10.26.04 (9:14 pm)
It was that time of year again…. time to dust off the Victoria Secret card and head for that not fun shopping experience. I know it’s time because I just paid off the last trip. Besides, they sent me a card for $5 off sale merchandise and a free sample size of Body perfume, who could turn that down?
Now you have to understand, bra shopping for me is a traumatic experience. I think it stems back to early childhood when I “bloomed” faster than everyone else. It didn’t help that my name had a nice alliteration with “mountains.” 4th grade was miserable socially.
I’ve since grown accustomed to being a natural size that many women pay good money to reach. And the surgical side is helping since there are now pretty bras in these sizes where growing up all there was were the “industrial strength” styles. As if anyone over a C cup didn’t’ deserve something lacy and frilly.
Size isn’t the only issue. Shopping with my mother is an experience best avoided. She can’t walk into a store and just buy what she came for; it’s an all day excursion. And when the department stores have nothing larger than a 36 or 38C; that means specialty shops. How could you spend all day in a specialty bra shop with an 11 year old? I’m still trying to remember all that my mom did but I usually get caught in the traumatic loop of the sales clerk reaching the tape measure under my shirt and then yelling the size out so that everyone in the store could hear it. Give me a moment; I’ll be back typing when this cycle has run itself out….
Anyway Betty’s Bra Barn was not exactly my favorite place and it wasn’t until Victoria’s Secret came to town that I even found a bra that fit right and was pretty and provided support. I think that the “pretty” does make a difference. I mean if you’re used to wearing the pointy thing out of Psycho, then something with lace really perks you up; even if you’re the only person who sees it. You would think that the old ladies at Betty’s could have provided the “fit right” and “support” part. After all, they only carried bras, girdles, and support hose. They didn’t even have normal panties, just the squeeze here and pad other parts type. But somehow, they always managed to fit me wrong. Maybe it was the way I cringed when they brought over the tape measure. I always ended up with a bra that had the underwire poking my armpit within 2 weeks. But it was easier to live with the pain than go back to the store.
But then I met Victoria’s Secret….
This haven for shopping not only had people to measure me that didn’t look as if they had thawed during the last ice age, they didn’t make me take my clothes off when approaching with the tape measure. They didn’t shout my measurements out loud to other patrons or employees; they just calmly went and brought over a drawer of different styles.
This was new… there were actually choices rather than “Here this is the only thing that comes in your size.” accompanied by a look that added, “You little freak.” And some of those were lacy, frilly, designed to turn a guy on stuff, and in colors other than white or beige.
One would think that after discovering a place that was so much nicer than Betty’s that I would no longer be afraid of bra shopping. After all there were so many other things, like lingerie that was designed for women with real bodies. But no, it seems that whenever the thought of going to get a bra crosses my mind, I’m immediately 11 or 12 years old listening to Grandma Moses yell, “Edna, you got a 38DD over there?” to be followed by my mother scolding me, “Oh my, you’re up another cup size, you’re bigger than I am now and I’m still nursing.” Yep, my fragile, teenage, self image really needed that. Nope, mention bra shopping and I just freeze up, find every excuse to avoid the mall, I’ll even volunteer for carpool or skip lunches. The other day though, it all came to a peak (if you’ll pardon the pun). I was down to one bra that hadn’t worn out, and the strap broke. I put in a quilt basting pin and went to work, besides I had a gift card for a free bottle of perfume so that’s the real reason I was going to Victoria’s Secret. I can go perfume shopping, and if they just happen to be having a bra sale at the same time, well maybe I won’t freeze up this time when the teeny bopper with the tape measure approaches me.
I did really well this year, I have 3 new bras and no one else in the store knows my size and they’re pretty; although they were out of the leopard print.