by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
When Dierda pulls the apparatus from its box, we grasp. Translucent, gelatinous, slick, vaguely pink, it quivers in the air as she holds it up for inspection. "Gather-the-Girls," says Dierdra cheerfully, reading from the packaging. It is an adhesive strapless bra. It is both boosting and sweat proof. It is what Dierdra plans to wear under her clothes to out friend's wedding, for which we girls have gathered in New York.
At age 36, we are not really girls anymore. But when we first became friends, and back then we never would have referred to our breasts as "girls": We were too serious, too grateful, to turn potential objects of desire into a joke. From the money we made scooping ice cream and serving burgers and bagging groceries, we spent an inordinate amount on beautiful bras. Breasts demanded respectful attention, harbingers as they were of sex and love, the two things we thought we wanted most, and probably in that order.
We laugh and shriek as Dierdra emerges from the bathroom in her bridesmaid dress, the "girls" on astonishing display. It seems impossible that such an abundance of breast could be spilling forth without breaking free. Her breasts look glorious, but also faintly alarming. "Gorgeous!" we exclaim!