They’re Just Nipples . . .

Photo by Devon Christopher Adams

People who know me well know that I think bras are overrated. I don’t wear one a lot of the time. If you can pass the “pencil test,” you shouldn’t have to wear a bra in public.

What’s the pencil test? Start by taking off your shirt and your bra (if you wear one) and put a regular pencil at the base of one of your boobs (or man-boobs). Then let the pencil go. If your boob holds the pencil in place, you failed the pencil test. You’re not allowed to leave the house without a bra. If the pencil falls to the ground, you’ve passed the test. Your boobs hold themselves up so you don’t need to wear a bra.

I pass the pencil test most of the time. The only time I consistently wear a bra is when I’m working out and I need a sports bra.

I would go braless more often if it wasn’t for one small issue: nipples. Unless you’ve had a mastectomy, everybody has them. But for some reason, it’s a violation of a social norm if you can see a woman’s. (Note: If your top is see-through, you should always wear something underneath it professional settings. I’m only talking about close-fitting tops that show where your nipples are located beneath your shirt.) I was raised with the notion that it is inappropriate for a woman to “nip out” through their clothes in professional settings. That meant I was expected to wear a bra, and sometimes a padded bra if my office was really cold, to keep my nipples concealed.

Then I started to look around and I noticed that guys nip out all the time from under their t-shirts, knit and wicking shirts, and polo shirts. It’s not an issue or considered inappropriate when they do it, so why do we have a double standard for women?

I’m not turned on by the sight of anyone nipping out – male or female. However, one of my guy friends explained to me that when a guy sees a woman nipping out, it could be a sign that she’s sexually aroused and perhaps she’s sexually aroused because of the guy and that turns the guy on. Even if some people are turned on by others nipping out, it shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to women deciding if they need a bra.

Burlesque dancer Jazz Corsette says that everyone is someone else’s wet dream. Following her logic, I am somebody’s wet dream, and it probably gets better when I’m not wearing a bra. If that’s the case, please don’t tell me about it. When I don’t wear a bra, it’s because I want to be comfortable. It has nothing to do with you and it’s not a big deal. They’re just nipples.

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