When I’m out and about, I often say that I need to go home and take off my shoes. And when I say “shoes” I mean “bra.”(1)
I know that bras are necessary (2) and that they have improved over the years. No longer do you need to have the torpedo tits that restrictive, pointy bras of the 40s and 50s produced.(3)
Modern bras give you lots of choices. There are sports bras (4); ones with privacy petals and others with cut-outs for your nipples; padded and push-up; plain and fancy (5); cotton and satin and nylon and leather; emphasizers and minimizers, strapless or racer-backed, front-closing or back-closing or slip-ons, maternity bras and nursing bras, underwired and torture-free.(6)
There are even training bras, which I totally don’t get the point of. They can’t be training breasts, which don’t exist yet, or if they do are hardly in need of support or restraint. Are they for training girls never to let the straps show, which would be an Occasion of Sin for young boys? Or just training girls to be uncomfortable the rest of their lives?
Because bras are simply not comfortable, not even the ones that lack threats of being impaled. Don’t tell me that if a bra fits properly, it will be comfortable and that I’m just Doing It Wrong. I measured myself in the approved manner, including that silly bent-at-the-waist position where your boobs point at your toes.(7) I rounded down to the smaller band as the manufacturer’s website recommended and the ridiculous cup size involving letters of the alphabet I never knew existed.(8)
I still ended up with something that impaired my breathing and felt like a boob straitjacket. The band was so tight that I had to ask my husband to help me get it on and properly hooked. This is not his natural skill set, given his teenage experiences with the opposite procedure.
Of course, for us busty gals, free-boobing isn’t really an option.(9) I always keep a loose jacket near the door so that if I have to greet proselytizers or run after an escaping cat I won’t present the spectacle of flapping and jouncing tits making the important message on my nightshirt (10) impossible to read.
I remember the days when I could free-boob. Back when my tits were pert and perky, even if I wasn’t. That particular ship sailed long ago, I’m afraid. While gaining weight increased my boobage, gravity was not my friend.(11)
I understand that small, cupcake-like breasts have their advantages. You don’t have to fear button-front shirt gaps. There’s a better chance that you won’t have to buy different-sized bikini tops and bottoms and don’t have to worry about your tits flopping out of your strapless cocktail dress when you enter a twist contest, creating a scandal.(12) But I also hear that it’s more painful to have a mammogram when you have less tissue to squish.
Since we’re talking about breasts, for some reason I’ll let a gay man have the last word.
Here’s a excerpt from an interview with David Sedaris, which is posted on pastemagazine.com (http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2013/07/drinks-with-david-sedaris.html). For some reason it just resonated with me.
A woman the other night—she came to the reading and she said, “You got me to put my bra back on.” And I said, “I beg your pardon?” And she said, “Someone put it on Facebook that you were gonna be here. I’d gotten home from work and I’d taken my bra off. And when I take my bra off, it’s off for the night.” She said, “But this time I put it back on so I could come out.” She said, “NO ONE does that.” So I started asking women “When your bra is off, is it off for the night?” And they were like, “Hell yeah.” And that’s just something I never knew about women. It never occurred to me that women would have a “bra policy.” That they’d be like, “Sorry. I can’t. It’s off for the night.” It’s like, “You called me. You need a sober driver to pick you up from the bar?” And they’d have to say, “My bra’s off. I can’t. You have me mistaken for someone else…”
(1) Shoes too, actually. My feet have an unfortunate tendency to swell and give me cankles.
(2) At least for me, at this stage of my life.
(3) Unless you’re Madonna or one of her wanna-bes. Another bad look for most women is “tits on a platter,” facilitated by corsets and bustiers, that you sometimes see at renfairs.
(4) Made memorable by soccer player Brandi Chastain.
(5) I understand leopard prints and zebra prints, stripes, polka dots and little hearts. What I do not understand is a bra-and-panties set embellished with Marvin the Martian. I saw this in a retail store, not a science fiction convention.
(6) To me, an underwire feels like an upside-down guillotine, ready to lop off my breasts if I move wrong.
(7) I mean, really – the point, er, purpose of a bra is to prevent your nipples from pointing at your toes.
(8) I knew the letters existed, just not the cup sizes.
(9) Except that I work at home, in my nightshirt, so really I do it practically every day. I might wear even less, but my study is on the ground floor and the blinds are up because the cats like to look out and pretend they can catch birds.
(10) “I ❤ my bed”
(11) Gravity is not our friend in so many ways as we age. Just to mention one, getting multi-packs of bottled water off the bottom shelf in the grocery.
(12) That actually happened to me. The strapless dress and the twist contest. Not the flopping out. I practiced at home.