One of the down-sides of being a girl is that every now and then you have to make a foray to the shops for 'the perfect bra'. Not just the perfect bra (and the perfect fit) for our own individual assets but also the perfect bra for every outfit, every occasion, every season, every mood.
In the summer, that usually means strapless.
And that means wading through a series of contraptions that make you look like you've got a pair of padded pyramids, ice cream cones or a couple of ballistic missiles strapped to your chest.
Though I am a well-rounded lass in every sense of the word, my boobs are among the better-behaved parts of my body. They're still sort of where nature originally placed them... well, they're still closer to my chin than my waist anyway. I'm not used to being especially busty. They're definitely there, no denying that, but not in any high-profile in-your-face sort of way.
These days, I find the ever-growing array of FFs & GGGs et al (you know, the ones that look more like highly ornate crash helmets for Siamese twins) a little scary. I don't recall there being so many of them when I first started shopping for something more than just moral support, but now the frillies section of your local M&S is swamped with the things in a variety of shapes, colours and a titillating selection of designs that bear no relation to the 'sensible' support we were urged to opt for way back then (good news for naturally well-endowed girls, of course).
I find myself bewildered at the sheer range of colours, patterns and frills being thrust in our faces the minute we enter the lingerie section.
Maybe I'm just boring and too well advanced in years, but all I really want is something that will hold everything where it's supposed to be, make sure they stay there for most of the day and not cut off my circulation in the process.
Wooing my man with frills and flounces? Well, let's just say His Nibs has been with me for more than a quarter of a century and he has seen my underwear collection at its very best (racy black and red lace basque) and its very worst (thousand-times-washed, once-white-but-now-greying utility melon tamer teamed with saggy knickers).
So far, he hasn't run for the hills yet.
Most of the time, I just want something that will sit discreetly beneath my shirt, not day-glowing through the fabric to shout out its design and features, but just do its job and hold the girls in check. A bit of a challenge in these days when we're spoiled for choice.
Another thing, can anyone tell me whose boobs most of the moulded cups are modelled on? I was under the impression that most breasts were round-ish (mine certainly are). So why, oh why, do so many bras seems to have ambitions in the conical direction? Most off-putting. Madonna and Jean-Paul Gautier have a lot to answer for.
Whether you are super-sized or a bog-standard C-cup, it can come as a bit of a shock to my system to look down when wearing one of those shaped, padded bustenhalters and nearly poke your eye out on one of your own boobs!
If you're not used to it, it's very weird to feel like your breasts enter the room 5 minutes before you do. You feel like your body has been invaded by Jessica Rabbit or you've morphed into a reincarnation of Jayne Mansfield. Not a bad thing in itself, but definitely unnerving when you’re not used to, or keen on, being defined by your mammaries.
I could just slap on the strapless, get dressed, walk out the door and get on with my life without a second thought. And, believe me, that's what I try to do - until I catch a fleeting glimpse of myself in a mirror or a shop window, and then it’s like "What the...? Where did they...? How the hell did that happen!?"
But, there are advantages. On those days when you just don't have enough hands to do everything at once, you can simply wedge your frappe (iced coffee) glass into your heaving cleavage (bbrrr!), add a long straw - and hey presto! You're free to get on with things and enjoy your caffeine-kick at the same time. Look Mum, no hands!
Summer is coming (at least here in Greece - he, he, he!), and with it the strapless, backless etc. tops that let the warm breeze tickle your pasty flesh after the long winter under wraps.
Let's face it, most of us girls need all the support we can get.