I’ve fallen madly in love. No, I’m not planning on leaving F. We’ve decided he’s a keeper. No, my budding love affair is with my new jog bra. Yes, I know, it is a sign of illness to develop intimate relationships with inanimate objects. But what can I do? She cares for me like no other ever has. When I put her on yesterday, I knew instantly that my life would never be the same again.
I’d been in the store for well over an hour. Buying undergarments is a long process and I hadn’t bought any since my last visit Stateside five years ago. The flimsy silken things the French call lingerie is fun for… well lets just say fun, but it doesn’t have that utilitarian quality, the durable stamp of the good ol’ cotton American brief that Grandma wore and your husband thinks should be outlawed.
So I was in this store completely mystified by the extreme variety of the selection. In the panties section you have the ones that ride up and the ones that don’t, each with apparent virtues that only those in the know understand. You have the bikini and the boys shorty. You have seemless, invisible and the soft waisteline. The selection goes on and on and on to infinity. The wall of panties is as long and tall as the Hall of Mirrors in the Versailles castle, only to be rivaled by the wall of bras.
Ah the bra section! Once I got to the bra section the true mystification began. Each row of bras touted a different service, promising to tame the totally untamable. I’d never thought of breasts in the way these people have obviously been thinking of breasts. We women may have different body shapes, pear or apple, big or flat bum, but it is the breasts that are truly our unique feature. And the American bra has got us handled.
There are bras to undo or updo cleavage, bras to maximize or minimize, bras to make you wonderful… The wonderbra has that magic quality of making even the flattest and saggiest resemble Wonderwoman with her bulletproof boobs of steel… There are bras with wire or bras without. No big deal there, we’ve got that in France too, but in America the without version comes with the terrifying tale of how the ones with cause breast cancer…. Ooh.. Even bra buying is like taking a ride through the haunted house of horrors. If you make the wrong choice you’ll end up buying future bras from the cancer care shop outside the hospital after you’ve had both breasts removed having paid a heavy price for that moment of frivolity when you bought the the pusher-upper with wire…
Beware! I joke not.
There was once a time when I would have indeed bowed to that fear and shunned all wire for good, but I was far too intrigued by all the other claims being made by our supporting friends. There were the ones which bragged “strange shapes solved” which intrigued me greatly. I wondered how an alien being might feel as she squeezed her third nipple into the shapely strange solver. Would she feel accepted and loved for the first time in her life? Because to me it seemed that that was what was being sold. And honestly it provoked a moment of compassion for that strange breasted woman who would wander over to the bra section, despondent and convinced she would never find her match, the one who would finally understand her… and low and behold, she discovers the “strange shapes solved” and her life is turned around forever. She leaves the shop with new bra on, as she will never take it off again. She’d surely meet the man of her dreams in the frozen youghurt shop across the street. They’d go on a couple of dates. He’d get to know the true her beyond the strange shape and third nipple. They’d marry, have triplets who would benefit greatly from the third nipple, you can imagine, and the world would be a better place in general.
Yes, thoughts of this nature do flit through my mind as I bra shop in America. How could they not? “Strange shapes solved” indeed!
But then again what if a woman comes in thinking her shape decidedly normal?No strangeness to be found, her boyfriend’s never let on to anything untoward after all, only to find the perfect bra fit is for the strange breasted woman?! I could well imagine the fighting that ensues when she goes home and accuses her man of hiding from her how very strange busted she really is. As we women know, this could well lead to divorce as she would obviously pester him incessantly to compare her to other women he has known “Was she like me? And her? Or her?” to such a nauseating extent that she would finally leave him, exclaiming that she can’t take it any more, his past is too present in their relationship.
Well I took the risk and I tried one on just to check and see if I am a strangely shaped woman too. I mean how else would I know? It is but through the label on the tag that I may discover who I am, how I think, and most importantly, what I need. Yes, yes, I could go very far with that one, but we must get back to our bras. I have digressed too far already. Yes, yes, there is infinity in bra buying in America, but I shall end here with a moist intrigue. You see, there were several rows of a specific type of bra that piqued my curiosity. It was the “spillage solved” model. I would have understood this type of claim in the nursing bra section but I checked the the different openings of this particular bra and there is no way they were meant for lactating women. So spillage? I remain baffled… But as I said, I did leave the shop with the beloved jog bra, to whom this entire post is dedicated, despite the obvious digressions. Do forgive!