Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ordeal by Bra

Ordinarily, Saturday would be a day devoted to food talk, but today I have something much more pressing on my mind: bras. Or more precisely, trying on bras.

First, I have to confess that if I had my druthers, I would just go to Nordstrom and get professional assistance, because when it comes to brassieres, you are really much better off with an expert at the helm. There are many, many issues that affect the way a bra fits, and unless you have a lot of time on your hands (and possibly a degree in engineering), you're going to get frustrated.

But the last time I went to Nordies, I spent a lot of money, and while those were very worthwhile purchases, I am currently gripping every dollar bill quite tightly (this trip to England is going to be really expensive!). So it was Target and a lot of time in the fitting room this time around.

When I was younger, buying a bra was easy. I had the same criteria for foundation garments as I did a mate: stable and really good-looking. I would pick out something that looked cute, jump around the fitting room, and if everything had stayed inside, buy the darn thing. But now my boobs have quirks and special needs--like me, they come with baggage (and by baggage, I mean a kid who nursed for two years. Cause I'm a recovering hippie.).

For one thing, the boob parts of my boob (the soft, jiggly parts) hang down to about my navel, leaving the normal breast all skeletal and ribby. And for another, they can no longer be squished together in that sexy romance-novel-cover cleavage-y manner. There is no cleavage. There is a canyon. And attempts to push together the two sides of the canyon does not create attractive cleavage--age has given these melons willpower that simply sends them shooting out over the tops of the restraining material.

I do not look my best with boobs coming out my armpits.

Needless to say, when I shop for a bra, my first order of business is to search for something with a diesel engine and a crane attachment. I haven't found anything yet, but with all the options (padding! push-ups! gel inserts! wires! microfiber!), I feel it's just a matter of time before Caterpillar designs something for me. If anybody can work a forklift into shapewear, it's them.

Lord knows they've got Playtex beat. I worry that company has a new CEO: the Marquis de Sade. I'm a big believer in underwires, but these bras used their metal parts to break new ground in pain. Instead of "lifts and molds," the tag should have read "crushes and mangles." Said garment did, however, take the armpit boob to new heights--I could barely lower my arms to get the darn thing off.

On the plus side, all the twisting, dancing and shaking to get 15 models of brassiere on and off gave me a good workout. After spending forty minutes in a fitting room, looking at my shirtless body, I know I need one.


kristina said...

I love when you write from your funny side. OMG, my cheeks hurt.

I, OTOH, can just blithely pick up the cute "save $2 now!" bra and know without a doubt that it will fit. In the training bra section, these things happen regularily.

Best of luck on this one! ;)

Matthew Sanborn Smith said...

As poorly as you tried to portray yourself, this is still the best post ever. Did you find a bra that will fit these: <3

Christie said...


Omigod do I hate bra shopping, for all the reasons you describe in such hilarious detail.

You're awesome, have I told you that lately?

Helen Ginger said...

This is so funny...and so true. I want to know why bra straps that fit in the dressing room will never stay up on your shoulders once you get them home.

I really love this post. I'm going to tweet it.

By the way, I gave you an award today.

Straight From Hel


As a small-breasted bra-buyer, it bugs me that designers and manufacturers seem to have stopped making stretchy Lycra bandeau-type bras without pre-formed cups, of the type you could buy easily about ten years ago. I'm still wearing the ones I bought in the 1990s, and they're falling to pieces, but nowadays manufacturers assume we all want our breasts to look bigger than they are, all done up like easter-eggs with underwiring and scratchy lace.

Joanne said...

Oh, the joys of shopping. You've wonderfully captured it! Clicked over from Helen's blog, enjoyed browsing ...

JohnR said...

Thank you for this wonderfully written window into the world of women's woes. :)

Maryann Miller said...

LOL, that was a hoot. At least you have something to cram into a bra.Your friend, Helen, introduced me to your blog and I will visit again.

Wendy said...

Thanks to Helen for bringing over so many new visitors!

I'm sad to hear so many sad bra stories, though. You all need to go to the Nordstrom in Downtown Portland and get hooked up with some quality goods!

gr8tchr4u said...

Truly funny post - I love your satirical humor more, I think than the horror writing, but both are really great! :)