Underwear – Second in a series

Written By: sherridaley - • •

Getting dressed and undressed is what you do before and after you go to the gym. It is not considered part of your workout.  However, as an aging athlete with arthritis, I found that getting into a pair of Lululemon leggings is a challenging exercise in balance and focus, and therefore I do count it as part of my workout.

I have mastered this by first assigning myself a point at which to stare. In yoga, we call this your drishti; it helps your balance. That way, I can stand on one leg while inserting the other leg into my leggings without either sitting on the floor like a toddler or leaning against a doorjamb (like a drunk).  I have become quite adept at this and I think I look like a ballerina.

Furthermore, I have no problem, despite the arthritis in my shoulders, putting on a sports bra. After all, I’ve been wearing sports bras since they were invented in 1977.

Getting undressed, however, is a whole nother story. Peeling off sweaty leggings is pretty easy, although for me, they almost always end up inside out. No problem, really. But getting out of a sweaty sports bra has become the part of my workout that I hate the most. More than burpees. More than side crunches on a stability ball. More than anything my trainer can dream up at her most sadistic.

I have not found any tricks that help.  After a sweaty, sticky workout at the gym – “sticky” being the operative word here – I am hard put to get out of my brassiere. One would think that simply leaning forward, reaching behind, and grabbing the back of the sports bra would result in being able to pull the thing up and over my head.

No. First of all, “reaching behind” is hard. Both shoulders scream, “Are you kidding?” There are odd gyrations necessary to get both hands even near the middle of my back; and once there, I sometimes I can muster up enough strength to yank the damn thing off.

Other times, I can hear threads snapping, but the bra is not moving and what started as an exercise in strength has now evolved into the arena of physics, that branch of science concerned with the properties of matter (sports bra) and energy (mine) and the relationship between them ( not good). According to the internet, physics traditionally includes mechanics, optics, electricity, magnetism, and heat, all of which I seem to employ while trying to get a fucking sweaty sports bra off.

Geometry even gets into it. Will the acute angle of my right elbow fit through the arm hole?  Sometimes it does, which leaves me with one breast and one arm free and absolutely no idea what to do next. It does, however, make me feel as though I have made progress. This is a delusion.

Another approach is to pull the bra up over both boobs and attempt to pull the bra over my face and, hence, off, which sometimes results in getting it stuck on my head, temporarily blinding me, which makes me mad.

By the time I am one “goddammfuckshitasswipeshitfuck” away from ripping the thing in half, I find out how strong the fabric they make sports bras out of really is. I am not even sure I can cut it off with garden shears, and I can hardly go over to the neighbor’s house with one boob trapped in an armhole and ask for help.

When I was complaining to my brother about this, he suggested I forget about taking it off at all – just wear it all the time- which isn’t a bad idea. I mean, I’d shower with it on so it wouldn’t get all smelly. I consider this.

Then I remember the feeling of accomplishment I get after a good workout.  You know that rush after a brisk 5-mile run or that pumped-up burn after lifting? I get that feeling after I have successfully removed a sweaty sports bra and I stand naked, free …

… and victorious.





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