It’s time to talk about bras, the mortal enemy yet hesitant friend of anyone in the western world who carries these sacks of fat that we call breasts. It doesn’t matter if your breasts are big, small, or silicone because, odds are, if you have them at all then you’ve had some experiences with the fiendish little devils that we call bras. And the funny thing was how badly we wanted them as pre-pubescent tweens because simply having a bra meant you were cool and grown up. How naive and stupid we were. Below I’ve shared some experiences I’ve had with these torture devices so we can all read them and laugh-cry together and know that we are not alone.
15 Googling how long you can wear one bra for before it goes from social faux pas to gnarly and ostracizing.
We’ve all been there. We have our favourite bra. The one that gives us lift and support, hides our pokies when a sudden breeze or beautiful human being happens to float by, doesn’t give us back fat or quad-boob, and just feels like Jesus himself is holding our breasts as he rides a magical pegacorn at our side. And let's be honest, we probably wear it far more than we should. We wear it a few days in a row and it doesn’t smell or anything, but we overhear a coworker saying how you should never wear the same bra two days in a row and we do the math and realize we are on our way to double digits. So we google how many days in a row we can wear the same bra and then realize that if we have to ask it’s probably been too long.
14 Wearing your favourite bra until it dies.
We took it off and washed it, but we know we’re going to over-wear for days on end again. It’s just so comfortable, we can’t help it. We throw it on once again for another day at the office when suddenly, the worst thing ever can happen... okay maybe not the worst thing ever but it’s definitely in the top ten... our underwire breaks loose and stabs us like it’s the ides of March and we’re Caesar. We have a choice, do we get through the day with this backstabber, or should I say boobstabber, strapped to our chest? Do we pop out the one underwire and just lean a bit to the opposite side so that no one notices we are lopsided? Or do we abandon all semblance of having our lives together and slip it off in the bathroom and leave it in the trashcan? To be honest, the last time this happened to me I just finished my shift sans bra and I have to say it was a freeing experience.
13 Wait, bras cost how much?
Now that our favourite bra is in a garbage can somewhere, we can either survive in unprofessional uniboob-creating sports bras, wear the rest of our awful uncomfortable what-was-I-thinking bras, and suck it up, go to Victoria's Secret or whatever other retailer (because let’s face it, they are all the same) and shell out an entire paycheck for a couple more over the shoulder boulder holders. We get to the store, and see that there is an amazing sale on, so we grab a few of everything, brushing off the sales girl who insists on measuring you along the way, and make our way to the changing room. We try on push ups, demi cups, convertible bras (get stuck in one and then attempt to hide our panic as we try to convince the sales lady we’re fine), and we end up going with our trusty teeshirt bras. Unfortunately when we get to the register none of our winners are included in the sale. We take a deep breath and pretend we didn’t just wince when she told us 3 months rent and our first born is our total and dread the fact that we’re going to have to do this again in 6 months.
12 Don’t ask me to run. Ever.
If I’m not wearing a sports bra, I’m not running. I will miss the bus. I will wait for another skytrain. I will be eaten alive by this zombie hoard because if I run, I will jiggle like jello on the dashboard and I will not have it. And if I am wearing a sports bra, there is little chance of me running then either. Sports bras don’t aid in athletics in anyway unless they are tight enough to rival a straight jacket. If there are looser than that, the sheer amount of foul smelling boob sweat that appears is enough to allow my boobs to completely escape from their spandexy prison with enough sweat-lube induced velocity that could cause permanent damage to my face and scar innocent bystanders for life. I can’t afford your child's therapy bill so please don’t ask me to run.
11 Why do they keep making bras with underwires?
Seriously? I have this gorgeous pink bra that has no underwire. None. It's just structured very well and is insanely comfortable. The technology is here. Thank you science. But for some reason most bra manufacturers are stuck in the dark, uncomfortable, and stabby stabby era and believe that these evil metal curved pain devices are necessary to hold and support. I'm not going to be modest – I'm a busty gal and if I can be supported without those cruel mini swords that are just waiting to bust out and stab me like it's the ides of March, then there is no excuse left on this beautiful Earth that can justify their selfish and heinous actions. These inexcusable medieval torture devices should be extinct.
10 Free-boobing it when you probably shouldn't.
A few months ago I was working a short shift at my old retail job and the aforementioned underwire busted out and even though there was no bloodshed, I felt like I had been through battle. I had a choice to make: Do I go through my entire day unable to move like I had been hit by a body binding curse because if I even flinch in the wrong direction I will be stabbed? Do I slip out the underwire and deal with lopsided fun bags all day or over correct my posture in attempts to compensate? Or do I just suck it up, take it off, and finish off my shift au naturel? I chose the last and luckily my white tee wasn't see through in the slightest (thank god for shopping in the boys department where they actually make clothes properly) and the experience was great, but there have been days that I have left the bra at home and immediately regretted it. Sometimes you think it will be alright but since I'm not Raven Baxter, things happen that I wasn't ready for. Like the sudden onslaught of thundering rain that Vancouver is famous for but I am still never prepared for, unexpected monster chases or the appearance of a fast driving ice cream truck, or just the normal uninteresting pain that comes with carrying giant mounds of fat without assistance around all day.
9 What even are built in bras?
Honestly. If my shirt tries to claim that I can go braless, they either provide me with those ineffective shelf bras that, unless droopy shapeless fat mounds was the look I was going for – which, unless I am cosplaying Jabba the Hutt, I am not – or they have those strange cups sewn into the fabric which seem like a brilliant idea but really just turns into some strange combination of 1950's torpedo boobs and Kim Possible's famous triangular tatas. Either way, unless you're lucky enough to be a person who can regularly free-boob it without any negative consequences, built in bras are as ineffective as trying to combat global warming by marketing "Ozone Repair Spray" in aerosol cans.
8 Period Boobs.
Not everyone who has breasts also have periods, but for those who do, it is the worst thing that can happen to you, short of actual awful things. They swell to the point of bursting like a water balloon landing on a cactus, not wearing a bra goes from slightly uncomfortable to hanging bowling balls from your chest and then trying to jump on a trampoline, and the worst thing is that you can't even solve this issue because none of your bras can hold these over sized sacks of hormones and pain anymore. So you lay on your back and hope that no one needs your help for the next week so that you can avoid moving until they go back to their normal size. And as soon as you get settled into your sofa crease, you realize you forgot the peanut butter and pickles on the kitchen counter, the remote in Yugoslavia, and that you were supposed to let the revolutionaries know that the red coats are coming.
7 To sleep with or without a bra? That is the question.
This may be a big breast-specific issue as I've consulted two of my closest friends about this issue and they looked at me like I was explaining the difficulty of parallel parking my spaceship filled with my human suits, but in my world, it is a major boob related issue so it counts. I like science and I understand the benefits of a good night's sleep, however I've always felt that sleep is a waste of time and having large cans makes going to sleep even less appealing to me. If I sleep with a bra, I will wake up to weird little red lines on my sides and back and will wake up in a wading pool full of noxious boob sweat. If I sleep without a bra, there is no way either breast will stay in this tank top and if I lay on my side, I run the risk of my boyfriend rolling onto my boob (which has happened and I would rather dip my hands in acid every morning than go through that again).
6 Why do I need to crack the Da Vinci code so that I can figure out my bra size?
Letters and numbers should never co-exist, Algebra be damned. Why does every country size bras differently? No, why do all stores size bras completely differently? Isn't there some sort of standard? What are sister sizes? Why is there so much padding in this bra, where is my boob even supposed to go? I wear a bra everyday and have been doing so for years, I should know my size. But then I see an article on Reddit that claims that a large percentage of women are wearing the wrong size. Could I be one of those clueless women? I don't want a stranger looking at or touching my body, so I try to find a sizing guide online and input my measurements. 34I? That can't be right. I end up trying a few more, tie breakers, shaking a magic 8 ball, asking the gods, summoning the devil, and get a different result every single time.
5 "Your bra strap is showing."
Oh really? I, a 21-year-old girl, have a bra strap that is visible in 30 degree heat? We must hide this sacrilegious item! No one can know that I wear a bra. Think of the poor children, so young, they can't see anything related to breasts (you know, except for when they are breastfeeding...) Think of the poor men who will have to drop out of school and become thugs because your bra strap caused so much of a distraction that they failed all of their tests and had no other options. Society is falling. Burn my heathen body at the stake. We are in anarchy. The sun is going to implode and kill all life on Earth billions of years early because you can see my bra strap.
4 Bra Size Discrimination.
I have a bone to pick with you, Mr. Bra Designer person. Why is it that all of the cute bras are restricted to the smaller sizes? Why aren't certain styles available in bigger or smaller sizes? Oh no, hold on. Here is a cute bra in my size online for only $135 what a steal!! Why can't I go to La Senza and get a cute patterned girly bra in a 36D? I don't want a sex bomb deep plunge with extra padding (seriously we don't need it, stop it with all the padding) or another plain beige (I should probably go for the pure white one if I wanted it to be closer to my skin tone) t-shirt bra.
3 Where did these come from vs When will my boobs come home from the war?
Some people don't get a visit from the breast fairy until they are older and the party is almost over, everyone has gone home and you're starting to clean up. And some people, like myself, have her show up days before the party with a cheese platter and she just awkwardly sits there while you try to make small talk and set up as you wait for other people to show up. I got my first bra in December 2004 when I was just a wee 9-year-old and when I came back from winter break, I was a woman. I was a fully grown adult, according to me, and had no place in an elementary school classroom reading Charlotte's Web; I had taxes to do and cooperate take overs to orchestrate.
2 Do fashion designers not just realize that the majority of people that wear women's clothing have breasts?
Some women wear men's clothes because of personal style or the fact that they are cheaper and better quality and some people who choose to wear women's clothes don't have breasts, and there is nothing wrong with that. But a lot of people who do wear women's clothes do have breasts but it seems like the clothes weren't designed to accommodate. I've tried on so many shirts that show more cleavage than a geology lab, or are insanely tight in the chest area but loose everywhere else (like they didn't expect boobs to be there.) I have bought many a sweater or button-up shirts that I can't do up all the way because of these dang monstrosities but if I size up I will be swimming in fabric and, in all honesty, probably drown.
1 And lastly, a positive one: That amazing moment when you buy that first bra and it fits perfectly.
Maybe you're a late bloomer. Maybe you're a trans girl who decided to get a breast augmentation and now the bandages are off and you're ready to get your first bra. Or maybe you're just 13 and your mom pointed out that it's time to put those wild horses in the stable. Either way, buying your first bra is awkward and embarrassing, but carrying that bag out of the store, knowing that you are a grown woman, is the greatest feeling in the world. Of course, you don't have to wear or need a bra to be a woman, but I will always remember when my grandma bought me my first bra. Even though it was eons before I would be considered a grown up (it's even debatable whether or not I am one know), I felt like an adult. It was such a great feeling and I think it's one of those moments that you never forget.