Saturday, May 07, 2005

Scientific support of the breast

It had been 17 months since I'd last bought a bra. Weary of my raggedy underwear, I headed wearily to the mall today, hoping to quickly find a plain cotton, white bra that could offer some stylish support. The bra would have a heafty job to do. I'm 5'6", 187 pounds, size 14/16, with a 40D bra size. My breasts are huge, but unlike some, they are real and actually proportional to the rest of my healthy, hormone-free, caffeine-free body.

Forgetting how much success I had last time with Lane Bryant's bras, I went to the local department store. I couldn't resist their usual "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" offers given the luxurious stipend I receive from my university. I located my size, and had one of the most ridiculous experiences ever trying on a bra. The 40D version of the Bali bra I was trying was simply a linearly scaled-up version of the 32A. The straps were too narrow, there were only two hooks, and my breasts sort of just hung in the large, badly designed flaps that Bali was trying to pawn off as cups.

As I faced my silly image in the mirror under the horrible fitting room lighting, I was reminded of a Bill Nye the Science Guy episode I saw once about structures. He was demonstrating why ants can lift such a large percentage of their own body weight. It has to do with the stucture of body mass and muscles. Body mass increases as a cube of length. Muscle increases as the square of length. The reason that ants are so "strong" is because they are so small. Humans are larger beasts, so we have less proportional muscle mass to lift things. Bill Nye, as usual, demonstrated the concept with cool models of really big ants, which he then gozilla-crushed in his usual goofy fashion.

A similar concept is in the building materials of structures. A house can be reasonably made with materials such as wood and brick. The largest free-standing wooden structure in the world (depending on who you ask) is a WWII blimp hangar located in Tillamook, OR. It's impressive to see, but not really that big compared to today's skyscrapers. Increase the size of the structure, and you must use different materials, such as steel and concrete, which can support higher compression forces.

Finished with my science daydreams and fed up with the department store, I headed to Lane Bryant, the local "Fat Lady Store." Apparently, unlike Bali, the folks at Lane Bryant understand that the bigger the breast, the bigger the bra. I guess the bra designers of Lane Bryant watch the same science shows I do.


shannon said...

Bra shopping is always easier if you do the following:

1. Go for drinks with a friend, a very good friend.

2. Get the help of someone at the department store (I honestly like Nordy's for this) who is close to the same size as you.

3. Laugh hysterically as you don't fit certain styles AND show your very good friend who is with you. This will get her to laugh as well.

4. Laugh with joy when you do finally find one that works and BUY THEM ALL!!! (make sure you try them all on, even if they are the same size and style!)

mrscake said...

TJ Maxx sometimes has decent/cheap bras, though it's a crapshoot.