Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Brassiere

Brassiere. I rarely hear that word any more. My mother never referred to a brassiere as a "bra." And she didn't pronounce it "brazeer," the way we do, either, it was "brahzyair."

I was fourteen when I got my first...and I had begged, pleaded, bargained, reasoned, cried (did I mention begged?) for months. But, really...I was in tenth grade (a year younger than my classmates) and still wearing undershirts. If you don't know what an undershirt is, it's like a tank top, only itchy. I was the laughingstock of the P. E. class. Not that I wasn't the laughingstock anyway, but this evidence of my immaturity was the icing on the cake.

At this time of my life, I can't believe I actually begged to get one of these evil contraptions!

My bra was the smallest one that Eaton's carried, and I had to stuff it with Kleenex (which led to total humiliation at school--"Hey, dropped something..."). Still, it was progress. I was no longer as terrified of the Girls' Changing Room.

It was about four years later that I decided I'd had enough of the damn things, so I quit wearing them. I wasn't quite still stuffing that 28AA with Kleenex, but let's just say that it didn't really matter whether I wore a bra or not...except for the very first time I left the house without my support system...I was shopping on foot in our neighbourhood, when I noticed a man was following me up and down the aisles of the drug store and the grocery. Not being used to this sort of thing, I did just what you're not supposed to do--I headed for home. Fortunately, he was just your garden-variety pervert, and yelled at me in the street,

"Do you know what you look like with your boobies bouncing around inside your shirt?"

I, of course, treated him to a barrage of George Carlin's seven famous words, arranged in myriad configurations of curses, and he ran off. I went home, utterly undone, and it took me several weeks to try such a thing again. I persisted (I'm stubborn), and in only a very few years, I had to dig in the back of the drawer to find a bra for formal occasions.

Such adventures in liberation were abruptly curtailed by pregnancy. Support was welcome. And necessary. With age, the need for support has increased. However, at sixty, I begin to question my continued use of the torture device known as the "underwire." There is really no point (heh). Why on earth can it still be important to keep the girls in the same place they were thirty years ago? God knows, nothing else is!

Dearly Beloved, I'm actually looking forward to twenty (or so) years from now, when I can go back to undershirts.


  1. OH way too funny!!! i too was in t-shirts in the 10th grade... wore the smallest swimsuit and it hung to my knees... first time i wore a bra, the guy behind me asked if i was wearing one...and what for? cuz i sure didn't need one... and like you (i was a child of the 60's revolt and did not buy a bra until 1978)... shocked the s..t outta the clerk that i didn't know what size i wore (36 dd - and shame on me for lettin those puppies flop!!!).... it seems every year when i look in the mirror they get lower and lower despite the underwires... and i figure in 10 years, i'm gonna walk by my window and some of the kids on the street are gonna ask their mom... what is it that keeps bouncing offa my knees when i walk...

  2. I was the first of all the girls to get boobs, zits, and my period at 10 years old.

  3. Ahh, the best part of the day for me is coming home and taking off my bra. I am small too, and go without sometimes if my clothes are thick enough. I had a bad experience in my 20's running into my boss while wearing only a tank top and boxer shorts in the freezer section of the grocery store so THAT doesnt happen any more lol.

  4. Aaaghgh. Underwire EVIL. I'm in between a C and D cup, and while I won't leave the house unsupported, I'd rather watch Seinfeld over and over than wear an underwire. And I really dislike Seinfeld. ;) May the Powers That Be bless the Playtex 18 hour, which is not 18 hours really, but does the job!

  5. I may have to try that, Lisa!