This one not so pleasant. I developed breast cancer. (Oh, the irony.) Squeezing my tiny bits of breast tissue into those torture racks called mammograms had always resulted in the all clear. But, it turns out, breast tissue, even breast tissue as limited as mine, can grow bad cells out of the range of a mammogram.

My breast cancer took up residence in space that could hardly be classified as breast tissue at all. I was lucky, though—stage 1, no chemo. Lumpectomy was tried, but it was no go. Precancerous cells were abundant. A second attempt at a lumpectomy to avoid a mastectomy was a failure, so a mastectomy was my third and last option. I’m not sure I even realized at the time the lengths I was clearly willing to go to save my much-maligned breast.

On the first visit to the plastic surgeon, I was asked, “Do you want to go bigger?” I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just the wee bit excited over the prospect. Despite the cancer thing and my age, it kind of felt like I was finally getting my boobie blessing. My right boob was scooped out like a melon, keeping the external skin and nipple and a larger implant “installed” on both sides. Five surgeries later (long story) they’re a bit lopsided, and sag unevenly, but with a bra, my clothes fit better. When it was all done and I had healed, I felt positively voluptuous. My husband marveled at how natural it felt (on the left side, not my oddly misshapen scooped-out melon on the right). My friends nodded in approval at my new and improved profile.

Boob Job Regrets? Answering the Big Question

Was it worth it?
I think you know the answer to that question. If I could go back and undo the cancer, undo the surgeries and everything that came with it, including a medication I must take that is designed to sap whatever estrogen I might have left, I’d gladly give back my bigger B cups for my previously healthy bitty boobs any day of the week. So, as the sage saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” You never know exactly how your wishes might come true. Wish for thinner thighs, fewer aches and pains, fewer gray hairs and you just might get your wish, but not quite the way you imagined.

So, I’ve decided to work at accepting whatever physical deficits—real and imagined—that I develop as I age, including my larger, but lopsided, B cups.

Read More: What to Do and Say When a Friend is Sick With Cancer

A version of this story was originally published in June 2017. 

By Densie Webb


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