Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

I was trying to choose a topic for the October column. Should it concern the centennial anniversary of women’s rights, Halloween, or Covid-19, a nightmare in itself? Then it clicked. October. Pink. Ta-ta month!

Oh yes, it is ta-ta time again. If you haven’t had your annual goose from the giant Squisher, you need to make your appointment. Practice your deep breathing exercises, not for calmness, but so you can take that great big gasp when the plates make your breast the baloney in the sandwich. “Hold your breath. Hold it. Hold it.” Try not to pass out. It hurts to hang by one breast from the machine.

If Dante had been a woman and the mammogram had been around in his time he would have made the fifth rung of hell all about this experience. As a matter of fact, women should re-write Dante’s Inferno from our point of view.

It has been eight years since my time with the Big C. When you have boobs the size of mine, the Big C has significant meaning. I am down to being squished twice a year. Been there, got the tattoos and don’t want to do it again.

Let’s talk about those jugs, girls. We got ‘em. They come in different sizes. Gravity loves to pull on them. The female undergarment industry designs fancy pieces of nothing that won’t hold up a grape, let alone a cantaloupe. Hate to tell you this, girls, after the first child or 30 years of gravity, you need industrial-strength rebar to hold those babies up.

Laughing with a friend, she commented on how often she had gone without a bra during the Covid quarantine. I asked why she was wearing one now. “I got tired of them rubbing my knees raw” she responded.



It is true. I walk down the hall and it sounds like the Clydesdales’ hooves pounding on the floor. It is just the old ta-tas beating against my thighs.

I had hand surgery last month. Putting on clothes with zippers and clasps has been hard. Fastening a bra was impossible. Enter the husband. Snell said he had forgotten all the tricks on fastening and unfastening bras. He asked me how I managed to get “those things in there and they not fall out.” I told him it took practice, perseverance and the fear of pain.

Another friend had to have both breasts removed. When she talked to the surgeon about reconstructive surgery she requested "itty bitty titties".  She was about like me - nine-pound bowling balls in each cup. She throws her chest out—because she can now stand upright--and points her tangerines out into the world. Her husband likes to hug me.  I told him he just missed Cherry's big, bodacious boobs.  He said "I think I do.”  And hugged me again.  

When you go in for your Mush and Squish you are asked to “remove all navel rings, nipple rings, and body studs.” I can’t have nipple rings. I would get my toes caught in them and my arms are not long enough to undo the fasteners. It makes me smile to know that all these rings, studs and tattoos will eventually be wrinkled and crinkled. That rose on your breast? It will look like a poison ivy growing up from your waist. That butterfly on your fanny will looks like a dirty spot on your thigh. 

If you see a young woman with perky boobs and all the guys are eyeing her, take solace. Time and gravity will fix that.

So go get that inner beauty photo taken. It is an hour. It isn’t comfortable. Wear warm pants because the top of you will be cold and the machines are icy. So are the technician’s hands. The room temperature is only about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t believe them when they tell you it is 68. They keep medical places cold so blood vessels are constricted preventing excessive bleeding. Germs don’t survive well in cold temperatures. Breasts are fat wads. It is cold. That adipose tissue will solidify. Hard to squish those babies, but don’t worry, those technicians know how to do it.

NO matter the shape, color, size or length, they are yours. Take a couple of hours and protect your health. After all you are the woman in the family. Without you, everyone suffers.