“It wasn’t that having a chest was the be-all and end-all. Boobs were simply milestones – markers of my journey”

BY LISA BOND

Boobs are a thing. Two things in fact: conceptual and actual. If Plato had had boobs or been interested in them (which it seems he was not), he would have discussed how all real boobs are stereotypes of the perfect boob archetype (or boobitype, I guess).

Long before I realised I was trans, I developed, as it were, an interest in the upper regions of the female torso. My first-ever encounters with boobs took the form of poring over my mum’s Littlewoods shopping catalogues. In the 1970s and 80s, these doorstoppers thudded onto every coffee table in the land, allowing housewives and their kids to peruse a treasure house of stylish goods, purchasable for 20 or 38 weekly payments of 37p. 

For some reason, whenever I opened the catalogue, it fell open at the underwear section. Those were the glory days of corsets: the 18-hour girdle, basques like pink prawn shells, and the ubiquitous suspender belt. And bras. Lots and lots of bras.

Much later, when I started to purchase my own underwear, I must have been influenced by that early glimpse beyond the veil and I accumulated sackfuls of heavily underwired, scratchily upholstered monstrosities. Some were padded and some weren’t. To cope with the latter, I invested in a pair of silicon globules from a dark corner of eBay. Wearing them gave me a Tron-like sense of hyper-reality – as though my 2D chest had suddenly been projected into James Cameron’s Avatar and embarked on a series of exciting adventures of their own. 

It wasn’t that having a chest was the be-all and end-all. Boobs were simply milestones – markers of my journey. I was like the Time Machine traveller, whizzing forwards into an unknown future, with only the steampunk dial slowly crawling up from AA to B cup. And then a thunk. And then falling out among the Eloi, who were of course properly scandalised.

My love affair with my silicone buddies palled, however, after a series of unfortunate events. They were very sociable, and often the left boob popped next door to visit its neighbour, or vice versa. Committed as I was, the monoboob look was slightly too much even for me.

Another time I was in town, wearing a dress and standing at a pelican crossing, surrounded by people waiting for the lights to change. Just as they did, however, I felt a terrible sinking feeling as right boob made a bid for freedom – slipping out of its prison and heading south fast. In a split-second, I envisaged the social faux pas of a fake tit bouncing off some City type’s well-polished brogues, but a woman’s instinct rescued me. I clapped my hand to my stomach and arrested the rogue falsie in mid-plunge. After that, I sauntered over the crossing and found a secluded doorway, where I could drop the damn thing into my handbag. Yet another vindication of the power of the handbag, girls.

Hormones grew modest breasts over a time lapse of time lapses. After two years, I made enquiries about surgery and fixed up an appointment with a visiting Polish surgeon and his assistant. Stripped to the waist in a hotel meeting room, I watched as he examined my fun-size fun bags. He grunted and began writing notes, while I remained topless. We made an arresting tableau: professor in white coat, assistant in tasteful blouse and me taking the air at the head of the boardroom table until she coughed discreetly and he gestured for me to get dressed again. There are some situations nothing in life prepares you for, and that was one of them. 

Lisa Bond is a writer and person living in 21st century London. Identifying mainly as a carbon-based, bipedal life form, her hobbies include being a lesbian and transgender woman. To keep her off the streets and usefully distracted, she recently became a student nurse and hopes eventually to meet Alex Kingston. In 2018, she took part in her band Brunk’s legendary world tour of Dunkirk, where her punk and ska trumpeting skills were much admired in French. 

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