One night earlier this year when I couldn’t sleep, I channel surfed until I came upon Embarrassing Bodies. Have any of you seen it? If you have, you’ll know what I mean when I say that I absolutely can’t unsee some of the things that I saw that night. And I’m told I watched a particularly ‘PG’ episode.
The whole discussion around embarrassing bodies, though, is a fascinating one, as a sociologist and as an owner of a body. A discussion which I’d put to the back of my mind, until my body did something rather embarrassing yesterday.
You see, it’s warming up here in the capital, which means that I am abandoning my favoured cardigans and scarves for a more seasonally appropriate look. I’ve also been dipping back into some summer classics, and reinventing them in some new ways.
Yesterday, I wore my favourite tangerine Country Road cap sleeved blouse, tucked into my amazing look-a-size-smaller Veronica Maine pencil skirt (not that people need to look a size smaller – although sometimes a little flattery gets you everywhere). Because my favourite top is getting into its third year of wear, and starting to lose opacity, I layered it over a nude slip, so as not to unintentionally expose my appalling lack of planning in the lingerie department (summer is almost upon us and I have no nude coloured bras). I checked my look in the mirror, and decided that not a thing needed changing.
Wardrobe win, right? WRONG.
My body decided that yesterday was the day to do something embarrassing. As mentioned on this blog before in the context of bra shopping, I have a large bust. Favourable comparisons to Christina Hendrix have been made (thank you Jordan Hawthorne, Kitty Gilfeather, Amity Merryweather et al). Sometimes, they get in the way of functional daily life, but mostly, my boobs and I get along. I say mostly, because sometimes by boobs get together and decide to completely sabotage my life. I’d imagine the conversation going something like this:
Left Boob: Hey babe, I’m bored. Let’s stir this thing up.
Right Boob: SNAP! It’s like we share a brain. What did you have in mind?
Left Boob: Hows about we deploy a chronic attack of the high beams, ALL DAY LONG, for no good reason? That’ll show her Upstairs.
Right Boob: Right on! We could make this even more difficult for The Boss if we each pointed our beams in completely opposite directions – what a laugh!
Left Boob: We are so clever and entertaining for inanimate body parts. You take the high road and I’ll take the low road...
Right Boob: And I’ll embarrass Peggy before ye! Ignite super erect high beam nipples…NOW.
I think they would take over the world if they weren’t securely attached.
Anyway, back to yesterday. There I was, minding my own business, grabbing lunch with a colleague, sitting out in the sun before December drives me indoors in the name of UV avoidance. Walking through the corridor, I cheerfully greeted a number of vastly senior figures in my school, chatting away animatedly about the weather. Until I walked past the mirror in my office: The Horror, or, my particular version of the Horror - Beam Me Up (and Down) Scotty. Quickly, I established that, no, it wasn’t cold, and, no, Dwigh K Schrute was not awaiting me in my office with the sole purpose of making all my Christmases come at once.
It was a clear case of mammary mutiny.
Normally, when this occurs, I foil the cunning plans of my misbehaving breasts with artful draping of cardigans, scarves, and coats. Yesterday, though, I had no such option, and the bright orange colour of my ‘I’m ready for summer’ blouse only served to magnify the extreme beams.
The only solution available was to grin and bear it, and spend ten minutes in the university toilets with my blouse ruched up around my neck, manipulating my naughty norks and adjusting my bra so my headlights were at least even. This procedure meant I was ten minutes late for my much anticipated catch up with Amity Merryweather, who, fortunately, could see the funny side of my embarrassing body. We agreed that the reason why these sorts of things don’t happen to Christina Hendrix is because she pays someone to be her professional high beam monitor, sort of like one of those people at airports waving coloured paddles around to let the planes known when it’s safe to take off.
I’m considering advertising a similar position. Serious applicants only.