It is time to talk bosoms. Faint hearted men and flat chested women should read no further.
One of the reasons some young women don’t take to sport is the actual discomfort of leaping about, jumping up and down and jogging along with a frontage that is inclined to lag behind, swing off sideways, flollop about and misbehave. It hurts, it’s embarrassing and people notice and make remarks.
Back when I was a plump teenager with the biggest chest in the class, when sports bras had not been invented, and when netball was compulsory, I loathed the Thursday sports afternoons and became a serial Games avoider. Later in life, having had babies and put on a stone or two, my boobs were bigger than ever, but lower slung and even more wobbly. Exercise of almost any kind was very uncomfortable, and foundation wear that fitted and supported for walking, let alone running, was very hard to find. So the younger me just did no exercise at all.
Swimming seems a good thing to take up in one’s middle years, after all the boobies are underwater so nobody knows they are swinging from side to side as you practice your front crawl shoulder rotation and full stroke. Backstroke looks silly still, a padded swimsuit will stick up in the air and make your coach giggle uncontrollably, and an unpadded one allows the Twins to flail back and forth as you rotate the upper body. Sports bra technology seems to have moved on, but swimsuits are yet to catch up. I posted a question about supportive swimming costumes on “Did You Swim Today”, a lovely Facebook group, asking for advice, and found others with the same issue. Some women Have to resort to wearing sports bras under their swimsuits/wetsuits, but I am told this is not allowed in some competitions, which seems extraordinary. One serious (possibly more streamlined), but helpful contributor wanted to know why I felt the need of support at all. Which got me thinking.
Is it just a lifetime of corralling these puppies that makes me feel uncomfortable if they are off the leash? Should I just relax and let them roam free in a bright zingy suit without wiring or “shelf” (seriously, what good is a shelf in a swimsuit, I am not looking to park a couple of books there). And I realised that the support is really only required when you are out of the water.
So you buy yourself a bra sized swimsuit. Probably black or navy (there is not a lot of choice in a HH cup), quite possibly ruched to within an inch of its life. You wriggle into it, tighten the straps, hold in your tummy, pose with your arms up in the air, take a look in the mirror and think it looks ok. Until the suit gets wet.
The moment we well endowed sisters all dread is Getting Out of the Pool. By now the swimsuit has relaxed to max stretch and as you get out and gravity gets a hold of your bust it descends majestically towards your waist and the straps which were all nicely winched in when you arrived at the pool give up entirely. Your friends all skip off along the poolside looking as streamlined as when they dived in (and don’t get me started on diving technique when your centre of gravity is somewhat variable) while you clutch at your dignity and make a blushing dash for the changing cubicles to get everything tucked away neatly again. Try that on a pebbly beach and the chances of a wardrobe malfunction are even higher.
Next month I am swimming the Henley Mile and am hoping to swim it twice, once with a wetsuit (hot, but very supportive) and once without. I am worried about climbing out of the river in a saggy swimsuit in front of hundreds of spectators and would like to treat myself to a nice new cozzie to give myself some courage. What I want is a funky coloured suit with a properly designed, inner bra bit, one that survives several trips to the pool or lake every week and stays the right shape when wet. If I had been able to find one of these when I was 18, I would have had lots more fun swimming over the years. There is amarket for this kind of swimsuit, as my new Facebook buddies confirm. Bravissimo, Freya, Panache, Zoggs and Funkita take note, sensible and supportive does not have to mean black!
So if you know of a source of zingy suits for the #wildswimmingnanna and her #outofcontrolfrontage, let me know. Or possibly you are a seamstress who enjoys sewing fiddly three dimensional stretchy shapes and is up for a challenge, 10th July is the deadline. No pressure.