Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 24

#24 – “Always wear a good bra so your breast won’t sag."
(Photo is of mom and I camping on the Medina River)
Since mom and I share (shared) the characteristic of rather large “boobies,” and an unambiguous distaste for bras, we both, unfortunately learned this lesson the hard way. Mean ole’ Mr. Gravity!

I remember with such clarity the first time I put on a bra, which was around the age of 11. Being the Tom-boy that I was, the idea of needing or wanting a bra never crossed my mind, at least not until my across-the-street neighbor, Judy Buchanan, who was a year older than me, showed me hers. Then from some really slippery logic, I thought I needed one too. I didn't have the nerve or inclination to ask my mom to buy me one, so I borrowed one of Judy’s. My reaction was something along the lines of, “That's just wrong. How will I possibly be able to walk around without knocking things over?"

Although that “training bra” (training to be cranky the rest of my natural life) was probably a size 28AAA, I felt freakishly gigantic, embarrassed, changed – like I’d crossed over some invisible, intractable line. I wore the bra out with my mom and dad to the Lucky-something restaurant for dinner, the entirety of which felt very Twilight Zone-y. I just knew that everyone in the restaurant was saying behind their covered mouths, "Look at that girl. Her honkers are enormous!" I don’t think that I wore a bra again for a year or so, or until all my friends started wearing them, but I knew going into that era of my life that there was something about those buds on my chest that were going to impact me forever. An gal-howdy was I right!
Thus began a life-long search for not the perfect “over the shoulder bolder holder,” but rather, just something that was semi-comfortable that didn’t make me look like a forty-something dude with Gynecomastia (man breast). For gawds sake, they invented a pill that gives ancient, pant-pooping men a hard-on. Why can’t they design a comfortable bra?  I’ve always said we need more women in science.

So airplane designer, Howard Hughes invents the “underwire” bra so his gorgeous girlfriend Jane Russel’s ta ta’s will stand out more, and I spend my life looking like a mule kicked me in the chest, two permanently tattooed horseshoe-shaped red marks outlining the bottom half of my badoinkies.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my funbags almost as much as about 99.999% of the men I’ve had in my life. And I’ve never hesitated to use them as “leverage,” but when they’re not doing that job, I really just want to release them into the wild and let them run free, an unfortunate propensity I shared(ed) with my mom, and probably most women. I ask you, do men wear a ball bra, with underwire, to help his package “stand out more”? I don’t think so, which leads to a similar outcome (sagging), but we’re not going there – at least not in this post anyway.

So after 60 years of R&D, someone at Maidenform or whomever finally figured out that the straps that were cutting our shoulders down to our armpits perhaps needed to be a little more padded/wide/less razor-like. That’s progress about the pace of a glacier. And there’ve been numerous generations of the full-body bra that turns your Michelin Tire man back into something resembling a aircraft carrier, but honestly, there really has been paltry progress when it comes to the containment of our love pillows.

I got an email last night from a friend saying, “I just heard Spanx makes VERY comfortable bras and sells them through catalogue. Know anything? Ever tried one?” We’re 50 and 60-year old women for gawds sake, and here we are, sounding like drug-addled junkies still on the quest for a better fix!

After nearly fifty-years of buying $30-$150 bras, most of which ended their residency sling-shotted into a trashcan at the end of a brutal work-day, I stumbled upon a concept that strangely alluded me all these years. I can be uncomfortable for a lot less money!

This concept took hold one day when I was headed to an interview with a client and uncharacteristically running about 30-minutes ahead of schedule. I made the classic mistake of wearing that bra that had been sitting in my undie drawer, unworn for 10 years because it felt like a Guantanamo interrogation devise. I guess I think that they’ll evolve into a comfortable bra if I keep them long enough. Anyway, as I sat in the Walgreens parking lot (across from my client’s office), wriggling and adjusting, trying to coax my hooters into the Stockholm syndrome, I finally just lost it! I pulled the bra Houdini trick (you know what I mean) and tossed it into the trash on my way into Walgreens to buy a sports bra (aka titty smasher). But to my delight, I found a bra, with which I am now in love (Stockholm Syndrome).

Introducing……. Bra-Zilla! (aka the Hanes G511).
Anyway, we all have to find that flopper-stopper that works for us. This is mine, and although it comes off at 6:00 pm on the dot, she does her job pretty well, and relatively painlessly at $10.49, and her little bit of padding keeps my headlights from tripping people.
This summer my Chicago Gal-friend Michon formed a Susan Komen walk team named “Save Second Base,” which I thought was really clever. When she and her best friend visited some months later, upon returning to Chicago she sent me a Hanes G511, inscribed with, “You gave us a lift!!! Love, Michon & Jan.” What a gift! My favorite bra! I was so touched - literally.

Although mom was right about wearing a bra so your breast won’t sag, I suspect that old women who become hermits with 100 cats probably do so because the cats also just don’t give a damn.

So here we are, twitching under a bra getting Medieval on our melons, or, if you're like me, braless as my devil dumplings stretch towards Mother Earth.

Onward through the fog of confounding chesticles.



  1. I loved your post--so funny, and unfortunately true. I'm right there with you--in the door at 6PM and off it comes--ohhhh relief!!Linda Sue

  2. I'm surprised that I haven't heard back from more women saying, "me too."

    I'd love to get more comments,and love it when I hear from you! Love you gal!

    Thanks so much.

  3. Where can one buy those good bras? I checked with and Walgreen's and G511 was not found at either place.

  4. That' weird! They used to have the G511 on the Hanes website. You can still get it though. Just Google "Hanes G511" and lots of sources will pop up.