I’ve been pretty good about keeping up habits that would be easy to let slide, given our current state of being. I get dressed every day (it helps that my standard wardrobe has always been jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers), I make the bed in the morning, and I try to keep all of us eating at regular mealtimes. I’m not sleeping in, mostly because my brain won’t let me anymore, and mostly I carry on like I was before this, since I was already working from home.
But the one thing I stopped doing about three days in and haven’t gone back to? Wearing a bra. And frankly, I don’t see why I ever needed to in the first place.
It’s a little ironic, since I spent my early teenage years YEARNING for them. I was the late bloomer of all late bloomers —no period until I was sixteen years old. If only I’d know what a pain in the ass it is!
I didn’t get boobs until long after every other girl, and oh, how I longed for them. In seventh grade, some of the boys used to call me “flat tires.” They’d poke me in the back and say, “Maybe one day you’ll get a spare tire.” It was awful. When I finally got boobs at age 15, they wasted no time: I wore a D cup for a few decades until I discovered, at one revelatory bra fitting, that I should’ve been wearing a DD. That’s where I’ve been ever since… except today, when I am not wearing those double D cups at all anymore! Huzzah!
After a few days at home—and I mean at home when I had no plans to go out and be seen in public, and when there was no chance anyone would be coming over—I was about to put on a bra one morning and stopped myself. Who was I doing this for? My husband doesn’t care. My kids would rather not see my nipples poking under my shirt, so a tank top under it would solve that problem. There was no reason to put that unpleasant garment back on, putting it back in the drawer was utterly freeing (no pun intended).
“Free the Pelham two!” my husband liked to exclaim joyfully when I’d get home and remove my bra without having to take off my shirt, like so many women before me (our town is called Pelham). I feel the same way! Some nights, I have Phantom Bra Syndrome, where I feel that tightness and I reach around to undo the clasp, then realize I’m not wearing one and the tightness isn’t really there. Ahhhhh. Just breathe.
Of course, summer is coming, and I DO go outside, after all. I go to the grocery store, I go to local parks, I go for social distancing walks with a friend. With a tank top, a shirt or sweater, and a coat, I haven’t had to face the reality of what I might actually look like to others without a bra. So do I care? I’m not sure I do. There are no health benefits to wearing a bra, and they’re expensive. I’ve been wondering if other women are doing this too? Is the bra industry going to suffer as so many of us realize we don’t really need them, at least not every day in our regular clothes? Are you wearing one right now? Do you wear one every day? How about when you go out? What makes an excursion bra-worthy? Running into strangers? Running into friends?
But the true test is yet to come. Let’s see what T-shirt weather brings, and what non-bra solutions I can find. After so much time out of boob prison, I’m not really willing to go back.
A transplanted Canadian living in New York, Laurie Ulster is a freelance writer and a TV producer who somehow survived her very confusing adolescence as the lone female Star Trek fan in middle school. She writes about pop culture, lifestyle topics, feminism, food, and other topics for print, digital, podcasts, and TV.