A heads up to male readers–you can stop reading now. Unless one has worn a bra, the following will be of no interest. There will be no titillating punnery or sly sexual innuendo. Just a discussion of form, function and frustration.
The topic was inspired by the ugly betrayal of a once much-loved bra. It had been the ideal support garment–the same color as my skin, so it disappeared beneath my clothes. It was smooth and comfortable, with straps that stayed in place and hooks that didn’t require Houdini-like skills to escape.
Unfortunately, I’d misplaced My Precious when we moved a few months back, and after a considerable period of mourning, attempted to replace it with a variety of inadequates. It was like speed-dating Sheldon’s in search of a Clooney.
And then, when retrieving an overnight bag from the closet, the lost became found. With much joy and celebration, I tossed it in with some wash and then later, distracted by the fatigue, transferred it into the dryer rather than hanging it dry.
Thus converting the underappliance into a most grievous torture device.
One whose pain I didn’t fully comprehend until a few hours into the next work day, when the bra I’d so happily welcomed back into my life began contorting my breasts in a way that had me reminiscing on the good ol’ days in the mammo machine.
The shirt I was wearing that day wasn’t one that would discreetly accommodate going without the twisting constrictor, so I struggled through a long and uncomfortable day, one that eventually involved an underwire becoming a throughwire. One that waited until I was covering phones at the reception desk before poking out to say hi.
I’ve had experience with other attention-seeking bras in the past. There was the summer day I dropped off my car to be worked on and was talking to the head mechanic when my front-loader chose to disengage in a rather dramatic and slingshot-like fashion.
And another time, when I was waiting to be interviewed for a job and I felt a sudden loosening under my blouse. I excused myself and hurried into the bathroom, where I discovered a single thread was now holding my bra together. All I could find to repair it was a small paper clip, so I improvised, quickly hooking it through and around in a way that had me feeling so clever.
Until a few minutes into the interview, when the metal started to stretch and unwrap. I began to talk faster, trying to hurry things along, fearing another slingshot-like episode as at the garage. My repair lasted until we finished, then completely gave way just as I stood up to leave. My parting handshake was awkward, with my upper arms pinched tightly against my sides as I tried to exit while still facing my interviewers, lest they see that my bra was now flapping freely under my shirt.
I expect most women will agree that few things feel better than taking off a bra at the end of the day.
And when it isn’t just off, but tossed in the trash.