The Ladies’ Liberation

I went into the city with a couple of friends the other day and we were shocked and appalled at the number of braless young ladies walking around. They were everywhere. So many, in fact, I was sure this was a new trend. A quick text to my twenty-three year old daughter confirmed my suspicion.

The inner old lady in me was secretly wagging a finger at them. I had a strong desire to throw a blanket over their shoulders and phone their mothers.

My internal young and wild side wanted to join them in liberation. That crazy side of me felt the urge to plan an impromptu “Burning Of the Bra” ceremony in front of the Victoria’s Secret on 5th & 12th and watch in joyful glee while underwire, elastic, and eye hooks all went up in flames. Joined together as sisters by our eternal hatred for the torture chamber that is called a Brassiere. But it was obvious they already did that because, as I said, there was ne’er a bra to be seen.

The bra I was wearing that day felt overly confining in the mid-June heat of the city. It didn’t take long for it to be soaked with my perspiration. I am fairly well endowed so there is always too much fabric and this fabric was suffocating all things from shoulders to ribcage. Making its presence irritatingly known more than ever.

I daydreamed about the end of the day when I could sit in the privacy of my own home and pull it off in a frenzied fury, disrobing so my girls could be free at last. The thought of walking down Park Avenue sans bra was deliciously tempting. Unfortunately, not only am I well endowed but time and elasticity — or lack thereof — have not been kind to me.

Seen on Pinterest somewhere

Whereas these lovely ladies only had the risk of having a nipple poke through the fabric of their shirts, I was afraid mine would end up at the waistline of my shorts.

As much as I wanted to throw my bra to the concrete jungle right then and there, I just knew it couldn’t be. I very well could have been the subject of a viral photo warning the public, “large, middle aged breasts on the loose. If seen, please throw them a blanket and call their mother.”

As I stared at these ladies in wonder, I was transported back to 1968 when the first bra burning took place. I know I was only one at the time and it would be another twelve years before I got my first training bra, but I could have been there.

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t possible, but I have seen pictures so it was like I was there.

By the way, who named it a “training” bra anyway? They aren’t called beasts, they are called breasts. You can’t just train them to sit, beg, bark or fetch a ball on command.

Full disclosure: I always thought a training bra was to keep our breasts up, to prevent them from drooping. But upon a quick google search I discovered the dreaded training bra is to train us and not our breasts. You know, so we can get used to wearing them.

I have been wearing a bra of some sort for over forty years and I am about as used to them as I am used to a full-on hot flash in the middle of August.

It is said purchasing your first training bra is a rite of passage.

If you believe that standing in the middle of Caldor with your mother thrusting a glorified tank top in your face, yelling at you to pull it on over your shirt in the middle of the toy aisle is a rite of passage, then the Brooklyn Bridge belongs to me and I’m going to sell it to you.

By the end of my day in the city I had gotten so used to seeing this, my disgust turned to envy. These ladies were on to something. This may be one of the best trends to hit the streets of New York City since the Croc.

But as usual I am a dollar short and three breasts sizes too late.

If Clothes Maketh the Man, Then Why Did He Invent the Bra?

I find it funny how I plan my life around my bra. This is true. And I know I’m not alone.

From the moment I put it on in the morning I dream of removing it. By mid-afternoon, it’s all I can do to not pull it through the armholes of my top and fling it across the office space right into the trash receptacle so it can live as one with yesterday’s lunch and the extra printer copies of last month’s budget.

But alas, I hold it together. No pun intended.

I mean, come on, what is so appealing? The shoulder straps don’t stay up, and if they do, they dig into your skin like a bad habit. There is the feeling of a vice tightening up around your ribcage with every breath. And the underwire feels as if a moat is being dug around the underbelly of your bosoms.

It’s safe to say my commute home is filled with images of me being braless. And as soon I get in the door, that’s what I do. Go braless. I really have grown quite a distaste for the — dare I say — “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder.” If you haven’t quite guessed.

Although my younger self would beg to differ and, quite honestly, would have mouth agape in disbelief at my proclamation. Back in the day I would spend tons of money and hours looking for the perfect bras to match each pair of underwear. The pride I took in my undergarments was a bit ridiculous.

I also took the “make sure you have clean underwear because you never know if you’ll be in an accident” advice my mother repeated to me ad nauseam to a whole new level.

In defense of my younger self, the ta-ta’s were cute and perky and just, cute. Thirty some-odd years later they have been poked and prodded (thank you mammograms, ultrasounds, and self exams), been the food source for my newborn, and gained a few pounds, to say the very least.

These days, I’m lucky to put on a pair of underwear that don’t have a hole in them or that are so stretched out it’s a miracle they stay up at all. Forget about matching my bra. That ideal went out the window with the dawn of the new century.

So, getting back to my point. Once the bra comes off, I’m done for the day and/or night.

A friend could call me to go on a crazy adventure where a meeting with Channing Tatum (or is that Tatum Channing?) would be promised, and I wouldn’t do it. I’d rather endure a trip to Hell than put that medieval torture device back on.

DH could want to surprise me with a quick rendezvous to Tahiti for a romantic dinner for two…oh, well, Tahiti probably wouldn’t mind if I went braless so that’s a bad example. But you know what I’m saying.

If The Kid is home from college and she wants to invite her boyfriend over, I either banish myself to my room like a hermit for the evening, or will not allow the visit.

Yes, I am embarrassed to say that I have said, “Can’t you go over there? My bra is already off,” more times than I care to admit. And if he comes over anyway? Well, that’s HIS problem. Everyone has been forewarned.

Remind me why we wear bras again?

Yes, I know. People could get hurt, including our very own chins when we run. And they “girls” could be mistaken for extra belly fat, if you know what I mean.

I guess the bra is here to stay. Unless we can bring “bra burning” back into fashion. I know how to light a match. I learned that when I…ahem, never mind.

Note: I love my breasts. They are one of my favorite parts of my body, and I’m so fortunate to have them. But damn, that bra. It’s the bane of my existence. Wait. Have I said that already?