Every single time I get asked this question (quite a few times, actually) I wish I could say no because I am in a constant state of wanting to be braless. Whenever I can be, I am without a bra. It just makes sense; It’s just natural. I mean, it’s not like we’re making wire supported boxer briefs for the balls and penis–and those things are a lot floppier. Also, last time I checked, man boobs do not require men to wear bras in public.
The dress code at my work states that I must wear “professional, appropriate” attire and even has specifics when it comes to what I wear UNDER my clothes: “Undergarments must be worn at all times, must be covered by appropriate clothing, and color and/or design must not be visible through clothing.” I’ve accepted that I work with kids at an Elementary school and sometimes people can lose sight of that–I’ve had a substitute teacher come in wearing, legitimately, the same stained grey sweatpants two days in a row. Those sweatpants were a crime and this oaf was just being lazy. But undergarments are a whole different thing and I’d almost prefer if I didn’t have someone telling me I needed to always wear them.
I should probably say that for most of my childhood I refused to wear socks or underwear because of how uncomfortable I found them. I just didn’t want to have to worry about the seam of the sock moving out of place and sticking into my toe–it was a super big deal. Underwear was bad too because of the waist band. It felt to me like a cage around my privates, holding me in so tight and so uncomfortably it had to be wrong. I felt like I couldn’t BREATHE. But then my mom discovered those smooth, thicker waist bands that don’t feel like you have rubber bands wrapped around your stomach. She also forced me into skirts and dresses so I’d be too embarrassed to not wear underwear. That plan often backfired on her. At five, as a little girl, not wearing underwear made more sense than the inevitable trauma of your skirt blowing up on the playground, exposing your little girl parts. Exposing your private parts at five was almost the cool thing to do. It was like talking back to your teacher in high school, inciting laughter but inevitable punishment.
Either way, at some point, I accepted wearing underwear and socks. (Wearing underwear definitely comes in handy when you laugh so hard you pee yourself just a little bit, just enough for it to show if you DIDN’T have underwear on.)
But I didn’t sign up for the whole bra thing. As I’ve mentioned before, I developed my bossom quite early. To be specific, it happened in the Galvin Middle School cafeteria because that was the microcosm of sexual realization and maturing. It wasn’t until I saw a picture of me in profile from the year before that I realized I had already been developing and that not having a bra on for a side profile picture was a really bad idea; it looked almost like those Nat Geo specials except I had on a shirt.
So I started wearing bras around seventh grade and it was okay until the initial excitement of having breasts wore off. These days, at work I see third grade girls wearing bras and I have to actively stop myself from retching. It’s like, what the fuck? Training bras and shit. What does that even mean? That you need to train your boobs to be inside of a bra? Shouldn’t THAT right there tell you that bras are an awful oppressive piece of clothing. (Unless you really like the feeling which is then OKAY with me).
As it stands, I am forever grateful to the bandeau as a fashion trend because it made it possible for me achieve some middle ground: minimal physical discomfort as possible for the whole day without showcasing my nipples to schoolchildren. Now, I am LUCKY: In the morning, I nanny for the most adorably genius two-and-a-half-year-old boy that never graced youtube or reality television and I am able to get ready for my day during his nap time. It’s perfection because he doesn’t care if I’m wearing a bra so I don’t have to till my next job. And it’s an easy transition from no bra to bandeau. Minimal digging into your side.
The one reason though, that I have endured such bra wearing for so long was because of the promise of its’ benefit: perkier bossoms! My boobs had been a source of great pride to me over the years; not that they aren’t still it’s just a bit different. They don’t control me anymore, let’s say. But now, the myth has been shattered and “I’ve never been happier”(was literally the text I sent my boyfriend when he, like a badass feminist, sent me this link because he didn’t want to do it publicly and maybe embarrass me which was amazing in a different way).
In a fifteen year study, French professor Jean-Denis Rouillon found that “medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity…On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra.” IN YOUR FACE.
A recent conversation with my best friend from college, closet connection to Hollywood, and only person I know who enjoys the constriction of bras, Mackenzie:
Me: I’m writing right now about that new study that shows wearing a bra makes your boobs saggier and you’re in it obviously
Mackenzie: A writer came in a few days ago…
Me: Yes! I need to hear more about your glamorous life!