The year 1989 marks the 100th anniversary of the Brassiere, as it was first called, an item of apparel dear to the hearts of all transvestites. I find it hard to conceive of a time without the bra, so integral has it become to feminine fashion in our culture. It and the jockstrap are the only garments that have an anatomical function limited to one sex; all other clothing takes its gender from the culture. A male wearing a bra can only be doing so for the pleasure of it, as we all well know.
The bra was invented to free women from the corset, that torture device invented by men to emphasizes what they liked in a woman's figure. I'm not talking about the lacy spandex things that women of today wear to entice a man, but a heavy, stiff monstrosity of whalebone and steel that cinched the waist so hard that it crushed the internal organs and killed women at an early age. It's hard to believe that little girls of that era could hardly wait to be tied into one of these things so that they could become a 'woman'.
I have recently been privileged to watch a modern day rite of passage as my daughter has grown to need a bra. At first it was not a matter of need, it was a matter of wanting to 'join the club'. Never mind that she had no breasts to speak of, wearing a bra was a status symbol; if you had one you had arrived at that elusive state of being a 'woman'. There is nothing quite so poignant as a young teen girl wearing a bra for the first time. There are those little itches and twitches that are needed to get the uncomfortable thing back in place; actions that simply can't be performed in the view of a father for fear he would notice, but the fool thing isn't anchored down by a developed bust and keeps riding up! I felt like saying that she should borrow my falsies to weight it down, but since she doesn't know that I have a use for a bra yet, I couldn't tell her.
Then there is the experience of coming on a group of teenage girls who are just discovering the wonders of skirts, stockings, makeup and other womanly trappings. I can't help comparing their youthful journey into the feminine with my own and those of my sisters. Some of them wear heels tall enough to raise blisters and have pounds of makeup on their face, like some of my sisters who haven't learned moderation in their adoration of feminine appearance. But slowly, over time, the newness wears off and becomes commonplace. Most of these girls, and most of my sisters, learn how to present themselves without being overdone, but a few of them will never grow up. There are as many opinions as to what is feminine as there are people in the world.
So slowly that I really didn't notice it, my daughter has passed beyond the wanting stage to the needing stage. On the recent trips to buy school clothes, I couldn't help noticing that she has a figure, and a good one at that. Tall and lean and leggy and she couldn't understand why I bought a baseball bat at the sporting goods store after she had gotten those new clingy tops.
So welcome to the club, my daughter. I hope you can understand when you find out that your father wants to wear a bra that he needs as much as you did just a few short months ago. I and my sisters need to join the club just as badly as you did.
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