Boobs

Boobs

“Honey, you should really get a boob job!” The middle-aged, blonde woman in the red bathing suit is supporting her own generous bosom as she wads through the pool towards me. She’s all smiles.

I can’t believe what I just heard. Only five minutes ago, I felt like I owned the W Scottsdale pool. Okay, not exactly like I owned it. But I did think I fit in nicely with the crowd populating it, even though I am not tanned nor physically enhanced in any way. The cocktail I was nursing might have helped my self-confidence a tiny bit. So might the warm welcome of our friends into their pool cabana. They hadn’t looked shocked at all when I retrieved my cover-up to reveal my body clad in a new bikini with padded top. Following their example, I had lowered myself into the lukewarm pool, holding my mojito just above water level, right in front of my modest chest. As I had returned my husband’s encouraging smile, I had even rolled back my shoulders and straightened my back.

In a flash, my self-confidence disappears. As if they had a mind of their own, my shoulders roll forward, trying to hide my A-cup.

Blondie doesn’t seem to notice. She’s clearly on a mission, addressing my husband now, who’s seated on the pool border.
“You should really pay her a boob job. She’d be so much happier,” she tells him, flashing me a conspiratorial smile.
My husband looks surprised.
“I’m not sure if she wants to get a boob job,” he says apologetically.
I decide to come to his rescue. “No, I assure you, I don’t. My breasts might be small, but they serve me just fine,” I say, pushing back my shoulders again. I’m not going to let a not-so-young Barbie bring me down, right?
“Oh, but honey, you just don’t know how good it is to have big boobs,” Barbie grabs her own rack more firmly to mark her words. “My mom paid for these babies last year, after my divorce. Well, I tell you, I have never been so happy in my life. I should have done this much sooner!”
I smile now, understanding that Barbie only wants to spread her happiness. This whole conversation is in fact nothing but an altruistic move. That, and maybe a slight attempt at attracting some attention to the lady’s own, lonely womanhood. If the latter is the intent, it works.
“Oh, I love your boobs!” my friend Christine exclaims, cupping her own grapefruit-sized breasts, “I’ve had mine for four years now, courtesy of that guy there!” she winks at her husband, who raises his glass to her — or is it to her grapefruits?
“I must tell you a funny story though,” she continues, “One day, we were having fun in the bedroom, when suddenly Eric exclaimed, “Turn around, I don’t wanna see you like that!”. I glanced down and what do you know? One of my boobs had popped! Just like that!”
“Oh no,” Barbie says, “What did you do?” I’m interested to know too, so I step closer to the ladies, bravely fighting the urge to cross my arms in front of my chest.
“Well, I was so lucky! Turned out it was still under warranty, so I just got it fixed. But boy, was that a sore sight!” We all laugh. I briefly wonder about health issues ensuing from leaking breast implants, but decide not to voice my concerns. No need to put the focus back on me, is there?

At night, we go up to our room to change for the night. Christine and Eric have invited us to join them and a few of their friends for sushi, followed by some dancing. I’ve been made to understand that a slightly revealing dress would not be inappropriate.
I hoist my body into a short dress with a high neckline and deeply plunging back, feeling grateful to have packed the garment. A deeply cut-out neckline would have put me to shame in big-boob-Scottsdale, but nobody’s going to comment on my legs and back, I’m sure. I top off my outfit with black, patent-leather stilettos and off we go, down to the hotel restaurant.

We quickly find our crowd, nursing martinis at the bar. The straps of Christine’s silk top seem to be under heavy strain to hold up her bosom. As she readjusts her breasts, Christine leans forward to whisper something to us, the ladies.
“This top hardly covers my nipples. If you notice one of them peeking out, please let me know,” she says.
I nod, always happy to oblige. Shirley nods too, her own gigantic hooters moving up and down in her black stretch top.

“How is Donna doing?” Christine asks once we’re seated. I am installed at the corner of the table, surrounded by three women.
“Well, she’s doing pretty well. Considering …,” Amanda replies. She turns to me, “Donna just had a breast reduction. She’d gone up to an F-cup, but found it a bit too heavy. So she had them reduced to a double D-cup.”
“Oh,” I say, refraining from saying I’ve never heard of a double D-cup.
“Double D is nice,” Christine says, “Do you think I should have mine upped to a double D too?” she eyes us, three women. I’m not sure if she expects me to give any advice. Christine’s pair looks pretty large to me. Bigger would be inconvenient I’d think. Then again, who am I to tell?
“Yours are nice.” Shirley turns to Amanda. “What size are they?” I glance at Amanda’s assets. They looks nice, indeed. Slightly smaller than Christine’s. I bet Amanda is a natural C-cup.
“I chose to have a C,” Amanda replies. I congratulate myself on my guessing work. I had the size right, even though I was wrong about the natural aspect.
“Only a C?” Shirley exclaims, “They look bigger. Must be because you’re so tiny.”
I longingly look over at the male side of the table, wondering what topics are being discussed there … I’m glad at least the women have the decency not to question me about my breast size. They probably think I’m one of those health freaks who wants to keep everything natural. And they might be right … Not even a bra enhances my little A-cup tonight, since bra straps would show in the back of my dress. Not that anyone would notice. Focus in Scottsdale is clearly not on backs. Breasts is what life is all about!

“Aureole alert!” Shirley calls out, just as a waiter hovers over Christine’s shoulder to refill her water glass.
“What?” Christine, slightly dazed, doesn’t get it. I try to gesture discreetly that it’s time to readjust one of her babies, but she doesn’t get the hint. The waiter does however. The young boy’s cheeks turn dark red as he quickly abandons the process of refilling Christine’s glass and returns to the bar.
“I said aureole alert!” Shirley calls out louder, making the four guests seated at the table next to us turn around. I smile apologetically, while Christine pushes the rebellious breast back into its silk pocket.

The remaining of the dinner is spent discussing various women’s chest enhancements or reductions. I decide to focus on the delicious sushi, trying to nod and to laugh at the right time. Until suddenly a young woman wearing a short skirt and a revealing top stops at our table. Her crowd, consisting of about ten people, all stop behind her.
“Can I ask you something?” She’s addressing me.
“Sure,” I say, slightly surprised. I just hope she’s not going to suggest I get a boob job.
“Could you please get up and turn around? I saw you come in and was telling my friends about your lovely dress, but we can’t see the back while you’re seated.”
Me?” I ask, “You want me to get up and turn around?”
“Yes, you look so lovely in that dress! I would love to show it to my friends.” Her friends all nod encouragingly.
“Oh, okay,” I say as I get up and make a little pirouette.
“Oh, wow!” someone in my audience exclaims. “Nice,” says another. “That is so sexy!” I hear a third voice.
“I told you, right?” the young brunette turns to her group. “Thank you so much. You really look gorgeous.” Upon that, she leaves, followed by her crowd.
Slightly dazzled and blushing heavily, I sit down again. My table companions — and about half of the other restaurant patrons — stare at me. That’s right. At small-breasted me! After a brief moment of silence, I hear Shirley say, a hint of jealousy lining her voice,
“Well, that must have made your evening.”

Shirley’s right. It did make my evening. In fact, it made my whole day!
Who needs a boob job when she’s got a sexy back?
I square my shoulders as we get up to move on to the dance club.
Watch out, dancing Scottsdalers; here I come!

Helene Toye is the author of ‘Go West, A Belgian Attempts American Motherhood’, available on Amazon : http://amzn.com/1493592548

Santa Clause comes to American children. We have Sinterklaas!

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    “I’ve circled what I want Sinterklaas to bring this year,” my seven-year-old son declares as he hands me the ‘Toys“R’”us’ catalogue.
I scan his selection and nearly have a heart attack. As expected, his choices are all marked on the Lego Star Wars pages. But Thibaut strategically ignored the cheaper sets, exclusively circling four sets in the $100 to $200 range, far exceeding the $50 budget we usually grant Sinterklaas for his purchases.
“You know, those sets are expensive. I don’t think Sinterklaas has that much money,” I tell my son.
“But that’s why I chose them. Sinterklaas doesn’t need money. He makes the toys!”
“No, he doesn’t,” I reply, grateful that I decided four years ago to hang on to our Belgian version of Santa Claus, instead of adjusting to the American ways.
“Santa Claus only comes for the American children,” I had declared at the time. “Belgian children have Sinterklaas.”

A word of explanation for those who don’t know Sinterklaas is in order, I realize.

Starting out as a bishop long ago in faraway Turkey, Saint-Nicholas (or Sinterklaas) was a good man who cared for the poor, motivating the rich people to share with the less-fortunate.
Somehow over the centuries, Sinterklaas’ personality seems to have split in two.

One of his halves moved to the North Pole and started visiting the United States on a yearly basis in a sled pulled by a bunch of flying reindeer. Just like everyone who spends a lot of time in the States, Sinterklaas gained a few pounds and shed his stern aura. The man scored himself a wife and recruited a small army of little people who happily set off to work in a toy factory that would have made Henry Ford jealous. Through all those reforms, the skinny, intimidating and severe-looking  alter-ego of Sinterklaas has transformed into a chubby and cheerful Santa, whose dark eyes — almost completely hidden by his round, red cheeks — seem to light up as he utters countless ‘Ho-ho-ho’s’.

Meanwhile, Sinterklaas’ other half also packed his stuff and moved from Turkey to Spain, where he started focusing on children. Before some of your dirty minds go into overdrive, a word of warning. Sinterklaas’ fascination with kids is not in the least perverted, even though he initially did enjoy the occasional spanking of badly-behaved boys. Nor is the man obsessed with children all the time either. Tradition has him living in sunny Spain all year, in the company of his mischievous servant, Zwarte Piet (literally ‘Black Pete’) and a white horse. Nobody really knows what Sinterklaas, Piet and his horse do all year. They certainly don’t keep busy making toys, the ways Santa’s elves do. The general assumption seems to be that they just lazily hang around, enjoying the warm weather and eating good food. But comes the end of November, Sinterklaas and his sidekicks start rolling. The three of them embark on a steamboat and set off for Belgium (don’t ever believe the Dutch when they say Sinterklaas is headed for Amsterdam. Antwerp is his destination, as all Belgians know). Once there, Sinterklaas moves from throne to throne, posing for pictures with children at department stores, corporate parties and youth clubs.
Then comes the night of December 5, the eve before Sinterklaas’ very own birthday. Instead of granting the poor, skinny, old man a much needed night’s rest, he is forced to mount his white horse. Now, this horse proceeds to exhibit some sudden magical powers by gracefully elevating itself onto the rooftops, where it’s hooves find perfect grip on the ice-covered tiles. Zwarte Piet — Sinterklaas’ faithful helper — walks next to the horse, carrying a big bag filled with toys. He is the one who descends down every chimney — hence his black face — artfully arranging the toys around countless Belgian fireplaces.. Grabbing the carrots that grateful children have left in their shoes to reward the magic horse, Zwarte Piet swiftly replaces them with unwrapped chocolate and candy, which Belgian kids will eat the next day — completely oblivious to any potentially funky shoe odors. In the olden days, Zwarte Piet’s sack also contained a whip which he would use on the ‘lucky’ bad kids. Their less fortunate bad peers would be unmercifully stuffed into Zwarte Piet’s sack and be delivered to Sinterklaas for a proper punishment, whatever that might have been.
Nowadays however, Europe got more civilized. Even we think using whips on kids and stuffing them into sacks might potentially be traumatic. As a result the whipping and sack-stuffing have been deleted from Zwarte Piet’s job description, considerably improving the man’s popularity among children.

My decision four years ago to adhere to our Sinterklaas tradition and to ignore Santa, was not borne out of a stubborn refusal to adjust to the American way of life. I just figured that our winters were spiced with enough presents as it was. What with both our children’s winter birthdays, Sinterklaas, our family’s Christmas gift exchanges, plus New Year? Besides, we had initially planned to move back to Belgium in a mere two years time, so why add new tradition we’d soon be dropping ?

“Where does Sinterklaas get his presents if he doesn’t make them?” Thibaut wants to know.
Now that’s a good question. Nowhere in the Sinterklaas stories, can one learn where the man gets his toys. Were they purchased at the store down the street? Does the bishop have an underground superstore in his Spanish Castle? Or does he use magic to fill Piet’s sack? It’s all very vague.
“I think he buys them,” I reply.
“That’s not possible!” Thibaut exlaims. “Everyone would recognize him if he went to the store.”
“Well,” I say, stalling while I think. “Maybe he sends Zwarte Piet to the store. He wouldn’t stand out as much.”
“With his flashy clothes and his silly hat with the feather? Mama, everyone would stare at him!”
“Well, … , I guess they just order everything from Amazon then,” I say, proud of my reply.
“For all those kids? That would take forever! Besides, Sinterklaas would have to give his password to Zwarte Piet. He’d never trust him to order stuff on Amazon!”
“Okay, …, well, …, I really don’t know where he gets the presents, but he certainly does not make them. You’d better choose some cheaper Lego sets for him to bring. He’ll never have enough money for the ones you selected.”

Slightly disappointed, Thibaut sets to work again, leafing through the catalogue in search of cheap presents. Suddenly his face lights up.
“I know what I’ll do!” he announces. “Soon I will become American, right?”
“Well, not very soon, but you will, eventually,” I reply, wondering where this is leading.
“Well, I’ll write an email to Santa, asking if he can come to our house this year already. Santa doesn’t need money to make Lego sets. He’ll bring me the ‘Death Star’ or the ‘Millenium Falcon’ for sure!”
Oh …
“What about Sinterklaas then?”
“That’s the good thing!” Thibaut jumps to his feet, all smiles. “You said we would be American AND Belgian. So Sinterklaas will still bring the good chocolate, the candy and the cheap presents and Santa will bring the cool toys!”

Oh, I guess we’d better start saving then …

Want to read more? Helene Toye’s book : “Go West: A Belgian Attempts American Motherhood” is available on http://amzn.com/1493592548