Around a month ago, I found myself in a meeting room at the offices of a popular British gossip magazine. While I pretended to be interested in the news writer job I was being interviewed for, my mind could only focus on one thing. On my right shoulder, I could feel a poly-cotton-blend strap loosen its grip, slowly making its way down my arm. I didn’t know what to do. Should I let my boob pop out and pretend this isn’t happening? Or, should I hoist that strap up and take it on the chin? I decided to do the latter. That goddamn strap wasn’t going to defeat me.
I didn’t get the job and it was the first time I’d worn a bra in a while. Curse my 38Fs. I didn’t want that job anyway.
Over the past year or so, I’ve worn a bra maybe five times, and that’s only because I was visiting my mom. She caught wind of my boobs flopping around and gave me that look all brown mothers use to guilt their adult children into doing their bidding.
If there’s one thing all boob-havers know, it’s that fashion demands we prioritize style over comfort. (Though, in the spirit of everything the Man Repelling woman stands for, I say to hell with it.) Fed up with having to deal with underwires sticking into me, fabric chafing against me and the extra step in my morning routine, I decided to abstain from wearing a bra. I know, it was an incredibly brave decision on my part.
Going braless is freeing in so many different ways. You learn to appreciate and notice the natural shape of your boobs, rather than the exaggerated, round, padded version you normally see underneath your clothes. It’s a lot less painful; no more itching, sweating or straps falling down. Going braless adds more fun to the whole underwear-buying process. Reserving bras for formal and professional occasions means that I have accumulated somewhat of a power underwear collection. When I do subject myself to that torture device, I feel like a godly bitch.
Not wearing a bra has also saved me in more than one instance. Flying as a brown woman is always a fun and exciting experience; I never know where security agents are going to inappropriately fondle me. During one routine “random check,” an agent used a handheld metal scanner which supposedly found my bra’s underwire and clasp to read “unusually high.” (I yelled, “it’s just my bra!” and was ignored.) I decided to go commando on top for the return journey, was randomly searched again (what are the odds?!) and was ordered to stand in a machine, but this time I wasn’t patted down, which is a triumph for any Afghan person. Ditching bras will make you less of a perceived security threat, people.
Ready to take the plunge and dedicate yourself to a braless existence? It isn’t an easy transition and your mom will almost certainly make snide comments about it, but with a little help you, too, can eradicate the most irritating article of clothing from your life. You might think it’s as easy as simply removing your bra, but it’s so much more than that, my protégé.
1. Thick fabrics are your best friend. Invest in neoprene and other heavy materials for tops. As an added bonus, these materials usually don’t require any ironing.
2. Not into boob flop? Order a load of specialized tape from Amazon a la this tutorial. If you end up ditching the braless lifestyle, you’ll have tape to use for other things normal people do with it.
3. Powder your nose and your under-boob. I use a dusting powder from Lush that smells divine (I don’t fancy smelling like a baby) and contains tons of glitter because I prefer my chest region to sparkle like a disco ball.
Illustrations by Maria Jia Ling Pitt.