“Your boobs are too big,” a female relative told her, “People will think you’re a slut.”
She was only twelve at that time and with each passing month she cursed her growing bust-line that seemed in no hurry to slow down. No one else in the family had breasts like this and her posture slumped as she developed a scurry like the sort a freshly shaved dog has–a humiliated creature desperate to hide behind and underneath every piece of furniture in the house.
“If you keep sitting on a couch like you’re trying to sink into it,” another relative told her, “you’re going to be treated like a couch the rest of your life. You’re just sitting like a victim.”
A male physical therapist–assigned to rehabilitate her injured left knee rarely talked to her about her knee, and instead kept suggesting to her that she talk to her mother about getting a breast reduction. She dreaded the weekly visits to physical therapy because he constantly made comments like, “I suggested to another girl she should get a reduction and her life has been changed. It’s just getting rid of dead weight.”
This was coming from a man with tawny bowl-cut hair and a floppy mustache to boot. The evenings were icy around that time and he still insisted on walking around in Richard Simmons short-shorts and sneakers. As far as she was concerned he was an entire man’s worth of dead weight, and yet HE was the one trying to make her feel deformed because she had breasts? His watery blue gaze left her feeling as if there were probing fingers stroking every wrinkle of her brain. It lingered long into the night.
“I’m deformed,” she thought, “I have big boobs, so I look like a slut. Men will always pick on me.”
In later years, she told The Fella about that one old man in Spain who walked past her as she sat on a bench. He smiled at her and she smiled back. When he returned, he had a porn magazine, the sort they sell in Spain right on the stands next to coloring books and celebrity gossip rags. She wanted to get away, but it was a crowded town square, and some people were looking at them, and she felt such a flush of embarrassment that she couldn’t bring herself to stand and run.
He said something in Spanish, and she glanced at him and his eyes were hidden behind thick dark glasses and his teeth were small and widely spaced apart. He pointed to the tits on the woman in the magazine and pulled his glasses down and gazed at her chest.
“You shoulda hooked him,” the Fella says as he rolls a cigarette. “Fucking nugget pedophile. Shoulda hooked him.”
“I don’t know, I just didn’t want to bother anyone.”
“Ach, well…” his voice drifts off as he stares at his cigarette smoke.
The old man in Spain left her on the bench with the feeling she’d just been raped in public without having even being touched. What attracted his attention that day?
“He smelled a victim,” The Fella said.
“And that’s my fault?” She exclaimed.
“It’s just a fact, he was hunting, that’s all,” He replies.
She watches the scene in the movie “Black Swan” where the old man on the subway is grabbing his crotch and making kissy faces to Natalie Portman. She realizes that the movie is making a point that this tiny, pink-clad, mother-pecked girl-woman is inviting her own tormentors. She’s giving off the victim vibe and attracting the “wrong attention”. The same holds true for the timid woman character in the film “Little Children” who has her soft and forgiving nature abused by a pedophile feeding off the knowledge he has of her being a survivor of molestation. The man gleefully taps into her “victim vibe.”
Oh, it’s easy enough to blame victims, to count back the steps to any sexual disaster a woman has survived and hold her nose to the various mistakes she made that led her to doom. If a harassed or raped woman isn’t “slut-shameable” during the given grievance, then the next logical step is to bring her fragility on trial. Everyone looks at her and asks if she was indeed inviting that dreaded “wrong attention”.
She can’t change how she walks, because of the deformed build of her knees, so she will always seem lamed in posture. She doesn’t WANT to change her girlish demeanor, or chop off her large breasts, even if it does make her that much more appealing to dirty old men looking to intimidate and sexually shame her. She can’t change any of that anymore than a Pomeranian or Chihuahua can make itself big…. OH!
“I saw the funniest thing today,” she tells The Fella.
He smiles in reply, his cheeks puff out a bit and his pale eyes lock onto hers briefly.
“Okay, so there was this woman walking a Pomeranian…” she continues.
“Are those, the wee fluffy cat-dogs?” He asks.
“Yeah!” She says, sitting up and waving her hands along with the words in her story, “And like, this Big Man walks right up to her and he’s all, ‘Awrite, darlin?’, and he leans over to pet her dog and that thing like… omigod have you ever seen the Blade movies?”
“What?” he exclaims.
“Nevermind!” She says, “The point is, he bends over to pet this dog and the thing like sprouts fangs and a second mouth, and practically tears the guys face off, and he just screams and stuff and runs like Satan just attacked him! It was hilarious.”
“You see now,” The Fella says, “That’s why I like those wee dogs more than the big ones, they send the Big Man fuckin running. Fucking yasss.”
She’s walking through the shopping centre and she’s wearing her favorite child sized red glitter flats. A squat old man with thick glasses falls into line beside her, “Hello, darlin’, awrite?”
She gives him a nod.
“Gies a click, hen. Click yer heels!”
She ignores the old fart and he chuckles as he follows her.
“Mon, hen,” he says.
She stops walking, she turns and faces him, and she feels that familiar helplessness telling her she should remain frightened and still, like a fawn hidden in the tall grass.
The dirty old man’s eyes go up and down her body, and his smile cracks his face. It’s her breasts, and her legs, he wants, and she knows how nice they are. She thinks of how good her breasts feel in her hands after she’s had a shower and she’s drying off, or at the end of the day when they’re tight in her bra. She thinks about how she loves running her fingers along her legs when they’re smooth, and the first thrill she received when she felt The Fella running his fingers across them. See now, those were things this dirty old man was NEVER going to know or feel.
You’re not getting a thing from me and never will…. Now, she doesn’t say that out loud but she thinks it as she stares him straight in the eye, and she feels taller, and she feels arrogant. It’s a heady feeling that swells inside her from the belly up and the dirty old man becomes just a feeble old man. Without an exchange of word, the confrontation flips and the old man lowers his gaze and shuffles away.
Ah, so a little dog can scare off an old dog!
“Watch it, Paki!” An angry big man, barks at her as they brush by each other on the pavement.
Snap! It’s like a mouse-trap sprung in her belly and this time the words do fly as she snarls,“Dude, seriously? I AM NOT IN THE MOOD RIGHT NOW!”
Her voice gets tinny and high when she’s angry, she can’t imagine it being very intimidating at all to a big old Scotsman. Still, he jumps back as if bitten and he holds up his hands, “Awrite, lassie, awrite! I didney ken you were a yank!”
“It shouldn’t matter!” She yells. “Racist!”
And the big man, although he laughs at her, although he could easily overpower her and blame her “smallness” as the reason she was asking for it, backs away from her.
Every man in the world can gape and grin, they can gawk at dirty magazines and push and paw, and everyone else can point and say, “she’s too meek, she’s inviting the wrong attention”. What sense did that make? Men and women bigger than her and fiercer than her, were assaulted and bullied every day without being accused of inviting their tormenter. If she were going to get overpowered, murdered, or raped at some point it would make her no different, or no “more deserving” of it than anyone else who has fallen to such a fate. She certainly knew her boundaries and made it clear when they were crossed, but she saw no reason why she should become some magical warrior ninja just to please the masses yearning for her to apologize for her meek exterior.
There’s a quiet moment after love making, when The Fella has rolled off her and she’s catching her breath. In the now silent room he leans back over and he takes her nipples gently into his mouth one and then the other.
“Oh yes,” she whispers and she runs her fingers through his hair and closes her eyes.
She’s given him permission to her body and the very thought of that excites her more than anything. Cruel people had the power to assault and to frighten, but they could never take her power to GIVE, and she sure as hell would never give a thing to them. It didn’t matter how small she was because at the end of the day she was the gatekeeper to her soul, and she was the one who controlled the pleasures of her body.
That time I wrote about: James Franco
Cee Martinez is a tea swigging cat lady without a cat. She lives in a china cabinet in Golden, Colorado writing fictions and lies. If she likes you maybe she’ll let you sit with her a wee while. A number of her short stories and poems have appeared in anthologies and magazines in print and online and her first novel “Antipathia” is onsale now.