Can I stop wearing a bra now? With a Mexican pork and black bean soup.

It feels like a right of passage to be a female writer and write about your boobs. I hadn’t thought I’d get there quite so early in the piece, but here we are, talking about my boobs.

At least it’s not my period.

So how do we find ourselves here? Trying not to be uncomfortable, looking everywhere but at each other, wondering what my mother-in-law and her friends will say about this. Well, as there so often is, there’s a story. And a point. I promise.

A month or so ago, I had a reasonably unpleasant allergic reaction to some pretty toxic soap. This resulted in a rash developing all over my body. A violently itchy rash, which I scratched until I made myself bleed.

Said rash resulted in my children tell me off for scratching. One of many role reversal episodes that feature in my life these days. It also resulted in being unable to wear a bra.

I should point out that I have worn a bra pretty much every day since I was 14-ish. I’ve worried about my breasts ending up down around my ankles. I’m also quite a prude, so the idea of anyone being able to see my nipples is horrendous at best. Unless I wanted them to, of course. I have never been the #freethenipple poster child.

I now haven’t worn a bra for over a month. The itch from wearing one was unbearable, I’ve resorted to cotton singlets under my clothes instead. Which has been fine, no-one has said anything (they may be too polite). Also it’s winter, so jerseys are my friend.

Then last week, the rash had finally cleared up, and I decided it may be time to go back to my old ways. I pulled one of my bras out of my underwear drawer, and put it on.

Oh God it was so uncomfortable! It was constricting, I felt like I couldn’t breath properly. The tightness all around my back and chest was like wearing a cropped straight jacket.

So I took it off. I haven’t put it back on again.

And I’m wondering, can I stop wearing a bra now?

So far it seems to be working for me. My boobs are hardly double Ds. I’d be a B at best, possibly a large A. It gets worse as I lose weight, and given my weight is coming down as I’ve stopped drinking, the future for my cup size is not looking bright.

My husband has never been a man who sees any sexiness in lingere, so my undergarments are pretty utilitarian. I like cotton and lace makes me itch. Even pre-rash saga. So no loss there.

At the heart of my question is am I too old to stop wearing a bra? Most women go through their braless stage when they’re young and perky, not knocking on the door of a half century. I’ve tried to adopt a bohemian look on and off, which would lend itself nicely to bralessness, but it just doesn’t gel with me. There’s too much black in my wardrobe.

I haven’t applied seasonality to this potential problem. Being winter, there’s a certain advantage to being able to rug up. Layers hide a multitude of sins. But come spring and then summer the layers come off and hiding is no longer an option. So what then?

Although there’s a bunch of stuff I’ve taken out of my life as that daunting milestone approaches, I still try to keep myself looking nice. I haven’t gone completely feral. So is no bra a step too far?

Serves 6-8

Many of the Mexican bean soups I’ve found have the beans blended at some point in the process so the soup thickens. I’ve made this one more like a Mexican minestrone with a tomato broth like consistency.

2017-06-21 13.02.06 v12 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion finely chopped
1 green capsicum, deseeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 chipotle chillis in adobo sauce, deseeded, finely chopped
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes
500g pork leg or shoulder, cut into 2cm cubes
2 litres chicken stock
2 x 400g tins black beans, rinsed and drained
Salt/pepper to taste
Bunch coriander, stems and leaves chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Sour cream to serve

  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over a medium heat
  2. Add onion, capsicum and garlic and cook until onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Sprinkle over cumin and oregano, stir to combine and cook for another minute or two
  4. Pour over tomatoes, chipotle chillies and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tomatoes have darkened and thickened
  5. Add pork and chicken stock, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 60 minutes or until pork is very tender.
  6. Tip in black beans and cook for another 20 minutes. Season to taste.
  7. Sprinkle over coriander, and squeeze in lime juice, stir to combine then serve with sour cream. You could also serve with chopped avocados if they’re in season.

2 thoughts

  1. I stopped wearing underwire bras years ago on the advice of my doctor. Wire-free are a lot more comfortable and although at first only available in frumpy style, now a bit less so and easier to find. I get mine from Target, Kmart and Big W at very low prices. Crop tops can be another more comfortable option. And you can sometimes get singlets with built-in bras. I suggest you wear what’s comfortable and if you are jogging wear something supportive. Cheers, Joyce


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