Bra(in) twisting in the 21st century

You’d have to speak to She Who Was Born To Worry to get confirmation, but I think I was probably a right little pain in the arseass when I was a kid. ‘What’s changed?’ I hear you cry in a kind of unison that’s both cruel and a little unnecessary. But as a child, I had an uncanny knack for being particularly irritating if I wasn’t making use of my grey matter in some other way.

With that in mind, it’s probably not surprising that I quickly got into puzzles. Let’s face it, it was either that or the safe knowledge that my mum would be currently nearing the end of a twenty five year stretch at her Majesty’s pleasurein the slammer.

I couldn’t get enough of puzzles though. I particularly loved logic problems, the weird grid of boxes that allowed you to discover (eventually, after torturous process of elimination) that Jack and Miles were best friends who used to play squash (not badminton) on Wednesdays. You don’t seem to be able to buy logic problem books in the US (you can take a look at one here), so I can only assume that Americans couldn’t care less about Jack and Miles, let alone their midweek workouts.

Then there was the Rubik’s Cube, the greatest money spinner ever created from a bit of plastic and thirty six coloured stickers. The stickers were very important to me, as no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t complete the cube by legitimate means and had to resort to removing and replacing the stickers surreptitiously in order to give the illusion of genius. And to be fair, replacing the stickers exactly straight so that nobody knew what you’d done required a certain level of extra-worldly ability.

The Rubik’s Magic was rubbish though. Having eagerly lapped up the pre-release hype, I was bitterly disappointed to have completed it in a matter of hours. It was probably a good thing though – there was no way I’d have been able to break into that bastard to switch around the panels without the use of a chisel and a pair of glass cutters.

Since those heady days, I’ve been a puzzle freak, lapping up the latest obsession from cryptic crosswords to sudoku or kakuro. I know that The Special One is particularly enamoured of my predilection for a quick game of solitaire on my phone just before turning the lights out at night. I think she’s just relieved that she doesn’t have to wheel out the ‘I’ve got a headache’ excuse, to be honest.

But today I am putting Hasbro, Mattel, Waddingtons (and any other games manufacturers from my youth whose names haven’t been obliterated from my memory by more than fifteen years of late night binge drinking) on notice that I have discovered a puzzle that will beat all others. A convoluted brain teaser that will make the Rubik’s Cube look like, well, a bit of plastic with thirty six coloured stickers on it. And the joy of it is that all you need is a wife (or live in girlfriend, if you prefer)!

Basically, all you do is take a large quantity of brassieres (beginners should start with no more than six, although I am now capable of anything up to thirteen), and stick them in the washing machine. Set the cycle to gentle (experts can opt for hot wash, but that does introduce an element of violence to the puzzle, when your partner realises what you’ve done to her expensive La Senza over the shoulder boulder holders), sit back and in twenty minutes you’ll have the toughest puzzle yet invented.

Marvel as you wonder how the bras can have become so intertwined! Gaze in awe at the creation of knots more effective than anything seen in The Big Book of Particularly Effective Knots For Sailors! And cry real tears of frustration as you realise that your early days of attempting to undo a bra without the user’s knowledge in no way prepared you for this unbelievable challenge of logic and physical dexterity!

Playing the game yesterday, there was such carnage that I believed the laws of physics and matter had somehow been broken during the course of their time in the washing machine. At one point I believed I was going to need to resort to snipping the straps to pull them apart, before sewing them back together; the Bra Puzzle equivalent of taking the stickers off the Rubik’s Cube. Sadly I’m useless with a needle and thread, so instead I spent half an hour painstakingly prising the puzzle apart, one bra at a time. The joy you feel at completing the puzzle – the moment the final two bras fall apart – is indescribable though.

Sadly women are not able to take part, given that one touch on the pile of aforementioned lingerie is seemingly enough to break the connective bonds and turn it into a useable collection once more. It’s enough to send this useless man back to the sudoku, I can tell you.

11 thoughts on “Bra(in) twisting in the 21st century

  1. Milo

    LOL, laughed at the story – though no doubt you didn’t at the time! Would have loved to have seen some photos to see the mess you were in – but alas this has always been a text-only blog it seems! 🙂

    I remember the Rubik’s Cube. Specifically, I remember throwing it against the wall in frustration! Unlike you I do not like ‘logic puzzles’ at all! Painting by numbers and dot to dot were about my limit. 🙂

  2. NFAH

    You so could buy logic puzzle books when I was a child in the midwest (> 20 years ago now but still) — I was addicted to them. And they had to have convoluted grids, not the square ones–need many variables. And you’ll still find those sorts of questions in the study guides for standardized college entrance tests like the SAT/ACT.

  3. Apsidal

    The bra untangling challenge is indeed a glorious combination of the cerebral and dextrous. For beginners I recommend that the best way to start is when staying at your grandparents. I was always told that you should first get to grips with the granny knot:-)

    Incidentally I was going to say something offensively jingoistic about why Americans don’t do logic puzzles. And then I heard our own Prime Minister’s total mashing of logic with his deeply thoughtful statement: “I take full responsibility for what happened. That’s why the person responsible has been removed from his job.” Derr!

  4. Iota

    Have you tried tights?

    This is just another reason to prefer the front-loading British machines. They pull the tangle-it-all-up trick occasionally, but not nearly as often as the American top-loaders.

  5. Alasdair

    Apsidal – our Prime Minister does indeed seem to be morphing more and more into Neil Pillock, sadly …

    Dylan – from your description – “Then there was the Rubik’s Cube, the greatest money spinner ever created from a bit of plastic and thirty six coloured stickers. “ – no *wonder* you had problems with the Rubik’s Cube ! Since the Cube has 6 faces, each with 9 segments, having 18 of the 54 without any coloured sticker would indeed make the Cube a *lot* harder to solve …

    (blush) I know that I made life “interesting” for my older brother when I swapped 2 of the coloured stickers on his Rubik’s Cube … (that turns it from something which can be solved into something which can only *almost* be solved) … to this day, I wonder if he ever worked out why, after a certain point, he could no longer solve it ?

    Yeah, I know … mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa … (grin) …

  6. Almost American


    Dana – a mesh bag? That’s too simple a solution! No, you need some braballs! Not really of course – the Special One needs to know about fashion icon Dame Vivienne Westwood’s approach to washing bras. She doesn’t. Apparently, she’s terrified that washing bras will damage them, so to clean them she sprinkles talcum powder on them. Hmm. No, I can’t imagine that going over well with the Special One. Of course, if she doesn’t like your methods she could always do the laundry herself 😉

  7. Alasdair

    Iota – I don’t think Dylan is *quite* ready to admit to doing the washing while wearing tights … hmmm … like in the Robin Hood film, one might supp-hose …

  8. Brooklyn

    “One needs to know about fashion icon Dame Vivienne Westwood’s approach to washing bras. She doesn’t. Apparently, she’s terrified that washing bras will damage them, so to clean them she sprinkles talcum powder on them.”


  9. Expat Mum

    Iota beat me to it, but you have to be thankful you didn’t have six pairs of tights in there as well. They seem to grow about 7 feet in length as well as wrapping themselves round everything.
    My bugbear is teenagers’ jeans. They are so long and heavy, and of course after a “heavy soil” wash they are so entwined you have to lift the whole mass out as one – which weighs about 50 pounds and does my back in again!

  10. Trixie Trouble

    Actually the biggest point of this story is that in the US ANYTHING is chucked in the washer and nigh on boiled until an inch of it’s life. Then it’s chucked in the dryer and the rest of it’s wear-worthiness is baked out of it.

    Bras are supposed to be done up before they’re washed. Ideally they should be hand washed or washed in a net bag on a very gentle cycle.


    When The Special One’s boobs are barely lifted above her waist due to underwear abuse, I’ll blame you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *