Saturday, April 12, 2014

On not falling into booby traps

The last time I went bra shopping I was on a mission. A mission that involved leaving behind my third soggy collection of maternity bras and replacing them with new brassieres, distinguishable by their glorious absence of clips and by their focus almost entirely on form, not function. I wanted my next bra to be beautiful, comfortable and flattering. I wanted to be able to put it on in the morning and not touch it or even think about it for the whole day. No itchy lace, no metal underwires and no wonderbras.

Ultimately I found the very bra for me, so perfect that I bought three in various colours. That was more than three years ago, and they have served me well up until about six months ago, when they started to lose their elasticity (much like my skin) and failed to fit properly (much like all my other clothes) while also looking very much the worse for wear (much like me, and all my other clothes).

So a couple of weeks ago I ventured back into the bra department of a certain store which is known for selling big labels at small prices and I must say I was flabbergasted. There were literally hundreds of bras in this place, all on sale and altogether comprising roughly half the world's supply of sponge. Seriously, one misdirected match and the whole place would have gone up like Cracker Night 1978.

I don't care if you want to hoist your tits up under your chin, double their size and create a cleavage that small animals can disappear into. I really don't. It's entirely your business. But surely we should have other options. There was not a single bra in this shop, at least not in my very modest (some would say small, others would say "Why do you need to buy a bra anyway?") size that did not have at least half an inch of padding. Even the teeny tiny training bras, which in my day consisted of two nylon triangles that joined at the front with a sliding hook, would not have looked out of place in certain street windows in Amsterdam.

What is going on? Not only have we deluded ourselves into thinking that our own assets are not good enough, we're conning our daughters into thinking that too, before they even have a chance to decide otherwise. It's taken me 41 years, but I'm at a point where I just want a bra that's comfortable, that says "I care just enough to not leave the house without a bra on", as opposed to "Give me one more throw cushion and I'm wearing a two-seater lounge".

We should take a stand. Maybe take all the abominable foam bras out there and burn 'em. No lighter fluid required.

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