• July 5 National Go Braless Day – Is this a Mormon Plot?

    July 4, 2011 10:24 am 55 comments
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  • I find the July 5th National Braless promotion on Facebook day a little tedious. I see no reason to tumble to Hades just because some lesbitarian group wants me to toss away my bra. I do the women’s walk for cancer. I get squashed in the boob crusher on a regular mammogram schedule. Why should I bother with this debasement of my bosom? I have some very good reasons for declining this offer.

    I haven’t always liked having breasts.

    Like most women I’ve worn a bra, or more formally a brassiere, since budding during puberty. The obligatory trip to the department store to select the first bra with Mother was a disaster. The clerk had a certain look and seemed a bit fidgety.

    While Mother was finding a few more selections to try on, I waited quietly in the dressing room thinking how awkward and uncomfortable bras were to wear. Suddenly, the door swung open. The clerk, an arm’s reach away, bluntly asked if I was “done”. I stood there motionless, eleven years old, topless, the sound of “done” hanging in the air like a far off gong. Beside the clerk were another customer and two boys. For a moment, the space seemed to dip and swell. The boys burst into laughter while tears started to burn down my cheeks. I felt a hum in my lower lip accelerating to a full quiver.

    My mother, like many moms, has the ability to change the temperature of a room with her eyes. She appeared like a summer storm, eyes firing black lightning bolts. The clerk, customer and the two boys disappeared like ghosts. “We’re leaving” Mom said as she hugged me tightly. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of a lifetime of breast flashing.

    As I developed, that initial shock wore off and I became used to having a chest. Life is great when you’re 16. Everything is possible. Nothing is out of reach. It was 1980.

    My best friend Naomi and I were long time church friends. Our goal that summer was to engage in championship solar powered topless tanning sessions to achieve what we called “chocolate boobs”. We wanted a deep rich tan that defied our pale faced Appalachian heritage.

    While most kids today spray orange tan or use a SPF 70 lotion, we used the standard of the day – baby oil or Crisco straight from the can. Baby oil is slippery. You need someone to help put it on all over. Naomi and I would spend some time getting the oil evenly distributed over our nearly nude bodies, making sure every inch was slick and glistening. We would usually do this in a secluded sunny glade up the hollow where Naomi lived. Sometimes we would climb up on the newly tinned roof out building for its extra reflective properties, but only on cloudy days.

    One particularly hot day, we decided to tan in Naomi’s yard. With the heat, the hose and sprinkler became necessary for cooling our bodies. Her family was gone for the day. It was secluded. We couldn’t be seen by the few passing cars. If someone came up the drive, we would have plenty of time to slip on a cover up. We had massaged Crisco all over our lithe bodies. It all seemed so perfect.

    We set up a boombox with one of our favorite cassettes from church camp. We spread out our blankets and settled into the warming rays. We talked about the husbands we would meet at college and what kind of class ring we wanted.

    As the Crisco began to warm, the faint smell of French fries would warn us it was time to turn. I had fallen half asleep when I thought I heard a voice telling me it was time to cool in the sprinkler. I did a quick push up off the blanket and suddenly was standing, mostly naked, in front of two young men dressed in short sleeved white business shirts, black slacks, wearing backpacks and holding bikes. They were Mormons. They were Mormons with very surprised eyes.

    The pain and humiliation of the first bra dressing room began to flood back to me. The air seemed too thin to breathe. I remembered the look in my Mother’s eyes. The power of it was calming.

    I slowly pulled my shoulders back, flexing my neck and met their gaze with my eyes and the apricot stare of my breasts. “You. Are. Leaving. Now.” I felt all the humiliation and insecurity push away toward the quickly retreating men. I’ve never seen Mormons move so quickly or without their usual Mormon clumsiness.

    Naomi was standing, with her tee shirt on. Blessed with light sleep, she hadn’t exposed herself. She had this look on her face I hadn’t seen before. “That” she stammered “wahs, was, was your boobs have super powers to scare Mormons!” We stood there for a millisecond before collapsing with laughter.

    Over the years, Naomi and I would go on with life. College and marriage and careers and babies seemed to fade the glamorous appeal of our topless sunbathing escapades. Naomi and I had infrequent opportunities to visit, but when we did we always seemed to laugh a lot until that call. The one call you never want to be a part of with your dearest friend. The friend that knows how to make a drink shoot out of your nose is sick, sick with breast cancer. It just seemed a disingenuous betrayal of her body.

    We stayed up all night before she left for the hospital. We laughed about the Mormons and a hundred other funny moments. We prayed. We drove down to the river in our pajamas and flashed our breasts at the man in the moon. As daughters of eve, we knew we were flirting with destruction. You can chase off Mormons, but you can’t chase off breast cancer by baring your chest.

    Months of slowly progressing weakness, hospitals and indignity taxed her body and spirit. An ever thickening pale toothed shadow chased her. The disease played with her. Like a guileless monster, it ate with gluttony expecting the buffet to be endless. It felt no shame; it left no tip.

    Since Naomi passed, I’ve become a born again evangelical Christian. I’m not proud of my protestant breast flashing days. I tell you this as witnessing to the power of a living loving God: I believe this whole National Go Braless Day is a scam to see jiggling breasts.

    I’ve scoured the internet for information on going braless for one day and reduced cancer rates. I can not find one shred of verifiable information to support this. This group isn’t raising money for Cancer research or promoting a message other than convincing women to go without a bra. This is just another indignity piled upon many meant to crush and obscure the struggles of women dealing with breast cancer.

    If this was started by a couple of Mormons, beware. I have both sets of eyes on you.

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=101134023311845Journalist, Homemaker = Value of Custom Field

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    About The Author
    Blanche Beecham "Blanche Beecham lends a soft, learned hand to the fourth estate with incite-full investigations on diverse topics such as Politics, Love, and Lifestyle. Her many years experience as a wife, mother, ladies book club president and financial auditor make her well suited to ferreting out the truth and giving it a sound shake." - Rev. Jackson Lee Whitebelley, Publisher and Editor of "The Incubator" - Follow me on Twitter! @BLANCHEBEECHAM

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