A story recently surfaced in Florida of a 17-year-old high school student who was called to the principal’s office and told her breasts were distracting.
She was asked why she wasn’t wearing a bra and told to put Band-aids over her nipples, The Miami Herald reported.
Though I don’t have daughters, the story did bring to mind an uncomfortable situation I once found myself in as a reporter overseeing an intern in the summer of 1990.
At the time, I worked in a one-person bureau in Lake Placid, N.Y., and there was a preppie Brown University student who wanted to work as an intern.
Her name was Suzie.
She was a brunette, young, attractive and smart but maybe not street savvy.
She wanted to study journalism and get real-life experience.
It was summer and the bureau was on the second floor of a building with no AC.
She pretty regularly wore a top minus a bra.
Yeah, I noticed. Sue me.
So this went on like this for several weeks until one day I was assigning her to go to a minimum-security prison — they called them camps — to do a feature on the inmates making wooden toys in their shops for needy kids come Christmastime.
They would make these in bulk during the summer to meet the demand in December.
So I had to have a very, very uncomfortable conversation with her (I mean I was only maybe six years older than her) and tell her that before she went to the prison, she’d need to wear a bra.
These were inmates.
These were male inmates.
These were male inmates who did not regularly interact with attractive young women.
You get the picture.
Well the day of the assignment, I am pretty sure she wore a turtleneck in the blistering heat.
Even dressed like that, she said she could not get over how uncomfortable she felt with the leering looks and the attention of all these guys.
Yeah, it was my first uncomfortable chat as a quasi-manager and a memorable one for both of us.
I didn’t have to ask her about wearing a bra after that!