Hey fellas! This one’s for you. Time to talk about all manner of breasts.

Why? Because they’re there. Are you saying you’ve got something better to talk about? No? Let us begin.

Here’s a phrase commonly employed by women, usually of the young variety… “Oh my God! What’s the big deal? They’re just breasts!”

This quasi-complaint/communication of flirtation annoys the hell out of me. Every time I’ve ever heard a girl or woman say that, while fondly looking down at her own rack, has set my teeth on edge.

We all know why they’re such a big deal. Cut the shit. Women have them, men don’t. They’re soft, fun to hold, and apparently equally fun to put in one’s mouth. They’re classic symbols of femininity and fertility, and can be a big component of getting a woman off, which men tend to like doing.

If there are any women out there who even consider saying “What’s the big deal?,” now is your moment to stop. You sound like an idiot.

Breasts, cans, knockers, whatever you want to call them are the focus of a lot of male attention. Duh. They’re also the focus of a lot of female attention. Breast size is to women what penis size is to men. We grow up waiting to get them, they arrive and surprise by being anything from tremendous and pendulous to pert or non-existent. No matter what you wind up with, the day you realize you are an actual person with actual breasts can be disconcerting. They’re just so out there; impossible to hide.

That high visibility and attending male gaze have led to breasts getting a lot of nicknames. Saying “breasts” all the time isn’t any fun for male oglers. Too clinical. The nicknames are mostly coined by men and are then appropriated by women, provided the term isn’t too ridiculous.

Why do we do that? Because it’s a man’s world. “Hooters,” however, is a good example of a non-appropriated, men-only word. No woman has ever referred to being the proud owner of hooters. Ever. The only way that might happen is if you work at Hooters, in which case, I’m sorry.

My biggest problem with the whole thing of breasts and what to call them is that there is no commitment to specificity. The average guy will switch out “fun bags” for “sweater puppies” or “bazongas” for “chesticles” without batting an eyelash, not realizing that they have no idea what they’re talking about. This is where the necessity of female appropriation of the male terminology makes itself known.

Only a woman can truly get the nomenclature right. We’re the ones who have to cart breasts around. We see each other’s at the gym. We know that one woman’s sweater puppies are indeed another woman’s sweater-puppies. And we know that a chesticle kind of gal would feel like a moron should she be overheard talking about her melons. Sorry Shakespeare, but this is not a case of a rose by any other name.

Okay, enough pontificating. Time to give a much-needed lesson in breast identification. Let’s start with boobs.

For the record, I don’t have them. To me, “boobs” connotes really big, round, bouncy breasts. Nope, not me. “Melons,” the slightly more vulgar cousin of boobs, always bring salacious male drooling to my mind. “Boobs,” meanwhile, are friendly. They’re non-threatening. They even make a guest appearance in the spelling of their own name. Those two “O’s” in the middle of the word aren’t there accidentally. They’re instructive, helping the beginner to identify what boobs would look like if he happened to stumble upon them. Same goes for those who grow them. Those two letters are the courtroom sketch of breasts.

“Boobs” is a word for beginners. Easy to say, easy to recognize, and it sounds sort of cute. Boobs are round, symmetrical and impossible to miss. They’re even warm and inviting, a place to lay one’s head after a hard day. It’s impossible to confuse the smiley-face of breasts for any other.

A great example of “the other” is the term “jugs,” which is so 1970s that it has become a humorous, whimsical way of referring to breasts. But that’s not how they started out. Jugs are much more serious.  Jugs might be mistaken for boobs, but that would be wrong. To begin with, they’re bigger, tend to be more pendulous, and whether the owner of said jugs likes it or not, they are perceived as being a bit porny. Jugs aren’t just any pair of breasts, they’re far more. Stay with me during this digression; it will pay off:

As a child of the ‘70s, I heard the word “jugs” just enough for it to penetrate my preoccupation with disco roller skates and Sean Cassidy. I also spent a lot of time in front of the television on Saturday mornings. Every twenty minutes or so, the Kool-Aid commercial would come on. This bit of marketing was astonishing in its weirdness. For those not in the know, the Kool-Aid commercial format always started with a bunch of kids being active and, presumably, hot and sweaty. In the midst of their playtime endeavors, they would stop and scream, “Hey, Kool-Aid!”

At that moment, whatever wall was lurking innocuously in the background is suddenly made known by the terrifying vision of a human-sized pitcher, or jug, of Kool-Aid bursting through the wall, reducing it to a pile of rubble.

In my 1970s child-brain, the hulking Kool-Aid pitcher was the obvious embodiment of what grown-ups meant when they said “jugs.” I knew jugs were breasts, but they had to be called that for a reason. The only rationale I could come up with was that the enormity, the drooping teardrop shape, the boldness of that Kool-Aid pitcher, was synonymous with boobs that looked like it. And guess what? I was right.

At the time, if a guy was talking about a chick’s jugs, he was talking about a pair of heavy hitters. In 1981, Larry Flynt Publications had the balls to distribute a magazine called “Juggs” (that extra “g” was marketing genius) that was sold at my local newsstand. It was displayed on a rack near the Bubblicious gum, and was impossible to ignore. “Juggs” invariably featured women with feathered or winged hair, names like Candy Samples, and, you guessed it, enormous, drooping, teardrop-shaped breasts. Those breasts were jugs. They were definitely not tits.

“Tits” is the most commonly used slang for breasts, along with “boobs”. The term covers a wide swath of breast shapes and sizes, but only covers the middle of the spectrum. Jugs, and to a lesser extent, boobs, reside on one end of the spectrum. The huge end. Tits picks up where boobs (that come after Jugs on the huge scale) end. While boobs are warm, round, personal, and inviting, tits are not. That’s not to say that they can’t be, but those attributes are not the entirety of their definition.

To begin with, tits are anything from a 32B to a 38C. Anything above a C cup and you’re in Jugtown.  Aside from size, “tits” encompasses attributes from nipple size and placement to buoyancy and shape. Pancake lying on a lady’s chest? Tit. Bottom-heavy with an upward swoop on top? Tit. A pair with similar look and feel but different sizes? Tits. Cones? Tits. Marty Feldmans? Tits.

Aside from the inclusiveness of the term, “tits” is commonly used because there’s nothing sentimental or sweet about the word. It just doesn’t sound cute. People like to appear aloof and disinterested about most things, and “tits” does the trick. Why? Because the explosive consonant “T,” occurring not once but twice in that word, makes it sound aggressive, which is the opposite of vulnerable and thereby acceptable.

Tits are aggressive breasts. They’re Abreastive. Yeah, I just made that word up. It’s going viral as you read this. #abreastive. But they’re also just tits. Ubiquitous, plain old reasonable breasts.

Whatever breasts you’ve got, or those that you might encounter, may or may not be your favorite kind, but it’s a better than 60% chance that they should be classified as tits. What they are not is nips.

As with jugs, “nips” occupies a far end of the breast spectrum, or breastrum. Nips are on the teeny end. Some women, who are no less drool-worthy than their bosomy counterparts, are so small that the main attraction, once revealed, is the nipple. This is fine. American culture says it isn’t, but I say it is, so America can go fuck itself.

As a child, I spent a lot of summers in the south of France. I vividly remember that the ultimate in sexy was a woman in a bikini bottom with a shrunken t-shirt on top that revealed almost no breast but a wealth of nipple. Vive la France!

Think you might be a nip kind of lady, but aren’t sure? Considering trying the t-shirt and bikini bottom thing before the end of the summer? Thinking of asking your special gal to give it a whirl? The main requirements for pulling this look off are: having either an A cup or less, and not having inverted nipples. Band width is irrelevant. If that’s what you’re working with, you’re golden.

Want more instruction on this under-appreciated variety of female anatomy? Basically, a nip chick’s needs tend more toward an undershirt-type arrangement than actual bra. Although American Apparel was started by Dov Charney, the sleaziest grossoid on earth, the company did make what amounted to training bras for grown women, solving the underoos problem for grown women across the nation. Charney wasn’t one for subtlety, so it’s highly probable that this particular product was developed by an employee who likely didn’t last a full year in her job. I don’t know that for a fact, but it’s plausible. Barf.

This all sounds like it might be a pep talk whose target demographic is women who were traumatized by the knowledge that they were charter members of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. Well, this is no pep talk. It’s a mere reminder that no particular breast is best, and if you’re a guy and get to handle some ta-tas, consider yourself lucky.

As for me, I’ve inhabited different spots on the breastrum and have never had any complaints. When I’ve been rail-thin, I’ve been a proud no-bra t-shirt wearing nip chick. When I’ve been 120lbs or above, I’ve lived all over tit territory. Nips make clothing look better and are far preferable during the summer months as they do not create under-the-breast sweat.Hey, just keeping it real . Tits, on the other hand, reduce the amount of eye contact a man can hold during a conversation, and can be a bit moist after Memorial Day. Although the classification is entertaining and can help a female person make friends with her body-type, however you look at it, a breast is a breast. It will get a reaction, no matter what size, shape or proportion.

If you’re a guy, now you know the inside track and you’re welcome. If you’re a woman, you may never have had such a candid comparison with your girlfriends on the subject as this article provides. If not, you’re also welcome.

But it’s really not such a big deal. They’re just breasts.

About Author

Lawyer, literary agent, book packager, film producer, writer, New Yorker. Likes long walks on the beach and little dogs. Hates mean people and when the pharmacy runs out of Klonopin.

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