TO POT: My Left Boob
By Susan Reinhardt
figured I was pretty close to going to pot when my husband and I took a trip to
Cozumel, Mexico shortly before I turned 40.
Mexicans usually love me. I can always count on these sweet gentlemen to wink
or smile or say something flattering, like “La dama es muy bonita,” which I
think means very pretty or maybe it just means I’m wearing a fine bonnet.
I like to flatter myself and pretend they are seeking more than a Green card
when they follow me around town, getting all out of sorts even if I’m having a
puffy-faced, fat-armed, retaining-fluid day.
My husband and I decided we needed a vacation from parenthood and signed up
for one of those all-inclusive deals frequented by fatties and alkies, both of
which I could qualify as being, depending on the day.
It was supposed to be four nights of romance and adventure away from our
kids. It turned into four nights of my husband either sick with a cold or
pretending to be, and me enrolling in every activity alone.
Everywhere I went I was solo and not one man, not even a toothless wrinkled
wreck or a staggering alcoholic hit on me.
This was one of life’s biggest wakeup calls, even bigger than when the postal
clerk quit blushing when I licked stamps in front of him and he told me to move
my business away from his counter.
I mean, here I was, a woman without a man and not a single Mexican was wanting
my affections and thus a ticket to fly back to America – land of dreams –
with me as his bride and ticket to better wages and a McDonalds in every town.
Land of outlet malls and Tommy Hilfiger. Land of Gucci, Vuitton, Pamela and
Britney and other people and possessions those outside our borders find
This was as bad as walking through a construction site and hearing nary a
catcall. This could mean one thing, and one thing only. Someone has gone
downhill. Or straight to pot. All that motherly advice about working on my mind
had left me with baggy eyes, loose skin and a goiter stomach. Not to mention the
boobs. Let’s, for a moment, leave them out of this.
Each day in paradise as my husband flopped across his bed, hacking and snorting
phlegm and bemoaning the bad food and concrete mattress, I’d lounge by the
pool or beach in my two-piece suits and even the total drunks wouldn’t so much
as glance. If they did, they quickly glanced elsewhere because at these all-inclusives
there are Sluts-a-Plenty!
One afternoon while my husband lay curled like a scorpion in the bed and
snarling about how miserable he was, I decided to take up this all-inclusive
resort on its free horseback rides.
The only ones signed up were me and a couple of geeks who looked as if they
lived in a town where the sun hasn’t come out for months. They were wearing
matching I Love Cozumel T-shirts and were obviously on their honeymoon, thinking
they were about to enjoy a romantic romp through paradise on a former Kentucky
A stout Mexican with a nice smile, tequila breath, and only one missing side
tooth introduced himself. I was drinking a beer in a red tumbler that appeared
to be the type Pizza Hut uses for its soft drinks. The beer, along with the
watered down liquor, was free, and though I’d later suffer a week-long bout of
E-coli, one doesn’t think of such as she sips her diluted offerings and tries
to envision the getaway of a lifetime.
The Mexican eyed my tumbler thirstily.
“You want me to get you one?” I asked.
“I’m not supposed to drink,” he said, darting his eyes toward a counter
where his boss was explaining the cost of rental cars. “Go now, yes. Si. Get
me one, por favor.”
I brought him a draft from the bar and the honeymoon geeks gave me the evil eye.
I believe they were Pentecostals, not that there’s a thing wrong with them,
but they don’t like it when tourists and Mexicans fraternize over
mind-altering substances poured from a keg and teeming with deadly parasites.
They just wanted to get on their horses and pretend they were in a romance
novel, the wind on their faces and in the armholes of their I Love Cozumel tees.
I, on the other hand, just wanted to drink a bit and escape my nose blowing,
mucusy husband who was probably sweeping the tile floors or making the beds.
This is what he enjoys doing in fine hotels. Cleaning and pretending to be
deathly ill from germs circulating on the plane rides. He is convinced airplanes
are nothing more than Petri dishes with wings.
The Mexican downed his beer in two sips and led us across a dirt road to a patch
of scrubby wilderness. He kept eyeing me because I had no mate, a slight buzz,
and a snug swimsuit top paired with shorts. It was one of those padded push-up
deals, part of a tankini, nothing slutty about it, but I was looking hot in that
top. It might have all been an illusion, but it was working. Took me from a
saggy B to a full firm D.
We rounded a corner and there they were, a group of sway-backed horses that
looked as if they were 10 minutes away from an Elmer’s conversion. The
honeymooners got the horses with both eyes and at least three decent legs.
The Mexican winked at me and said, “Los caballos son bonitos,” which I later
learned meant the horses were pretty. I thought he meant my bonnet-style hat and
thus I smiled.
He grabbed a set of tattered reins and handed over a snuffling horse that he
called the “La Mula,” and I knew what he meant. It was a damned mule.
A mad-ass mule. I threw a leg over its wiry back and the thing snorted and
turned its head and tried to bite me, its nostrils flaring and shiny. The
honeymooners had already taken off through the brambled path strewn with litter
and discarded auto parts, while I tried to get my la mula to take one step
The Mexican, who had swilled his one beer much too fast, stared at me with
wobbly eyes. He tried his best to speak perfect English and get the words out
“I like a mature woman,” he said, his eyes going up and down my tankini.
Mature woman! What does he mean by “mature woman?” He must have been 50
himself, old geezer, and calling me a mature woman.
He trotted off with a wink, trying to catch up with the honeymooners who were
halfway down the path, viewing the scenic trash piles, burning tires, stiff
iguanas rotting and leaving the air redolent of reptilian death and toxic fumes.
I was trying to get my la mula to move. When I bit its neck and said, “La Mula
is muy malo and I’m going to cook your haunch for dinner,” the blessed
animal stumbled like an old woman with two new hip replacements and her first
day using a walker.
After 10 minutes of trying to get my mule to make some progress, the Mexican
leader returned, smelling of belches and lust. He rode his horse next to my mule
“I like a mature woman,” he said.
“I know. You said that already.”
“You have nice breasts,” he said.
“No, I don’t.”
Move, mula, move. I started to bite its neck again just to escape this man’s
conversation and boozy perversions.
“They are beautiful. I like a mature woman’s beautiful breasts. Not like
senorita Pamela Anderson’s soccer ball breasts. Muy malo. Comprende?”
“You wouldn’t like these,” I said, and my mule took off running on its
three good legs because I had removed an earring and jabbed the post in its
hide. I would apologize later with a nice green apple, but for now, I needed to
The mule would start and stop, pausing over something nasty and decomposing in
its path. I could hear the hoof steps of the Mexican catching up to us. Where
were those pale-assed honeymooners? Gosh, this was the ugliest countryside I’d
ever seen. I thought when I signed up for this all-inclusive we’d get to ride
horses on the beach like in the movies. This was the equivalent of riding
through a trail of Dumpsters.
The mule wouldn’t budge and I didn’t feel right biting or poking it again.
The Mexican was on my tail and sighed so heavily I could smell his sated, fetid
“I just want to see one,” he said.
I turned toward him. “One what?”
“I like a mature woman. One breast of a mature woman.”
“Well, trot on up the path and find one. I’m not mature. You got that? I'm
only 28. I look older because I smoked when I was young and drank too much in
college. I had that disease when I was born where you look 80 by the time you
are 3. Very sad, but I make the best of it.”
“You are spirited and I like that in a woman. American women are like my
“Your horses are two gallops away from glue,” I wanted to say, but did not
because he was staring a hole through my tankini top with the built-in mega bra.
“Let me see just one. Only one. A mature breast, please.”
“I will not. They are ugly. I’m telling you.”
“They are so beautiful. And mature.”
I searched the ground for a big stick to hit him with, but all I could find were
scrubby vines and old paper cups. I was truly afraid by now. Not another person
was in sight.
“Just show me one and I promise I will leave you alone. I promise.”
“You will go away? You will run on up the path after the others?”
“Well, all right then.”
He began to salivate and sweat. I knew he was in for a shock and the
“spirited” American woman in me couldn’t wait to see his face when he got
a load of the goods this tankini was certainly boosting and plumping.
As he inched his old horse closer to my la mula, I began to have second
“Just one,” he begged. “The left one.”
“Why the left one?” Oh, why was I even asking?
“It looks bigger. More mature.”
Thinking I would be raped if he didn’t get his peep show, I lifted the left
side of my top and out flopped a long, fish-like tit that fell somewhere near
the mule’s saddle. His eyes squinted. His mouth curved downward. He nodded,
kicked his horse and fled the scene like the Lone Ranger after a bad guy.
“Hey,” I yelled, offended to some degree. “What about the right side?
Don’t you want to see it? The right one looks a whole lot better!!!”
By then he was gone. The trip was over. My mula eventually made it back, drank
some water, and crunched the promised apple I had in my beach bag. I cut my eyes
at the Mexican before crossing the road toward the hotel.
I turned around one last time and he was standing there, staring.
“Things aren’t always what they seem,” I yelled.
He nodded and turned away. I climbed the stairs to our villa, crawled into bed
with my husband and listened to him sniff and hack until time for my next solo
excursion – snorkeling on three reefs in the middle of the ocean.
I dug around for a swimsuit that would hide nothing. I would show my breasts to
be what they were, those of a woman who’d lived and loved and nursed two
beautiful children. Those of a mature woman.
Copyright 2004 Susan Reinhardt
Susan Reinhardt is a columnist based in Asheville, N.C.
You can reach her at
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