Monday, August 1, 2011

A time to dress like a nun/a time to dress like a slut (a neckline for every purpose under heaven)

Whatever happened to scoop necklines? When I go to buy clothes now it seems that I have two choices. I can either choose to look like a nun or a slut. Either the necklines literally line my neck (and I get enough of that wearing a clerical collar, thank you very much) or they plunge to my sternum. Of course, all the dresses I like fall into the latter category. I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with it.

I suspect that if you’re one of those women with little to non-existing boobs, and you don’t have to wear a bra, you can just let the neckline fall to the depths and it’s no big deal. I used to be one of those women. About 50 years ago. In fact, I was the last girl in my class to wear a bra, or need one for that matter. But I made up for lost time and am into some serious heavy lifting now.

So, when I try on a dress that I find attractive, I have to focus on the amount of cleavage it reveals. I figure two inches is acceptable; anything beyond that makes me uncomfortable. If I’m showing too much cleavage I feel like everybody around me is staring at my chest. But, of course, that’s not true. I’m just being overly self-conscious. Everyone around me isn’t staring at my chest. Only 50% of the population.

Now, once I decide on a dress that I like, with a neckline I can live with, after I bring it home, I’ll try it on again. That’s when I discover that, in reality, it shows a little more than my two inch limit. Especially if I’m not standing up straight. And, face it, I slouch something awful, so there it is. (Or rather, I should say, there they are.) Then I'll try desperately to turn a capital V into a lower case v by pulling and patting, but to no avail.

I’ve gone the route of sewing in a snap, but the dress never quite lays right and this ends up calling even more attention to my chest, particularly when every time I breathe I pop the snap. Boing! Yep, there they are again!

At church, in the summertime it’s too darn hot to wear a collar, so I wear dresses. And I’ve tried strategically clipping my name badge to the exact spot where my breasts smoosh into each other. Yes, it looks silly. But who wants to look at their pastor’s cleavage on a Sunday morning? That’s just icky. Yet, I find that people are still staring at my chest. Either to see what my name is, or wondering what it is I’m hiding behind that badge.

There’s really only one time in my life when I don’t mind showing a little cleavage: when I’m contra dancing. That’s when I give myself permission to go past the two inch limit. Sometimes, way past it. I figure that as long as my puppies are on a tight leash and they can’t go wandering off on their own, sometimes it’s a good idea to take them for a spin around the dance floor. After all, the dances go fast and people have better things to do than focus on my chest. We’re there to dance. Right?

Well, in the two years that I’ve been dancing I have to admit that I’ve made an observation. My less endowed girlfriends have joked that if you have cleavage more men will ask you to dance and I’ve repeatedly denied it. But it’s time to admit the truth. Because I haven’t actually done a scientific study of this, I can’t say for sure that there’s a direct correlation between the amount of cleavage I’m showing and the number of times I get asked to dance. But I can tell you that despite the fact that I’m not the best dancer, when I’m not bashful about sharing two of my greatest assets, I’m always popular. Hell, if it works for my dance partners, it works for me.

I’m still waiting for scoop necklines to come back in style. But in the meanwhile, current fashion trends have taught me a hard lesson in womanhood. Although I spent most of my adult life refusing to accept it, I have to admit that in every woman’s life there is a time to dress like a nun and a time to dress like a slut. When it comes to cleavage, if I want to be taken seriously, get me to a nunnery! But if I want to dance, and believe me I do want to dance, well…

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