I hang around too many lesbians, I guess, or I've reached my "I don't Give a Fuck" period early, but I have eschewed bras where ever possible. I'm not overly endowed, and neither am I padding reliant. They are there, my pair, resisting gravity with all their might. Their specific condition is the concern only of my husband, my doctor, and myself. (The cats only want them for walking on.)
I'm one of those ever so lucky women who cannot, even with expert help, find a well fitting bra that won't eventually turn around and bite me. It's a fact. (Elastic * time) + my skin = irritation. I hate 'em (but less than I hate panty hose). I look with disdain upon the conventions and expectations of others concerning how I should appear. I understand the "hidden code" of clothing, so I maintain "standards of decency" -- if I'm in public, I'm covered with non-transparent fabric from above my sternum to just above my knees and all the way around (aka at least a tank-top and shorts) and, given my copious collection of knee length t-shirts, usually more. That someone else feels I am aesthetically unappealing without extra layers of restraint beneath my usual camoflauge is just so sad and unfortunate for them. It's not like I'm flashing anything.
Now, let me make myself clear. At work, at social events, and in general, once I leave the house, I'm wearing a bra and undies beneath my clothing. I seek to dress appropriately for the situation whenever I can. However, if the highlight of my day is a 30 minute trip to Walmart, I'm just not gonna do it. First of all, being in Walmart is discomfort enough. Second, anyone who gives a tinker's damn is definately someone I want to annoy. If you've got enough time to stare at my chest with your x-ray vision to determine if I am or am not wearing a bra under my t-shirt, you deserve whatever you get.
I understand the horror with which many people regard the bra-less female. My mother was raised in the 40's and 50's and wore those torpedo bras until she died. I grasp that many people cannot divorce sexuality from the nude human form. I've also spent a good deal of time among pagans in large groups where "sky-clad" was the norm, and I've learned that simply averting my eyes saves me much torment. It also helps to remind myself that everyone must live in the body they have, and my judgement of that body isn't really useful. If I don't like it, I don't freaking look. It's that simple.
I've come to the conclusion at this point in my life that 1) people are going to judge me on some set of factors or another, none of which I can control 2) out of any given group, SOMEONE will find something about me they don't like 3) The best I can do is be comfortable with myself. I also have come to accept that what people find wrong with other people says more about what they dislike/deny/are unhappy or insecure about themselves. Since all our judgements come through the filters of our own experiences, memories, fears and concerns, they reflect the same.
So, for the duration, I chant this mantra to all the women who read what I scribble in this tiny corner of the 'net -- Let Them Puppies Breathe!
Addendum: I'd like to add that I'm not anti-bra for everyone. I'm definately not in the "dress to offend" camp, since I do think that one should appear appropriately covered as the situation dictates. I'm anti-someone telling me I'm (insert negative or insulting comment here) when I chose not to wear one, or issuing a condemnation against all those people who do not do as they do (or at least think others should do). I do stand by the idea that if no one can see it, whether you wear it or not is a personal choice.
One day I'll have to write about the mysterious rite of the slip.