Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Bra Olympics

Who says women are the weaker sex? Forget about the whole giving birth thing, forget about needing that degree in accounting just to keep the bills straight, forget about cooking, cleaning and organizing a household. Forget about all the things that your average, everyday woman does that would cripple your average, everyday man if he had to endure them. Because even if you take all those things out of the equation, I still say a woman is mentally and emotionally stronger than a man could ever be. And just how and why have I arrived at this astonishing conclusion? Well I'll tell you. A man never, ever has to shop for and/or wear a bra. Period. Talk about a Test of Strength! Bra shopping could, and probably should, qualify as an Olympic sport. First of all, not only do bra sizes differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they sometimes differ style to style within the same manufacturer (i.e., the Beautiful Benefits bra, size 38C by Vanity Fair, may fit so differently than, say... the Body Elegance, size 38C, also by Vanity Fair, that you may actually wear a different size in that style!). So to buy a new bra, you can't just waltz into the store, pick up "your size", then traipse on over to the register with it. No, sir. You have to pick about 450 different bras to take to the dressing room to try on. Six at a time. (As most of you women know, most stores tend to frown on you taking copious amounts of clothing into a dressing room with you so they limit the number of garments you can take at any one time). So say you "normally" wear a 38C...that means you have to not just find that size, but you also need to check out some 40C's, some 36C's, some 38B's and some 38D's. All in the hopes that one of those sizes will actually corral your girls into some sort of perky, figure enhancing style without actually causing grievous bodily harm to your shoulders, your back and/or to your girls themselves. 'Course, there are stores that have an "attendant". A person who will not only bring you different bras in different sizes, but will also assist you in donning said bras and adjusting the straps accordingly. However. This little chicken (i.e., ME) is not terribly comfortable with having a strange woman jerk me around while trying to snag "the twins" into a set of elastic bowl-like devices. (Heck, I'm not even comfortable with a familiar woman doing that, much less a strange one, but let's not digress.) If you're looking for two different types of bra (for example; a strapless bra and a sports bra) your work is pretty much doubled. Sports bras don't fit the same as a strapless. In fact, no two types of bra fit the same. And heaven knows, they have enough different types out there to torture a person with. So many, in fact, that simply deciding what kind of bra you need can be a mind binder. There's the underwire bra, the wireless bra, the demi-cup bra, the full cup bra...there's the padded bra, the shelf bra, the t-shirt bra and the convertible bra. There's also the minimizer bra, as well as the maximizer bra. I even saw a sign in the dressing room at Kohls that said "Discover our newest brand of intimate apparel....The Push-up Plunge Bra"! Say what? Push up and plunge?? My girls immediately started writhing in agony and I had to cut my shopping trip short just to go home and apply an ice pack to my chest. Oh, okay. That's a lie. But what kind of goofy name is that for a bra anyway? I mean, honestly. I won't even get into the strange visuals that crazy name inspired. Suffice it to say, I think someone down at the ad agency has a sick sense of humor and some idiot at Kohls fell for his joke.
Anywho, whether you call your bra a "Push-up Plunge" or a double-barreled slingshot, a "Live-It-Up Seamless" or a booby trap, the fact remains that shopping for a bra is not for the feint of heart...and actually wearing one should qualify a woman for a merit badge in Long-Term Torture Survival. I don't believe I've met the man who could stand up to the kind of punishment bra wearing entails. But in the interest of fairness, I'm willing to be proven wrong. You fellas, go ahead, strap on a Man Bra and wear it for a week or so. Then let me know how "weak" you think I am afterwards, okay? I'm just saying.


  1. I gotta tell you - I want one of those Exquisite Form Circl-O-Form with Floating Action bras - only $2.50!

    can you believe we actually wore things like that? I remember the days, wearing one of those circle things, padded of course (what else could I wear at a 28AAA?). And bumping into something and the point would collapse inward. Oh the fun!

    I have found one type and size of bra that I like, it fits, and it doesn't require a second mortgage. Now, of course, they'll stop making them!

  2. The argument could be made that you don't HAVE to wear a bra. That is a choice. I'm just saying...
    On the other hand, I was raised in the same society that has culturally conditioned breasts from being any body part like a leg, arm, neck into the immediate-turn-on, special obsession point for men.
    However, being a man that has "suffered" years of cultural conditioning, I appreciate what the bra does to preserve what media images have imprinted on us as "normal."
    So thanks to all women who endure these trials to further advance the cultural conditioning.

  3. What a hoot!!!! You have such a way with words!!! Push Up & Plunge - sounds too much like exercise to me!!!
    As far as women being the weaker sex - we only have to let the men believe we are - we know different!!

  4. I just went through the bra buying experience not long ago! You hit the nail on the head again, Kari. I still have not found the perfect solution! Things change as we age...the girls will be 65 in a couple months....and it shows!

    Speaking of ice packs and suffering childbirth etc. When my oldest daughter was born, I decided not to nurse. This was 1964, the little dry up pills they gave me, didn't work. I suppose the shot, I received with later births wasn't yet perfected. Instead, they bound the girls as tightly as possible and gave me pills. These devices were actually called breast binders. There was a bit of a delay coming home, so I was in the binder for six days taking the pills, while in hospital. On my return home, I was on my own...yep, before it was over binding was resumed and icepacks. Impacted breasts! Lovely!!

  5. You are a very funny woman. Yup. You are. A hoot and a holler.
    Now, I must say to dear Brian up there in the comments above me...going without one, for me, would be worse than wearing one! When you are a...a...let's just say, *well endowed* woman, that would be a royal pain. Literally. I wish I really did have a choice. And, in this county, and all surrounding counties within 2,000 miles, it is a law that I MUST wear one. I have sloped shoulders so the straps, now matter what devices I try, are always slipping down my arms and the back is always riding up...it is a veritable amusement park on my body. Up and down, back and forth...hm...did that sound like a dirty joke?

    I love your posts and I love you! You are something special.


  6. I'm staying outta of this one.

  7. LOL Love it! I suppose I could say I'm lucky I don't have that much so no worry about fall out or back trouble. But I'm broad through my back and end up having to get a larger size to fit that way then the cups are never right. Men have it so easy!

  8. Oh girl, you are sooooo funny, and soooo true!!! This is a subject dear to my heart-I feel a "complimentary post" coming on!!

    It's good to see you back! I missed you this past week!

  9. I don't know from bras,but a 38C sounds downright respectable to me!
    Do they shrink to virtually nothing when you dive into a cold lake?..just wonderin'.

  10. Oh My Word! You've done it yet again. Too funny!


  11. Oh, Kari, I love you! It's all true...so true. Brassiere fitting is definitely not for the feint of heart...no, sirree. Well, one can see what a challenge it is every single day on the streets, eh?

  12. I'm not sure how I feel about bra's...I remember when I was thirteen it was an embarrassment to admit to the girl cousins that it was not yet necessary to wear one...then at fifteen I could finally qualify for a training bra...training bra? Now who in hell came up with that terminology, training for what? I mean, I know about training wheels but they come off after you know how to ride...I'm sure it was the invention of a man...
    love ya...and notice I didn't nag you to get to work? I thought about it, though!
    hugs and love
    Aunt Sandi

  13. I dont have large ones, but I still HATE bra's :)

  14. Ha ha - what a great post!!!

  15. Can I please copy this so that I can print it and tack it to my husband's forehead? I'm hoping it will stop him complaining about my dingy grey bra's that have elastic strings flapping in the wind and metal underwires peaking out to say hi. Buying a new one is no fun!

    Funny funny post, I followed Sandi McBride's recommend.

  16. OMG! This is SO TRUE! LOL

    I hate going to buy bras! And I totally do NOT want some other woman coming in and measuring, tugging, pulling, and pushing on my "mamingas" while trying to find the perfect one.

    What's really funny/weird is that I was sitting her reading blogs, and right before I clicked onto yours I stopped to take my bra OFF! It has some stitching on the sides of it and totally itches! I couldn't stand it a second longer, so off it came! Then I come here and you are talking about those dratted contraptions!

    I swear you and I are on the same wavelength at times! LOL

  17. Okay Kari, you have me rolling in laughter here in my office and then I read the guys comments and laughed some more. I only buy one type of bra and it's from VS and it's in their Pink line. LOL I found one that works for me and is not uncomfortable and that's it. Now I hope they don't stop selling them.

  18. Hate em! Wish I never had to wear one!

  19. I'm so with you there lady. Being a woman with fairly huge knockers its awful to try and find something to cantelever them into some semblance of order. I don't have underwires in mine - more reinforced steel girders, generally made by a local shipbuilders. Having said that though... at least I'll never fall flat on my face... and I've somewhere to park my bike...

  20. Once again Kari, you've hit the nail on the head! Thanks for making me laugh out loud today!

  21. Kari girl you are a hoot! All of it is true, true, true!. I hate bras but I think I need to wear one to keep em under control!

    Great comments on this post too.
    Hugs, DebraK


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