• Alison M.D.

The Day My Dress Did Not Impress

Clash Of The Cleavage


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The Day My Dress Did Not Impress


The other day, in a fit of romantic generosity, my husband bought me a dress.


That’s not quite as reckless as it sounds. He knows my taste very well, and understands and appreciates my “middle-aged boho grow old but never grow up” sense of style. He also knows my size and that I prefer dresses a little loose around the tum and more lingering elsewhere. So when he was strolling past a stall in Brisbane and spotted something he thought would suit me, he bought it on impulse.


It’s a great dress, long with a hint of a sweep and a dash of the wild-eyed gypsy, a soft feminine pattern — and a low cut plunging neckline.


I’m built for comfort, not for speed, and no matter what I wear the puppies generally prevail. But this particular dress, while flattering, definitely offers more of a deep insight into my endowments than some of my more restrained sartorial splendours.


As soon as I tried it on, his boyish grin told me it was going to be a firm favourite.

I’m not above displaying a bit of cleavage to distract the eye from other areas I’d prefer weren’t the focus of attention. Give your best assets a bit of a boost has always been my catch cry. And it really was very becoming.


So my beaming husband and pleasantly surprised self took the plunge and headed to our nearest social club, hoping to catch the tail end of lunch.


In the event, I nearly caught the tail end of a woman’s ire.


A Breast Too Far

As I say, I’m not averse to displaying a bit of cleavage. It’s part of my body, women have breasts — live with it. No amount of attempted shaming will work on me.


And I also genuinely don’t care if men dart a glance in the direction of the sweater stretchers. Sometimes women do it too. Sometimes I do it. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Elvira the first time I saw her dancing, for want of a better word.


If you have large bosoms that announce their arrival, people tend to notice them. It’s more of a magpie/shiny thing reflex than anything deliberately harmful or rude. At least to begin with.

Mick was laughing as we entered the club, he found it amusing that an elderly gawker had engaged us in conversation as we were entering, and had himself a bit of an eyeful. I just shook my head. Kind of gross, but not unusually so.


Next up, we had to navigate the carefully arranged pokies, designed to lure you into gambling your pension away. It’s nearly impossible to enter most Queensland clubs without first picking your way through the slot machines. Generally, the poor souls permanently welded to the dopamine inducers maintain a nearly religious focus on the whirling fruit. However, even here several sets of eyes swivelled in the direction of the jiggle.


I was starting to think this dress might be a little more daring than they were accustomed to in this neck of the woods. Perhaps a camisole underneath next time?


Seated at my table, awaiting my beau to bring whatever delights he could muster up from the bistro, I noted a little uncomfortably that I was getting more attention than usual. Or rather, my breasts were. One man nearly walked into a table because his head was firmly swivelled in the direction of my golden globes.


By now I was starting to get exasperated and thinking to myself, oh come on, we’re all over 50. They’re just tits.


But worse was to come.


Blissful Ignorance

As we made ourselves comfortable, we were surrounded by scattered tables, most of them round, with a Covid friendly gap between. Nearby were two people, a man and a wife judging by appearances. I was more or less facing their table, on an angle towards my husband. My husband was facing me, his back in their general direction.


And thus he missed the ensuing drama played out in almost total silence six feet behind him.

The man at the nearby table was also half pointed in my direction. As soon as I sat down his eyes widened and then darted towards my decolletage. He glanced, he looked away.

So far, not so terrible. But then he kept glancing. And glancing. And glancing. His wife, oblivious to whatever he kept looking at was trying to get his attention. Because his eyes kept bouncing onto my boobs and rebounding again, my own eyes continually returned towards his general vicinity. I have learned, as most women have, the art of not quite looking men in the eye — so I never quite returned his gaze. But I could certainly see enough to note that he was not fully focused on whatever his wife was saying.


I concentrated on ignoring him, but couldn’t delete him from my peripheral vision. Looking, looking away, looking, looking away.


As any honest woman will tell you — we always know when a man is looking at our assets. Always. If you ever thought she didn’t notice — she did. She was just more polite about it than you were. And this chap was not on team subtle.


I didn’t want to mention it to my husband. I’ve been dealing with this stuff my whole life. He’s a sensible man, and wouldn’t actually beat anyone up for such behaviour, but honestly I just wanted to have a nice lunch with absolutely no hassle, not make him feel tense, not be the catalyst for any embarrassing shots fired, not cause a scene by existing and having breasts. I’m quite sure you understand.


So I tried to shift my chair a little to the left, using my husband’s shoulders as cover — at which he chivalrously adjusted his chair to be closer to me, and opened up the view again. I attempted to adjust myself to cover the cleavage gap a little, or at least drape the costume jewellery I was wearing more artfully over the double trouble, but this generated a seismic shift which caused my husband to smirk and mumble a cheeky comment, which in turn caused me to giggle.


Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman With A Dickhead For A Husband

In the way that nosy people sometimes do when they hear a laugh, the wife on the aforementioned table heard me chuckle and turned around. She had to swivel nearly fully in her chair to do so. I glimpsed her eyes widen as she too glanced from my mammaries to my face to her husband, who was by now studiously looking away again.


There followed several minutes of a nearly silent drama. The lady turned around four or five more times, apparently trying to catch my gaze. Meanwhile I was staring fixedly into my man’s face as though my life depended on it. My darling husband meanwhile was insouciantly concentrating on his chips, mildly intrigued as to why I was gazing into his eyes like we were star crossed lovers on a first date.


But worse than all of this, the man behind him continued to glance, glance away, glance, glance away. Only now under the eagle eye of his pissed off wife.


I know why women blame other women for men’s crappy behaviour. It’s a sad and boring tale as old as misogyny itself and I can’t be bothered going into it again. If this were happening to me I’d have gracefully poured my husband’s beer into his crotch and left the room without a backward glance. But she was not one of that breed and apparently had decided that rather than blame her ball and chain for his disrespect to her, she’d blame me for having tits instead.


From what I could gather without allowing her to capture my gaze, if looks could kill I’d have shrivelled in my seat, or at least deflated like two burst balloons.


What should have happened next

Since apparently I had hypnotised him with my devil’s dumplings, perhaps the man could have adjusted his chair to face away from my mysteriously mesmerising mammaries, and given his wife the attention she deserved.


What actually happened next

I could see the conversation was picking up a little. She was hissing something at him. He was playing it cool. And he Just. Kept. Looking.

My husband was finishing his last few chips, but still supping on his drink. I’d had a cold drink and the ice cubes were making their way through me swiftly. I know, I thought, I’ll go to the loo, get out of the line of sight.

I had walked half a dozen steps when I felt the hairs rise on the back of my neck as she got up behind me.


Mental Is As Mental Does

There’s a certain type of feral woman in Glasgow, toilets are their preferred territory. That’s where they plan and execute their ambush.


I knew I could probably take her if I had to, but I’d really rather not have to. I once was a savage little fucker in a fight, what I lacked in strength I made up for in animal cunning and viciousness. If you’re going to fight you must weapon up, bite, gouge, kick, be willing to do whatever it takes to win. But I’m well out of practice, and though I could probably still valiantly defend myself, I really didn’t want to. Not to mention all the mayhem and misery that would ensue after such an event.


My husband started out his adult life as bricklayer, rugby player and prison guard. Though he’s employed in a much more cerebral context these days, he certainly wouldn’t have been concerned if forced into a fracas. But he’s a law-abiding citizen and this sort of nonsense would have repercussions for him too.


My gut told me there was a fight brewing because a silly woman needed to blame me, rather than her own poor choice in a mate. And I’m far too old to be involved in pub brawls, my days of hiding under the table as the beer glasses fly are well past.


So as she came up behind me, ten feet from the toilet, I slowed and feinted left, fumbling through my bag as though looking for something. She hesitated, then marched past me; as she shouldered the door open she cast me a backward glare that said it all.


I threw myself swiftly into reverse, doubled back, grabbed my husband’s phone and his arm and said “Let’s go, big man, I’ll tell you why outside”. To his credit, after looking briefly surprised, he joined me without question. Once I got the car door locked I shared the tawdry little tale. He’s a resilient sort, and neither of us are very precious. Again, he laughed heartily, agreed with my summation of the situation — and we went home, happy to have escaped an altercation with a couple of bogan boneheads.


Don’t Be A Boob

Once again, I don’t care if you glance at my cleavage when I’m out and about. Particularly if I’ve more or less put it on display. I don’t even really care if you gawk at my weapons of mass distraction a hundred times an hour. I think you’re a bit of a twat, but I don’t much care.

The greasy gawper made me a little uncomfortable but what really concerned me was the possible drama playing out in front of me, and I was genuinely worried that we might become involved in a ruck caused by a couple of dire dimwits.


I did feel some sympathy for his wife considering he behaved like a tit, but then again, she seemed to consider it my fault that her husband disrespected her.


And before you start the “oh the poor guy just couldn’t help himself it’s nature” routine — it’s already been proven that women have the exact same response to visual stimuli. In fact, I wrote all about that here:



Humans — both female and male — are visual creatures. Sometimes you can’t help a quick, surprised, evaluating glance. But any man can — and does — choose whether or not to ogle, and whether or not to glance and glance away on a repeating loop at the same set of breasts for the best part of an hour.


In all my years of this sort of attention, I’ve never known a man to be so doggedly determined to just keep looking.


There’s no real moral to this tale. Behave as you please when you’re socialising, but know this: Everyone sees you. I see you. She sees you. You do have a choice, and frankly I don’t want your mad cow of a wife lamping me in the toilet when she should be lamping you.

Just look away — they’re only breasts.


Will I wear that dress again? Too right I will.


But maybe next time with a little camisole underneath.


Alison Tennent, October 2021, Queensland Australia Copyright Alison Tennent 2021, all rights reserved. Scottish by birth, upbringing and bloodline, Australian by citizenship. If you’re reading this anywhere but The Garrulous Glaswegian, or Medium, this work may have been plagiarized.


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