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July 10, 2002: Squoosh

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Richard got new gloves on Saturday, so I decided that, as it was only fair, it was time for me to get a new piece of biking apparel as well. So Sunday afternoon we headed off to the mall so I could pick out a sports bra. Regular bras are all well and good for normal activity, but when you start doing a lot of activity that involves sweating, they begin to...well...chafe.

I gathered up a handful of likely suspects and headed for the fitting room, where I proceeded to strip to the waist and try on every single one. There were ones with hooks; ones with adjustable straps; ones with little mesh panels in the back, and others with oddly placed cutouts build into the design. But they all had one thing in common - the squoosh effect.

Bras, you see, are normally created to provide lift and support. Sports bras, however, have a very different goal, and that is to hold everything firmly in one place. Put the girls in a sports bra, in other words, and they aren't going *anywhere*. This meant I had to yank each one of the contenders over my head and shift it around until it covered all the areas it was meant to cover. Once I had one on, I went through the required series of bending and jumping and twisting in the teeny little dressing room to see how well they stood up to the job, even though the point for me getting a sports bra was not to hold things in place due to bouncing, but simply to hold things in place to prevent the chafing. I had a sneaky feeling the store wasn't going to let me take each one for a ten-mile bike ride, however, so I had to do what I could.

Then, once tested, I had to get them off. This was easier said than done. At one point, as I stood there in the dressing room, one particularly industrial-strength bra wedged securely under my armpits and apparently in no hurry to actually come off, I pondered my options. Richard, unfortunately, was on the other side of the store checking out the availability of bike tires, so he wasn't around to offer assistance. And the thought of calling in a clerk to help extricate me from a particularly stubborn article of underwear was pretty darn unappealing.

I managed to get it off, of course. Eventually. Needless to say I didn't end up choosing that one. I prefer underwear that I can actually get out of without a struggle. But the point is, now I am the proud owner of a sports bra. This boggles me, I should point out. I have never considered myself the sports bra type. But there it is. I wore it this morning on our ride to give it its inaugural run. The squoosh effect took hold. No more chafing. Consider me a happy, happy girl.

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