There’s something really very… interesting about wearing a purple bra. If you don’t own one, go out and get one, even a cheap one, and put it on. You’ll see what I mean.
I hate bras. I hate putting them on. I hate wearing them. I hate hand-washing them so they don’t fall apart after two wears. I hate buying them. I hate them. Always have.
Just like my license to drive, I never wanted a bra. I never understood why or how they came to be deemed necessary. They are awful, horrible things.
Then again, my mammarian endowment is quite modest. I dare say that if my development had ended a little farther along the alphabet, that I may very well have a different outlook on the matter. As it is, my B (for boobs, no doubt) cups are in no danger of runnething over. To achieve any semblance of cleavage, help is required and I’m always astounded at how a couple of tiny swatches of fabric and a bit of elastic can turn a broad valley into a canyon as easily as they do.
Still, I cannot bring myself to dress without first donning one of the infernal things, except on the weekends when I know that I don’t have to and in the evenings when they are being pulled off as soon as I’m in the door after work. I’ve grown quite adept at removing them without taking off my shirt, though it takes a good deal of discipline no to deposit them in the trash bin when I do.
I have yet to find one that is comfortable, that doesn’t have straps that slip off my shoulders and doesn’t say: Hand wash on the label. Every time I fill the sink to accomplish this feat, I envision myself beating the damn thing against a rock. Then there’s the hang-to-dry problem. I was banned from using the shower rod years ago. Now that I can hang them on the shower rod if I want to, I can’t bring myself to put my intimate apparel on display should company drop by and I forget to remove them. It’s silly, I know. It’s not like people don’t naturally assume that I wear a bra. But do they need to know firsthand what they look like? I think probably not.
For the past 38(ish) years, a bra has been an integral part of my daily routine. Typically they are white or beige, plain rather than lacy. I tend to avoid under-wires and look for simple features such as having the straps adjustable in the front where it’s easier to do. I have owned strapless and convertible bras that I have purchased for specific outfits. I’ve even owned a few black bras over the years. Generally, however, they are cheap, functional and uninteresting garments. If they were kittens, I’d definitely be charged with cruelty and abuse for the way I handle them.
It might be an age thing. It might be a single thing. It might be I’m simply losing it. But a week ago I walked into a store and purchased three new bras. Just for fun. One is black and lacy. One is red and lacy. And one is purple with a pretty little bow. They all have under-wires. They all turn my broad valley into a curvy canyon.
I’ve heard women say that wearing pretty underwear makes them feel good. I thought this was rather bonkers, a bunch of feminine drivel. But it’s absolutely true! No less uncomfortable, but uncontestably true! I’m wearing a pretty purple bra and I feel fabulous!
So fabulous, in fact, that I also spritzed myself with perfume, drew eye-liner across my lids and lengthened my lashes with mascara. If I’m not careful, next I’ll be lacquering my toenails and getting a French manicure!
What is happening to me? Sheesh!
Until about 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have been caught dead without make-up on. Once I even made my kids late for school because I forgot to put on mascara and had to turn around half way there to go back and put some on. On another occasion when I found myself out in public without make-up, I sat in a dim restaurant with my sun glasses on so no one would know.
Rumours started circulating that I had a black eye and the speculative source was my husband (small-town postulation at its finest!). While I never did cotton on to the pretty underwear thing, the make-up thing was a huge priority. I figured I needed all the help I could get.
Then disaster struck. In 1997 I became the fortunate winner of the Shingles lotto. As an added bonus the break out was on my face rather than my ribs and, in the process of self-medicating for a simple rash combined with the discovery that my 60-year-old feather pillow was somewhat mildewy, I ended up with a bacterial infection on top of the painful Shingles. A round of tetracycline later, I was back to normal. At least I thought I was. I ended up with a lingering aftermath called Rosacea and to this day I cannot use soap on my face lest I wish to look like a scaly, blotchy freak of nature. It took another two years to concede to the fact that make-up, even my adored and precious mascara, was an irritant not worth the anguish it caused.
Free from the demands of make-up, both on my time and finances, I adopted the attitude of not caring. Au naturel, baby! That’s me. Who needs the distress? No one appeared to be cringing in horror when I walked into a room with a naked face. I could adapt.
A few months ago something happened. I’m not sure what it was that made me notice, but I became acutely aware of other women. I noticed their hair, their make-up, their clothes, their perfume, their jewelry, their shoes… I didn’t exactly sit there and compare myself to them, but I noticed. I wondered how long it took them to put themselves together the way they did. And why? I tried to imagine them without the polished nails, the immaculately coifed hair, the layers of cosmetics, the painful looking footwear... I wondered why I wondered. Did these things matter? Did they make any kind of real difference?
Bah. Just a lot of nonsense.
So what compelled me to buy those bras? What compelled me to put on make-up and splash on perfume? And why does wearing a purple bra feel so good?
These are just some of the mysteries of being a woman in the 21st century. A single woman. A woman whose ovaries are in their death throes, but continue to display a damnable desire to live. An intelligent, resourceful and creative woman. An independent woman. A woman who has survived two very weird marriages, raised three pretty amazing kids in spite of the men she lived with and has two adorable grandchildren. A woman who manages - rather well - a small public library. A woman who owns her own home. A woman who thought she knew her own mind…
Seriously! Who knew a pretty purple bra could make such a difference? And why didn’t I discover this years ago?