‘Mother’ she said, ‘you do realize that that….flesh-colored thing you are wearing is doing nothing that most females require their bras to do…?’ And yes, I did. But there is only so much time to be vain in one day and if it’s my brassiere that sags a little and barely covers and completely fails at protecting the world from my nipples, then so be it. At least I have matching socks on. Oh. No? Well, I’m wearing pants.

But then she took me to the store, leading me by the hand through aisles of underwear and lingerie, which I almost didn’t recognize, so long it’s been since my eyes laid on them, and wondered who the people are who manage to wear plum and ecru flimsy, dressy things while I can barely seem to find my shoes.

She stopped short in front of a wall filled, nay, teeming with breast restrictors of all types. I immediately felt overwhelmed. We left and she had to live with her disappointment.

A few days later, my husband said, ‘Oh, dear. That really is the saddest bra I’ve ever seen. Is it doing anything at all for you besides making your breasts look like sagging, deflated balloons? Why don’t you wear a different one?’ I looked in the mirror and realized that truly, 2 years is a long time for a bra. It had lived a good life. I thanked it and deposited it into the nearest rubbish bin. However, by some strange life predicament, it was the only bra that I had. So, now I had none.

Later that day, my husband and I went to the store and looked at all those bras together. I took fifteen or so into the dressing room and I’m happy to say that when we walked out, I had a total of 4 breast restriction devices in a bag. Never has a woman been so blessed. I was rich with brassieres! I felt a heady sensation and looked at every person we passed with a slight air of superiority because, really, not one of them was walking home with one pink, one off-white, one rose with white polka dots and a darling amount of white trim around the edges and one dangerous and racy dark red number with a steamy black overlay made of black mesh.

‘Really?’ my daughter exclaims after I tell her the good news. ‘Well, why don’t you look any different?’ she asks, examining my mid section. ‘I can still totally see your nipples.’ ‘Oh.’ I replied. ‘I’m not actually wearing one today.’ ‘You mean, you’re totally braless?’ ‘Um, yes. But I combed my hair!’ Her eyes told the story of an old woman that had sailed the sea of a thousand storms and seen vast disappointment. She sighed and said, ‘Well, if saggy boobs are what you want, then who am I to try and change you?’

The next morning, truly repentant, I wore one and have been every day ever since. I still don’t do my makeup every day or shave my legs on a regular basis. But at least the world is saved from my nipples. I only have so much time per day to be vain.

Leah 1