Finding a good bra is difficult, which is why this writer holds onto the good ones.
It's Friday night. The sweet soul sounds of Ryan Tubridy's voice are coming through the speaker of the television. It's dark and dreary – exactly what the best January nights are made of. You have had a hard week. You might pour yourself a glass of wine, maybe open a packet of salt and vinegar crisps. Your New Year's resolutions have once again gone down the drain of forgotten dreams. You have no plans for the weekend so this is the perfect night. The golden opportunity.
It's time to wash your bra.
This scenario might feel familiar to you. It certainly is for me. If I know on a Friday evening that my weekend consists of staying indoors, I know I can take out the basin and give my bra a good scrub. Why the meticulous planning to wash an undergarment?
Well, I only have the one (two, actually, if you count its glamorous, lacy and less comfortable sister).
The yearly buy
Every year I make the annual trip to Arnotts to get my boobs hoisted by a lovely lady who is a bra ninja. One look at my decolletage and she can tell me my exact size in seven languages. You see, if you are blessed on top, your pocket certainly isn't.
Bra shopping is an expensive and dangerous game. A high price is paid for sheer awkwardness and sweat, while you are tugged and tagged in a cubicle. The excursion is one I try to avoid as much as I can.
And so the chosen bra will last me close to 12 months. This may sound absurd to you but if I could drop into Penneys and buy a myriad of €5 bras, I would – but I can't. If I could go braless like Jennifer Aniston in the 1990s and let them roam free, I also would – but I can't.
In this capitalist world, we don't feel very attached to possessions but attached to my bra I am. So much so, I have affectionately named her Bertha.
Bertha the bra.
She's plain beige but she's a classic beauty with moulded cups and thick straps for extra comfort. She might not be the sexiest but she's reliable and that is enough for me.
Throughout a year, she is with me through thick and thin. She sees the seasons change. She has felt the cold on Camden Street while we wait for a taxi. She has felt the sweltering heat of a summer's day on the Luas. She has watched me throw on questionable outfits, seen me in questionable positions and never once has she judged me.
Frankly, Bertha the bra holds my boobs up while the rest of my life goes tits up.
Why is it that so many of us women have a strange relationship with our bras? I know I am not the only one who lives and breathes in the one hoist. With our underwear, we can buy up to 20 at a time but a bra is a rare diamond to be found in the darkest edges of the lingerie department.
A love story
Speaking to friends of mine on the smaller side of the chest spectrum, they often look at me in horror when I speak of my sole lingerie lover. However, it's easier for them. Tops sit better, they can wear backless dresses and go sans bra whenever they feel like it. They are catered for across the high street with an array of design options and a much lower price point.
Us on the other side need a little extra support which means we pay a little more thus why we only own one bra.
Finding a good bra is like finding a good romantic partner: tiring and time-consuming. When you find a really good one, you hold on with all your straps and tighten. There is no Tinder equivalent for bra shopping which is why many of us don't do it very often.
However, someday, next to the thongs and the support knickers, you will find your true love and have the best relationship of your life.
Well, for a year at least.
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