I have never been a big fan of bras. Having pigeon breasts, that usually has been not a huge problem. After my lumpectomy for breast cancer, though, I am even less happy being confined by Lycra and spandex. Or, even cotton, which can squoosh just as well as its synthetic cousins. Breathable, my Aunt Fanny.
My lumpectomy left me with a few lingering after-effects, which the bra exacerbates. I am a little smaller on one side than the other—I got a nice little tuck on the left, so I am far perkier there than on the right. I therefore need specially fit bras, which cost a fortune and I hate to shell out ten bucks at Target for a bra, why would I want to give more than $50 for a customized titslinger? (Thanks to Bette Midler for popularizing Otto Tintsling, the fictional inventor of the bra.)
The scar also remains tender—nearly four years after surgery. It is even crankier during changes of weather. And wearing even a light bra is uncomfortable. Add to that some lingering neuropathy from radiation and my entire chest can be a little grumpy, as can its owner.
Even the straps, which I never can adjust properly, bug me.
This is less a problem in cold weather, when I can wear a comfy tank or camisole covered by a turtleneck and a sweater. In warm weather, though, I feel the need to be a bit more discreet. I am 64 after all, and nobody would get much of a kick out of seeing me let it all hang out. On cool spring and summer days, I wear a cami and a T-shirt under a cotton button-up and that looks fine. Tighter fashions and warmer days, though require a bit more titular support.
I've tried built-in bras but even the straps on those dig into my shoulders and often leave a red mark proclaiming, “Pat was uncomfortable for a long time today.”
I am glad I spend most of my time at home in front of the computer, as my Apple really does not care how I look or if she can see my nipples. And I can usually stand a bra for a few hours when I go out and act professional. But I take it off as soon as I can, and my breasts and I heave a sigh of relief. All three of us hate bras.
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