Error Go Bra!

By Elaine Viets


NOTE: If you blush easily, the following blog is not for your delicate eyes. If you fearlessly pursue accuracy in your writing, then read on. I’m talking to you, dude.

The novel had a scene – as so many novels do – about a woman removing her bra before she had sex with her lover. Just like what you’d watch at websites similar to (

Never mind which novel. It could be Everyman. In fact, it is every man. Every man who writes a hot sex scene similar to what you’d see on websites like but only better says something like this dude:

“Her brassiere was a diaphanous lace, and when she reached behind herself in that quintessentially feminine move, I couldn’t look away.”

Huh? What “quintessentially feminine move”?

I got vulkan news for you, gentlemen. We don’t take off our bras that way. I sure don’t, and I’m no contortionist.

I don’t know any woman who uses that so-called “quintessentially feminine move.” I haven’t met every bra-wearing woman on the planet, but I’ve been in enough women’s locker rooms, from high school till now, to know that’s not how it’s done.

It’s much easier for women to slip our arms out of the straps, then drag the bra around to the front and unhook it where we can see the hooks. Some of us even manage this maneuver with our shirts on.

So why does the blind bra-unhooker persist in novels and movies? In movie after movie, and book after book, the babe reaches around back to unhook. And we put up with these blatant falsies.

Why can’t men get these scenes right? Why are they so hooked on this scenario?

Can I ask a personal question, dudes? Have you actually been with a woman who took off her own bra? Did you watch how she did it?

Or has this erotic lingerie fantasy overpowered your reason and regard for the facts?

If you still want that hot sex scene, here are two suggestive suggestions:

front closure

(1) The woman wears a front closure bra – hot, quick, easy.


(2) The woman wears no bra at all – she’s already fully liberated.

If you want women to take your writing seriously, gentlemen, get the facts right – starting at the top.


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About Elaine Viets

Elaine Viets has written 30 mysteries in four series, including 15 Dead-End Job mysteries. BRAIN STORM, her first Angela Richman, Death Investigator mystery, is published as a trade paperback, e-book, and audio book.

67 thoughts on “Error Go Bra!

  1. This is a hilarious article and undoubtedly, as you mentioned, gets right to the top of a couple of the things we care for.
    I haven’t been in any ladies dressing rooms but have had opportunity to witness the events you describe.
    The one odd occasion was once when I was told “If you want it off figure it out.”


  2. “… blatant falsies…” Good one ( or is it just me? And if it IS just me, what does THAT say about me?)

    Also, if you ask me, (and you didn’t, but…), that “quintessentially feminine move” is at best pretty awkward and ungraceful in the real world~ and usually used on page and screen to show up the guy as clumsy and bumbling and ham-handed…

    I believe there’s probably more “… I couldn’t look away…” to your “…managing the maneuver with your shirt on…” ~ that’s been my reaction… (Again with the “more about me than I probably intended to share…”)

    Enough parenthesizing and quotation marking for one day…


      • Velcro?
        As it ages and is washed, it has the habit of not fastening quite as well as it used to. I imagine myself giving a presentation or sitting in a meeting while a tell-tale sound announces that my blouse will momentarily be fitting a little differently than it did when I walked in the room.

  3. Huh. I’ve never in my life taken my bra off the way you describe. I *always* reach behind me to unhook it. Putting my arms through the straps would stretch them out, twisting it around to the front would give me friction burns, and it would take like four times as long as popping the hooks. LOL I do, however, take it off all the time without removing my shirt or my arms from the shirt.

    That “quintessential feminine move” is sticking your chest out. They don’t care about anything else. 🙂

  4. Sorry, Elaine, but that is the way I take mine off. I put it on the opposite way, though. So maybe it’s not a myth after all. Now I’m wondering–how many other women do it differently than I do? LOL!!

  5. I remember that pivotal moment in my life.
    It was a teaching moment.
    It was like bobbing for apples. You don’t push, you suck.
    It was like the Chinese Finger Torture, you don’t pull, you push in.
    You don’t yank, you bring it closer together, and then unlatch.
    All of the sudden, I am thinking that there should be training classes for young men and women, “How *not* to do it like in the movies”.
    Thanks for a neat piece. I shared it on my FB page.

  6. I have seen both. Rotate around front is more practical. Reach around back is more sexy. As long as it leaves works for me. In fiction, the front closure seems like a cop out despite how popular it is at my house.

    And, “quintessentially feminine move” should have been red penciled by any editor speaking English.

  7. Sorry, Elaine, gotta disagree with you here. I’ve never pulled my arms out and spun my bra around. I reach around back and unclip. “Quintessentially feminine move?” That’s hilarious. I doubt men care “how” we take it off as long as we do. LOL Funny post and a perfect example of why men are from Mars.

  8. Honestly, I’ve never had a problem either fastening or unfastening my bra behind my back. I doubt if I look particularly graceful while doing it, though. Probably stick my tongue out in a gesture of concentration, not very sexy. Even when I do the old Flashdance removal-from-under-the-shirt maneuver, I work the clasp on my back.

  9. So, I’m now going to relate my varied and occasionally unusual experiences observing females removing their bras? Not on your tintype, as gramps used to mutter. Funny piece, EV, to the err, point. And some of the responses, likewise.

  10. Good post. I went through all the torture you mentioned then I started wearing front closing bras. Unfortunately, they are hard to find. What’s with the manufacturers? I recently went shopping for “said garment” and I couldn’t find sexy lace bras or an assortment of styles and colors. Maybe if enough woman complain, they will start stocking the stores with more of these. Oh, and I agree. Best Sex scene: The guy undresses the woman–No fooling with bra clasps.

  11. Research, research. Don’t right it until you know. Now for that research. Oh, damn. My wife is out of town.

  12. Hottest bra removal scene ever (to me, although perhaps I’m not the best judge 🙂 ) was Jennifer Beals removing her bra underneath an oversized sweat shirt in Flashdance. The expression on the face of the guy watching her was priceless. Like so many things, that which is not revealed to the naked eye (ahem) engages the imagination best.

    How do professional strippers do it, btw? They must be the real experts on proper technique. Have to admit I don’t have a clue. Anyone brave enough to chip in on that question? 🙂

  13. Sorry, Elaine, but I hook in the front, unhook in the back. Especially when removing under a shirt.

  14. You know what is REALLY unsexy? Trying to get out of a sports bra. I almost dislocated a shoulder doing it once. I know the thing is supposed to be tight enough to keep the girls in place when you’re bouncing around but…geez.

  15. I’m a behind the back doer/undoer of the bra as well. It’s not all false. I think some of us do it that way and others do it whichever way is comfortable for them.

  16. I’m like Ashley. Put it on in front and spin it around to pull it over your shoulders and haul up the ladies. Remove it with a quick unclasp in back. I believe this is a case of whatever is easier for your body type and flexibility.

  17. Biggest challenge for me is hooking bra on. Then when unhooking bra, hoping bra doesn’t turn into a slingshot and fly across the room..romantic? Adventuresome, maybe.

  18. I have always considered that to be my job, in the right setting. I seem to recall, however, back in the day, running into a situation on a few occasions where the hooks were in the front, between the cups (note to Joe Moore: is there a crimson type font available for comments? I could use it right now).

    I recall a Woody Allen movie where his character’s effort during a potentially tender moment went hilariously wrong.

  19. Count me in with the hook it in front, unhook at the back. Have at times hooked it in the back, too, but that (for me) is a tad harder. Most girls are adept at doing it beneath a tshirt out of necessity. (Especially after a beach trip.)

    One thing I can definitely attest to is a lack of any quintessential feminine moves while doing any of the above. Awkward at best. (And if any guys don’t believe me, find a bra, slap it on, then try to unhook it and look the least bit sexy or feminine. It ain’t happening.) My guess is that the male author is probably like every other hetero male out there. So anxious for the end result post- bra that they forget everything that came before its removal.

  20. What ever happened to front-closing bras? They were great.

    To reverse the story, getting yourself into a bra is less than elegant–there’s a bit of adjustment required. Just like men need to adjust their “junk,” right?

  21. The company that makes my latex-free garments makes super-comfortable sports bras only, so I have to think way back to remember that I did, in fact, hook and unhook behind my back . . . but not at all sure I could now. Web site as public service and I have other latex-free resources on my web site.

  22. Ironically, I ended up having this sort of conversation with ladies on a Rotator Cuff surgery community online. Once you’re shoulder is out of commission, you’re severely impaired. The physical therapist mentioned something during my rehab about how long it would take before I could reach behind me to unfasten my bra and I was thinking “WHAT?” Who does it that way? Hence, the online community conversation.

    Turns out there appeared to be a 50/50 split on preferred method. Even BEFORE my shoulder surgery I would’ve found the behind-the-back method uncomfortable. But more power to those who prefer that method.

  23. My eyes are still watering from laughing. You do bring up the funniest subjects, Elaine. Just like you do in your two hilarious series. Lots of responders keeping right up there with you, too. Personally, I’m an in front on; in back off species. But then I haven’t had shoulder problems yet, or excess baggage problems (sigh).

  24. I have to admit, my wife varies in how she remove her bra. But the coolest thing I’ve seen her do (in relation to unclasping the bra) is to put one hand behind her, and by putting her fingers on either side of the clasp, scissors-fashion, deftly unclasp it with a single rotation of her hand. ONE hand. I tried it and failed. I even had her do it again while I focused on it from the back. Couldn’t get the hang of it.

  25. Umm, I’ve seen women take off their bra the way you described and always thought what a waste of time and effort. I, and most of the women in my family, reach behind their back to put on and off their bras, just like the men imagine. Unless of course on the infrequent occasion I have one that clasps in front. I’m guessing it might have more to do with your build and flexibility, and perhaps cup size, than calling one way or another typical. 😉

  26. I’m a bit late in replying to this, but I have to disagree with you. I’ve been wearing bras for about 25 years and I have always taken them off by unhooking the back and then sliding them off. The other way sounds like a lot of work for no good reason when all it takes is two seconds to reach behind you to unhook it. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I don’t think so. Anyway, that’s a good enough reason for me to write it that way. Although, I definitely wouldn’t write ‘quintessentially feminine move.’ I’m with you there.

  27. I cant’t get straps long enough or cups with proper side-stays… So I go bra-less. When I was younger and thought I still needed on, I would take them off from under an shirt and magically make them disappear all the time, because hey are some sort of female hate, torture decice. I think the obvious, easiest, most fun, and truly sexiest move is to invite your fella to come take a look up close, getting the titular view as he lovingly releases & disguards the ancient torture device for you.

    Unless it’s a sports bra, as mentioned earlier, which would look like some crazed wrestling match or bondage play… In which case, fellas- sports bras are NOT pretty, lacy numbers (although good ones can still be quite pricey) – your pocket or utility knife would be the quickest, most effective, and lest likely to look like a battle, way to remove said curse.

    So guys, what is your least favorite, most difficult to deal with, piece of male “gear”?

  28. I must be weird, because I have always unhooked a back-fastening bra by reaching around. It’s always seemed fastest and easiest to me.

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