By Mike Steiner
The military, in its obsession with uniformity and order, has tried to tame the last part of the human body currently not dressed in standard-issue apparel: women’s breasts. It seems, as part of the Canadian military’s Clothe-The-Soldier program, some intellectuals figured that a standard military bra, a “combat bra” if you will, would be a good idea.
The premise behind the idea was that women’s breasts were in danger, possibly from flying projectiles, such as bullets, shrapnel or drunken colleagues’ hands. Therefore, it was important to develop the bra of all bras, one that could withstand the gruelling test of the battle fields. This mother of all bras would be put together by a bunch of men (with women’s input of course), and would not only be safe, but would protect military breasts from inclement weather and temperatures.
With over $2 million set aside for the mammoth project, the military first decided to develop a task force to study the problem (which, by the way, is standard government operating procedure). When this group of eager designers actually got around to asking women for their opinions about what they wanted in an ultimate bra, they quickly discovered that not only are women’s opinions different, but so are their breasts.
This didn’t quite compute with the big-wigs who spear-headed the Brassiere Temperate Underwear project. To them there was nothing that could not be pigeon-holed, classified or standardized in the military, after all, they had been practicing on men for centuries. And now, all of sudden, some facet of the soldier can’t be controlled, regulated, or systematized? That can’t be! So they consulted experts in the field of women’s breasts, only to find women were right all along.
For those who aren’t aware (i.e., military officials), breasts vary from woman to woman about as much as eyesight varies from person to person. The bra-for-all makes about as much sense as standard prescription eye wear. The military could not possibly comprehend the complexities of the modern bra, but that didn’t stop them from trying. After all, it couldn’t be as hard as coordinating an international offensive attack strategy with fighter planes, helicopters, and other high-tech toys, could it? Two million dollars later, they found out breast support was not one of their core competencies.
Although the military wanted to protect women from head to toe, it isn’t obvious how a bra would actually protect women in combat. Is there some form of impenetrable material we civilians aren’t aware of? If there is, why don’t they just clothe the entire soldier with it? Unless, of course, their main objective is to stave off sexual advances from the enemy. In either case, a gun may be more effective.
A task force should be assembled to study the modern proliferation of useless task forces in situations where simple and direct communication would suffice. But then, that would be a true waste of money, wouldn’t it? At least for the $2 million dollars, we got a good laugh, and maybe we’ll even catch a glimpse of the deadly combat bra that may one day save Canada’s bacon.