Thursday, 8 March 2012
Bravo for Bosoms or "It Takes All Sorts"
It's not very often we get excited about the mail in our household. Bills, pizza leaflets, community council newsletters about the lethal front step at the Post Office. Not stuff to set the pulse racing, to be honest.
There is one exception though. Every couple of months I get the new Bravissimo catalogue. For those of you not familiar with this great institution, Bravissimo is a firm which sells women's underwear. Its speciality is bras for ladies with a fuller bust.
Its arrival is always greeted with delight, particularly by my husband who falls upon it like a long lost friend, settling onto the sofa and reverently smoothing the pages as he nibbles delicately at a ginger nut. This is usually accompanied by wistful sighing in the manner of Adrian Mole's Dad admiring his neighbour Mrs Singh's pretty saris.
I get pretty wistful over it too, mainly because it highlights the poverty of my own underwear collection. I have blogged before about how one of the consequences of being in a long term relationship is that your foundation garments hanging on the washing line begin to resemble dead moles on a fence. Flicking through the Bravissimo catalogue brings me into contact with a way of life I have only ever heard about in the movies. Green bras, orange bras, jungle print bras with mauve trim. I feel like a Morlock that's stumbled across the Eloi picnicking in their smalls.
I'm not entirely sure where this Calvinist (no pun intended) streak about underwear comes from. It may be something to do with the fact that for many years, my choice of bra was extremely limited blessed, or perhaps burdened, as I am with a large bosom.
This wasn't always the case. In my teens my chest could have been described as fair to middling in size. It was possible for example to go out bra-less without closing major routes to non-essential traffic. But then I went to University and drank too much beer and ate too much pizza, and properly matured and then I got pregnant and the result was a bosom like the Hindenberg.
Having seen photos of me when I was younger, my daughter is fascinated by the change in my chest. "Where were they before again Mum? Show me. Up about here?" She also finds it hilarious when a feeble bra fails in its duty and one breast lists to port and the other to starboard, like a boss-eyed sailor.
Fashion can be difficult when you have a big chest. Anything with a shawl collar for example makes me look like I am smuggling asylum seekers. Passers-by look down expecting to see several pairs of feet sticking out from under my coat. Frills make me a dead ringer for the dowager from a Marx Brothers' movie. Either that or Maw Broon.
And coming full circle, there is the problem of finding underwear to fit. Years ago, I flirted briefly with a padded bra. The madness of this is akin to the Michelin man buying a puffa jacket. When discarded it stood proud like the dwelling of some ancient pygmy race. My then five year old nephew saw one once and simply cried, "WHAT IS THAT!?!" eyes wide in terror.
I remember going to be measured for a bra when I was pregnant. The sales assistant sucked her teeth, pursed her lips, raised her eyebrows and said, "We've only one that'll do for you dear. It's called the "Doreen". Of course I cried. Wouldn't you?
It's at times like this that it is tempting to hate one's bosom, a more common state of affairs than you might imagine . Breasts are perhaps the most obvious outward signs of our femaleness and, as such, I think how we feel about them is quite important. It is a shame therefore that many women feel their breasts are too big, or too small, or too low, or too round or not round enough.
I'd say that, where bosoms are concerned, it takes all sorts. Breasts are as individual as the women they belong to. Why should we want them all to look the same? There is no more reason for us to have identical breasts than to have identical faces. You may have a whispered hint of a bosom or a rather more "out there" pair, either way, basically, it's fine. I'm just glad that nowadays I can find a bra that fits.