Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Return of the Killer Brassiere

Some of you may remember last year’s unfortunate encounter with the Killer Brassiere.

Well, it’s back, and this time, it’s personal.

Once I recovered from the first attack, which resulted in a bruised rib and a bruised ego, I thought, “Nah, this couldn’t possibly happen a second time. Now that I know not to wear it to the chiropractor, why not put it on again? After all, it’s so…cute. Just sitting there so innocently in the bureau drawer, staring up at me with those twin cups, the underwires forcing them into a permanent smile. Aww, come on, it seemed to say. You’re tired of those other bras, aren’t you? After all, aren’t they a little…boring? Childish? Utilitarian? Like something a pioneer woman would make out of some scraps of muslin and hay? Or something you wore when you were eight and thinking that someday you’d have breasts worthy of something more grown up? And it’s only a matter of time before you backslide all the way to…dare I say it…going without? Come on. It’s the 21st century. The braless look went out of style along with ribbed bodysuits back in the ‘70s.

So, OK, I succumbed. And never gave it another thought until yesterday.

I was having some work done on my neck at the physical therapist’s. (In my world, “getting work done” means a manual adjustment, not a doctor manually injecting injectables beneath my skin to plump up anything that needed plumping.) Part of the treatment involves adjusting the vertebrae in my upper back. To do this in the softest and most effective way possible, I lie on the table face up, my PT puts a pillow over my chest, slips a vertically-rolled small towel beneath my back, and, after I’ve taken a deep breath and exhaled, he presses down on the pillow. I heard the usual noises of relief coming from my back: crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, cru…


That noise came from my breastbone.


If I remember correctly, that noise was coming from my mouth.

My PT asked me if I was OK, and I had to say, “No, I don’t think so.”

I told him what happened. He smiled. And then he laughed.

The killer brassiere rides off into the night…

Then, much as it hurt, I had to laugh, too.

He did the usual checks to make sure nothing was broken or whacked out of place. Bend this way. Bend that way. But no, it was just another $#@%!! brassiere-induced bone bruise, this time, on my sternum and upper ribs. (Wonder what code that would be on the insurance form? I can just imagine my insurance company’s customer service department in India calling the doctor: “What is this line item ‘BBB?’ I do not understand this ‘BBB.’)

And when it was determined that I would live, he set me up with an icepack and told me to take it easy the rest of the day. That I’d be fine in a couple of days.

Then he made me laugh again, the bastard. “It can’t hurt when I laugh, Tom!” I whined. “That’s my job!”

It also hurts when I talk. When I walk, when I turn over in bed, when I get dressed…but the talking thing really bugs me. That’s my job, too. Once again, I’m relegated to the keyboard instead of the microphone. Because, as you know, ain’t nothing gonna stop my words from flowing.

And the offending undergarment? I’ve exiled it to the bathroom towel rack. I haven’t yet decided its fate. Our culture’s common wisdom says that in the women’s rights movement, despite the icon of the burning bra, not a single foundation garment was set aflame.

I’m thinking of making this one the first. Anyone care to join me around the bonfire? I’ll bring the marshmallows.

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