Dwayne's World or Running With Breasts
The last time I ran was in high school gym. Hated the former but oddly, liked running. Though I was not lanky I was uncommonly fast - a sprinter. Who would think that a dark-haired petite girl - known for her year book poems had it in her? Well, mercy me.
Only one drawback to running the track - my breasts made running difficult. I never quite admitted it to myself but it seemed quite apparent. Truth was, I had only had 'the girls' about three years (having been too busy to notice; but then, I also made orthodonist history when I forgot the 'remove my braces' appointment). Said breasts were neither familiar ground nor a mundane subject. By the end of grade nine, clearly they were a situation. But a couple of months ago, I got a notion to try running again. I had been dating a single dad who was an avid running and talking with a best friend who was devoted. Both convinced me that I could do this. 'Try a minute at a time' "Build up'. OK.
One minute run, then walk five. Worked liked a charm. I worked up. At week seven, I stopped the stop/start approach and took flight. I ran. I got up to thirty minutes, thrice weekly. I was in love. I fancied I even had that runner's gaunt look. I bought short shorts, I strutted around with my hands on my hips after running, I found out that state-of-the-art running shoes could cost more than my monthly car payment. And then trouble.
MOST people tell you they do not run because of their knees. How the WHOLE world can have such awful knees I do not know. But running revealed I had a problem with that other portion of my anatomy. My breasts. I am generously proportioned. Narrow and full and unhappy about being bounced and tossed and otherwise abused. It hurts. Running soon began to hurt. My knees were fine but my breasts hurt so much that I developed a stitch in one side. I even went for a mammogram. Relief - no disease - just bad lingerie in conjunction with a demanding sport.
'Oh just wear two bras' - was the sage advice from other women runners. Male runners in hearing distance snorted, or smirked or squirmed in discomfort. I tried the two bras approach. Aside from feeling like I was in a vice grip, I still bounced. Except this time, my rib cage got chafed from the hardware under-wire of the two bras. Bruised and chafed. Running was supposed to be healthy. I looked ravaged and slightly beat up.
I checked out the sports bras at local stores. Well well well. Four kilos of spandex do not a brassiere make. Ha. No under-wires, no shape, no bones…I chanced on a feature on sports bras in a running magazine.They profiled ALL the latest in sport bras. Ok - I honed in on the Deluxe Amazonia line. If you bounce, we are bust….read their ad line. I was intrigued.
I called the 800 number which rang in Montana or some place. A man with a very relaxed, Southern drawl answered. "Amazonia Sports Bras. Dwayne here, how can I help ya'all?" "Ah, well, I saw the write-up on your sports bras in Runner's World and was wondering if you do mail order?" "Why certainly, ma'am. What size ya'all are at?" I paused. This was silly but I was a little nonplused. Here was this disembodied male voice, across the country, asking me my bra size. My gynecologist never asked me. My mother doesn't know.
I provided him with the measurements. "Dwayne, thing is, I'm not sure what that would be in an Amazonia bra." "Hmmmm. Well….ya'all a small gal but pretty darn busty. No wonder ya'all have a hard time running. My my - well let's see here. "Hey, but don't fret. Here's what ya'all do. Take a tape measure…..that's OK, I'll wait. Measure the width UNDER your rib cage - under your bust."
Well, that was rich. Dwayne, at the sports bras company, thought I was 'pretty darn busty'. Reassuring. But by this time, I had forgot how strange the whole conversation was and scurried to get a tape measure. Holding the phone with one hand, hoisting up my tee-shirt and measuring my rib cage with the other, I struggled to get a reading. Meanwhile my son Ben, six, came into my office and witnessed what was going on. (Mom….whispered Ben, what are you DOING? You look funny. Why are you measuring yourself. Who's on the phone?"). "Ah……sorry Dwayne, here it is…27 inches". "Ok, ah, ma'am. Not a problem. You want our Amazonia 32 000". If it doesn't fit, mail it back and one of our designers will customize it for you free".
Well, I was impressed. This was just great. I gave my new pal Dwayne my credit card number and name. I made arrangements to have the bra shipped to a hotel I would be staying at in Phoenix. Days later, as I was checking in at my hotel, the reception clerk looked up. "Oh, Ms. Goldman, there is a delivery for you. Right now. If you go upstairs to your room, there is a security messenger there with your parcel".
I arrived at my room and there, sure enough, was an armed guard! With my bra from Amazonia. Geez. I tipped him and disappeared into my room, anxious to try on this legendary bra.
It came in a plastic sports tumbler. Very cool. The bra looked little - like a miniature corselet, it fastened in the front and featured some 16 hooks. I tried it on. It did not even close - there was a gap of four to five inches. I tugged and pulled the Amazonia every which way. I checked out the instructions which came with the bra.
"Your Amazonia will seem small. This is natural. It is unlike any bra you have ever worn". (Damn straight, I thought. This is not a bra. This is an appliance). I tried again, this time taking a running start. I maneuvered my breasts every which way - this was not sexy - this was getting obscene - it was also beginning to feel dangerous. I finally succeeded in getting one hook closed. I braced myself against the bathroom vanity a few minutes to catch my breath, and then hoisted another hook closed. Finally I got them all done up. I checked my pulse - still ticking.
A slight wince as I breathed and turned to the mirror to check my appearance. My breasts were gone! Spread out over four square miles underneath the Deluxe Amazonia - flattened into oblivion. I looked like a chorus member from a off-Broadway production of The Mikado. I tried jumping up and down. I sprinted across the hotel room and bounded over the bed. Nothing. Not a hair out of place. I nicknamed my new lingerie friend "Thunder Bra" and I decided to take our new show on the road.
I ran and rejoiced. I waved at construction workers, bus drivers, and fellow food writers who knew me. Finally. Freedom. I felt….lanky, leggy and flat-chested. But then I felt grim. I noticed I could not breathe. Every breath was an effort. My ribs could not expand. My head pounded; my face felt beet red. Perhaps it was the desert heat. I fled back to my room and downed two aspirin. I felt nauseous. Hastily, I tried to take off Thunder Bra.
Again, I braced myself against the vanity and struggled, in staggered, heaving gasps, to unhook the Thunder Bra. After twenty minutes, I finally got the last one undone and then whammmmm! The incredible force of the elastic vest being undone, unleashed sheer torque - my shoulders were instantly winched together making me into a human hairclip before the bra went skittering off and I went catapulting against the wall of the bathroom with a resounding thud! I leaned there, stunned, laminated like a human fly against the wall. An unbelievable sight. This was beyond lingerie - it was perilous. I had a fleeting thought that I would be found unconscious - and the later edition of the Phoenix Republican would run a inside page headline: Canadian Food Writer Found Unconscious in Phoenix Hilton. Bra suspected."
Well, I got used to my Thunder Bra. I began to think of the bra as an entity - like a lessor friend. After a week, we bonded - some days, we are more than bonded - we are fused. To wear it, was a commitment to running because it took so long to get into it and get out of it….that once you committed to Thunder Bra, you were a done deal.
I returned home from Phoenix. A day later, I got a long distance call. It was Dwayne. "Hi Marcy, Dwayne here. How ya'all? Silence on my end. "Ya'all remember….Dwayne?….from Super Amazonia? Just calling to see how the bra worked out." "Oh. Oh! Well, Hi, Dwayne, gee thanks. Yeah, I got it and it is just fine." "Well, now, that's great. Ya'll call if you need anything else, k. Don't be shy, now". Right.
I told a male friend about Dwayne's courteous follow-up call. "Marcy - do you really think he cares about how your bra fits. Come on. This is a GUY. All the way in Colorado asking you how the bra worked out. Get real." He rolled his eyes.
Well - who cares what Dwayne is about. I have Thunder Bra and we go everywhere together. Sometimes I forget I have it on….I also forget I am female for a minute because it so alters my anatomy. True, I don't breathe much when I wear it when I go running, but I don't bounce either.
But you know, lately - when I run, my knees are hurting.