So I was excited to read that bras cause cancer. My own relationship with underwear is fraught with woe and this news confirms my worst suspicions. I only wear a bra these days in order to not attract attention, in pretty much a reversal of my strategy as a younger woman. Supposedly the heat generated by a tight brassiere is conducive to cancer cell growth, and cancer cells appreciate a little shaping and support as much as the next cell. The underwire bra in particular is implicated, which doesn't surprise me in the least; the underwire is also responsible for unsightly ridging, occasional irregularity, acid rain, and world strife. But the main reasons I believe this study has scientific merit are (1) I hate bras and (2) it runs counter to the advice of Miss Olive Pawley.
I was not the type to be called into the Dean of Girls' office, as a rule, but I was summoned there one day so that Miss Pawley could have a go at saving my soul, using the only tools she had left. "I have noticed," she said, "that you are no longer wearing a brassiere, and I want you to be aware of the medical consequences. Studies have shown that the flopping of one's breasts against the thoracic cavity causes cancer."
Which, I knew even then, was ridiculous. Given their location, where else are breasts supposed to flop?
Her real concern, I suspected, was that the flopping of one's breasts against the thoracic cavity causes erections.
Her information had been unreliable in the past. It was she who warned us that the reason our parents did not want us to drive over the line into the District of Columbia was that it was the scene of a thriving "black market in white women." I did not and do not know what she meant by that, although it had enough poetic resonance to stick with me to this day. But I knew the real reason our parents didn't want us driving into D.C. was that we would hit the first liquor store over the line on MacArthur Boulevard where the drinking age was 18 and buy beer by staying in the car and sending in the hairiest boy with the most dependable baritone.
Well, I keep my own counsel. From what I can surmise, sun, bisphenol-A, charred meat, lack of sun, breasts, colons, stress, and bras all cause cancer. Drinking in moderation is beneficial. I'm ditching the bra and doubling down on the beer.