The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

20 March 2011

The foundation of prayer

My dear friend who writes from The Tree once wrote about noisy undergarments. My story is similar in that it has to do with undergarments.

Women's unmentionables are sometimes referred to as 'foundation garments' because they provide the foundation for all the garments that follow. A great deal of science has gone into their design, materials, and construction. The manufacture of these items is also vital to the global economy (for example, France relies on tourism, and overpriced lace dainties). There was even an episode of The West Wing in which Josh was stymied in a trade deal with China, because Chinese bra imports were much cheaper than domestically-produced ones, jeopardizing the Chinese imports of American cars.  (I've learned a lot about economics from watching this show, primarily that bras and cars do not make good trading partners.)

Getting back to the foundation: the first clothes a woman puts on her body sets the tone for how the rest of her day will go. Will she be pulling, tugging, hoisting, straightening, or double checking various elements of these articles? Will they cause her skirt to ride up, or her shirt to bunch? They provide a function of physics as well as esthetics, which we needn't explore further here, but it bears mentioning that a woman considers the particular demands she is placing on the garment before making her selection for the day.  Some are more... robust... than others.

All this to bring you to the moment of me, sitting in Church this morning. I was respectably dressed: trousers, cute top, fringed and slightly sparkly scarf, long beaded necklace, long cardigan (which was utilized, I digress to mention, because the trousers have a disconcerting habit of drifting from my waist... a fact I didn't know until I didn't have time to change before leaving the house. Change rooms are less than reliable testing environments for discovering an item's desirability)  Anyway. I was also wearing the usual assortment of foundation garments.  I guess I underestimated the stress I was about to place on those underwires; if I had more carefully considered, I surely would have made a different choice!

There I was, piously kneeling in the pew. I shifted, ever so slightly - not even enough to turn my head - and felt a snap from somewhere under the cardigan, cute top, and long necklace.  I tried to wiggle discretely, so as to diagnose what had just happened without distracting my fellow parishioners, but it wasn't until I got home that I discovered my suspicions were accurate: my foundation was cracked, broken, rent in two. I had worn this very item a few weeks ago while hefting and unpacking over 100 boxes of books; I routinely carry little people while in this garment; I have walked for hours dressed in this thing; but apparently prayer was its undoing.

I'll bet the designers and manufacturers don't take that into account.


  1. Oh, I'm SO sorry. But wow, that's just too funny. A much better story that my creaking bras. :o)

  2. Your prayer buddy here! Who says Prayer isn't powerful!!! :) Hilarious!