To the Man Next to Me at the Stop Light Yesterday

Herein I will tell you how I came to be unhooking my bra in front of a strange man.

I’ve been feeling a little fat lately (probably because I am a little fat lately), so I was thrilled when I found a dress on sale this weekend that didn’t look like a hot air balloon when I put it on. AND it was on sale. So I bought it.

I wore it Saturday and the problem of showing bra straps became immediately obvious. I am not a crafty person by any stretch, but I figured I could pretty easily sew in some bra strap keeper-inners like so:


How hard could that be?

Except, since I never ever sew or do anything remotely crafty, I had no ribbon, edging, thread, or even snaps in my entire house.

Enter Monday: back to work after a week of vacation. When I’m feeling crappy, I like to dress up and do my hair and wear make-up. It makes me feel less crappy, or if it doesn’t, it at least disguises my feeling of crap from the rest of the world. That’s my theory, anyway. So I decided to wear my new dress. Except there was still the bra strap problem. But, being a brave soul, I opted to wear the dress anyway with a (dun dun dun DUN!) strapless bra.

Perhaps some of you don’t understand the problems with strapless bras. The straps are there for a reason. Several reasons, actually. (1) They hold everything up. (2) They distribute the weight evenly. You know, “over-the-shoulder boulder holder.” It doesn’t work without the over-the-shoulder part. So, without straps, guess what holds everything up and gets all the weight… The band around your ribs. This is usually accomplished with some combination of factors: (1) making the band around your ribs reallyreally OMG-I-can’t-breathe tight, or (2) concocting some sort of space-age plastic-y material that sticks to your skin like a hungry leach and sewing that into the band around your ribs. My strapless bra employs both methods.

By the end of the day, the bra was strangling the breath out of me, the sticky stuff was nearly pulling my skin off, and on top of all that, the right underwire was digging so far into my side that it was practically touching lung. I valiantly made it to the end of the day, got in my car, and began my long drive home. Long, long drive, especially when you can’t breathe and your strapless bra is possibly slowly puncturing your lung.

So, I formulated a plan. I would just unhook it. It would only require a quick flip of the hooks on my back and then I would be free and no one would be the wiser.

At the stop light, I subtly reached back and fumbled for the hooks, but they were down far enough in my dress that I couldn’t get them. Foiled, I drove on when the light turned green. At the next light, I decided I could unhook it throughΒ the material of my dress. This was the only option, really, as my elbows don’t bend in such a way that I could reach down the top of my dress, and I certainly couldn’t go through the bottom of my dress without exposing myself to everyone at the intersection. So, through the dress.

At first I leaned up slightly and managed to get hold of the thing. But it wouldn’t unhook. I arched and contorted and managed to get one of three hooks to give. I wiggled and shimmied and may have used my knee on the steering wheel as leverage. I made faces and sucked in air and twisted. And then I struggled for another minute or two, and the other two hooks finally gave. Ahhhh. Freedom. I felt so much better. Free and light, I placed my hands back on the steering wheel and, for some reason, glanced to my left.

A man in an SUV was staring at me incredulously.


Apparently my contortions had drawn his attention and he’d witnessed the whole process. Now, strapless bras being somewhat of a mystery even to the gentler sex, I’m not sure if he ever really understood what I was doing, but he knew something wasn’t right.

I’ve never been so happy to see a green light.

So, incredulous man in the SUV next to me yesterday, if you are reading this, that is my explanation. I’m very sorry if I traumatized you. But it was worth it.

  • I’ve had to remove a bra in the car numerous times because I CANNOT STAND the band around my ribs. Even sports bras make me twitchy after an hour or so. I don’t know why I bother wearing one since my heaving bossoms haven’t grown in yet. Cute post. πŸ™‚

    • Ha, sounds like you need better bras, Andris. πŸ˜‰ Most of mine don’t bother me. The strapless one, though, tried to kill me.

  • Kate George/Bodacious Betty

    Thanks so much for the laugh, Sonja! But can you bring me a rag? I spit all over my keyboard!

    • Haha, sorry Kate! But glad it made you laugh. πŸ˜‰

  • Beth Caudill

    Maybe he got a thrill from the show.Β Β  πŸ™‚Β Β Β  I’m sure you made his day anyway.

    • Probably. πŸ™‚

  • Diva

    Oh how I love this post!!!! πŸ™‚

    Fantastically rendered. I haven’t worn a strapless since the bustier that went under my wedding dress and it was held up by rib crushing “stays” as well as the skin-adhering plastic coating. I do not recommend it.

    • I had one of those bustiers too. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t eat cake. All I could do was stand up very straight.

  • Mary

    I laughed so hard people walked past my office to see if I was OK. I really hate when the underwire digs in.

    Great post!

  • Lilly Gayle

    OMG! I was laughing so hard when I read this. I HATE strapless bras. They cut off the circulation to my brain so that all I can think about is the bra. So, if I can’t wear a regular bra and there’s no built in shelf-braΒ  where I can go bra-lass. I’m just not going to wear it. And BTW, Sonia, you are NOT fat. Last time I saw you, you looked fabulous. And yes, I know you didn’t write that part as a way of fishing for compliments, but there you go!

    • Thanks for the comment and the lovely compliment Lilly!

  • Aimee Laine

    heeeeehehehehehehe. BTDT but not with an audience. πŸ˜‰ You go girl!

    • Ha, the audience was a surprise to me too. Not my first choice! πŸ˜‰

  • I sympathize so much. This is why my strapless bra lives in the bottom of the bra drawer.

    • Mine rarely makes appearances. Probably MORE rarely now.

  • Katharine Ashe

    Cannot!!! Stop!!! Laughing!!!Β 

    I’ll bet he loved every single second of it. I’ll bet he wish he’d had a video camera. In fact, I think I saw the whole thing on YouTube this morning, filmed on his iPhone. πŸ˜‰Β 

    • Baha! I wouldn’t be surprised. πŸ™‚

  • Omg, I laughed until I ached. Add it to the crazy list of things people have done while driving. (I haven’t applied mascara while driving, but I am guilty of having flossed my teeth behind the wheel. At a stoplight, of course. Mostly. But it was a flossing emergency.)

    Bras are mysterious to everyone, and fairly complicated wardrobe items, right up there with girdles and garters. Too bad you didn’t have your hubby with you. I bet he can get it undone with one hand tied behind his back. Mine can. Not that I’ve tied one hand behind his back, you understand. Not in the car, anyway.

    GREAT post, S.


    • heehee, thanks Lisa. πŸ™‚ I’m trying to picture what a flossing emergency would look like now.

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