In winter, I know exactly what to do with my boobs.
My only decision in the winter is whether to go with the black bra, the white bra, or the beige bra. Spoiler alert: they are all the same bra, just in different colours! My winter bra has comfortable thick straps and soft, seamless cups, and goes on sale at Sears every three or four weeks.
Nine months of the year, I amble along in my comfortable winter bra, giving little thought to my boobs. I don’t bother them and they don’t bother me.
Then summer arrives and suddenly my boobs become a problem.
Shops are filled with halter-style tops, and scoop-necked sundresses, and t-shirts so thin you can spot an outie bellybutton. And twelve-year old salesgirls share pearls of wisdom like “just go braless” or “try a bandeau” or my personal favourite… “Just go next door to Victoria’s Secret. They have the BEST strapless!” At this point, I usually just smile and nod because, God bless their perky-breasted little souls, they really have no idea what a few more decades of gravity and a slew of hungry children will do.
“Braless” is not an option for a woman my age unless the plan involves standing perfectly still for the entire day, with my back slightly arched. Note: If I am ever hired as a living mannequin, or a guard at Buckingham Palace, or an extra in a movie with a plotline about people who are frozen eternally, I will happily show up braless. But otherwise, the Sisters and I will need a little more support.
This support will not come from a bandeau! The bandeau is not a bra or even a reasonable facsimile of a bra. In fact, I believe the word “bandeau” comes from the latin “band-be-low” which, loosely translated, means band of nylon sitting below your breasts. The only positive thing I can say about the bandeau is that once it slides down to its natural location, it becomes an excellent boob-sweatband. Somewhere in New York’s fashion district, there is a boardroom filled with clothing manufacturers laughing their asses off because they have managed to take the three cents worth of fabric they were selling to Walmart as a $1 headband and ship it off to Abercrombie & Fitch as a $20 bandeau. Just sayin’.
While on the subject of rip offs… let’s talk about the Victoria’s Secret strapless collection! Spoiler Alert… The “secret” is that the boobs on the Victoria’s Secret models have been surgically created to match the bras, while real boobs are much less globe-like and prone to ‘settling into’ the cups. But you don’t realize this until AFTER you have shelled out $70+ and made your way home with a gel-filled contraption so stiff that it has to be stored on a hanger because it’s too high to keep in your underwear drawer.
For the first fifteen minutes of wearing your new Victoria’s Secret strapless bra, you will marvel at your own voluptuousness. You will also be able to perform stupid human tricks like standing pencils up in your cleavage while walking around the room. Alas, this glory is short-lived.
Soon, you will look down and realize that the Sisters have sunken to the bottom and there is now about an inch of empty space in the top of the cups. This creates an odd visual effect whereby it looks like you are wearing a t-shirt version of a suit of armour… and it’s a size too big for you! On the plus side, should it happen to rain, you will be able to collect enough liquid in your ‘gel cups’ to water all of the indoor plants when you get home!
So what is a real woman, with real boobs, to do? Well… there are really only three options.
Option one: Start shopping at old lady stores where everything has wide straps and built-in bras, which seems like a choice until you look at yourself in the dressing room mirror and realize that your Nanna was buried in a top that looks remarkably like the one you are trying on!
Option two: Wear your Victoria’s Secret strapless bra but carry a couple of bandeaus in your purse (they take up less room than a travel-size packet of Kleenex). When the Sisters start to sink, go to the nearest washroom and stuff the bottom of the cups with bandeau. Do not use the Kleenex because if it rains, you will be picking bits of wet tissue off the underside of your boobs forever… I speak from experience).
Option three: Take the $70 you were going to spend on the bra and buy 3 bottles of cheap wine and a set of mini-lights at the Canadian Tire. Wrap the mini-lights around something in your backyard, declare it a ‘party’ and have your middle-aged women friends over instead of going out. Everyone will wear their Sears bras and non-transparent t-shirts, and have a great time!