I’ve got a nasty little cold, courtesy of my youngest – who just got over croup. I guess I have the grown-up version.

Everything aches. All I want to do is lay on the couch. And the last piece of clothing that I want anywhere near me is a bra.

As much as I love my bras – and find myself quite capable of falling asleep in them – when I’m sick I want as little on me as possible, especially if everything hurts. It’s time for snuggling on the couch with a good book. I wear my softest clothes and my fuzziest slippers and I try to baby myself.

I did have a leisure bra that was nice to wear when I was tired or out of sorts, but it was one of my recent lingerie casualties.

While we use brassieres for enticement and seduction, a large part of their function is actually modesty. As a large breasted woman, if I’m not wearing a bra – well, let’s just say that I end up drawing attention to myself. With my assets nicely controlled by my favorite lingerie, I’m less likely to cause a scene.

Not that women have always worn bras. In fact, for the vast majority of history, modern and otherwise, female humans have functioned quite nicely without the bra. It’s a very recent invention. While there is some debate over who actually designed, developed or patented the first modern bra, it’s only been a basic of female fashion for about a century.

Before that, women wore corsets to control their jiggly bits. The corset was a garment designed to constrain, and it actually pressed the breasts flat against the chest, rather than push them upwards like a brassiere does. However, the corset wasn’t always “underwear”. The fashions of the 1600s and 1700s show that the dress itself was built like a corset, with attachable sleeves. So, rather than wear something under the corset, it was made for public view.

When I’ve got a cold, I can only be thankful that corsets are not standard wear today. How the heck did they handle a cough with their entire rib cages tied up and their breasts flattened?

I won’t break any codes of decency with my current garb, but don’t expect nicely contained bust if you come by my door. I’ll be traipsing around in an oversized sweatshirt and some baggy pants – without a bra.