The first time I asked for a bra, I think I was 12, and I had no breasts whatsoever. Literally. Just great gaping holes in my chest where they might otherwise be, because I’m a horror movie monster (I’ve since perfected my human costume). I told my mother I needed a bra (because the girls in gym class had said I was a lesbian for not wearing one, and I had begun changing in the bathroom stall). She stared at me blankly. “Why?” she asked.
“Because I am becoming a woman” I replied.
And then I burst into tears. 12 is a difficult age.
My mother explained that she was also a woman, and had never worn a bra in her entire life. Not because she was out burning them, just because, well, I guess we are a family that really hates exposed bra straps. She also explained that since we had identical physiques it seemed unlikely that I was ever going to really need to wear a bra. And that we could wear beautiful camisoles, and everything would be great! Or at least, that it was worth going by the pencil test, which dictates that if you can put a pencil beneath your breast, and it stays up, then you should wear a bra, otherwise you should not.
I ignored this. I bought a leopard print push-up bra at Victoria’s Secret. It was horrendous. And I went around wearing bras about two sizes too large for me for the next six years. Then I realized that if I wasn’t wearing clingy shirts made out of cheap polyester (the teen years as a whole are difficult years) no one was going to notice that I wasn’t wearing one, and I more or less gave up on them.
Obviously, since then I’ve discovered that bras work a lot better when they fit properly and are not push-up bras from Victoria’s Secret. But I’ve still yet to find a bra that feels as comfortable as “no bra whatsoever.” Because I am pretty sure it doesn’t exist.
Admittedly, I have friends who talk about how they sleep in bras because that’s the only way they feel comfortable. Still, there’s always a part of me that wonders if this is like the way I wear high heels around the house, because I’ve worn them for so long that if I walk on flat feet I waddle like a little duck. I think they might have been duped by society, is what I’m saying.
Look, call me crazy, but I don’t think you were really made to wear a garment that heaves one of your body’s more sensitive areas up into an unnatural position. And I think that if men were told that they were going to have to wear something to keep their penis from “drooping” while also accentuating it, they would laugh at you. As long as it was not the 16th century. Then they would just be like “that is called a codpiece.” [tagbox tag="bras"]
But it is not the 16th century, and, for the record, bras will not keep your breasts from sagging. To wit:
Dr. Matthew Schulman, a New York City-based cosmetic surgeon, claims sagging mainly results from three things: “Loss of skin support or elastin; loss of the internal supporting structure of the breast-known as Cooper’s Ligaments-which serve as an ‘internal bra’; and involution or loss of breast tissue with age, weight changes, and pregnancy.” Dr. Schulman states that there is no scientific evidence that bras have any bearing at all on whether our breasts sag.
So there’s no actual medical benefit at work here. Certainly wearing a bra won’t benefit your looks in the long run as much as, say, wearing sunscreen – and no one thinks that you’re unladylike if you go out without sunscreen on.
You know what? Just take off your bra. Right now. Lets go. Just hurl it across the office. No one is going to think this is weird. They’ll all get where you’re coming from, I promise. Or barring that, if you also do not always wear bras, and yet are still pretty discrete let’s start a club. I’m working on a handshake, but all of my ideas are coming off kind of perverse, so you get to be club president and make dificult decisions like that.