As discussed in this space previously, I am well-endowed. And all these years, I've made do with what I thought were pretty good brassieres that cost me approximately 25 dollars apiece. Because I'm frugal and I know how to find a good deal, don't you know. And I don't have time to find a REALLY GOOD bra. And I'm going to lose another 10, 15, 20 pounds first and THEN I'll spend more money on some decent support...
Look - I'm not going to repeat what I have already admitted to, years ago - my bitterness toward the small-breasted among you, who can wear the cute little bras found at Target, who sport stylish tank tops all summer without worrying about the sides of your industrial-strength brassiere showing above the armholes. I like to think I'm past that, that I've made my peace with a body that sometimes feels as though it belongs in a freak show.
And then Mrs G had to go re-open the entire topic. Mrs G announced that she had taken herself to Nordstrom's and had herself fitted by a salesperson there. Mrs G RAVED about the results. Mrs G urged all us readers to hurry to our nearest Nordstrom's and do the same.
So...I procrastinated. But yesterday, I found myself at the mall, walking past (but not into) Nordstrom's (I mean, that place is EXPENSIVE). "Go in," I told myself. "Mrs. G said so. Your bra fits like crap."
I hesitated. Let a perfect stranger fit me for bras? Could I do it? I really need my personal space. And, believe me, it's obvious. Jen on the Edge, upon meeting me last summer, immediately said, "You're not a hugger. I can tell."
So I compromised. I'd walk in and LOOK at the bras, I decided. But I didn't have to get fitted, I promised myself. Just sort of stick my toe in the water and see if I liked it...
Thus resolved, I entered the store, trying not to look at any of the price tags, for fear I'd either faint or scream with shock. I made my way to the lingerie department and fingered a bit of the merchandise. Within a few minutes, a salesperson approached me and suggested a fitting.
You know, there are moments that are turning points in one's life. Would I admit I needed help? That I couldn't go on trying to find a decent-fitting bra on my own? Or would I continue with the (almost) life-long denial that allows me to march around all day, every day, in a 36 DD that smushes my (over-large) breasts all over my chest and under my arms in a pathetic attempt to "minimize"?
Reader, I agreed to a fitting. Feeling like an impostor, I allowed the woman (Rachel was her name) to lead me to the dressing room and order me to remove my shirt. I was convinced that, the minute the salesperson saw the poor and cheap excuse for support that I was wearing, I would be politely asked to leave the premises. Perhaps security guards would be involved.
"This doesn't bother me," I said airily, fooling no one. "I've given birth six times."
I've given birth six times. Yeah, I said that. I wince now, just thinking of it. Rachel, to her credit, let it pass. She even offered that she was pregnant with her second child, herself.
Would this be the right time to mention that she was clothed in a red headscarf and the black robes of a full burqa?
And doesn't it sound like I made that part up? That maybe I was hallucinating?
Let's review: I'm standing in the dressing room of an upscale department store with my shirt off and my middle-aged stomach rolling in all directions over the waist of my cheap Kohl's jeans, in the presence of a woman who is covered from head to toe (aside from her face).
I believe it was at that point that I realized things couldn't get any worse. And they didn't. Rachel measured me and brought in an assortment of brassieres that were a size 32H. Something about the fact that the store even HAD my size in stock made me feel much less freakish than I have felt for the past, oh, 30 years or so. I cannot overemphasize what a difference this made in how I look at my body.
The brassieres all fit beautifully. I sneaked a look at the price tag of one of them and managed not to faint. Barely. I even grew bold enough to ask if there were a jogging bra to fit me, imagining that - having seen my physique - the heretofore tactful saleswoman would not be able to prevent a smirk from escaping her lips. God bless her, she kept a straight face and found what I was looking for.
So here's the upshot:
I am wearing a brassiere that costs 65 dollars. It lifts and separates and I am not hunching my shoulders in an ineffectual attempt to minimize any rogue breast movement. I feel like a million bucks. My back doesn't hurt. And when I undressed last night, I realized that my breasts didn't start aching, as had been their wont, when I unsnapped my bra. Lord knows what sort of damage I was doing to my breast tissue by trying to squeeze the girls into too small a cup size.
Let me repeat - for about $180 (I bought 3 brassieres, including the jogging one), I feel like a million bucks. That, my friends, sounds like a bargain to me. And there is little, if any, residual humiliation from the experience as a whole.
So get thee to a fittery! And report back - we want to hear all about it.
To read more of Suburban Correspondent, check out her blog, The More, The Messier