I started writing about love songs, but I’d much rather think about cleavage. About a year ago I discovered my very own cleavage and have come to flaunt it. Flaunt in the way that a midlife teacher would, so don’t start thinking Madonna-flaunt (although I feel compelled to say that she is older than me). Think three unbuttoned buttons and not Italian stallioness to the belly-button unbuttoned.
Apparently I should be drooping now, what with having breastfed my two daughters for about a year each, but I still have bounce. This cleavage discovery (or rather “uncovery”) has enabled me to understand what a midlife crisis means: it means that you realize you wasted years of your life ignoring a part of yourself that deserves attention. Why? Why did I waste those years with high-necked tee shirts and two unbuttoned buttons when I could have been exposing hints of my sexuality to all passersby?
I could lay the blame on my father and his fairly prudish home-based restrictions and how they seeped into my own psyche. But I shall not. Nor shall I blame the good girl buttoned up image opposite the bad girl unbuttoned image, and I’m sure we know where I felt I must lie in that situation.
No, here I shall lay the blame on me. It’s my own fault. What was I thinking? I can be smart and put out, just a bit. I mean why not? Will the world come to an end if I feel a small, ever so slight feeling of joy when I look down and see that I am not just this cerebral (okay, I’m into exaggeration today) woman, but a sensual woman too?
I find it hard to believe now, but when my 17-year-old daughter was still nursing I decided to start a fancy nursing bra company. Yes, I even had meetings about my fancy nursing bra company. That is until I met with one executive at a bra company who looked at me after I gave my shpiel (I can use Yiddish here because this meeting took place in the garment district in New York that was practically founded by Yiddish-speakers) and asked how many women I thought would want a fancy, lacy nursing bra? And while I was trying to come up with a figure, she asked the killer follow-up question: how long did most women nurse? Hmmm. I got the feeling that she thought it was just me who would need a black lace nursing bra. I did get a lot of samples of lovely lace while researching this business proposal that got incorporated into years’ worth of Halloween costumes. But I really digress.
Back to my boobs. Maybe I discovered them when my daughters developed their very own. And my daughters are not hiding theirs. While they might not be told to “put clothes on” (as I love to say to the students who are going much too low in front) but those scoop neck (should they be called scoop chest?) shirts they wear show that they aren’t putting themselves in purdah. If my tween and teen can exude their sexuality why can’t I? I’m not dressing to look like my daughters (which I think is an impossibility at my size 14 to their size 0), I don’t see why I have decided to look old maidish when I certainly don’t feel that way. I mean if I wear (okay, buy) leopard print undies, I should be letting just a tad of the roar come to the surface.
Which is the beauty of cleavage. It’s a small roar. You aren’t completely hiding, but you also aren’t banging your presence on the head. No, that line where breast meets breast, especially if urged to join by a push-up, is subtle in the way that Barbra Steisand’s voice is subtle.
I will absolutely ignore the fact that the skin that is involved in my cleavage is getting a tad wrinkled. Or maybe I should embrace it; after all, I wouldn’t have gotten to this point of cleavage admiration if it hadn’t been for the years of life that brought the wrinkles about.
Gray hair. Chin hairs. Wrinkles in my décolletage. Oh, the joys of uncovering the latest me. I might not be new, but I’m the latest model. And this latest model comes with not-quite practically plunging necklines and a simple pride of coming into a new perspective in mid-stride.
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