I was in sixth grade when a girl in my class who I was friendly with (and whose name I can’t remember) asked me if I wore a bra. I didn’t. Because I didn’t need one and because it wasn’t something I ever really thought about. This girl told me I should. My sister had given me her training bra when she outgrew it and I had it in my dresser drawer. So I started wearing that.
I don’t know if such things still exist, but now when I think of it, it’s a pretty strange idea….a training bra. I mean, where does the training come in. Are they training girls to wear a bra (not really that complicated) or maybe they’re training our breasts how behave in a bra.
Anyway, it was sometime around 6th grade that I started wearing a bra and sometime in high school that I stopped wearing a bra. I never had big breasts and I found wearing a bra more uncomfortable than not wearing one. It was also the late 70’s – 80’s and the feminist symbol of bra burning was fresh in my mind.
I did wear a bra one time after that. It was at my sister’s wedding. I was wearing a fitted dress that required a strapless bra. It was as uncomfortable as a regular bra, but became unbearable after I ate. I don’t know how women wore corsets and didn’t starve to death.
So now I’m 51, and I’ve been wearing undershirts or nothing instead of a bra for about 30 years, until Monday, when I had my fifth riding lesson. Kind of self explanatory. Age, gravity, a different distribution of more weight and all that bouncing around on Chloe……. well there was a lot bouncing around. Suddenly things shifted and wearing a bra was more comfortable than not wearing one.
And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. From what I remember, it seems to me that bra’s have changed in the last 30 years. It wasn’t uncomfortable at all. Since it was such a hot day, it was actually more comfortable than wearing an undershirt under my t-shirt.
But it’s not easy to just toss off an old belief. And not wearing a bra has become a belief for me. Not just a Feminist symbol, but a symbol of freedom and non-conformity. I was actually embarrassed to tell Jon I was wearing a bra, like it was something to be ashamed of. (He had a different reaction, he listened to me as he does and offered some support for my feelings. Then a wicked little smile spread over his face, pulling the conversation in a different direction which I won’t elaborate on).
But I’m not going to let my beliefs or shame keep me from being comfortable and doing what is best. Thirty years ago that meant not wearing a bra, today maybe it means wearing one. Not all the time of course. Just when it feel right, just when I choose to. And especially when I’m learning to trot with Chloe.
16 thoughts on “Wear It or Not”
Getting a pony is worth the occasional discomfort of wearing a bra. It’s just another piece of sports equipment, like your helmet.
Hardly anybody remembers training bras, but I do! (Not sure what they were supposed to be training, either, but whatever). Working at home as much as I have been, I’ve certainly come to appreciate my “freedom” a bit more, but for certain activities — and certainly riding — a bra, or better yet, a decent sports bra, really helps with the inevitable jouncing.
You had me in stitches [pun intended]wondering what exactly a ‘training’ bra was supposed to train?? As a diehard tomboy with little cleavage, I asked myself the same question. The best part of aging is getting to examine and re-examine all those absolutes we took for granted—or were told we must abide. VIVA the choices!
I enjoyed this and was amused by it. Growing up in Europe I never wore a bra until I needed to–when aged 24 and breast-feeding my first child. Now in my 70s I seldom Wear one unless in a very thin cotton summer dress or shirt.
Nor did I shave my legs and arm pits until coming over here. I have stopped doing this also –such an odd thing to do when you think about it. My husband has always had a beard after finishing his army draft years and can’ t imagine
Continuing the daily hassle of shaving.
The things we human beings think up to do to ourselves can really be strange…
That shaving thing is strange Erika. I always had the feeling it started in Hollywood. Maybe I read that somewhere.
Loved this. You made me laugh out loud.
Oh good Janet!
Love this post! Funny and poignant at the same time.
I think it’s great that in your 50’s, your still learning about new ways your body can move and feel. So many of us quit being active. Doesn’t it feel great to know that life still has these small surprises to offer when you just get out there and do something? (And congrats on the new puppy and new pony–it’s going to be an exciting summer!)
I’m in the same orbit with the bra. But I must admit, I’m doing ok, nothing is bouncing while I’m learning to post on Melody.
I would love to know the brand of bra that you actually feel comfortable in! I have resorted to “training bras”, but I’m looking for comfort…on the few occasions I have to wear one. 🙂
I got it online from Hanes. not sure of the name though, I might be able to find it on their site. I’ll let you know.
Yes, gravity gets to all of us eventually, alas. I’m many years older than you. I wore one in high school, till college (which I started in 1969) at which time I stopped and then wore one when I started working (1973), to work (I was a librarian), taking it off the minute I got home. After awhile, I realized that as long as I wore a tight undershirt and nothing too tight, otherwise, I didn’t need to wear one, so that’s what I did, all the time, till sometime around age 45 at which time gravity forced me into it. I still have a lot of trouble finding a comfortable bra (and I’m not big either, thankfully). The one time I find one essential is while riding the lawnmower, ha–the bouncing! : )
Lawn mower, horse, same idea Melissa.
So jealous! Not wearing a bra hasn’t been an option since I was 12! Completely understand wearing one for riding, I tend to wear “high impact” sports bras in general. It’s so hard to find ones that are comfortable & keep things under control, especially when trotting or cantering.:) Glad you found one that works for you!
One of my favorite songs has always been “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy. As a supporter of all things feminist, I’d like to say, it’s all about doing what’s best for you, and what YOU choose, not what someone else says you should do/think/wear……..but what YOU do/think/wear, because it’s YOUR CHOICE! Go Maria!
YOu’re right Kim, it is about having to freedom to make the choices. Not doing what someone else thinks is right.