comscore Bra straps come in handy as hands-free phone device | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Lee Cataluna

Bra straps come in handy as hands-free phone device


That poor lady needs a chiropractor. Look at her, head stuck to the side, neck all in a kink, one shoulder almost up to her ear. She’s gripping the steering wheel like she might be in pain and yelling at the kids in the back seat.

Wait, there’s nobody in the back seat. She’s on the phone.

Oh. My. Goodness. She has her cell phone tucked under her bra strap.

That’s what happens when necessity and frugality collide. Bra straps are the new hands-free device. The free hands-free device. You don’t have to spend money on a headset or an earpiece or one of those hookups that make your cell phone conversation play out of your radio. Who has money to throw on gadgets when you’re saving up to pay for minutes? Make do with what you already have. Just be sure the shoulder straps are pulled tight and you’re good to go.

Women have multitasked their upper undergarments for generations. Great-grandma fished her linen hanky out of her cleavage. Tutu had a lump of blue Kleenex peeking out of the neckline of her V-neck polyester blouse. When Aunty goes to Vegas, everybody knows she has a "secret" roll of $50 bills tucked in her Maidenform alongside a lucky frog. Some ladies carry packs of cigarettes under their shoulder straps or Bic lighters or the shopping list they don’t want to drop under the car seat between the house and the store. A cell phone is just next in the natural progression. Look around. Lots of women are doing it.

The practice, though unanticipated by lawmakers, seems to fit the definition of Oahu’s hands-free law. According to the Honolulu Police Department website, "A ‘hands-free’ device may be a wireless or wired connection to your mobile phone which allows you to answer your phone either through touching a button on the device or voice activating for answering, and does not require the holding of the phone while in use."

Wireless, wired, underwired. Why spend money when you can rig something? Besides, it makes you look cool, like a cop or concert security, when you talk into your shoulder. "We got a backup here in the preschool drop-off line. Send in backup. Over."

Dangerous? Well, there are lots of arguments that any sort of communication device, even hands-free, poses a distraction while driving. And it’s probably hard to drive with your head kinked to one side, straining to hear and screaming to be heard.

But better than all the drivers still stubbornly holding the phone to their ear with one hand while brushing their bangs and adjusting their bra strap with the other as they weave through traffic.

Lee Cataluna can be reached at


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