Boobs: The Last Frontier of Body-Shaming
When you turn 50, if you’re normal and not pathologically overly positive, you fall into a depression. Regrets hit harder; the knee you busted trying to impress a boyfriend 20 years ago hurts more; and you start obsessively checking your retirement account and panicking.
But there are benefits too, mostly of the I-don’t-give-a-fuck variety. Dramatic friends no longer keep you up at night, you have no shame in declining plans, and because you’re entering that invisible stage society reserves for women who can no longer reproduce, no one comments on your looks anymore.
Or so I thought. Hello, my name is Adeline, I am 50 years old, and I was body-shamed on Instagram because I have humongous boobs.
My maiden voyage with body-shaming at 50 started last Monday, but let’s get a few things out of the way first. Yes, my boobs are real. I did not buy them and I did not ask for this. Yes, I know they are huge.
No, I don’t know why they keep growing and why they are so big. (Weight gain only explains part of it.) Yes, I hate them. Yes, I have consulted surgeons (three so far) about a reduction. (One wanted $40,000, one told me I was too fat to operate on, and one looked at them and let out a low whistle and said “you have to fix this immediately.”)
But I (obviously) still go out in the world. I go on dates and wear push-up bras (because minimizing bras make you look like a penguin). I still wear bathing suits and splash around in the ocean because it’s my favorite thing to do. This is why I jumped at the chance to take off work to try stand-up paddleboarding with my old friend Ed, whom I hadn’t seen since junior high. For people keeping score at home, this means we hadn’t seen each other for 35 years.
It was great. I eventually learned how to stand. Ed was a patient and funny teacher. We saw pelicans up close and little kids shrieking while they ran into the water. Afterward, we lay in the sand while Ed told me about the daughter he had lost to cancer six years ago (“she was my buddy, she would go on any adventure”) and I caught him up on my various heartbreak over the years. Sandy, salty, and warm, we…