Well, I got a response back from Triumph International Limited this morning – I have permission to use the Triumph Doreen in my book without getting my testicles sued off. Which is nice, as I’ve grown rather attached to them. In a manly way.
And so to celebrate, here’s a brief, non-Stephen-Hawkins-style history of that most illustrious of garments...
2500 BC ~ On the island of Crete, women begin using bra-like garments to hoist up their bosoms so everyone could see them. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it was a slow news day.
450BC ~ Roman women wrap a band of fabric around their breasts to reduce their bust size. Presumably it had something to do with all eating all those dormice.
1893 ~ Marie Tucek patents her "Breast Supporter". Similar to modern-day bras this has separate pocket for each breast, shoulder straps, and those fiddly hook-and-eye clasp things men have been fighting with ever since.
1912 ~ The term "brassiere" first appears in the Oxford English Dictionary. Schoolboys all over the world commence giggling.
1919 ~ New York socialite Mary Phelps Jacob cobbles together two silk handkerchiefs, some ribbon and cord and manages to get it patented. Not shy then.
1917 ~ The U.S. War Industries Board asks the women of America to stop buying corsets as the demand for metal is interfering in the war effort. Enough metal is saved to build two battleships. Though history does not expressly recall what they were named. The USS Second Base and the USS Untouchable, one presumes.
1935 ~ The modern cup sizing system is developed by Warner's leading to all those smutty DD jokes.
1968 ~ Feminism leads to arson. Bras are burned. Men rejoice. Breasts sag. Men despair. Bras are put back on again. Men think, ‘ah well, it was nice while it lasted...’
1977 ~ The first sports bra is created by sewing two jockstraps together. And if that wasn’t appealing enough on its own, it was called the 'Jogbra'.
1990 ~ Madonna's dons a bra that looks like a pair of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Years later it’s auctioned off for £14,100. £13,580 more than Marilyn Munroe’s bra fetched when it was sold off in 1981.
1994 ~ Eva Herzigova exclaims ‘Hello, boys’ from billboards up and down the country. Many men crash their cars.
What’s your favourite bra story? (And I know I’m going to regret asking that one)