I don’t know how the story came up today, but somehow it did. I’m going to tell it to you now, and you should know two things before I begin:
1. The story involves boobs and I have to call them “boobs” because the word is part of the story;
2. I asked my younger sister for permission to write this up. When you’re telling a story about someone else’s bosom [<— see? no] you ought to ask first. A rule to live by.
Years ago, my younger sister Rebecca and I were on Washington Island, enjoying long, hazy days of summer vacation. We swam at the beach, read book after book in patio chairs on the the deck, ate candy bars and mac n’ cheese, etc. I was in the first half of high school, I think, which would’ve put my sister at the tail end of junior high.
Rebecca and I shared a room in the cabin we occupied that summer. Now, my family — me, my older sister, my younger sister, and my mom — is a loving, open one, emotionally-speaking. If you have a problem, you can talk about it and you will get a decent hug. But my mother is extremely modest and that modesty was passed onto her daughters while we lived under her roof. This is neither good nor bad, it just is. I don’t know about my sisters these days — I should ask them — but at some point I rebelled against this modesty and now wonder at times if I’m not a bit of an exhibitionist; I fling off my yoga clothes with glee and couldn’t give a flip if the shade is up or down. I kind of like it when its up.
Anyway, when Rebecca and I were sharing that room that summer**, we were respectful of each other’s privacy and gave each other a wide berth. If one of us was getting dressed, the other would get dressed in the bathroom. Privacy, space — my family respects these things and anyway, ew?? Naked sister?? Grody to the max.
But one afternoon we were changing out of our swimsuits and we ended up in our room at the same time and didn’t care. Maybe our older sister was hogging the bathroom, maybe we were rushing to get to the drive-in ice cream place before it got dark out. All of a sudden, mid-change, we decided to see who had bigger boobs.
“I think mine are bigger,” I said, my sweatshirt halfway on. We had not yet decided to actually compare chest size.
“I don’t know,” my sister said, holding up her bra, swimsuit still on. “Mine might be bigger.” There was, perhaps surprisingly, no competition between us on the issue as I remember it; we were just genuinely curious.
“Maybe we’re the same,” I said, and then, with wide eyes, “Do you want to actually see if we are? Like, should we look??”
And then, with much giggling, my sister and I got in front of the full-length mirror — careful to put plenty of space between us — and decided on the count of three that we’d yank up our respective shirts and compare boobs. Which is just what we did.
“One, two, THREE!”
We were about the same, as it turned out. And neither of us was expecting to be shocked or scandalized, but I think we were both surprised how not a big deal it was to see each other’s boobs. It was like, “Oh, sure. Boobs.” (I can only imagine how different the boys down the road would’ve reacted to such a display. A slightly different reaction, one imagines.)
But then something horrifying happened — and this is why the story gets told in my family all the time, why it turned into a catchphrase for us. My sister and I figured we had to examine from the sides, not just the front, obviously. We had a perspective issue from the front. But we did not have a plan in place for this profile view. So there we are, looking in the mirror, cocking our heads this way and that to figure out which Fons girl was ampler, and I go, “Okay, turn to the side and let’s see from the side,” and my sister, who is on my left, turns to her right. I turn to my left, and that’s when it happened: Our boobs made contact.
“AAAAAGHHHHHHHHH!” my sister screamed, jumping away from me so fast and far she practically hit the wall on the other side of the room. She made a sound like a dying goose and cried, “BOOB TOUCH!!!”
“AAAAAAGGGHHHHH!” I screamed, recoiling like a cocktail shrimp, grabbing my sweatshirt, gasping, making gagging sounds and generally making a scene. We were laughing so hard we could hardly breathe because “boob touch” was hilarious and we were totally grossed out, too. Aside from the fact that we had just TOUCHED BOOBS, we had touched clammy, post-beach, wet swimsuit boobs, so they kind stuck together for the split second that we made contact.
“BOOB TOUCH!!!! AAAAAGGHHHHHHH!” We continued to gasp and splutter and I’m sure we ran (now fully clothed, of course) to tell the story to Hannah and Mom immediately. To this day, I can make myself laugh just by making a face of teenage horror and yelling “BOOB TOUCH!!! AAAAAGHHHHH!” and I’m pretty sure my sister can do the same. It’s one of my favorite Fons sister stories.
What do you think, sis? Did I get it right?
**I’m sure that annoyed us both, but as I think back on it now, I feel a sweet pain in the general vicinity of my solar plexus; I’d give a lot, actually, to have a snapshot showing how we shared that room at that time. Did she read in her bed longer than I did? Did we laugh after the lights were off, even a little? I hope so.