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All the Weird Stuff Women Put on Their Boobs to Try to Make Them Bigger

There’s a long, strange history of fruitless folk remedies for boosting breast size—and now they’ve hit YouTube

We know men do a lot of insane things for a bigger dong. (Jelqing, anyone?) But less discussed are the equally hilarious methods women undertake to pump up the melons. Well, settle in, men, because that day has come.

Two words: Vaseline and Colgate. Or three: petroleum jelly and toothpaste. That’s right: Some men believe stretching out their dicks with a penis wrench is worth it, and some women believe coating their tatas and nips nightly with a combo of toothpaste and petroleum jelly will yield some serious overnight swell.

Before you ask, no, I don’t believe the true source of this scam is Big Toothpaste. Actually, it looks like it goes back to a handful of beauty vloggers. In one video by YouTuber ZonelynTV, a woman in her bathroom wrapped in a towel demonstrates the technique: She massages her breasts in petroleum jelly nightly for five or 10 minutes, and then follows up with a dab of toothpaste directly on the nipples before hitting the sack.

In another similar video, Naturalbeauty556 advises that nightly toothpaste will tighten sagging breasts in only five days. “It’s going to tighten up your breasts like really, really crazy,” she says. “Use three to four times in the week — this will work like magic. It’s not expensive in any way.”

No, it’s not expensive. If you don’t count the cost to your time, reputation and ego.

In spite of the enthusiasm for this approach and the views, there are, thank heavens, some skeptics. Beauty vlogger MakeupMesha says she decided to take up the full 30-day challenge because she’s been “longing and wanting bigger boobs for years now.”

“What could it possibly hurt?” she asks.

“I tried this every night like an idiot for 30 days and had my boyfriend looking at me like, ‘What is she doing?’” she says.

Obviously, it didn’t work.

The medical field has also weighed in. “This bizarre advice simply preys on the many women who are unhappy with the size of their breasts and who might resort to bizarre ‘miracle fixes’ to find a solution to their problem,” director of the London Bridge Plastic Surgery Clinic told Metro U.K. “Sadly, like a lot of guidance on the internet, the Vaseline and toothpaste method of breast augmentation is fake news and pure online quackery. Your breasts may end up smelling minty fresh, but it’s highly unlikely there will be any growth.”

While this seems like some sort of modern-day fluke, it fits right in with a long line of fruitless efforts to boost boob size and improve boob appearance. I grew up hearing tales of women stuffing their bras with tissue to fake nonexistent cleavage. As a teenager I’d come across a reference here or there to some other illusion of better tits. In some Anaïs Nin erotica from the 1930s, I read about women who painted their nipples with lipstick to make them look rosier and more alluring.

But when it comes to any sleight of hand with our appearances, the jig is always up eventually. You can lead a man to breast water, but you can’t make him actually think your tits are big once the bra is off.

Which is why women, just like men, are perpetually in search of the real deal. Without the funds to get actual surgery, which is costly, risky and often fake looking, women are just as susceptible to hucksterism promises of naturally bigger boobs.

That was demonstrated in Judy Blume’s 1970 coming of age staple, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. In it, eager boob-havers flap their arms wildly while repeating, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust,” believing they can exercise their way to earlier womanhood.

Blume demonstrates the move in this HuffPost interview:

“I’d be happy to show you,” Blume says. “But I also have to tell you it doesn’t work.”

None of it works! But that hasn’t stopped centuries of women from trying literally anything. In a roundup of 100-year-old boob-growing treatments, Therese O’Neill digs up these gems: In 1858, women were instructed by other women to rub a concoction of myrrh, pimpernel water, elderflower water, musk and something called “rectified wine spirits” on their breasts nightly to grow them. In 1922, women were told to massage nightly with olive oil or coconut butter. If alternated with hot and cold water, it was said to “produce results.”

On the internet, women are promised that consuming everything from fenugreek to soybeans to alfalfa sprouts will make you go from flat-chested to queen of gazonga land in no time. There are numerous exercises that purport to improve chest muscles and lift those puppies up a few cup sizes. And if all else fails, packing on a few pounds or taking birth control could work.

Of course, most women just rely on the age-old mechanism for lifting, padding and separating the honkers with zero real effort: a bra.

Men can stick a sock in it too, but again, in the end, the truth will out. And that truth is this: Outside of medical intervention, there is little any of us can do to change what nature gave us. That reality traps us all in the same gendered insecurity net.

Men think they need bigger dicks when they don’t; women think they need bigger boobs when they don’t. Surveys of preferred breast size find that men and women both prefer “average” breasts, or what they think is a “C” cup. To use Maxim’s example, more Jennifer Lawrence than Katy Perry.

Funny enough, most women aren’t a C cup anyway. A large percentage of women (as many as 80 percent) may be actually wearing the wrong bra size. One study found that the average actual breast size, accounting for correct fittings, surgeries and rising obesity rates, is 34DD. Meaning the average is bigger than we thought, or at least, we’re calling it a C when it’s really a DD.

Equally funny: The ideal dick is not a massive dong either, but rather the dick porridge Goldilocks would choose — a medium-sized “boyfriend dick.” You know, the sort of dick you can take every day for the rest of your life.

If only we realized the ways in which silly gender expectations make us all susceptible to capitalist scams geared toward self-improvement, maybe we’d stop trying to juice up our sex parts and just work what we’ve already got. We’d save a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of disappointment. And maybe there would be fewer women with perfectly great knockers (and men with perfectly workable tools, too) still hating themselves for not being perfect.