If you're like me, you live for that moment when you come home from a long day of adulting and get to remove your bra.
Ahhhh.... Our boobs silently thank us as we begin to unwind. I tend to bounce between a large B and a small C cup, so being part of the Itty Bitty Tittycollective means going braless isn't exactly new to me. I tend to let my girls do their own thing on weekends when I'm out running errands or if I have on something that just doesn't accommodate bra straps - but there's a caveat.
I've birthed a child and I'm inching towards my mid-thirties, so I try to make sure that my unbridled mom-boobs go unnoticed. I throw a sweater over them or a baggy t-shirt and secretly revel in the satisfaction of my passive freedom. This is especially the case when I'm dropping my 5-year-old off at school or heading into the xoNecole office.
So, because I'm pretty choosey about when I let the girls go au naturale, I knew this 7-day challenge was going to be interesting.
On day one, I have to say I dove right in. I wore a fitted top tucked into a striped pencil skirt.
Needless to say, my induction into the bra-free movement was ambitious. Right out the gate, I felt extremely insecure. I had to run to my son's school to drop off his Halloween costume and felt the security guard that greeted me staring me down.
It was a chilly day and I was out there - no safety net.
What I Learned
I'm not as liberated as I thought. As soon as eyes found my breasts, I shrank into myself. I made dumb jokes to try to keep the attention on my face instead of my chest and I kept my jacket zipped up - even when I was burning up.
The next day was a work-from-home day, so after dropping my son at school, I decided to head over to Starbucks and work from there instead of running home to hide.
I was a bit more daring in my ensemble, opting for a white mini t-shirt (that says,"More trees, less a**holes") and absolutely no safety net underneath.
What I Learned
While the women seemed to glance over in my direction and kind of give a subtle look of approval before moving on, the men lingered.
One guy who was sitting across from me stationed his gaze on my nipples (which I'm sure were serving as the cafe thermometer) for a solid 10 minutes. I finally said, "Can I help you with something?"
He got up and left.
It was Wednesday, and I was headed into the office.
Thankfully, the weather provided the perfect excuse to keep my bra-free-boobies out of the face of my fellow commuters, but when I got to the office, it was a different story.
For the sake of professionalism, I had a tank top on under my top, which also happened to be oversized and kept things pretty much camouflaged.
What I Learned
Those damn nipples... Every time the room chilled, I found myself covering them up with my arms.
My posture sunk and I did everything to make myself as small as possible. Not a great feeling.
Thursday was a day to run errands, so I decided to face my insecurities a little more. I wore a grey ultra-low cut bodysuit under an over-sized sweater and jacket. The weather was cool but not cold, and with all the running around, I kept my jacket open almost the entire time.
From Target to the grocery store to the public library - my breasts were racking up looks, left and right.
What I Learned
Apparently, some men thought my breasts were their official concern. As I walked down a busy neighborhood street, one guy (who looked old enough to be my father) said, "Sis, you should really cover up."
I was suddenly invaded with the feeling of rage and a tinge of embarrassment. At no point did I look at him and decide it was my duty to inform him that his Timbs were scuffed to oblivion, so why did he feel his opinion about my shirt was so important to voice?
By Friday, returning to the office was a breeze.
I had been silently harassed, embarrassed, and gawked at all week. All I had to do was figure out a way to go bra-less at work one more time before the weekend. I went with an oversized grey sweater and admittedly kept my jacket on pretty much the entire day.
What I Learned
I will never be liberated enough to rock obvious nipples to work.
I don't even think it has anything to do with having a sense of freedom or patriarchy. I just don't think the gentlemen in my office environment should get to see my nipples.
It was a kid-free weekend and I had spent way too much time all week worrying about, planning around, and trying to hide my breasts.
With very few social obligations on my plate. I spent my weekend musing around New York completely braless, and reveled in the freedom the weekend provided the experience. I didn't mind when they bounced or flopped around, and I didn't care if you could tell I was cold through my shirt.
My no-shame braless weekend felt downright rebellious.
Men don't think about whether or not their pants-bulge is offending anyone on the subway. They probably aren't much concerned with their man-nipples poking through their shirt when a stiff breeze hits them.
What I learned most about this experience is that women's bodies are way over-analyzed, mostly because every advertisement features a model with breasts perked and perched and appropriate for the occasion - whatever 'appropriate' even means.
But whether your breasts are size-deficient or gravity-addicted, whether they have fed babies or catch crumbs while you eat - it should be okay to let them loose whenever we please.
Since this little experiment, I've noticed myself opting out of a bra more and more often - and not just when I'm running to the liquor store at 11 PM. Slightly saggy, a little uneven, and rocking a lighter complexion than the rest of me - I'm fine with my girls in and out of a bra.
The world is just going to have to get used to it.
Originally published November 24, 2017
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images