This is a story that, in reality, happened over a matter of seconds. Perhaps less. But in my mind, it lasted hours. Long, painful, silent, excruciating hours. And, at the behest of the editor, I’ll be spinning it into a fantastical yarn of breasts and teen angst. Time travel with me.
No it isn’t.
It’s 2008–it has been for a whole hour, now.
It’s the year I’ll turn 18. It’s been three whole months since I broke up with my first ‘real’ boyfriend. And I’ve cleverly moved on from untrustworthy musicians by developing a crush on the lead guitarist of the band in which I sing.
He’s tall, dark and handsome–a cliché, and one that I’m more than happy to have spent my New Years’ Eve with. He also looks a little like David Tennant, and the Whovian in me can’t quite deal (remember, it’s 2008). So we’ll call him Dave.
We’ve been at a party, all of us drinking, except for Dave – he doesn’t drink. Someone’s mum has been to pick us up and drive us back to someone’s house, where we’re all sleeping. One by one everyone has peeled off to bed. The beds and sofas are strewn with drunk teenagers with smudged makeup, messed up hair and torn tights. One bed remains empty. A single bed, in a spare room. My chest tightens.
I’ll offer to sleep on the floor, I think. He’s far too polite to let me, and we’ll have to share!
“You can take the-“ I begin
“No, it’s cool, I’ll take the floor.”
I smile, I nod, I scrub my far-too-glittery makeup off with a baby wipe. I’m in a strapless cocktail dress–one I’d found on the rack at the exact same time as my best friend, resulting in a party dress time-share and the two of us tossing a coin over who could wear it to the party. Inside the strapless dress is my far-too-skinny 18 year old body, a black thong from Tammy Girl that still fits, and the first strapless bra I’ve ever owned. And, of course, a set of chicken fillets to fill out my ironing board chest.
An aside: these were still the days before the body positivity movement, and despite being thin like the magazines told me I should be, I hated every single part of my young body. My flat chest was one of them. Also, for those uncertain, chicken fillets are little rubbery fake boobs that you pop in your bra when you’re feeling a little flat.
Dave is in his T-shirt and boxer shorts, arranging his jeans into a makeshift denim pillow. We could share? My brain has said. It’s sent the message to my mouth but my teen angst is working its very best to keep the sentence safely stuck in the confines of my throat.
I pull an XL T-shirt from my bag, and shove it on over my dress. I kick myself as I recognise the design on the front. It’s one of my ex’s band T-shirts. Great, I think. I definitely don’t look like I’m over him now.
Dave doesn’t seem to notice and is plugging in his silver flip-phone.
I fiddle nervously with the dresses invisible zip, fumbling it open, still thinking of a way to suggest that we share that damn single bed. If he says no, I’ll know that he’s not into me. But if he says yes…?
All aboard to booty town.
I shimmy the dress off, and pull the T-shirt further to cover my pants.
Next up, the magic bra trick. If you’re familiar with bras, you’re probably familiar with the ability to remove it from underneath your clothing. I did it slowly, hoping to be alluring and not awkward and odd. I ping the clasp, and slip it out of my sleeve, revealing it in all its black, lacy glory – lingering for just a second so that he could get a glimpse. I feel a sticky, almost peeling sensation under my shirt.
One after the other, my boobs fall to my feet.
I’d forgotten the chicken fillets.
I look down. Mortified.
Dave looks at the two fleshy lumps on the floor. He smirks.
“Your boobs fell out,” he says, and turns back to his phone. I die inside.