It all starts with a Sports Bra. When a girl hits the 12-year mark and her smooth chest decides it’s time to get some attention. And so begins the painful, exciting and somewhat fascinating journey of boobies. It can take months and even years to master the best sleeping position that comfortably accommodates these magnificent lady beasts. Speaking of accommodation, have you ever found that one perfect bra that doesn’t dig into your skin, holds your ladies right in place through the most turbulent rickshaw rides, doesn’t slide off your shoulder or play peek-a-boo under your shirt? And even after it being the most amazing bra in the world, have you ever NOT been happy to finally take it off after a long day?
Such is the relationship of women and bras. We love them. We want them. We need them. We can’t wait to get out of them. Bras - the chest contraptions were introduced to keep in place a women’s sexuality, along with giving just the correct amount of peep into what awaits if you “put a ring on it”. Add a dash of Consumerism and year-after-year of Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows, and “lingerie” became the new fashion statement. So from push-up, to plunge, from sheer to padded, from bustier to stick-on, the variety of bras one has is mind-boggling. And as hard as it is for me to admit, I love buying them.
But what’s more important than loving your bras, is loving your breasts. Breast augmentation leads the charts in plastic surgeries conducted around the world. Some want them bigger, some smaller, some perkier, some lighter… Ladies, your breasts are GORGEOUS. Every shape and size is exquisite. Your breasts are yours to love and unless you love your own body, you cannot allow someone else to love it. If you are small and want some eyes, wear a push-up! If you are large and feel uncomfortable, try a minimizer. If you are feeling low, try some lace. If you are feeling wild, try a corset. Oh the options!
Bra stores, especially if they happen to be on discount are my favourite place. I might accompany a girlfriend to one, but chances are I shan’t get out of that store empty-handed. In fact, since I started wearing bras, such was my obsession that I would sleep with one on <Gasp>. Taunts of my college flatmates along with a barrage of messages about how night-time wearers of bra are more likely to get cancer (the veracity of which I couldn’t find in medical journals), finally led to me shed it off at night. And that’s when I discovered heaven. There was no turning back after that.
Oh the pleasure of “letting it hang”! My shoulder and back pain, courtesy shoving a 32 D in underwire, lightly-padded, full-coverage bras was better as I ran home each day from college to rid myself of the boob clasper. I was envious of my A cup-roomie who could trot the streets of Delhi without one, too. Technically, no one was stopping me either but I wasn’t courageous or feminist enough then. It also has to do with the conundrum of the “male gaze”. If you wear bras, you are catering to a patriarchal norm, if you don’t, be prepared to have every second man stare at your chest like you have the Kohinoor diamond hidden there.
Carrie Bradshaw runs braless in the streets of New York in the opening credits of Sex and the City. And watching this smart, independent American sweetheart was indeed exhilarating. So was watching her wear neon bras under sheer tops. Do I still wait for the 70% off at La Senza or scan Zivame at night in bed, hell yeah! But that doesn’t stop me from freeing the nipple whenever and wherever I want to!
Prerna Trehan (Author)