If the Guy Next to Me Had Been British, He Would Have Whispered, “Put Your Baps Away, Love”


Possessing a highly refined gift for Dickin’ Around, I invariably run late.

Naturally, as I attempt to ram my way out of the house, idiocy abounds.

The other week, when I was trying to get to the gym to do a little cardio and then attend yoga class, I was chasing the clock. In my defense, I was late because I’d spent the morning dealing with end-of-semester student freak outs. It was the week during which every student was having problems–“I know I missed a lot of stuff, but I gotta get at least a C”–and, as is the way with students, they pull the slick magic trick wherein their problems become mine.

After a morning of trying to dumbledore* my students, I found myself dashing around the house like a Keystone Cop on cocaine, trying to pull myself together so I could get to the car and head to the gym. As I dug frantically through the jumble of workout clothes, I finally wrapped my fingers around the sole clean sports bra. B-I-N-G-O was its name-o, bitches!

With my pile of workout clothes in hand, I decided to maximize my time by using the toilet while I changed clothes (Toilet Clothes ChangeJocelyn Superpower #410!).

Sitting down, I started to slide into my running shorts. However, as I stuck my foot through an armhole, I realized that the black thing I had grabbed from my bin of workout clothes was a shirt, not shorts, and that I now had a tank top hanging off my calf.

I shan’t pretend it was the first time this had ever happened.

As I extracted my leg from the armhole, toileterrific activities began to demand my attention.

What I hadn’t seen or felt coming was that every possible thing that can exit a human being and pre-menopausal woman’s lower half was going to choose that moment to make an appearance. In the space of one minute, I was both well voided and in need of hygienic support. Cleverly, I keep a stash of hygiene products near the toilet, but somewhat un-cleverly, I gave birth to a girl some fourteen years back who has not yet mastered the concept of the “campsite rule,” aka “restock what you have depleted, and leave things as good as or better than you found them.” That’s okay, though, as it’s not like I had any underwear or pants on hand anyhow. As the lives of my students have taught me: sometimes you just have to embrace the mess.

Then, just as I got a nice fistful of toilet paper going, the phone started ringing. Even though I fully intended to ignore it, the insistent ringing felt like a clock ticking loudly while I worked at mopping up my privates. Later, when I looked at the caller ID, I would discover it was the Breast Cancer Society calling–almost like a heads-up from the universe about the next few hours of my life: for my boobies were going to give me problems.

Running around the house, digging in the bin of workout clothes again, looking for underwear and shorts, my rear end flapping in the breeze, I had a brief moment of paralytic clarity when I remembered that the coat closet I was standing in, half naked, had windows in it. Put another way, the affection the neighborhood feels for me springs from many sources.

Eventually, I retrieved a pair of shorts and, like a Big Girl, managed to dress myself and get out the door. I deserved a juice box, really. Even better, as I walked out to the car, I plunged my hand into my bag and successfully withdrew my jangle of keys (had they not come to hand, I could have dug around in the garden near my parking spot since that’s the general area where my original set of car keys disappeared five months ago). Firing up my trusty Camry, I drove to the place to get my sweat on.

If you know me at all, it will come as no surprise that by the time I got parked and into the gym, I had to use the bathroom again. And if you read the above paragraphs at all, it should come as no surprise that I attempted some multi-tasking while on the toilet. Yes, I realize some of you sharp thinkers are wondering, when a gal is at the YMCA, locked into a stall, wearing workout clothes, what variety of tasks can she possibly get up to? Folding toilet paper squares into ninja stars? Licking toilet paper and sticking it to the wall? Beyond toilet and paper, what is there to do?

Here’s what my multi-tasking self does: I take a quick minute on the toilet to leaf through my gossip magazines and rip out all those little fluttery paper cards and the annoying perfume ads so that when I read about Miranda Lambert’s grilled chicken recipe while I’m sweating on the elliptical machine, my absorption of important information isn’t interrupted by drifting paper or headache-inducing scents. Moreover, because I don’t want my music to fall into the used-sanitary-bin while I’m ripping and tinkling, I always set my iPod onto the floor, which means that I’m also very busy getting the cord of my iPod wound around my ankle, too, so that, upon exiting the stall, I can shuffle out, dragging my tunes on the floor behind me.

It would follow, then, that on the day in question, once I got upstairs to the workout room, I discovered that one of my iPod’s earbuds had separated into two pieces at some point in the route from bathroom stall to cardio machine, thus necessitating a careful retracing of all steps taken.

We’re at the point of thinking that the very process of getting me near a cardio machine sounds like a cardio workout already, right?

Finally, though, I got myself onto the treadmill. I had fifteen minutes to run (in my world, that’s a mere four miles!) before it would be time to head downstairs to the Mind/Body studio for yoga. In a way, I feel like all my rushing around is a way of doing yoga a big favor; if I arrive at class all harried and sweaty, how can the class feel anything other than calming and restorative? The teacher could be terrible and give a do-nothing class made up of fifty minutes of nonsense like “Place your right hand on the floor. Now leave it there. Leave it there longer,” and I would still walk out feeling completely rejuvenated.

Wanting to get the most out of my time on the treadmill, I hit it hard. But then. Four minutes into my first mile (which, um, means I was about done with my first mile), I got a black eye. What the…???

Well, whaddya know? My zip-up-the-front sports bra had taken a notion to unzip and let loose. Taking advantage of her liberty, one of my Freed Girls had reached up and slapped me in the eye. Her expression of anger had been a long time brewing. Ever since she and her sister were born 37 years ago, she’s always felt I play favorites.

In related news, it takes a very special ability to pull off “secret in public” and stand on a treadmill, reach inside one’s shirt, have a whispered therapy session with a breast, and re-zip one’s bra without attracting a crowd (Secret in PublicJocelyn Superpower #411!).

My girls firmly caged, I resumed running and contemplating the merits of Miranda Lambert’s grilled chicken recipe. If she marinated it in vodka and Sprite, I feel like her husband, Blake, might cotton to it better. Note to self: write Miranda Lambert a potentially-marriage-saving letter.

After fifteen minutes of getting my sweat on, I trundled down to yoga class, excited to be attending for the first time in three weeks. I was early. The room was already full. There were no mats left.

Noticing my woebegone face (Manipulative Woebegone Face = Jocelyn Superpower #412!), one nice double-matting man pulled out some of his cushioning and shared his extra mat with me. Even better, the teacher made everyone scooch together so that a few more of us could squeeze in. Pretty much, if we don’t have our heads in each others’ armpits, it ain’t yoga class at the Y.

Ten minutes later, as we worked through some Cat Cow Poses, I heard a quiet zzzzzzzoooot as my peace-sabotaging sports bra unzipped yet again.

“Frick,” says the cow.

Meowing, mooooing, balancing on my back paws, I lifted my front hooves, dug them into my shirt, and used them to corral the rogue tissues that had once again sprung free. Because we were tucked so tightly into the room, the man next to me heard the distinctive sound of a zipper slicing the silence; I believe his resultant pose would be called “Side-Eye.” Returning his side-eye, I transmitted to him a deflecting lie, using postures only: “Mister, that sound you just heard was me zipping up my fly. I just peed on my mat. It’s called Urination Pose.”

I realize you’re wondering how that series of postures looks. Should you find yourself needing to communicate Urination Pose without words, try the following series (And kudos to Dr. Melissa West on the health of her house plants; I’m sure they thrive because they are surrounded by unrelenting positive energy!):

Once Mister Side-Eye processed the impact of my series of poses and bought into my “had to pee” lie, he was both duly impressed and vaguely horrified. Fearing the urine, he inched his mat further toward the armpit of his neighbor on the opposite side.

Ha! So, my breasts sprang free, and, long story short, their appearance bought me another quarter inch of space in an overcrowded room? Well, well, well.

Full disclosure: my breasts have always done well at driving men away (Repulsion by Breast = Jocelyn Superpower #413!).

So you know the part where karma’s a bitch? She gets her full crank on when lies happen in yoga class. Karma likes her yoga air to remain pure, and woe to anyone who brings deceptive chi.

…which is to say: eight minutes after my unspoken lie, as I reached for the sky, I once again heard a zzzzzzzoooot and realized–holy &^%$^$()@@%–that my Girls had busted loose and that my bra was going directly into the trash the minute I got home unless I decided to light it on fire in the locker room first. While twenty-two other people swan dived (spontaneous poll: doesn’t “swan dove” sound weird?) forward and then jumped back into plank, my left breast busted a move for the door while my right breast leapt toward the Celtic Knot tapestry. Then, confused by the flow of the vinyasa, they swung back towards each other and kissed. Taking advantage of my rack’s momentary intimacy, I feigned fatigue, struck a quick Child’s Pose, jammed my hands all around my shirt, and once again zipped up the offending foundation garment.

And six minutes after that…

Oh, hell, you know how this goes: a zzzzzzoooot followed by Boobs Everywhere. I emitted a deep sigh of exasperation that, fortunately, was muffled since we were doing a hunchy pose which meant my mouth was buried in wilding breast tissue. Deftly, I carried out a quick re-zipping which was followed by increasingly confused side-eye from guy next to me. Eventually, intimidated by my bladder’s imagined capabilities–or maybe because he had to get back to work–he packed up early and left.

The nice thing is that, with an hour as ridiculous as the past one had been, at some point I just stopped caring that I was reaching inside my shirt and fondling myself while surrounded by strangers. Instead, I decided to pretend I was an extra on Game of Thrones, and fondling myself publicly was just part of the job.

Thus, as class neared its end, and we all moved into Cow Face pose (always with the cows!), and I heard the tell-tale zzzzzzzoooot yet again, I grinned.

Because really. What can you do?

When the universe is enjoying a giggle at one’s expense, it’s best to give over and accept the lesson being taught (Giggle Acceptance = Jocelyn Superpower #414!).

And what I learned that day between all the dashing hither and zipping yon is that

sometimes, udders just gots to be free.



*to dumbledore = to exert magic more powerful than the fledgling efforts of novices







24 responses to “If the Guy Next to Me Had Been British, He Would Have Whispered, “Put Your Baps Away, Love””

  1. Bijoux Avatar

    I can only dream about having boobs powerful enough to break free from captivity.

    Isn’t being a girl so much fun?

  2. Avie Layne Avatar

    When will I learn not to have food or beverage in my mouth when I read your newest blog post?

  3. Erin Avatar

    This was a great way to start the day!

  4. Maria Avatar

    I am flat as a board so jealous of your talents. All mine do is wrinkle and sag just enough to gently sit in my armpit when I lay down. And those poses! Ok. All I can think about is what my family calls “proting” and yours probably calls “farting.” I lay with my legs up like that and within one minute I am in deep trouble if there is a crowd.

    And to think that I used to do lay down and have no gentle sinkings and place my legs in the air during lovemaking and never worry about killing the moment.

  5. Jess Avatar

    I’m with Bijoux. Though my boobs are currently way more impressive than they’ve ever been. Thanks, breastfeeding!!

    Also, you’ve pretty much outdone yourself with this one. The image of you getting smacked in the eye by your own boob will be making me sniggle (snicker + giggle) for a ways to come.

  6. chlost Avatar

    The visualization of this “boob bondage revolt” was very satisfying-in a totally non-sexual way. It made be smile and laugh, and then cringe on your behalf. Having never done yoga, I can only imagine the exertion, but I know what it’s like to surreptitiously attempt to relegate body parts to their assigned positions. And really, I thought I was the only one who finds distractions to occupy my mind while doing my business.Thanks for reassuring me I am not alone….and we’re not crazy. Right?

  7. Pearl Avatar

    And THIS is where the true benefit of yoga lies: the realization that things are exactly as they need to be at this particular moment.

    And that you need a new workout bra.

    May they be on sale, my friend.



  8. sweffling Avatar

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!
    After several rough weeks this had me roaring with laughter even whilst pulling up my own bra straps which keep falling down. No zips involved thank goodness.
    It is always so good to know that we all have to cope with the same kinds of malfunctions but you have a way of writing about them which is unique:)

  9. A Cuban In London Avatar

    If the Guy Next to Me Had Been British, He Would Have Whispered, “Put Your Baps Away, Love”

    Or, he would have said something along the lines of: “I’m terribly sorry but would you be so kind so as to place your mammae out of my sight, please?” 🙂

    Loved your post.

    Greetings from London.

  10. Secret Agent Woman Avatar

    Two things:
    One, I am reminded that there is an upside to having been spayed.

    And two, I am also reminded of the time I was side-swiped by a strong wave at the beach which popped a boob from my swim suit to the amusement of all around me. Good times.

  11. Friko Avatar

    Well endowed, blessed with boobs with an adventurous life of their own; they could have their own blog, couldn’t they?

    Your toilet adventures too deserve a wider audience.

    All in all I would say that you got three mornings’ worth of exercise for the price of one. No wonder your break into a sweat.

  12. Bone Avatar

    This story really just bounced along.

    Darn, I thought the side-eye was entirely undetectable by others.

    And if you are running a 4-minute mile, either you are quite possibly the fastest woman in the world, or your treadmill needs some adjusting. (I choose to believe the former. Jocelyn superpower #415?)

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      With regards to the running: I just make sh** up to see if anyone’s paying attention. I’m actually a really slow runner. I make up for my lack of speed with a kind of joyful endurance.

  13. kmkat Avatar

    Back in high school my best friend and I used to call tank tops “lung tops” because when you leaned over your lungs were likely to fall out. Seems your sports bra sprung from the same roots.

    I think joyful endurance sounds like a great way to go through life.

  14. ilyanna Avatar

    OMG. stupid clothing failures. I may recently have had to reach down inside my pants when the waistband of my underwear gave out completely and everything collapsed. I feel your pain.
    Thank you for sharing, well, everything. 🙂

  15. ilyanna Avatar

    My favorite sports bras come from Moving Comfort. The straps are all velcro so you can adjust minutely (from the front!) and they never, ever slip.

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      All of my other bras are Moving Comfort. I’m a particular fan of the Maia. In recent weeks, I’ve decided to poke around and look for other options, too, and now I’m a HUGE fan of the Panache (not a Moving Comfort bra, though): http://www.barenecessities.com/product.aspx?pfid=Panache5021&source=bizrate&cm_mmc=SHZL-_-Bra-_-Panache5021-_-NA&term=Panache5021&c3ch=CSE&c3nid=Shopzilla&mr:referralID=4e46c9a2-dfbb-11e3-91da-001b2166c62d

  16. pia Avatar

    I never know where to start or end when commenting on your posts but uh a 4 minute mile? 4 minutes? Then I remember do 5 miles in 25 minutes on the exercycle but it’s under optimum conditions and….

    Your last couple of sentences were too hilarious. Well everything you write is but…

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      I do make sh** up, just to see if people are paying attention. You win!

  17. Jenny Woolf Avatar

    Must be better the boobs than the upper arms slapping you in the eye 🙂

  18. Meg Avatar

    Jocelyn’s theme song: Bust A Move!
    I’ve been pretty successful keeping my D-cups under control, but I’ve had other disastrous wardrobe malfunctions involving the elastic on my yoga pants failing mid-downward facing dog. That asana (hah!) shall forever be known as “coin slot pose” in my world.
    As so often happens, I find myself dabbing tears of mirth away as I read your tales. Thanks, I needed that today!

  19. lime Avatar

    oh man, i can’t tell ya how many times my boobs have been a problem in yoga class…..and that’s with bras that don’t zip! you are quite the trooper, joce!

  20. actonbell Avatar

    Ah, I was ready to say what Bone said 🙂 And I so wish I could write so well about how hard it is for me to get out the door. It’s a marvel how one can get up in plenty of time and still end up rushing around in such an undignified manner. Lack of time and unreliable sport bras: they get one down.

  21. Jenn @ Juggling Life Avatar

    I will definitely be passing on the zipper bras!

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