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.’