Bras: Optional

January 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

flickr-mark-barry-training-bra-blogEvery boob has a story. Some are more exciting than others, but most are quite sensitive. As a young girl, dressing up my Barbies was the only real exposure to how boobs should look, unless I came across an older girl in the dressing room of the dance studio who forgot her modesty. Barbie has quite the bust, so when my own were budding in 5th grade, I didn’t really notice. After all, it seemed too early. Sure there were rumors about a couple a girls I heard HAD to wear a bra because they were blooming early, but I was pretty sure bras were optional and people were making a fuss over nothing.

When the snow started to melt at the end of 5th grade, short shorts and hormones became an issue among my tween peers and the school board. I quickly learned most girls in my grade were shaving their legs. I just kept quiet (I was really good at that), how did they know they needed to shave their legs? Later that summer I got a tutorial from a brunette friend. We hopped in her shower with our bathing suits on and she showed me how to lather up the shaving foam and be careful around the knee.What else was I in the dark about? The half hour of sex ed I had been shoved into wasn’t really covering all of this.

I was terrified of getting my period at school. The girl in 5th grade who had to wear a bra borrowed my flannel once to tie around her waist because she leaked. What’s leaking? A couple more early bloomers would have us “check” by walking briskly a few paces ahead so we could see their bums and look for blood. Blood? How much blood? Right after I had my shaving lesson I spotted for three whole days. I barely needed a panty liner. This was it? This was what all the complaining was about? I could totally handle this for the rest of my life AND go horseback riding whenever I wanted. However, the panty liner did prevent me from swimming at the popular girl’s last day of school pool party. I was benched with a few others who “forgot their bathing suits”.

Entering into middle school was a different story. Boys were taller, and my mom decided I needed a training bra. She literally tried to convince me to try it on over my clothes in Mervyns. If you don’t remember Mervyns it was a step down from JC Penny. I wasn’t doing that. Whatever, it will work, she bought me three. Things progressed rapidly from there. All of us sudden I was falling out all over the place and started getting embarrassed changing for gym class. I also found running to be the worst thing in the world. I was in ballet class 5 days a week, but I couldn’t get it together to run the mile. The training triangles weren’t doing a very good job of being supportive, but I didn’t know any better. No one else I knew was wearing underwire in 6th grade. I also didn’t want to go bra shopping with my mom ever again.

The one day I wore a skirt to school was the day I really started my period. There was no mistaking this. Panicking, I just put a wad of toilet paper down my underwear and booked it to my locker to grab the pad my mom had given me for emergencies. This was it. This was definitely it. I was so flustered I tucked my skirt into my tights and wandered back to Social Studies hoping to see a trusted friend so I could tell her what was going on in my panties.

After surviving nearly a week on the rag, I knew I never wanted it again. The next time it came around, I had swim class so my mom ponied up to give me the tampon instruction. Meanwhile, my tatas were spilling out of my training wheels and getting into all kinds of accidents. I started to develop what my mom calls “floobies.” A floobie is when the bra cuts your boob in half because it is too small and you look like you have 4 boobs instead of 2. Well, the little patches of fabric holding my chest up were making 4 floobies. I looked like a nursing golden retriever. I went from Mervyns training bra floobies to a Bali 34C in less than a week. Yes, I was stuffing Cs into triangles. “You HAVE to wear a bra,” my mom cautioned as she waited outside the dressing room. Yes, I got to go in the dressing room, and I had to let her in so she could check my work. It just made me more depressed as I had to pass on the 32 & 34 & 36 B. I hated everything about having boobs and having to wear the bra. For so long I thought it was optional. Optional for some, but not others. Sort of like those kids who have to wear helmets. I remained pissed off at my tits and their mandatory helmets.

I wanted to hide them, but if I wore a baggy t-shirt I looked pregnant. If I wore tight shirts I got unwanted attention and people thought I was slutty. By 7th grade things were getting out of control. I got a very supportive sports bra with hidden underwire so I could run a successful mile. Leotards and dance costumes had become increasingly more difficult to deal with and I began to hold straps together with a hair clip in the back to make an X. The tension on the straps made my shoulders red and raw while also giving me a classic uniboob. So why did people love these things again? To help me make peace with my developed body my mother too my to Victoria Secrets and bought me every color of the angel bra in a 34C. Just in time for my first boyfriend.

Disclaimer: This is a long story. Next week I’ll tell you about my unfortunate nickname in high school and how a 34C would just be the tip of these icebergs. Also there will be no more talk of periods if that turned you off. I usually post on Tuesdays/Wednesday-ish. 

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