Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Feeling rather up.

One would have to be otherwise occupied not to notice this is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Pink is everywhere from the rink to the football field, and the annual Run for the Cure alone raised over $30 million nationally.

I show my support by giving when asked, and by feeling myself up regularly, all month long. In the car. At the rink. In the grocery store. Groping and prodding like a teenage boy, I fumble around in fear of finding a dreaded lump. A game changer.

There's nothing erotic about feeling one's self up (or rather, down) these days. In the 1970's, I recall sitting in the backseat of an AMC Gremlin with my cousin's best friend – wishing I were in the front seat with my cousin's other best friend. My "Dici or Nothing" bra even had a front clasp for speedy access, and I imagined it wrapped around my neck like a string of pearls. The front passenger seat however, was already occupied with an older, busty young woman who was a sure bet for hitting home base. The gentleman in the backseat didn't try a thing – likely because my cousin had put the fear of God in him – or maybe because I had my arms clamped tightly against my sides for fear that he would.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida baby, this wasn't. At least in the backseat.

Little did he know, I was already an old pro at being felt up. For years, the T-bar lift operator at our ski club had violated my personal space, through multi-layers and down ski jackets, at every given opportunity. Without fail, when the country boy handed me the clanking T-bar, he would smile, then seize the day, gliding his his gloved hand across my then-perky breasts. It's hard to defend yourself when you live in fear of being struck in the head by a moving object – but I never told anyone. I also never stopped using the T-bar shortcut between the Minute Mile and Champlain ski runs.

A few weeks ago, breast cancer came waltzing into our yard. The diagnosis of someone we love, brought this shitty disease closer to home. I immediately turned to my friend Kelly Hennessey for honest answers to the questions I was afraid to ask directly. Kelly is a ballsy, faith-driven breast cancer survivor who will be speaking frankly about boobs on CBC Radio's Maritime Noon today at, well, noon. Kelly is a firm (!) supporter of BRA Day (Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day) happening across Canada on Wednesday, October 19th. If you want the "been there, bought the t-shirt" truth, tune in. Now that my awareness is all too real, I'll be listening – hoping to hear Kelly snap Norma Lee McLeod's bra strap at least once.

My grandmother "Florrie", God rest her soul, used to hang on to her purse like it contained a million dollars, instead of keys to the Monte Carlo and a package of Rothmans. Once, during some distant relative's funeral, the aforementioned cousin and I were flanking Florrie in the church pew, trying quietly, desperately, to get ahold of her purse. Suppressing giggles and shushing us, Florrie held steadfast, white-knuckled – until my cousin slowly reached around – and with the deft movement of a professional, unhooked my grandmother's bra.

I laugh when I think of how quickly that purse hit the floor, and the dirty looks all three of us got for busting a gut in the Lord's lounge.

It's October 18th. Just a tad more than halfway though Breast Cancer Awareness month – and a great time to feel someone up in the front, or backseat of the minivan. Imagine how many lumps would get detected if we hadn't abandoned backseat romance for paying the mortgage, and getting down to business.

It's also a great time to let go of the purse, and give.


Read Kelly's blog at Gingerbread Guts.

*Get your own Dartmouth Destroyers Minor Football Crucial Catch t-shirt by emailing tom@fastline.net. Mine arrived yesterday and I love it! They come in two styles: a cap-sleeved feminine style and a regular t-shirt style. All funds go to support breast cancer!