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Parenting Stories (à la Française): A Word About Boobs

Published on: December 30, 2013

It's practically malpractice to write about the French beach and not address the boob issue. Truth be told, considering that the kids seem to think it's their diplomatic duty to shame me as much as possible here, they have been oddly nonchalant about it. Granted, day one was something of an awakening, and I found myself hissing "don't point" between clenched teeth one too many times, and yes, darling Fi still points and loudly announces, "Look, a boob lady!" each time she sees a pair, but all in all the kids seem rather nonplussed. I think I'm more interested in whose got what than they are.

With several exceptions.

Yesterday, when I was once again battling the beach umbrella, after it had blown over and hit an Italian man in the back of the head, a nice woman strolled over and tried to show me how to screw it into the sand. Topless, she got down on her knees and gave it a go … her boobs swinging at eye level with my gaping American kids.

Of course, most of the boobs are less than stellar, and strangely enough my kids seem to know that. Yes, there are a couple of fabulous pairs here and there (I'd like to thank M for dutifully pointing those out). I must note these are not all on the under-30 set either; there are a couple of mothers who look like the only thing they've ever nursed is a cocktail, and that's just about all I'll say about that.

But the majority of the boobs on our beach seem to be well into their seventh decade. And they're all on the darkest Caucasian bodies I have ever seen. These ladies look like they've spent sixty-plus years carefully turning their skin the color of burned nuts. The strangest thing about them is that they are so damn dark, their entire bodies have turned the color of their nipples. I can't decide if these poor creatures look nipple-less or rather, like one gigantic nipple. You can imagine what it’s like to be on a beach with gigantic nipples lolling about.

I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence.

The swimsuits are also different. I have yet to see a full piece and the bikinis themselves are gauzy and flimsy. American bikini tops are like bras — complete with scaffolding, pulleys, and bountiful coverage. Here, even the larger boobs are barely covered by a wire-less, unlined bikini top. This has the effect of making some women look like they shop for bikinis in the toddler section.

I'm taking the enfants to the old part of town tomorrow morning, because they probably do need other sorts of exposure here. We shall be climbing stairs and looking at ruins. Although I'm not quite sure a market and an old dusty church can compare with Boobwatch 2012.

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lea_geller1About Lea Geller

I’m a part-time lawyer, full time mother of five (ages 9 and down)… Currently in sunny Seattle. People ask how I manage it all, and I like to say that I do lots of things, but none of them very well. That’s my secret…. In a house of seven strong, distinct personalities, I always seem to have a story to tell. I suppose I got tired of people telling me, ‘You have to write this down!” So, I finally did, and blogging about our large mishaps, small triumphs, and other adventures, has helped hold my sanity together, albeit loosely. Check out the rest of Lea's family's adventures on her blog, This Is the Corner We Pee In.

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