Raqi is eight years old. For the last year and a half, whenever we have put on our swimsuits; taken a bath; changed into pajamas, there’ll be a moment when – her top off – Raqi will hunch her shoulders together to make (non-existent) cleavage; gesture towards her chest with her hand; and look up at me with hope and wonder in her eyes, asking, “Mima, don’t you think I’m almost ready for a training bra?”
At first, I’d say, “Almost,” thinking she’d lose interest.
Now I want to ask, “Train them to do what, Honey?”
I settle for, “Raqi, you’ve got 90 years to wear a bra, and they aren’t all that comfortable.”
She’s not listening.
Of course, this gets me musing about my own ambivalent history with bras. I can sum it up as:
The Five P’s of the Bra-pocalypse:
- Past Their Prime
I was so traumatized by the Puberty P – PERIODS! – that I have completely forgotten details of my first bra or my teen years wearing one. Perhaps you blogging bosom buddies can ‘fill me in’ on your memories of crossing that threshold.
I’m begging you; no stories about PERIODS.
I was a child of the ’60s; now I’m in my 60’s.
Has placement of one apostrophe ever altered meaning more drastically?
When I arrived at college in September 1969, the Forbidden Fashions of Free Love flourished on every corner of campus.
I promptly ditched my bra, modest knee-length skirts, and suffocating nylons (girdles! garter belts!), happily donning the peasant blouses, bell bottoms and fringe belts that proclaimed to the outside world I was ‘down with the protestors’ even though my inside voice kept crying, “Where are the adults?”
In my early 20’s as a married-too-young, college dropout housewife, I played tennis with my small town fellow housewives who were in their late 30’s. I was lucky – my boobs were tiny and perky. I never considered caging them, not even for tennis.
One judgmental competitor with a bleached blonde beehive hairdo and securely harnessed buxom bosom jealously lectured me: if I didn’t ‘support’ my breasts in my 20’s, they’d be sagging by the time I was 30.
She was as off the mark with that prediction as she was with her backhand.
Post-divorce, returning to college to complete my degree and securing my first career position, I dutifully wore a bra every day to work. Those were the days when a professional female ‘costume’ consisted of pantyhose, white blouse, navy suit (skirt, not pants) and one of those silky patterned rectangular strips of cloth that we wrangled into a clownish neck-choking bow
Aha! That must be the reason for my aversion to wearing patterns!
After two miserable years, I fell into my dream team position at a small firm where I could dress in a more boutique-y style, ditching “the costume” altogether. But I still dutifully wore my bra for work.
Past Their Prime
OK, they’ve finally lost their perk and – Victoria’s Secret be damned – there is no suitable bra for 60+ year-old national treasures.
There’s also no credible reason my past-perkies chose this stage to expand 3X the size they’ve always been.
I see three choices:
- Free Range Roaming No Bra
- Pushed Up and Painful Underwire Wonder Bra
- Flat, Flatter, Flattest UniBoob Athletic Bra
Well hell. I’m a Colorado Cowgirl; ain’t nothing better’n Free Range Roaming for my buckaroos.
I cling to my Sammy Secret that my all-black ensemble covers a multitude of sins. Except of course for the rare opportunity to meet a blogger buddy in person, in which case I’ll ‘saddle up.’
Comments on: "Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 2" (52)
“Saddle up”!!! Lol, that made me laugh heartily! I vaguely remember a training bra,a bit like the little crop tops that you can buy once girls get to the age they want to ditch their vests! I mostly remember a friend showing me how to do a bra up (I think we were about 15!) at the front and then twisting it round the right way and popping the straps up. No more struggling to do the hooks round the back……that felt revolutionary! lol x
“Bra up” LOL now I don’t think twice about that move in the rare event I do wear a hook bra, but I remember when it was still a novelty that took concentration.
Still laughing. My mother informed me one ghastly day that I needed a training bra (horrors!) the first day I wore it to school one of those nasty jr. high boys yelled in the hall “Hey, she’s wearing a BBRRAAAA!!!” Total mortification. These days, alas, I am neither tiny nor perky. The daily bra tussle is a big pain in the butt, and if I try to run without a jog bra I just about knock myself out. Great post.
Yes, those adolescent boys could be torture – “the snap and run”.
You made me laugh out loud with your knock out image 🙂 i do wear the UniBoob bra to corral ’em for activity.
This is hysterically funny, Sammy! One zinger after another!
“Has placement of one apostrophe ever altered meaning more drastically?”
I know the 1960’s feeling of “Where are the adults?”, too.
I had no cleavage until I was nearing 40. And the cleaves keep right on coming, dang it!
Oh I can relate to your young Raqi, though. You can read it here:
Well you have a few belly-laugh lines in your own “bra-gging” post. OMG. Your Mom sounds quite a bit like mine.
Here’s a “boob” post you might enjoy https://bemuzin.com/2014/03/07/does-that-come-with-a-swizzle-stick
Wow – Feel dangerously close to a bunch of lines I shouldn’t cross just reading and enjoying this post. To be sure, I enjoy your writing and the straight-up almost whimsical way you approach this. I struggle with personal stuff. I love the line: “I was a child of the ’60s; now I’m in my 60’s.” I trailed right behind you. My brother started college in 1968, I followed in 1972 but I realize that that is a huge gap.
🙂 i told Maggie I was reluctant to post this, fearing I’d “lose Dan” as a reader ! I’m not sure what it says about you that you read it and are sticking around 🙂
Here’s your bonus “perk”. https://bemuzin.com/2014/03/07/does-that-come-with-a-swizzle-stick
My sis is ’68 college and brother ‘ 72 college (plus 1 more bro) so we have a lot in common between our Depression era parents and sibling ages. Most likely more good stories coming from family ties fir each if us 🙂
I follow a lot of writers who periodically drift into areas I’d rather not comment on Sammy. I try to be supportive and there’s no danger of losing me as a reader. I did read the other post. That’s funny, but consider this my comment 🙂 If we can’t laugh at ourselves, life is going to be way to long. This post is spawning an idea for me, about whether I was a child of the ’60s or just a child in the ’60s. I’ll ping back to this if I ever write that.
That’s a question I ponder – me in the ’60s. Lot to mull before I ever get thoughts into postable form.
Spawners and Connectors – the mutual gifts to/from bloggers. Whether I’m the giver or the receiver, it’s what makes this endeavor worthwhile.
I too laughed out loud at “saddling up”.
I needed a bra at 10 years old. My mom worried that at the rate I was ‘maturing’, I would have watermelons by my mid-teens. Turns out, I simply “blossomed” early, then abruptly stopped. Personally, I would have preferred a bit more but now in my late-50’s I’m relieved I didn’t. Even small boobs droop with age 😦
… but letting the puppies run free? nay. I’m chilly without one!
🙂 sometimes we want what we don’t have and often we’re grateful for what we don’t have.
I did give some serious thought before posting – I’m well aware that body issues, over-endowed, under-endowed, and cancer scares/realities make this no laughing matter for many women. I hope, on balance, my regular readers know me well enough they see my caring side, too.
I understand what you mean. In the end you hope that people will take the spirit in which it was written. The bottom line is that almost everything we write about can be deemed frivolous in the grand scheme of things. Laughter and comaraderie is what gets us through 🙂
Thanks, Joanne. I feel fortunate to come from parents, and with siblings, who have always chosen to roll with the punches rather than ever see ourselves as victims.
I think black, sardonic, inappropriately-timed humors are natural mechanisms for choosing “to roll.”
But that means I need to be sensitive to a gentler approach when needed because that matters.
You are on a roll. Fashionista blogger has hit her stride.
My training bra story. Big boobs, I needed something young — too young at just turned 9 — because I still had hopes that I would grow up to be one of my brothers. My oldest brother was still trying to get me to eat my spinach by telling me it would put hair on my chest.
My mom bought me a sweet pink (I hated pink) stretchy bra with a tiny rose on it, that had little to it but it stretched to accommodate them as they grew, which she knew only too well they were going to do. I refused to wear it. She was flummoxed because she had wanted the damn things.
We were sitting at the table eating on the run late to see a play — Camelot — and I had finished my shower and was eating wrapped in a big towel. It slipped. My oldest brother whispered in my ear, “I think the right one is bigger than the left.” It was the first time I was acknowledged as a young woman in their eyes. I started wearing my training bra in an effort to even them out, so to speak. (BTW it didn’t work — one is bigger than the other.)
I was the hot at school. Who knew that this was a thing, to be the first to have a bra and get her period (I had to slip that in there to make you crazy.)
I always saddle up.
Ha ha ha I’m going to get you back for that P-P-Period scare !!
Love your memories and, of course, that little pink rose bud had multiple meanings as a precursor of our sexual future !!
Your interactions with your brothers are hilarious. In our family it was carrots that grew hairy chests!
And now I’m gonna look at your Booby Gurl again and see which one is bigger!
You made me laugh again. I, too, better look at my booby gurls!
“Has placement of one apostrophe ever altered meaning more drastically?”—Loved that line!
I’m not as free-wheeling as you. Must be my Type-A personality. My girls need a home. (To paraphrase Kramer on Seinfeld on why he prefers briefs to boxers. Different body part, same idea…)
I must be “mixed” type (to be explored in future posts)!!
Your girls need a home LOL. Great paraphrase. I can just see Kramer’s expression
ROFL! Sammy, I’m going to be laughing the rest of the day about that one and probably tomorrow too. I hardly even needed a bra in high school, much to my disappointment. At one point I wore padded bras so it at least looked like I had some boobage. Eventually, I developed into the tiny and perky stage. Once I had kids, that went out the door fast. And now that I’m in perimenopause (and don’t need them to be big), I swear they’ve gained ten pounds and two cup sizes. Where were they when I wanted them?? Ah, such is life. 🙂 (Still laughing.)
Isn’t that the case with so much of life’s timing? Backwards!! I needed wisdom when I was young; I want athleticism now. And why couldn’t my buckaroos stay tiny and perky firever?
Your mention of padded bras reminds me of a friend in junior high who used to stick falsies in her swimsuit top, and invarably they’d come floating out to the surface of the lake and we’d practically wet our pants laughing while trying to chase “the floaters”.
Floaters… hee, hee! Now I’ll be laughing into next week!
I laughed when I remembered that. We used to crack up chasing those around. My Mom wouldn’t have let me hang out with her if she knew she wore falsies in her swim suit. Scandalous!!
I ditto you. Sadly, mine are tiny and still drooping—geez.
Gravity gets us all in the end. Speaking of ends, I rue the demise of my once-taut ass more than my past-perkies 🙂
Loved this post, Sammy – thank you for the laughs!
Thanks, Laurel. Months from now I’ll wonder what I was thinking 🙂
LOVE it Sammy … and wow what images and memories it conjures up. Sadly I I in the well endowed corner and going bareback isn’t …wasn’t…. and probably never will be an option for me, so saddling up is the way to go 😉 Thanks for the giggles.
Thank you for reading 🙂 i do remember the jr high boys making not-so-subtle remarks about girls who blossomed early and fully, and jibes at flat-chested. That was a cruel time.
In general, we all find parts of our bodies we wish were different, but I remind myself my parts have worked well for 60+ years.
Glad you enjoyed it!
I have to share this with my friends. You so aptly described our lives! Love it! Can’t wait for the next post of your series.
:-). We all have the same stories told and re-told, but I savor the way each of us has a slightly different slant or way with words. I’m glad you’re enjoying this series.
On another note – have you taken the VBT or OAT tour in New Zealand or the VBT tour in Viet Nam (or another tour company in those countries)? If so, will you email me at email@example.com, please. Mainly want to find out what time of year you went and what you thought if difficulty (since NZ is rated easy/mod). Thanks!
Thanks for the smiles, Sammy. 🙂 Mine are never happier than when they’re free, though I can relate to those professional years! SO uncomfortable! I have a large rib cage and small boobs and have yet to find comfort. I try to be ‘discreet’ with my bra-less state these days. 60s you know! 🙂
:-). Remember how we have heard “elders” say they become invisible? That’s what I tell myself – no one younger than I is paying any attention to me so who cares if I’m bra-less. And people my own age can’t see clearly enough to notice 🙂
Big rib cage – yes I never thought to describe myself that way, but “it fits”!
Thanks for adding to the conversation!
And then came age 40, when the hormones raged again. The man I was seeing at the time thought I was pregnant because the breasticles had enlarged so much and so fast. I went from having a nice average bosom to horrible udders in less than a year. Even my mother, who hadn’t seen me for a few months at that time, popped her eyes out and blurted, “hey, busty! you didn’t go and have them done, did you?!” It hurts now to not strap them in. Long gone are the easy, breasy weekends and tops with a shape of anything other than a tent.
Awww isn’t that the truth – those hormones never quite behave and every decade they do sometimg new and weird! Once I hit 60, comfort won out over ego; i’m sorry your comfort still requires strapping!
Thanks for commenting – i just read your post on your awful experience with your mammogram. So sorry about getting a novice technician; that’s just not right for either of you!
Here’s my post about my most recent mammogram, which I chose to endure with my usual satirical coping mechanism. https://bemuzin.com/2014/02/03/period
Somehow I lost you from my reader list so was happy to click your “follow” button again 🙂
First, thanks for re-upping your follow!
Next – went through the having to call insurance on behalf of a visiting relative this year to get authorization for additional services. Two of the most infuriating days I’ve ever had to spend almost non-stop on the phone.
:-(. I hear ya!
Another awesome post! You once again leave me laughing! I have been blessed/cursed with D cups, and I’ll admit I’m a bit jealous of your ability to allow your “girls” to “Free Range Roam”. Tying this post to your last, I will say that when I find a bra that fits right and isn’t itchy and uncomfortable, I buy several of them because that is a gift from Heaven, lol!
Thanks, dear Jen 💞. Absolutely try for that quantity discount on your bra purchases 🙂
I tell ya, it never ceases to amaze me we all have basically the same DNA but we all are built so differently.
//I was a child of the ’60s; now I’m in my 60’s.
Has placement of one apostrophe ever altered meaning more drastically?//
Best thing I have read in ages! I think we have lived parallel lives Sammy, though I do remember the breast ‘buds’ which were rather painful, and having padded bras at 13 because, well, because they were still ‘buds’! Not now. My shape is all out of shape since those menopausal hormones started filling the system – I wonder if men have similar issues?
Aww thanks, Jude. You know how you play with variations of phrases in your mind and finally something clicks? That’s what happened with those sentences (mainly because I had an apostrophe in the wrong place at first!)
I do think men have similar issues. Years ago we both read a book called Men’s Passages at a time when Hub was struggling with career issues and starting to see a decline in his athletic prowess which caused quite a depressive state. The book was such a help in giving us both insights and new ways to look at our transitional years.
They’re hormones might not make such immediately noticeable changes as ours, but they definitely do change.
And we ALL succumb to gravity – as evidenced by sinking bottoms 🙂 and also diminishing height as rib cage sinks.
All the more reason pilates, yoga , stretching and balance exercises become “the new wirkout”.
Love this, Sammy! 😀 I’ll be 60 next birthday and can relate. Yup; dark colours makes it easier to go “free range”. I do that too, sometimes, but mostly wear those spandex camisoles that offer some support. They’re very comfortable and the black cotton ones can be worn as tank tops. Down with bras. Baby Boomer rebellion! LOL
I like the camisoles, but I seem to end up with UniBoob no matter what. No matter – it’s not like I want anyone paying attention to me anyway 🙂
LOL Reminds me of a story…I have a friend who’s 20 years older than me and she always shows cleavage. Her reasoning? Draws attention away from the ageing face. 😉
Ha ha that’s funny !
I have absolutely no memory of my first bra!
Yup. We blocked those memories right out, huh!?!
I loved your Five P’s of the Bra-pocalypse! 🙂
I’m thinking, back in the day, we were ’embarrassed’, and tried to hide the fact that we had boobs and wore bras.
Today it’s a different ball game.
This is 2014, and even the topic of ‘boobs & bras’ have their place in the social media frenzy. There’s a blog called smallbustbigheart.com, which has become a venue for small-busted women, according to its author, to “gush about the lingerie and clothes that scream, ‘Can you handle me?’ not ‘Am I enough?’ ”
Facebook groups like Flat Chested and Proud of It! and Flat Chested Girls United exist, and their members trade bon mots as profound as “I’m flat as a tack.”
There’s also a group called Small Boobies Support Group.
Of course, you also get the opposite groups for big-breasted women.
A far cry from the 60’s & 70’s…
Thanks, Michelle 🙂
And WOW, Gasp, HeadSlap – i had no idea “those” are the topic of so much current conversation on social media. The way young females dress – where nothing is left to the imagination, and yet they often aren’t being sexual per se, i just assumed they were fairly nonchalant and accepting of whatever their parts look like.
You are so right about our era – i don’t remember conversations with sisters or friends about any of that stuff. Definitely not in high school where we all avoided eye contact and shielded bodies during our showers after gym class.
I hope those using the sites you mentioned find it meaningful to reduce whatever physical or emotional discomfort they feel.
Bras are awful. Nothing like freeing the bosom and getting a back scratch!
Mine used to be small. Then they got bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and people said the babies would nurse them away. But people LIE. So they kept growing and one day, my mother-in-law brought me a minimizing bra, and my elbows could move freely and I was so thrilled, I hugged her and nearly cried, but then I looked like a porn star.
I miss my old small boobs. They were really nice. lol
So don’t care about sagging breasts. They’ve served their purpose, eh?
Hub says men have the same enlarging and sagging issue with a couple of bulbs; just lower on the anatomy. (Eww). TMI. 🙂