When you’re friends with someone for over a decade, it’s easy to think you know everything about them. That’s how I felt about Nicole. We’d navigated high school insecurities, various eyebrow disasters, family drama, the stress of choosing a college major, the stress of choosing a first job, and now a pandemic together. So when she came to visit me in New York last week, my apartment felt all the more cozy. Familiar.
That is, until we were getting dressed to go to dinner one night and I watched her nab three squares of toilet paper from my bathroom, fold them like a fruit roll up, and stuff them under her bare breast. In between snorts of laughter I begged her to explain this new, bizarre behavior.
Nicole lives in Atlanta and has the body type of an Italian Renaissance Venus. (In other words, she’s well endowed in the chest department.) On the hottest of days bralessness is breezier, but without an underwire to hoist her boobs off her skin, sweat pooled in the crease. That’s why she started using toilet paper to create sweat-absorbing pads. The brilliance is that, after they’ve done their job for a few hours, she just dips into any restaurant/coffee shop/friend’s house, chucks the strips, and replaces them with new ones using TP from their bathroom. This method kept Nicole’s tops free of sweat stains all four, sweltering NYC days she was staying with me, and yesterday I attempted it myself. Reader, it worked.
Before you go forth and TP your own tits, ask yourself a few critical questions: 1) Hath my breasts the strength for this? The trick only works if you can pass the pencil test—in other words, they need to be able to hold the paper in place without any help. 2) Does my outfit come with an express exit to the floor? Paper might drop out too easily under a loose, flowy dress, so you’ll want to be wearing something that offers a little bit of support (an underboob seam or tight fit is enough) to act as a net if it does dislodge. And 3) The toilet paper in this bathroom is… what ply now? If you use very thin, papery TP, it’ll crumble from sweat and peel onto your chest. A tissue, which tends to be less absorbent but have more structural integrity, can work in a pinch—just be mindful that tissues are also bigger than TP and may poke out more easily.
As she boarded her flight home, Nicole emphasized that if this was her legacy, she’d be OK with it. And it’s really only fitting: when going braless, an old friend with a trusty tip is support aplenty.
Photo via ITG