Monday, June 18, 2012

The Invisible (Nursing) Woman


As many of you know, on May 11, I was honored to participate in Listen to Your Mother Philly. It was a life changing experience. I intended to publish my piece, but I didn't feel like waiting: 


Cleavage Corner


Before Baby, if you had one word to describe me, you’d say cleavage. I’ve always believed that cleavage hides any flaw, and if I were a hot mom, you’d hate me. Alas, deep into mommyhood, my cleavage has been hijacked by a hooter-cover: hiding both baby’s head and my ample bosom. I always assumed I’d be one of those women who whipped out their boob with no cares in the world; I was wrong.  Now, I imagine my plentiful boobs spilling everywhere. I am mortified that one small inch might expose itself to the world.

With cleavage I brought attention, with breastfeeding I become invisible. I hear stories of cruel words and unwelcome commentary. However, despite my fears of over-exposure, no one has even looked in my direction. It's as if, the minute the baby is nursing, I cease to exist. Instead of screaming out, “Look at me! I’m breastfeeding!” The hooter cover has become my cloak of invisibility. People, males, in particular, forget that I’m even there. Mysteriously, I find myself in the midst of testosterone fueled conversations I’d like to pretend don’t exist.  






Scene one: a burger joint somewhere off the Garden State Parkway. My husband finds what he claims is a discrete table where I can feed the baby. Discrete my ass, I find myself surrounded by three tables of teenage boys. The second my husband walks away and I place my invisibility cloak over my head, the boys start talking like, well, boys. Their mouths fill with stories of the latest young lady who’s fallen for the sweet nothings only a teenage boy can promise.  Of course, none of these stories involve innocent hand-holding. Instead, it is the R-rated version of “Summer Nights” from Grease. Details of what they (supposedly) like girls to do to them are swapped back and forth across the table. It’s like a bad Penthouse letter. No shame. No body part left to the imagination. No act left unspoken. The boys laugh loudly, filling the air with their smut.  "In their dreams," I think and then, looking down at my nursing daughter, “God, I hope you turn out to be a lesbian.”


Scene two: one day later. I'm in a ski lodge bar filled with families. I sit down to feed my baby, place my cloak over my head and BAM, three thirty-something guys plop down next to me. They appear perfectly normal:  brightly colored hats on their heads, Patagona jackets keeping them warm, and glasses of Vermont’s newest microbrew in their hands.  They sit so close to me, I can smell the beer on their breath. Their conversation? All the girls on the slope they want to bang. Each girl that skies past the window or walks through the bar is rated- graphic details of legs and boobs and unmentionables analyzed at length. Then, the conversation turns to marriage. A friend has an apartment in Manhattan and a house and wife in Connecticut. They practically squeal over his luck. Imagine the possibilities—the women, the booze, the sex their friend could have all week and then spend the weekend with the little woman who would provide him with a home-cooked meal and a clean house.   "I'm sitting right here!" I want to scream. “Hello! I'm nursing a baby!!” But, the courage that cleavage always gave me has disappeared under my cloak, so I'm stuck, for twenty minutes listening to their hopes and dreams of the meat that is woman. And then, my daughter falls asleep, so I pull off the cloak. Suddenly, one of the men turns to me, looks me in the eyes, smiles sweetly and says, "what a cute baby."



I'm posting again this week on Yeahwrite
read to be read at yeahwrite.me

33 comments:

  1. Sporting far less cleavage myself, I had no idea that the difference in visibility or the power of the Hooter-Hider would be so significant!

    When you stop nursing, you'll emerge once more. In the meantime, enjoy infiltrating conversations. Who knows what other secrets you'll learn.

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  2. Ugh. Men are pigs. I'm sorry you keep disappearing but at least you're getting some good material.

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  3. Haha it reminds me of scene from scrubs, where once women put on a wedding ring, they become invisible to JD.

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  4. You have just proven what I always tell my daughters: "All men are pigs, except for your father."

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  5. Such an insightful post in so many ways. I am so glad you shared it. :)

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  6. I enjoyed reading your post!
    It really hits home for me, I want to ensure my 3 sons grow up to be gentlemen like their father.
    And like Joe. Joe definitely seems like a gentleman too. ;-)

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  7. AHAHAH. That's awesome. You have an the invisible cloak from Harry Potter, think of the good you could do.

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  8. I agree with Joe. All men are pigs with few exceptions. Raising my sons to be gentlemen is my life's mission!

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    1. i like to live under the illusion that my husband is nothing like these boys.

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  9. Oh I don't know about the pigs thing. First of all, they are awesome animals! Second, women can be just as goofy and unseeing.

    I sometimes used a blanket, but usually I'd just whip it out. Correction, I'd move my shirt over. There wasn't enough to whip out! :) Ahh the beauty of our different bodies!

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    1. I get women more. I can navigate their crazy. I have a harder time with mens'. I've also become a lot more free since I wrote this post with exposing my boob.

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  10. It's not that all men are pigs, its just that those who are seem to be increasingly bent on acting like pigs in public, in mixed company, with children around. It's appalling to me.

    Whatever happened to acting like gentlemen?

    I think next time this happens, you need to feel free to speak up and remind them that they ought to cary themselves with more dignity.

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    1. It when the baby was seven weeks old. If it happened now, I certainly would bitch them out.

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  11. Funny - to read, probably not to live through. People can be so clueless to what's going on around them, can't they?

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  12. Haha! Isn't it wonderful to be a fly on the wall? And by wonderful I mean horrifying.

    My husband wants both our daughter to learn Krav Maga. Like I want two teenage girls that can kill me with their thumbs.

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    1. LOL-- teenage girls are certainly dangerous enough.

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  13. i am lol at hooter cover! Interesting experiences you've had recently.

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  14. While most teenage boys are idiots and a percentage of married men are, not all men are bad. Some of us are pretty good people. Perhaps it's more indicative of the places you were visiting.

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    1. well certainly, the whole state of New Jersey is questionable; however, the second was a community owned ski hill in southern Vermont. These guys were out of place and fairly drunk.

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  15. All men are pigs except Dude of the House, Lance and all the other Yeah Write guys, my husband, Erica M's husband, and anyone else I happen to like! That said, I never had any cleavage to begin with so I didn't have to suffer the pain of losing my rack post-kids. Funny post; keep feeding that darling baby the magic mama milk!

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  16. Too funny. I think I sat by those guys at a bar on the beach once.

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  17. Wow. Guys, boys... Whenever I see guys like this, I am consumed with worry that my son will have those conversations some where. I mean, he's a boy, I know he will, but please let him have some respect for all the mothers and women out there and not let them hear.

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    1. I have the exact same fear. I'd like to think I'll teach him better, but boys are unstoppable.

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  18. It's like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak! Love the last line :)

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    1. exactly. I guess I know what would happen if I gained that superpower.

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  19. Love it! I'm with Cindy - you are like one of the tri-wizards on Harry Potter!!! Fun Post!

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    1. Thanks! I need a good wizard name.

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  20. Love this! Oh, the breastfeeding boob. Somehow I managed to avoid public feedings throughout the entire experience - I was SO MORTIFIED by it. I did a lot of car feedings. Also, the sight of my own breast milk made me so embarrassed, but I am getting way off track. Thanks for sharing this story! P.S. Nice tits.

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