I went to John Lewis to buy that oh so desirable an object - a new sports bra. At least JL has a good private lingerie department where you are unlikely to run into passing male acquaintances as you hunt through racks of garments that look like medical trusses.
I initially looked online and was rather taken with the idea of what M&S advertised as 'suptuous sports bras' - now suptuous to me suggests something that would feel amazing - silk, satin, possibly even velvet. Impractical I know, but what about a lavender-coloured velvet sports bra with chantilly lace - how nice would that be? Anyway sadly M&S had nothing in the least bit sumptuous to offer.
Putting aside fantasies of aesthetically pleasing sports bras (wonder if blokes have similar dilemmas when purchasing jockstraps?) I head to Oxford Street. JL (they should employ me as a global ambassador) has an extensive range which is good. But I am disturbed by what they are called - Shock Absorbers being a pretty good brand, but I don't want to feel like my big end (or whatever shock absorbers are for) has gone. Actually they certainly do give you a shock when on - never wear for a hot date (any date actually) unless you are perhaps into S&M - then it might be an acceptable look. Suspect if Michael Fassbender had chanced upon a Shock Absorber in Shame he'd have found a new addiction.
The names of these garments of torture (constricting in the extreme - I could hardly flex my shoulder blades) leave something to be desired unless you are a former East German shot putter ( I mean from what was East Germany, rather than a retired sports person) - who wants to wear something called Sportsjock, Lessbounce, Moving Comfort Juno (for your inner goddess?) or the French brand Zbra (no - I can not have a racial stereotype attached to my chest).
This was definitely a case of 'be careful what you wish for'. I remember all the nights when I'd pray for a chest (Ok, let's not be coy - breasts). I think I could have empathised with Job (studied for RE A level) if he had been afflicted with a flat chest - but all those boils just left me cold.
Getting changed for the first PE lesson of secondary school was an eye-opener in more ways than one. Most of us wore white regulation vests, the lucky ones had a small bow or fabric rose to relieve the grimness ( although I have to admit it can be a good look on some - think Wolverine or David Beckham). But at least we were together in our sartorial shame - that was until the two girls in our class, who already looked like they could be pulling pints behind a bar, (jealous - moi? - Non) took off their shirts to reveal ... black lacy bras. OMG I don't think I had even seen a black bra - I lived a sheltered life where female relatives thought that a pale blue or pink underwear was extremely racy and likely to put them on the road to perdition.
I go home and tell mum I must have a bra - she laughs and I continue to wear a vest for a good while (I will not reveal how long - I am not seeking pity). Eventually the day comes when I get my M&S 26AAAA (very slight exaggeration) and think I have become Madonna in that J-P G cone bra.
But today when wrestling with the sports bra (I think I may have dislocated my shoulder trying to do it up) I remember those vests with great fondness.