Maggie Van Ostrand
doesn't matter whether you're a working woman toiling amidst the trauma and traffic
of a career, or you're an at-home woman living amidst the joys of retirement.
You still need a bosom buddy. |
Qualified to fill this time-honored category
would be other women, one's mother and/or mother-in-law, one's husband and/or
someone else's husband, mentors, siblings, even one's adult children. For me,
there's no doubt about #1 in the bosom buddy category; that would have to be my
The reverse is also true: I myself qualify as bosom buddy to
manufacturers which is easy; there's only one requisite. Gravity.
here's some information men probably never wanted to know: The bosom comes in
many sizes, A to I, and can be shaped like knolls, eggplants, cones, and very
thin ancient women frequently appear to be adorned with a pair of blackjacks.
According to "Uplift," a reference book about the history of the brassiere,
women have gone from boyish flatness to torpedo-shaped to plunging fronts to sportif
chic to water-gel brassieres in a mere century and a half. In my opinion, the
history of the brassiere was summed up by actress Tallulah Bankhead, when she
once said of a play she disliked: "There's less here than meets the eye."
140 years of attempts to design the ideal breast supporter using materials from
feather-bones to spandex, some patents are just plain quirky, ranging from a fur-lined
bra to one with an electric heating system. That might be a very friendly thing
if you're married to an Eskimo, though a micro fan hidden in a bra to cool yourself
might be more beneficial, not to mention soothing, if you live in Mexico.
No less than 100% of the men I interviewed don't give a flying fig whether
a woman was born amply endowed like Mae West, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell,
or medically endowed like Dolly Parton, Pamela Anderson and Demi Moore. I guess
the bosom's origin is the one exception to their rule about how they hate it when
women lie to them.
Back in 1932, MGM actress Maureen O'Sullivan (future
mother of Mia Farrow) was photographed in a perky-bosomed pose, urging Sears'
customers to "Be sure to measure" before ordering any foundation garment. Those
were the days before brassieres were mass produced, when women actually had personal
fittings. None of these hanging-from-a-hook-at-Walmart bras for them. No indeedy.
presented myriad possibilities for shaping, from early 1900's mono-bosoms to the
torpedoes of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Speaking of torpedoes, in World
War II, Maiden Form was commissioned by the U.S. Government to fashion a type
of support for the army's carrier pigeons, who carried messages when radio silence
was being observed immediately before D-Day. Talk about a hooter holster! Steven
Spielberg should make a movie about that and call it "Saving Private Pigeon."
Brassiere manufacturers also supplied the military with everything from
pup tents to parachutes. Notice any similarities in design?
gone from training bras to sports bras to burning bras and today, the brassiere
is often worn on the outside of a garment. Bras no longer are considered "under"
wear, largely due to trendsetting pop idols, J-Lo and Beyonce, not to mention
Even Elizabeth, Queen of England, wears a brassiere; not just
any old bra, of course, but one designed and made by Rigby & Peller, to whom she
granted her Royal Warrant as Official Corsetieres in 1960. I wonder if they also
design her hats.
In 2010, we're dealing with the syndrome of looking as
though we're not wearing a bra at all. "Sex and the City" introduced the Nipple
Enhancer, a "bodyperk," which gives people everywhere the illusion that the wearer
is constantly standing on a drafty iceberg. We've come a long way, baby. Or have
Not to worry, dear reader. The world may suffer economic disarray
from time to time, but it will survive as long as women continue to have what
it takes and a place to house them.
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
March 6, 2010 column
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