“My Cup Runneth Over,” by Robin Griffin

Sep 23rd, 2020 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

I’m a 34FF cup (or more) with an A cup personality. You won’t find me leaning over tables revealing where my tan line ends. You won’t catch me in skin tight sweaters or low-cut halters. You’ll never find me lounging by the pool without my t-shirt. In my fantasies, I’m an artsy, dramatic figure, a sleek line dressed in black from head to toe, my hair pulled back in a pony-tail, my back bent over a 1960 typewriter. Tiny, perky breasts emerge from this fantasy silhouette. At times, I have almost accomplished that svelte figure, but two large obstacles always obstructed my way.

Be careful what you wish for. It all started when I was five in our blue enamel bathtub. I looked down at my wet, flat chest and prayed to God to endow me with large breasts like my mother’s. Each morning, I watched her ritual of slipping her bra straps over her shoulders, bending over from the waist and placing each breast in a cup, standing up, and reaching back to hook the back. So womanly to my five-year-old mind.

“Ask and ye shall receive,” the good book says. I received my wish in the fourth grade as shy little buds. By the time I entered Mrs. Smith’s fifth grade class, I was a well-developed ten-year-old. Only Mavis Jones had larger breasts than mine.

At first, I was proud. At a sleep-over, I fascinated Cassie by squeezing my breasts together to create cleavage. But then, I started to learn the dark side of big breasts. Cassie and Kat, my two best friends in the classroom—both sporting concave chests, giggled and whispered near me about “milk duds.” Cassie began spending more time at Kat’s house and together they called me at home to harass me.

“What are you going to be for Halloween?”


“Cinderella? That’s so babyish. Waddya need those milkduds for if you’re gonna be Cinderella?”

Then there was Vern. Vern Vander. Every stretch I produced released an observation from him.

“Whoa! Look at Robin’s tits!”

Blushing from top to bottom, I quickly curled back into myself forming my soon-to-be trademark posture for the next 35 years.

I begged my father, the money dispenser, for a bra like Mavis wore, a real bra—not a training bra. I was way past that, but he was blind to my desperation. He shook off the request as if something was not quite clean about developing breasts. That year and for two more years to come, I refused to wear white, thin blouses that revealed the outline of my dark nipples for fear of more remarks from the Vern Vanders in the world.

In seventh grade, cheerleader tryouts came and went. I made my refusal a political stance (on 1970s antiestablishment grounds), but the truth was I just couldn’t picture myself jumping up and down, breasts bobbing out of control, in front of a crowd of football fans, and more importantly, in front of boys. Finally, half-way through the seventh grade, my father gave my mother permission to buy me a bra. By then, I was a C cup.

In high school, I developed my own fashion regime: my dad’s flannel shirts, boys’ baggy corduroys (I was wearing them long before they were fashionable), and a wide black belt on my hips to hold the pants up. My fourteenth summer, out of fear of revealing my underdeveloped skinny legs and my overdeveloped bosom, I refused to wear a bathing suit or shorts. In North Carolina. Hot, humid, muggy, North Carolina. I wore my loose shirts and droopy jeans while the rest of my comrades skinny-dipped in the moonlight.

Relationships with boys were painful. One day, as I and a carload of other teenagers were parked down Thunder road, drinking Rolling Rock, one boy popped out with “I bet your nipples are the size of silver dollars!” Already shy, I blushed and looked away. On my first double date, my first date period, a blind date no less, set up by the girlfriend of the aforementioned boy, I sat in the back seat, arms crossed against my chest, eyes focused on the drive-in movie without speaking a word. My date tried tickling me, but I just wiggled away. Disaster.

By college, I was a DD cup. In one photograph, I am sitting with a group of friends on a beach blanket by the ocean. My boyfriend is standing, chest bared to the ocean winds. Our friends sprawl in various positions revealing chests and breasts all tight and perky. I’m sitting with my knees drawn up to my chest, hugging them tightly.

By the time I graduated from college and moved to Raleigh, I wasn’t sure what size cup I really wore. I squeezed those melons into the smallest cup possible, usually a DD, with hunks of skin protruding over the sides. Once out shopping for a bra, I engaged a flat-chested saleslady for help. I should have known better. In the dressing room, she fell back against the wall, hand over mouth, laughing, gasping, and crying. Humiliated, I brought home the contraption she sold me, flung it against the wall, and fell across the bed bawling. The brassiere had a back strap about six inches wide, two-inch shoulder straps, and the front…well, the front looked like I planned to enter battle. Only in my early twenties at the time, I felt as though someone had confined me to old lady support shoes for the rest of my life.

Then God decided to give me a respite and introduced me to Dr. Satterfield. Dr. Satterfield was the kind of doctor who would put his arm around me after a gynecological exam and say, “I know that wasn’t easy for you.” He was the kind of doctor who noticed warts on my knee and removed them for free. He even dispensed free muscle relaxants to me when I woke up with a stiff neck one morning. He was so attentive that I wasn’t too surprised when he popped the question, the breast question that is.

“Have you ever thought about a breast reduction?”

Since those days, I’ve often wondered if the doctor’s success wasn’t due to his mind reading capabilities.

“Money is no problem,” he assured me. “Your insurance will cover it. It’s a bona fide medical problem. In the future, you could have back pain and other problems.”

It took me, oh, about five minutes to make up my mind, in spite of the fact that plastic surgery was not very common back then.

On a consulting visit, the surgeon, Dr. James, inquired about my ideal cup size.

“A!” I blurted because since fifth grade I’d lamented my prayer to God. I wanted to wear halter tops and spaghetti strap sundresses with no visible bounce.

“Well, that’s a little drastic. We like to try a little closer to your normal size, so it won’t be such a shock. How about C?”

Reluctantly, I agreed.

At work, Dan, who loved to dress up as famous buxom women, tried to talk me out of it.

“Look at Dolly Parton! Are you sure you won’t be sorry?”

After surgery, my breasts were rock hard for a few months. I put on spaghetti strap sundresses and reveled in my no-bounce state. I felt a new confidence emerge that before had been hidden under layers of loose clothing and confining brassieres. God, however, knows that a gift is a gift, and you shouldn’t give it back. Or maybe it was my new attitude toward men that made the Almighty decide that enough is enough.

A few years passed, and the C cup relaxed into a D cup and stayed that way until my pregnancy when it ballooned to FF. Everyone assured me that my size would go down once the baby was born and I began breastfeeding. Since I was a huge ball everywhere, I really didn’t mind. But after the years of breastfeeding, my breasts did not reduce. They were still a solid 34FF. At least that’s what I squeeze them into these days.

What I should have asked God for in that bathtub was the personality that could support large breasts, but these days I am very careful of what I ask the Supreme Being. Instead, I am working on simple satisfaction with my destiny. A while back, a roommate brought home the magazine, Juggs, and showed me a photo of a woman who held the Guinness Book of World Records in breast size—38I. Yes, things could be worse.


Robin Griffin currently teaches English at Truckee Meadows Community College in order to keep herself fully stocked with Ghirardelli chocolates.


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