So at the risk of giving you way to much information, I’ve decided to talk about the incredibly fun subject of puberty. A horrible word for an alarming process.
Physically, I developed pretty early, to get right in there with the TMI. But mentally and emotionally I was pretty slow. Some very not-funny people might even say I have yet to grow up in these ways, but they are just jealous of my supreme maturiosity and My Little Pony stickers. Ahem.
So although there may have been the need, I don’t remember really having the desire to wear a bra. Most girls my age were desperate to flock to Victoria’s Secret for Over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders, not to mention using make-up, caring about pop stars and even KISSING BOYS. I could have been kissing boys too, obviously, with my flat hair, crooked teeth and sort of… bookish allure. But I was pretty committed to my Nintendo, Harry Potter books and magnificent gang of special little weirdos.
But the bra issue came up, naturally, when I got my period (TMI alert? Shut up, I won’t apologise for having a womb. EXCUSE MY WOMANHOOD) and it was uncomfortable to run down stairs. My mother, supportive as she was of my personal brand of insanity, occasionally liked me to do what the other girls were doing and suggested I might start wearing a bra.
I don’t remember any great sense of occasion, it was just something to be done. As far as I was concerned a bra was like socks but for boobs, could my mam not just pick me up a packet of three in Penneys? Maybe with bumblebees or something. But apparently it was imperative that I get measured and have a whole bosomy day out.
It was my godmother who took me in the end, no doubt for my pre-teen self Marie was the least mortifying choice of people to discuss boob holsters with. The day as I remember it was fairly enjoyable, I got a nice haul to go with my new-found womanhood. We were going for dinner after shopping, around the time that all of the fancy business grown-ups get out of work.
I was carrying my huge shopping bag with some pride, smirking at flat-chested children that I passed. Even boys. They had no need for such purchases. It was a windy day and crossing O’Connell bridge was something of a struggle, my bag attempting to escape my grip.
We had just reached the other side when there was a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a tall man in a suit holding something out to me. It was my A cup, pink lacy little-girl bra. He must have seen the horror and mortification on my face because he mumbled “you dropped this” before politely running away.
A middle aged lady puffed up behind him.
“Oh, you got it!” she exclaimed joyfully, looking at the pretty strip of humiliation still hanging from my hand. I couldn’t move.
“I thought it would go into the river!” she carried on, ignoring my attempts to be swallowed up by Batchelor’s walk.
“There were four of us chasing it!” she laughed as if it was genuinely funny, and not the worst moment of my life.
I tried to banish the idea of three suit-clad men and this woman chasing my bra across O’Connell bridge but it’s really the sort of thing that stays with you.
I calmed down, and made my peace with adult underwear eventually, bras really are magnificent for controlling any ad-hoc jiggling. Every time I cross the bridge, though, I think of my bra’s journey and wonder if it will ever happen again.
I would LOVE to see that, it would be bloody hilarious.