26 May 2013

"Star in a Reasonably Priced Bra" - Sharon Endacotte Column

Sharon Endacotte points out the obvious differences between men and women - and how it is important to wear the correct clothes whilst driving

I realise this won’t be of interest to most of the blokes reading this column. You don’t have breasts, or if you do, you aren’t about to admit it. Go and make a cup of tea and take the newspaper into the smallest room for a nice sit down instead.

Except I’ve just said the ‘b’ word, so you’re probably going to read on regardless.

I’m afraid it’s not going to get any more exciting. I suppose it’s entirely possible our esteemed editor will spice things up with a few pictures from the sticky bit of the Littlewoods Catalogue (see below - Matt), but this article is for once aimed squarely at those of us who need a little more support in the chesterly direction and aren’t generally in possession of a Y chromosome. By now you’re probably wondering what the link between driving and bosoms could possibly be, and thinking that in the world of tenuous links, this is going to be a champion.

But you’d be wrong.
A Subaru wearing a pair of knickers

I’m not about to write about the incident where I tried to adjust the seat on an XC60 I was taking for a test drive and got my boob caught in the steering wheel (for the record it was the FWD version, and I wonder whether the uncomfortable start coloured my feelings on the car, because I didn’t particularly care for it). However, there is an important point to be made about travelling in comfort and it is this: before you undertook a long journey, when did you last give serious consideration to your underwear?

No, really. When you’re going to spend four or five hours at a stretch behind the wheel, you think about everything else you wear, don’t you? You make sure your trousers are comfortable and don’t dig in anywhere – that’s a mistake you only ever make once – and you choose shoes that are good to drive in. You make sure you are warm or cool enough, and that your clothes don’t cover your eyes or anything, and that unless you are an eighty year old man, you aren’t wearing a flat cap or trilby. But your boobs – well, they’re just there, aren’t they, doing what they always do? Surely it doesn’t matter what they’re in?

Except that if your bra doesn’t fit, it’s bloody uncomfortable. You’ll be fidgeting and muttering all the way up the A38. But to be honest, that’s not really a problem as long as the fidgeting isn’t so distracting you end up going up the back of a tractor. It’s not ideal, but it could be worse.
Gratuitous Littlewoods Catalogue centre spread
You might think that avoiding underwires might be a good plan. To an extent, you could be right, but whatever you do, DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO WEAR A SPORTS BRA, especially if you are at all prodigiously endowed. A regular bra (wired or not), which has the traditional ‘lift and separate’ quality will give your seatbelt a natural place to sit and it will stay put and hopefully not strangle you when you’re negotiating a roundabout. A sports bra, however firmly it holds you, is not going to do that. Don’t be fooled by the brand names – a Shock Absorber will not improve your driving experience at all.

I discovered this the hard way, driving a Vauxhall Corsa around Plymouth and I knew I’d made a terrible mistake as soon as I sat down and tried to pull my seatbelt across the unforgivingly solid sofa cushion strapped to my chest where my bosom used to be. It immediately slid sideways. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to do anything about it, so I went on my way.

You may not know this, but a few years ago, the council put traffic calming measures in place along the waterfront, and these included a series of chicanes. These are actually more fun that Plymouth City Council intended, even in a slightly depressing diesel Corsa, but not when every time you change direction, your seatbelt slithers across your chest and tries to slice your head off. I got home two hours later with friction burns over my neck and some very awkward questions to answer from my now ex-husband.

So let my pain be a warning to you. On a long journey, wear comfortable clothes, sensible shoes, and most important of all, a suitable bra. Keep shock absorbers for your car, not your body, and remember - we test these things so you don’t have to.

As Speedmonkey's first birthday (23 June) bears closer, and as we approach our 1,000th article (we're currently on 980) I'll be highlighting some of my favourite material from the past 11 months.  This fantastic column by Sharon first published in November last year - Matt