(*Disclaimer* In no way do my experiences as a woman wearing bras represent even a fraction of the opinions, beliefs and applications of this specific undergarment.)
My relationship with my breasts is rather tumultuous. Ever since they first started budding in middle school, my thoughts and feelings about them have vacillated between blissfully admiring the way they fill out a dress and internally seething when my highbeams are impossibly lively at the gym. It took me some time to transition from “elastic bralette thing” to ” actual bra”, but by my thirteenth birthday, my chest was strapped in and I had to start buying sports bras as well.
Over time, the bigger problem in my life was exactly that — my breasts had no concept of decency or consideration for my personal wishes and kept. Getting. Bigger. Contrary to popular belief, not every person yearns for breasts that grow to such proportions that a journey downstairs requires literally (and unpoetically) clasping your bosom tight to prevent tenderizing yourself with gravity. For a school drama production, I had to wear a push-up bra, and it was so effective that hardly any makeup was applied to enhance the artificial cleavage (that’s a big deal in theater, trust me).
The biggest problem that accompanied my “bigger problem” was having to buy a new set of bras every time I grew a cup size, and then having to graduate to more supportive (and expensive) options. In case anyone was wondering, this meant that, at minimum, I needed at least three or four bras in the rotation for nice occasions and daily wear. This was also the maximum number for me for a long time, because I had to accept the fact that my breasts were not going to stay the same size, and would need to buy new bras in a year or two anyhow. When the Soma clerk sized me and told me that I was a D-Cup, I almost started crying. She was very confused and concerned.
But then if your breasts STOP growing, you have to deal with maintenance. This means buying new bras at least every year (my ladies make those things WORK) and also supplementing with sports bras that might actually cover my nipples when I squat. I have done the math, and in the time that I have been in college, the minimum that has been spent on general female chest maintenance is $742.00. That’s minimum, folks.
Even if you think that isn’t a very significant sum, let’s just rewind and think about what exactly could have been purchased with $742.00:
At least two or three textbooks.
A 55-inch LED TV.
A one-way ticket to Paris, France from JFK.
A Playstation 4 + an Xbox One.
6 years of Netflix on a basic package.
A rescue pupper.
So you see, my breasts have singlehandedly prevented me from traveling abroad, paying for books, AND GETTING A DOG. VILLAINY, THY NAME IS MAMMARY TISSUE. To clarify, I know that money is not everything, and neither are my girls wholly to blame for these lost opportunities. But as far as I am concerned, this is an unfortunate reality for many women in my life, and my family has four women who have competed for clothing money for years on end.
That $742.00 is also a conservative estimate. If you factor in other things that have been deemed necessary for my existence (like menstrual pads, tampons, cute underwear, and about five hundred different types of formal wear), I could probably have emancipated myself at 16 and paid for a few semesters of college by myself. Or my mother (bless her soul) could have saved herself thousands of dollars and instead used it to pursue a career in the culinary arts, or retrofitting old cars so that they have a cookie and hot chocolate dispenser à la The Santa Clause.
I appreciate my breasts for what they are and the potential that they hold for feeding babies and becoming delightfully droopy when I inevitably become an aged beauty. We get along quite well for now, because they have decided to stay the same size for a little more than two years and I have not neglected their care and upkeep. However, I would appreciate them much more if they were also equipped to secrete quarters and dollar coins every now and then to make up for lost time.
Forget the pink tax — women are struggling with the equivalent of a pink interest rate on the mortgage that is their bodies.
Ever and always,
Chesty as F**k
(Want to donate your bras to homeless women? Visit this organization’s site to learn more!)