I have a serious question for y’all. About underwear.

C-Man and I were in the kitchen the other day, each minding our own business, when I decided I needed to take off my bra. So I pulled each arm strap down over my shoulder, tucked my elbow through it, and then when my arms were free, I pulled the whole thing down to my feet and stepped out of it.

(When you’re an A cup, sometimes you can actually buy bras that don’t even have clasps, front or back. They’re like training bras or something. Except I’m 36.)

C-Man looked at me for a minute, very confused. Then he said “Did you go to a secret girls’ school to learn that trick?”

“No,” I said, “I learned to do it on the bus.”

Have you ever heard something come out of your own mouth, and your brain was like “WHAT?” Seriously, I have no idea what the heck I was talking about. I know which bus I meant, it was a yellow school bus, route 638 in Houston, Texas to Rogers Middle School, which was similar to route 738 which I then took to HSPVA for my 9th grade year.

Not at all like this bus:

bus painted by hippies

[Image by twak under a Creative Commons license.]

But since when did I take my bra off on any bus, school or otherwise? I have no conscious memory of this. And if this actually was a skill I learned on the bus, what the hell kind of hijinx were happening on that bus?

These are not questions I think you can answer for me, dear readers. Unless there’s someone out there who rode the bus with me in junior high, which is not impossible. (My second college roommate reads Heroine Content because she found me on Twitter, so anything can happen.)

The question I do want you to answer for me is this, and I’m not going to limit this to the ladies because there may be menfolk in our audience who are also qualified to answer:

Do you know how to take off a bra without taking off your shirt?

If yes, you could also choose to answer this: do you remember when you learned how to do this?

Or even this: what is your preferred method?

I can’t be the only one with this skill. Bras can be exceedingly annoying, even when you’re wearing the right size (unlike Grace did for almost a decade). Like jeans, bras are almost impossible to buy in the correct size and shape, and if you find good ones, you should buy more than one because they will obviously discontinue them immediately after your purchase.

Even for those women whose comfort requires a bra, though, have probably found themselves in situations when shirt removal was inappropriate (in my case, standing right in front of our ginormous glass back door) but bra removal was desired. One assumes that if feminists in the 1960s had actually burned bras (which they didn’t) and one had shown up to a bra-burning having forgotten to remove one’s bra beforehand, this skill may have come in handy.

So do tell.

10 thoughts on “I have a serious question for y’all. About underwear.

  1. Grace

    Reach up the back of my shirt to unclasp, pull one arm into my sleeve, remove strap, pull in the other arm, remove strap, pull bra out of sleeve opening.

    No idea where/when I learned, though. I didn’t start wearing a bra until adulthood, so I don’t think it was on the bus.

  2. alianora

    Unclasp, slide one strap down arm and out of sleeve, then the other, then pull the bra out of the sleeve opening.

    I wore front clasp bras all through high school, and those were easy enough to do that way. I wear a clasp in back now, but I’m not sure if I knew how to do it from the front clasp or if I saw one of my friends do it.

  3. Skye

    I just want to see if someone comes up with a different method. I still can’t figure out that scene in Zoolander where the guy takes his underwear off while his pants are on, maybe someone has a trick like that?

  4. Deidre

    Skye – I was going to ask about the zoolander thing!

    I can also take off my bra without taking off my shirt (can’t everyone?) I have no idea where I learned that. Probably one cold day where I didn’t want to take off my shirt but I wanted to go to sleep.

  5. Erin

    I learned it sometime after I started wearing a bra. I almost think there was a scene in a movie? Where someone took their bra off without taking off their shirt? Of “The Breakfast Club” ilk?

    My memory is faulty on these important matters, clearly.

    Anyways, I do the same maneuver that others described above, but not very often. Mostly because bra removal without clothing removal would likely result in me being tossed over M’s shoulder and dragged off to the bedroom. And that would likely scar the children. :)

  6. Liz

    I also learned on the bus, sometime in high school! And also in Texas. It gets hot there and I don’t like wearing a bra anyway, but my mom used to make me.

  7. Ms BGC

    I learnt this in high school swimming lessons. I think I worked it out myself, I would have been far too shy to watch anyone else, and I never saw Flashdance!

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