I come from a family of busty women. This, as you can imagine, has been both a blessing and a curse, depending on the time in my life. Back in the day, and perhaps now as well, it was a badge of honour to be the first person in your class to be wearing a real bra. Not a glorified bandage posing as a training bra, but the real McCoy.
As girls and women, we know there is nothing simple about boobs and body image. It’s a little like hair. We all want what we don’t have. Those with straight hair get perms. Those with curly hair iron theirs. Most women have also tinkered with the colour of their hair, either in the privacy of their bathrooms or under the glare of the local salon.
Likewise with bust size. We all want what we don’t have. Those flat-chested girls with nary a bump in their sweaters want more. Those of us with overflowing cups want less. We want the pain to go away and our clothes to fit better.
Breast reduction surgery? Breast augmentation? I won’t be tackling the issues of plastic surgery, self-loathing, femininity or trying to remake ourselves into the Hollywood media’s image, because the issues are way too complex for 500 words. Besides, I don’t have the answers.
I do know Oprah is right about most women wearing the wrong size bra. Last year, my daughter and I went to a specialty shop to have a proper bra-fitting done. I was horrified to see what size I really need. I was interested to learn the hallmarks of a well-fitted bra. I was shocked at the price of bras. The best fit for Hilary is the same bra Oprah wears. Given this connection with Oprah, there a wait of several weeks to get stock in the shop. Each time Oprah mentioned the bra on her show, the price jumped. Oprah has the power to create best sellers in both bras and books.
A properly fitting bra transfers the load off of the shoulders and onto the ribcage. The back band does not creep up, but rather stays horizontal around the body. There’s no spillage. There’s a finger’s width of space under the straps. A properly fitting bra relieves neck, head and shoulder pain.
As my shoulder surgery date approaches, I’ve been trying to get my affairs in order. Trying to get jobs out of the way and projects completed. I’ve also wondered how on earth I’ll be able to dress myself with my right arm in a sling. Going braless may work in the short term while I’m home and drugged up, but the girls can’t go unsupported for long and certainly not in public. Back I went to the bra store to have one altered to a front closure. Frankly, I don’t hold out much hope. I practically needed the jaws of life to get into a front closure when I had two good arms to do it! Another problem to solve from where I sit.