Thursday, February 24, 2011

No bra? Faux pas!

I really thought I’d seen it all.

I have worked out at various indoor fitness facilities for close to a decade now, and when it comes to gym clientele, nothing really surprises me anymore.

I’ve seen people sweat it out in jeans, button-up flannels, suede loafers, turtlenecks, khakis, denim cut-offs, turbans, Christmas sweaters—you name it. If someone were to hop on the elliptical next to mine in a pair of footie pajamas, I probably wouldn’t bat an eye.

For a long time, I considered such “unconventional” exercisers as inferior to those of us donning normal workout apparel like gym shorts and t-shirts.

Then I met people—most of whom fell under the previously discussed Longwinded Techy category—who lambasted me for my own clothing choices, including my extensive collection of Gildan 100% cotton t-shirts.

“Oh man, you’ve gotta get yourself some Under Armour heat gear. You’ll never wear cotton again,” they would tell me. Well guess what? I like cotton. I like the way it looks. I like the way it feels. I like the way it washes up. And I think there is a reason that cotton, not segmented polyurethane, is advertised as “the fabric of our lives.”

And so, gradually, I adopted a more forgiving attitude toward exercisers with eccentric gym wardrobes.

What I saw today, however, was utterly unforgivable. No pun intended. Well, you probably wouldn’t understand the pun yet anyway, but you will in a minute.

I was cruising along on the elliptical, watching the Harlem Globetrotters on ESPN2 and minding my own business. The Trotters were performing all sorts of amazing tricks, but when a flash of red diverted my attention from the bouncing basketballs on my TV screen to the running track that circles the cardio area, I fixed my eyes on another set of bouncing spheres.

The jogger on the track—a woman in her mid-40s or 50s—was decked out in red running gear, from the shoelaces on her training flats to the moisture-wicking fabric of her fitted shirt. It was what she wasn’t wearing that was so horrifying.

If she was trying to make a feminist statement, it definitely wasn’t working. I get it—bras are uncomfortable, and we as women must free ourselves from the social expectation to bind our bodies under layers of mesh and underwire.

While that argument might apply to women in non-exercise settings, I simply cannot accept it as a logical line of reasoning when it comes to women who jog. Today, I witnessed the effects of running braless, and even the most eloquent defense attorney could not convince me, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this woman was more comfortable sans support.

So, if you are a woman who is considering pulling a stunt like this, please consider the following points:

1.) Sports bras are made to be comfortable—so comfortable, in fact, that you might forget you are even wearing a bra.

2.) This does not mean that you should actually forget to wear a bra.

3.) There are two things in this world you don’t mess with: Texas and gravity.

4.) Some things cannot be unseen. Have some respect for your fellow exercisers.

And if you really must go braless, I would advise you to, at the very least, invest in some nipple guards.

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