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Free from Wires

Free from Wires

Some are padded, some are plain.  They can be strapless or convertibles.  Their caps fill out in various forms, underwired or not.  Growing up, we used to call them bodice.  With the passage of eras, they became known as brassieres.


Many bra designs have come and gone. In general, women like bras that are good looking and offer strong support.  Brassieres! Which types are healthier?

While in a phone chat last Thursday with Emefa, one of my work colleagues, she mentioned how she had been ill in the weeks that passed. 

She said to me, “Ablah, my entire diaphragm ached as if pellets of pain had been rolled underneath my skin.  Ei, the pain would come piercing each time I dared to lie down. 

“I couldn’t turn without feeling as if … in fact, I didn’t know I would survive the tribulation. Lying on my chest was a no-no. My entire rib-cage quaked so badly, I thought I would die.”


According to her, she resorted to pain-killers and massaging by her husband but they didn’t help.  So she went to the clinic and was eventually detained for two days, to enable good observation.

I could feel her pain as she feebly spoke of her trial. “Ablah, at a point I thought the whole episode was spiritual because I couldn’t quite trace how the whole thing began.  All of a sudden, I was in pain which wouldn’t go away.

“At the clinic, a series of tests were conducted.  Everything came back as normal.  Very perturbed, I requested for an X-ray.  The doctor refused because he said I didn’t need one. 

For him, X-rays aren't too safe; the radiation exposure can cause cell mutations that may lead to cancer. I insisted on my request.  He granted it. 

The X-ray showed nothing.  I was discharged with some medication and was asked to return for review in three days”.

“Ablah, the pain never went away.  The medication dulled it just a bit.  So well, the concerned doctor requested for a CT Scan and a liver test.  All of that showed nothing.  By that time, my sides were all swollen. 

The doctor was helpless and didn’t know what to do with me anymore.  Ablah, it was serious oooo. 

The doctor, I hear, is an elder at a Pentecostal Church.  In the presence of my husband, right in his consulting room, he asked that we pray. 

We didn’t hesitate at all with his welcome idea.  Where the issue had reached, we needed divine intervention.

His prayer was short.  As soon as he was done, he asked, “Madam, I would like to take you through another mammogram, if you don’t mind.”  Ablah, at that stage, I was ready to undergo anything that would set me free. 

Fine, he had already conducted one earlier the previous week.  But I didn’t mind at all.  If that was what he felt like doing to deliver me from that snare, why not?

With the aid of his nurse, and in the presence of my husband, I lay on the diagnostic table for examinations.  Before he could touch me, he asked, Madam, can I see your brassier please?

It was a funny request.  “My bra?”  I asked.  My husband, who had custody of my blouse and bra, handed it over to the young doctor who had every cause to give up on me, if he chose to. 


As soon as he held the bra, we went like, “ahaaaaaaaaaaaaagh”, and smiled.  “Madam, this is the weapon of mass destruction.  I’m sorry, we won’t need this mammogram.  Stop wearing underwired brassiers.  You’ll be okay.  You’re healed”.

“You mean, the underwired bra almost caused your death?” I asked.  “Ablah, you can ask that again. Between Friday and today, I am healed.  No pain.” 

She said. “Now I have to find a way of giving all of those expensive under garments away.  But to who?  These are personal stuff, Ablah.  So much money gone down the drain.  I own 12 different quality underwired brassieres in all the rainbow colours.  We both laughed at her statement.  But now, I don’t have a choice than to stick to the “sha bi laa nkue” types. “Shabi laa nkue” literally translates as “in-law, hook your hand around my neck”. 

It’s the kind of brassier with no wire.  Its cups, center panel, elasticated wings, hooks and straps, militate against stability, grip and firmness. They have a way of rising towards the neckline of their wearers. Some call this phenomenon, “chase me”.

“Hahahaaa… Emefa paa?  “sha bi laa nkue” only takes place when the bra is either oversized or under-sized ooo”, I explained.  “Once you know your size, you can get nice ones without those lethal implements.  What I have personally come to realise is that the support of a properly fitted bra lies in firmness of the fabric of the cups.  If your bra doesn’t fit, it doesn’t matter what style you’re wearing– you will not get the support that the physics of your bra intended”,   I continued.  My manner of explaining made her laugh.

Poor Emefa.  Never knew anything could make her desist from wearing that which she had patronised for over 25 years.

“Could it be that your bras are too tight, hence the pain?”  I asked.  “I don’t think so,” she said.  “At least I feel very comfortable in them.  I know my size; I never buy bras which don’t fit properly.  I don’t just understand how this happened.  I quit!

Seriously, I was stunned to know that those types of bras with thin rigid metal or hard plastic sewn into their underside, and which have the tendency to enhance one’s breasts (no matter the size), could be treacherous.  Do I go under-wire free or not?  Hmm!

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