Today, I had an epiphany: bras are like boyfriends (or girlfriends)! Crazy? Maybe. Here's my thinking:
When I was single, I liked to imagine what my "perfect guy" would be like and what I would be like when I was with him. I pictured him with dark curls and pale skin because those traits matched my favorite costume drama men. I also thought he'd be a poet or a philosopher; someone deep, brooding, and romantic. I thought we'd like a lot of the same things and have loads of common interests.
When I imagined myself, I thought I'd be different too. Taller, for one. Thinner. More "French" maybe? The silliness of my dreams aside, I knew I'd be the best version of myself with this future person. It would be as if all of my great characteristics would bubble to the surface and all the traits I wish would disappear would magically diminish.
...then I met him. And he was blonde. He liked all sorts of things I didn't: the entire Rush Hour trilogy, rap music, hot sauce with every meal. The more I got to know him, the crazier I was about him, but some small part of my mind was going, "What!? This isn't supposed to be the guy!". Although he didn't match what I'd imagined, the happy, bubbly feelings I wanted to experience were all happening. Two years later, he still makes me feel like I'm on-top-of-the-world. He makes me feel beautiful. He makes me forget the fact that I'm truly, abysmally bad at math.
Really, I have nothing to complain about. (Photo: Natasha Komoda of Kimono Photography; Bloomington, IN).
Like my ideal-boyfriend hunt, sometimes I meet women who are searching for "the perfect bra". Their bra mission has a laundry list of requirements: thin straps, wide bands, fewer hooks, lace, cotton, seamless, padded, demi-cut, etc. They're hesitant to try on bras that don't fit the criteria or reluctant to consider alternative options. Across all backgrounds, I've noticed one striking similarity. Every woman/girl/trans person wants the same basic experience from their bra: they want to feel beautiful and confident. Just as my boyfriend preferences didn't have anything to do with hair color, that confidence doesn't have anything to do with the number of hooks or the width of the straps.
Don't get me wrong. I think it's wonderful to know what you want! I would never want a woman to settle on any old bra (or man!). But, in my own lingerie drawer, I've found that my best bras are the same ones that I wasn't immediately drawn to. Which makes me wonder, in an effort to narrow down our preferences, do we exclude the things we might love? If we eliminate options too soon or are in a hurry to prejudge, we miss the best and most surprising possibilities. In love and lingerie shopping, maintaining an open mind is essential.
An Unexpected Favorite: the Fantasie "Kara"
To celebrate unexpected love, I urge you to stop counting hooks. Stop declaring war on perceived "back fat". Brush your expectations aside and concentrate on how you feel. Slow down. Look in the mirror. As cheesy as it sounds, you might be surprised at the face smiling back at you.