Once upon a time, in the magical land called The 1980s, I was in Ms. H—‘s class at Project ASCENT, which was a gifted student nerd ghetto, where all the geekiest and most socially awkward children in the region were bussed every Monday in order to hide them away from polite society. It was a time of innocence and wonder, a time of Optimus Prime and Stormshadow, where every boy wanted to be Snake Eyes, and every girl dressed like Punky Brewster. It was a time of men without hats and girls who just wanted to have fun.
In those hallowed times, when the hot side was kept hot, and the Cold War kept cold, I was a lad happily unaware of the complications of sexual dynamics or pretty much any sexual activity beyond kissing. I did not require such information; that sort of mental clutter would not help me figure out how the kids from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon were going to get back home, nor would it enable me to transform from a sleek jet fighter into a 30 foot tall robot bristling with weapons, so it was irrelevant. I did not care. However, in Project ASCENT, there came a thing into my life which would lead me to care. This thing was a concept called the “Venn diagram.”
I cannot overstate how important Venn diagrams were to the teaching staff of Project ASCENT. They saw fit to reteach us everything they could about Venn diagrams approximately every other week. It was insane, I didn’t understand the point of Venn diagrams, and, as will any child with a severe enough case of ADHD, I immediately rejected all information which could not be instantaneously assimilated. But it bothered me deeply that I didn’t grasp what was clearly so important to these people, and so obviously simple for my classmates to comprehend. So I went to Ms. H— for help.
This is where the boobies come in.
It should be noted at this point that I have absolutely no recollection of Ms. H— face. I only saw her once a week, for only part of the school year. I do not know what she looked like; I remember thinking she had a nice face, so I can only assume she was neither incredibly attractive nor hideously malformed, because her appearance has made no lasting impression on me. However, on that day I went to her, I remember exactly what she was wearing.
She was dressed very sharply in a very dark suitcoat, a cream colored faux silk shirt with white opalescent buttons, and a plain but attractive gold necklace. The top two buttons of her shirt were undone. While the class was engaged in a project on the other side of the room, we went to a table by ourselves. All the chairs had been taken away by the other kids, so we had to stand. She stood opposite of me, with her back to the class. Then she got some paper, bent over the low table, and started to draw Venn diagrams. I watched intently while she drew, determined that I would understand these damn things once and for all, and when she explained what she was doing, I decided to look her right in the face to let her know I was serious about learning.
My eyes never made it that far.
As I looked up, I was stunned to see that her billowy silken shirt, which was much larger than it needed for a woman of her build, was hanging wonderfully agape, like an upside-down parachute, as she was bent over the table.
And there they were.
I don’t know if she just liked loose clothing, or what the deal was, but she was wearing a plain white bra, sort of a Sears catalogue number. Like her shirt, her bra was far too large, and it hung there, not even touching her breasts. And what breasts they were!
They weren’t the oversized breasts of some silicone pinup; they were natural, perfectly round, and very pert. Ms. H— had freckles, and what made the experience so vivid and so real was to discover that she had freckles all over. It had never occurred to me that breasts could be freckled, but hers were. Not too dense, not too sparse, just perfect little freckles to highlight her perfect breasts. These were no airbrushed model’s breasts from a magazine; there were incredibly, warmly, fantastically REAL. Her skin had a richness of color to it, but she was not so dark as to be tan. And even though I had never touched her, it was plain that her skin was, very, very soft. Visibly so. It had also never occurred to me that it would be pleasurable to touch someone else’s skin just for the sensation, but looking there at her breasts it became crystal clear to me that if I were to touch those breasts, the feel of her smooth skin under my fingers would be simply wonderful.
Something deep within the core of me was awoken, and stirred. As a man, I have made it my business to look at breasts whenever possible. Hers remain two of the best breasts I have ever seen in my entire life. But the best part is yet to come.
It was at this point that she spoke again. I couldn’t possibly tell you what it was that she said because 99.9986% of my mental resources had been allocated to visual processing. Whatever remained somehow let me know that a sound had been made toward my general vicinity. I remember a pause, and then hearing her say “Do you understand?” and I nodded, not quite ready or able to speak. That’s when I had my first truly male thought in my life. It was this:
“If I just nod and keep staring right at her boobs while she’s bent over like this, she might think I’m looking at her face, and I can keep getting away with this.” So I didn’t shift my eyes. I just nodded when it felt appropriate and every once in a while glanced at the Venn diagram paper for about 1/16th of a second. You know, to keep it from being so obvious.
This went on for what seemed like a glorious, heavenly month or two. I swear to god, it was like Disneyland, summer vacation, Christmas, and Halloween all rolled into one. I have no idea how long I studied those beautiful, perfect breasts. Time had no meaning there. But then I had my second truly male thought in my entire life: “I wonder if she notices me doing this?” So I looked up at her.
BUSTED! She had been looking directly in my eyes the entire time. When she saw me glance up to look her in the face, it was clear where my attention had been. She looked a little confused for a second, then glanced down and saw her shirt hanging off of her body, and looked back up at me. I don’t know what I expected to happen next; this was my first trip to The Land of the Soft Mountains, and I think it was probably pretty clear I was a first time tourist. I remember vaguely expecting to get in trouble. But instead, something absolutely magical happened.
She didn’t move.
She smiled at me out of the corner of her mouth, one of those grins that you ladies give us that says “I know what you’re up to… but I don’t mind.” At that point in my life, I didn’t know what to make of that smile, so my fourth grade brain thought, “She’s not mad or moving. I can’t believe that she doesn’t realize I’m doing this. Awesome!” I just kept looking, and she just stayed there, bent over the table, exposed for me and only me, until she had explained all she knew about Mr. Venn and his little diagrams. And I didn’t hear a word.
I never mentioned it. She never mentioned it. I saw my first breasts that day, and she knew it, I think. But I was also introduced to the world of sexual interaction and politics. Something unspoken, perhaps even residing in my own mind, told me that as long as I didn’t ruin it with too much talking or analysis, this was mine to treasure for as long as I wanted. So I never said a word about it to anyone, not for twenty years.
Looking back now, its clear that she DID know what I was doing, and was in some way okay with it. I have known many women since then, and I am familiar with the unfortunately common feminine lack of esteem that would lead an attractive woman to take flattery in having her body admired by a boy who hasn’t yet even come near to puberty. But my memory of this event remains unfettered by these more worldly interpretations; what remains is that I was there, she was there, and in that one brief shining moment, it was Camelot.
And I still don’t know what the hell a Venn diagram is.