a Waste of a Beautiful Pair of Breasts
what my mom said to me when I came out to her a little over ten
years ago. It wasn't the first thing out of her mouth. That would
be a shrill, dramatically extended, "Whhhaaaaatttt????"
as she steered her car off to the shoulder so as not to get in an
accident. I didn't mean to tell her over the phone but she left
me no choice. When you live 3,000 miles apart and your mom calls
constantly from her car phone -- I think that's what they had back
in '94, car phones -- wanting to know who you're seeing and what
happened to your neighbor Kenny you had such a crush on, and how
come she hasn't heard a guy's name mentioned in well over a month?
Frankly, she was asking for it.
probably would've helped if I had figured things out in a more gradual
manner. Growing up, I was quite the tomboy, wearing my hair real
short, playing boys' parts in musicals, and swimming in nothing
but a pair of cut-offs well past when I should have. I would've
figured things out a hell of a lot sooner if it wasn't for my mother,
Sandy, telling me when I was ten that she was worried I was going
to grow up to be a lesbian. That was all it took. There was no way
in hell I was going to grow up and become one of those. So I went
the other way with vim and vigor. I became this boy crazy 'ho throughout
junior high, high school, college, and my early 20s. I did such
a fine job of quelling my mom's fears that I suppressed all the
mad crushes I had on women over the years. I told myself that it
was very normal. Young women are supposed to have feelings for other
women. Intense, powerful, think-about-that-person-all-the-time-even-when-you're-having-sex-with-your-boyfriend
feelings. Clearly, my mom's statement had quite an effect on me.
And by the by, she does not remember saying it.
This is not about me coming out. It's about my boobs. My point was
that during this initial conversation where I shocked the shit out
of my meddling mother, she wistfully blurted out, "What a waste
of a beautiful pair of breasts." Which is so wrong and so gross
on so many different levels, I can't even get into it. It's easier
to chalk it up to classic Sandy. Still, like her lesbian premonition
she doesn't remember making, the waste of boobs prophecy was absolutely
mom harps. I'm not sure if I've mentioned that. Since I was about
25, she's been pushing for me to get a mammogram. Breast cancer
runs in the family. She hasn't been hit, surely thanks to all the
different vitamins and supplements and herbs and mushrooms she carries
around in her purse and pops on an hourly basis. Something has to
offset the mini vodka bottles that live in her bag, too. Anyway,
she's always reminded me to get checked. My boobs were big. Big
supple low hanging D's. Which I never appreciated. First, I'm a
smaller person. Second, I have a "little boy way" about
me, as this homeless guy with a lot of foresight once put it.
they were nice. Not worthy of all the hype my mom gave them, but
they garnered their fair share of attention. In conversation, guys
would always look me in the boob. It made me yearn for a smaller,
more manageable set. I'd considered getting a reduction, but I'm
a pretty firm believer in sticking with what you're given. I'm sure
the thought of major surgery and heavy scarring didn't help. So
I learned to hide them in loose clothing.
I put the whole mammogram thing off for a while to defy my mom.
She bugs me sometimes. A lot of the time, really. Every six months
or so, she'd ask if I'd gotten one. Not yet, Mom. I will. I swear.
insurance through the Screen Actors Guild was running out and I
was 34 and I figured, what the hey hey, time to go in for a "woman's
wellness" exam as they call it. Especially while someone else
is paying for it. I'm not a doctor person. I never go. I always
thought of going as a big waste. My mom said that's what you hope
for. That it's a waste. That's the point.
asked me on the phone if I wanted a male or female doctor. I went
for a lady. My mom had this creepy old gyno I saw as a teenager
who left a very bad taste. He told me I "protruded in all the
right places." Honest to god. And when I got home and reported
back to my mom, she laughed. This is what I'm dealing with.
the female doctor was cold and no-nonsense. She felt my boobs and
all seemed fine. I joked about my paranoid mom pushing me to get
a mammogram. Could we please just shut her up? So an appointment
was made and the girls were pressed and photographed.
I got dressed, the techie instructed me to read this laminated piece
of paper on the wall. Something about if you get called back in
for another mammo, it's no big deal. Lot's of people get called
back in. Okay. Did she see something questionable and felt compelled
to point out the disclaimer? Or did she always point to the disclaimer?
Surely, if it was on the wall all laminated like that, they wanted
everyone to read it. No biggy. I went home, and called my mom at
some point over the next few days to let her know I had the obligatory
mammo and now she'd have to find something else to harp on me about.
Done. I won. Moving on.
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