It is a truth universally acknowledged that when a woman gets home after a long day, all she wants to do is take off her bra. Seriously. Nothing provides instant comfort, relief and relaxation like the simple act of unsnapping that clasp and letting my breasts fall from their perky, pushed-up perch. Ahhhh.
After about five years of this post-workday ritual, a lightbulb went off in my head: If it feels this good to remove my bra, why am I wearing one in the first place?
Of course, more than a few reasons came to mind. Wearing a bra supports and lifts my breasts, making them look fuller, rounder and just plain better under my clothes. Bras conceal my nipples when it’s cold in the office. They cover up my nipple ring.
Bras disguise the fact that my breasts are two completely different sizes. (To give you an idea of how different they are, my high school nickname was "DC.") In short, wearing one to work seemed like the “professional” thing to do.
The more I thought about all of these reasons, though, the more I realized they were complete and utter patriarchal bullsh*t. Women’s breasts naturally come in all different shapes and sizes, as well as in a variety of perkiness levels.
Who decided that they need to sit at a certain height and appear uniformly round and full? Why are nipples so offensive? Everyone in the world has nipples. I’ve seen many of my male co-workers' cold, hard nipples through their shirts during meetings in particularly chilly conference rooms.
Why shouldn’t they see mine? Since I couldn’t come up with a single valid reason to wear a bra, I decided I would go without one.
My first braless day at work wasn’t exactly the act of feminist rebellion I thought it’d be. I couldn’t get out of my own head. I felt like everyone was staring at my breasts, silently shaming me. Here are six frantic thoughts that came to mind:
1. Wow, I never noticed how bouncy my walk is.
Is it just me, or are my boobs bouncing an insane amount right now? Is everyone watching me bounce down the hallway, "Baywatch" style?
2. Sh*t, is this top sheer?
I didn’t test it in natural sunlight. What if the whole office can see my giant nips right now, and no one is telling me?
3. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
What if I’m distracting my male co-workers? They’re probably having such a hard time concentrating, thanks to my hard nipples just out in the open, begging to be stared at.
Jeez. Once they get a load of the outline of my nipple ring, all hell will break loose. How can I expect them to get any work done?
4. Shut up, brain.
Just shut up. It’s not my responsibility to make sure that all the pervy guys in the office can concentrate.
Grown men should be able to control themselves. They’ll just have to get used to having an eyeful of nip every day.
5. OK boss lady, I know what you’re thinking.
You’re slut-shaming me in your head, aren’t you? You think I’m not serious about my job, just because I refuse to conform to your man-made standards of professionalism. F*ck you.
6. Oh, you just wanted to tell me you like my top?
Thanks. Yours is cute, too.
The truth is, my personal ban on bras wasn’t as easy to pull off as I hoped it would be. But I’m sticking with it, and working on becoming more comfortable with my braless breasts in all their bouncy, uneven glory. Screw patriarchy.