In deference to the male sensibilities, I give you fair warning that this is going to be a girlie column. So if you sneak off now to talk football or fishing, have a few beers over your bacon and eggs, and generally grow beards, I will not be mortally wounded. I’ll give you a hint – it’s all about girls.

It’s all very nice in some respects to be inexorably creeping up to Medicare eligibility – after all one is allowed at this advancing age to be far less tolerant of social nonsense – but I do look back on 18 with some fondness.

At 18, you can leap into an item of clothing made of Spandex, shimmy about a bit and then swan off with enormous confidence with your hair ironed straight, but it’s another thing altogether to wriggle into Spandex today.

It all started weeks ago, if you recall, with my back problem. I considered the causes – and apart from being overweight and unfit, I decided a lot of the blame could be laid at the feet, so to speak, on my underwire bras.

As delightful as it is to see the girls trying to be as perky as they were at 18 (see, fellas – I did warn you it was a girlie column), unfortunately the price one must pay in ones seventh decade of existence rather undershines the whole concept. Frankly, my girls became matronly, and south is the only direction they understand.

I struck a blow for freedom and went and purchased bras without the ironmongery – two “sports” bras, and I use the term loosely, and two regular do-up-the-back versions. Remember at 18 having a bra with one hook? Yes, well, now I’m facing 5. The girls, I will admit, are becoming a bloody nuisance.

So, diving into my sports bra, thinking myself 18 of course, I went to don the thing as one would naturally think to do – arms up, through the armholes, and wriggle, wriggle and voila. The girls are secured.

Well – ah – no. I got through the first two stages and a half-wriggle and realized my elasticity could not compete with that of my girl container. Did I cease and desist and think of another way? Heavens no.

I soldiered on and finally wrestled the thing into vague placement, only to realize my left shoulder was rather vociferous in its displeasure at my insistence. Two days later I went to put on the regular bra. Putting both hands behind me to connect the multitudinous hooks to eyes – and, well, ker-sprong went my shoulder, leaving me with a bummed wing that needed a sling by the end of the week.

In my almost all-male office, when asked what I’d done, I was able to level the lads with “you don’t want to know.” I know my boss who delights in my sharing my columns with him, will, as I speak, be blushing to the roots of his eyelashes.

Thank the Lord for my wonderful, patient, very long-suffering chiropractor, Sharen. Popped me back into place with a firm castigation that I wasn’t 18 anymore. Yes, ma’am. I will behave.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at