Soapbox - I'm at Bra-king Point

Sick of the sight of lingerie departments, Kate Rothwell gets a few issues with bra shopping off her chestSome might say that an article examining the irritating aspects of shopping for an item of women’s clothing is a little exclusionist, but I beg to differ. Plenty of men have issues with bra shopping – those who are dragged along on lingerie-related expeditions by misguided female friends or girlfriends, those who curse a girl’s purchase of a tightly fastened, three-hooked model, and those who take the ill-advised plunge and decide to buy some sort of undergarment for their other half. You should know before you get to the point of saying to the sales assistant “About your size, maybe a bit bigger” that this is a poor way of showing your affection, but I digress.You would imagine that bra shopping would be something that women could revel in the ultimate femininity of, but sadly this is not often the case. After you've gotten past the mortifying experience of a disinterested fitter lassoing you with a measuring tape and declaring ‘One up in the back, one down in the front, that’s the way it goes’ you can rest assured that you won’t be feeling too full of the voluptuous joys of your gender.Now for the shopping itself. Forget trying to choose between the styles of ‘skanky’ and ‘granny lace’, first of all you need to ensure that the shop even bothers to stock your size. There are some sizes that those in the bra manufacturing industry have clearly conspired against, ensuring that anyone cursed with such sizes are doomed to pay upwards of thirty euro for a piece of clothing that covers approximately five per cent of their body, while those who happen to have grown into a more favourable size can pick up a bra for a fiver any day of the week in Penneys. You’d think that these restrictions might apply only to those at the extreme ends of the small to big boobs scale, but no – a small back size coupled with a large cup or vice versa will also ensure that you spend your underwear budget in Debenhams. Hopefully you didn’t plan on buying a bra more than once a year; these are long-term investments, presumably to be passed on to your children’s children.And just when you think you’ve found a soulmate for your chest – not luminous or overly lacy, not bound to make its presence known underneath a t-shirt, you pick it up and realise that it already seems to contain more padding than a real breast. From chicken fillets to foam, there are many ways to achieve your Wondercleavage. You’re actually quite happy with size, you say? You just want a plain, unpadded, unfussy undergarment? In that case, give up now, and burn your bras.