So you know how men always make fun of women for their obsession with shoes and handbags? I can’t say I don’t relate, but when it comes to the ultimate indulgence, the one thing that makes me part with my cash most quickly is bras. As the good women at Fenwick will attest (especially during the summer sales), I can’t get enough of them.
I think it started early for me. Like a high heel, when you’re a little girl, you see certain things as a sign of latent womanhood. Not to sound creepy, but watching your mother dress for a night out in (at the risk of aging myself) a slip and a bra … and boom – you future gaze to (what you think and hope will be) your glamorous adult life.
So what is about bras? A lot. There’s the obvious fact that they boost the ultimate symbol of your femininity: your breasts. And they make them look really pretty. In fact, of all the things we get to wear, bras are one of the most flattering, whether your flat or full chested, skinny or ample.
And let’s face it, I can get girly, and bras are lacey and colourful.
Or I can be playful, and I can shop nipple tassels and pasties from my very talented and gorgeous friend Gaby Kennedy.
The point is, there is a lot to say for bras because there is a lot to say for women — and like bras, we are certainly about more than our breasts. But the best part is that only the wearer knows what’s going on underneath until she decides to show it off.
I know I’ve been waxing poetic about bras, but there is a caution. When we parade around in our skivvies, we should feel beautiful and sexy. That’s great — it’s one of the best things about intimacy. But when we’re in our smalls, are we more aware of what we’re doing to him, or what he’s doing for us?
It’s a well-known fact that men punch above their weight and women accept a bigger differential on a 10 point scale. Anyone who has ever been to the gym observes this phenomenon. A fit woman walks by two beer-bellied men at the water cooler (note: they are not working out) and they comment, pejoratively, on her ass, or her thighs or some such thing they feel requires improvement. Meanwhile, those same men might be in relationships with women who internally recognise their partners are pregnant with carbs but instead beam with pride about their kindness, sensitivity and sense of humour.
Do I want women to be more shallow? No … but yes. Well, a little.
I want us to retain our substance and the complexity and the acceptance that comes with being female. But I also want us to feel we deserve the whole package. The way men do.