Woman Explains Why She Didn’t Wear A Bra During Swimming But Was Refused. Her Response Got Them To Knees.
(This story was sent to us by Elena).
This happened last week. I was swimming laps at an indoor pool near my house. I’m a woman who has had a double mastectomy without reconstruction. My chest is flat. I’m totally comfortable with how I look but prefer for my scars to be covered in public. As far as swimming goes women’s suits have extra material to accommodate typical chests so when I wear them they’re baggy. For backyard swimming I just use a couple safety pins to keep it in place. For lap swimming it balloons open like a parachute full of water and creates so much drag that it’s difficult to swim. Tight competition swim suits don’t have enough coverage for the way the scars wrap around my sides under my arms. To get around this I wear running shorts and a tight fitting full coverage synthetic fabric dark colored tank top. It works great.
Last week I was approached as I left the pool facility by a worker. He said that they had received a complaint that a woman in the pool was wearing a shirt, which is allowed, but no sports bra underneath. He then said their policy requires women who are not in swim suits to have sports bras under their shirt. He told me that the policy started when they had a problem where a woman would come in to swim and only wear a thin white shirt and no bra in the pool during family swim hours.
I explained politely that I’ve had a double mastectomy and do not need a bra. I said that swimsuits don’t fit me and my top is very dark and not see through plus even if it was see through all anyone would see are scars. He said he understood and felt bad but the management requires that the dress code be followed. I explained how I was much more covered up than anyone else in the pool and in fact was wearing exactly what he was minus the whistle – he was in shorts and a tank top. There were guys in there with just tight fitting swim bottoms on and women in bikinis. I look Amish next to them. He again said he was sorry but couldn’t make an exception to the rules. I asked for the rules in writing and he gave me a printout which did say what he was telling me.
This brings us to yesterday. I dug a sports bra out of a bin of old clothes and brought it with me. I wore the same shorts and top otherwise. When I got in the water I put the band of the bra around my head with the straps sticking up like bunny ears. People in the other lanes got a kick out of it once I explained what I was doing. I started warming up with my kickboard thinking the guy would come over and we would sort this nonsense out.
Well, a lady in business clothes comes over and tells me I need to take the bra off my head. I would like to say here that this was adult lap swim, there were no kids in the pool area. I explained it all to her and said I was following the rule to the letter. I was wearing a bra which is all that is required. We went back and forth with her saying I knew it had to be worn ‘normally’. I said I couldn’t wear it the way others do because I don’t have anything to fill it and it would ride up to my chin while swimming without anything to hold it in place. She said I could use skin safe glue! Yeah, no. I’m not going to glue unnecessary garments to my body and I told her as much.
I finally said that unless she could state the rule I was breaking that I would like to continue with my workout so I could get home to my kids and let the babysitter go home. She walked away. I swam for an hour with that bra perched on my head (lots of readjusting it and once retrieving it from the bottom of the pool) then showered and went home.
This morning I checked my email, which is linked to my membership at the aquatic center, to find a message from her. They will not be changing their policies but I have been granted a special exception to the rule provided I wear continue to wear non see through tops. I wish they would have just gotten rid of the silly bra rule but I’ll take this and if I ever see another woman struggling with their swimsuit over a flat chest I’ll let them know they can wear something more comfortable.
Do you think she reacted right?
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