This past weekend, I went on a quest for a bra that doesn't double as a chin rest. As my sister-in-law noted, it seems very 14-ish to wear a bra that has that much padding--but at least now it isn't actually tissues.
I'd like to say that I never stuffed my bra when I was a teenager, but my older sister, seemingly overnight, joined my mother in D-cup land, while my younger sister hit a C-cup while I was pleading nightly with the universe for at least an A-cup. Instead I had to endure eighth grade boys and their silly “joke that would knock my tits off." The punch line, of course, was that I had obviously already heard it.
Following many years of bras that padded, pushed up and were generally untruthful in all possible ways, I've finally reached a place where the letter on the bra isn't that important anymore. Besides, after two kids, I'm finally up to a B-cup, and over the hugely padded bras available everywhere. But.
Victoria's Secret, the Wonder Bra and Miracle Bra still rule the planet. Bras that don't come with heavy padding are difficult to find. Or, more accurately, attractive—sexy, even—bras without the heavy padding are hard to find.
So on Saturday afternoon, I set off for the mall, determined to find the bra AND to get measured. Just to make sure the 34 was the correct size. Has anyone else ever noticed that Macy's is always having a sale? I figured that would be a good place to start.
I love lingerie departments. The profusion of silk, satin, lace and ribbons. Colors that range from elegant pinks, icy blues and shimmering silvers to sophisticated blacks, eye-popping reds and bold animal prints (not on my list). Demi-cup. Full coverage. Convertible. Strapless. Corset. Thong. G-string. Brief. Hipster. Bikini. Thigh-high stockings, to be worn with or without a garter belt.
I wandered through the entire department, beginning to feel a bit of the perv as I squeezed the cups on every bra that caught my eye, and even felt up the occasional mannequin. After a couple of tours, I'd collected half a dozen bra and panty sets and headed for the changing room before I remembered part two of the plan: I had to ask to be wrapped with the measuring tape to be sure that I had been buying the correct size.
Dutifully I followed Greta into the dressing area so we could keep my impending humiliation as private as possible.
("Yay! I got it right!")
I began to walk to the changing room when Greta stopped me.
"Wait--I need to check ze cup size."
"Hmmm. You are an A."
"What? No--I'm a B!"
Greta misunderstood me. I almost felt bad that her valiant attempt to choke back the laugh brought tears to her eyes.
This might be a good time to mention that I was wearing a halter dress, sans bra.
She stared pointedly at my chest.
"No. Definitely not a C."
"What?? No, no! I know I'm not a C. I said "B." I thought I was a B."
Greta looked skeptical.
"You can try zem, of course but zey will probably be too loose."
I came home with a bag full of very expensive lingerie, lovely enough to almost make up for the fact that it took me another half an hour to find something in a 34A that wasn't beige or white or unadorned black. In addition to being back to an A-cup, I’m also, apparently, one of those unusual sizes that they don’t stock much of. It’s also a size that typically comes with more than a bit of padding as the designers automatically assume that the wearer would be thankful for at least the appearance a little more boobage.
I’m going to think back to my 14-year old self and just be happy that I don’t have to worry about those eighth grade boys “mistaking” me for my non-existent twin brother. I’ll also be proud of myself for not tightening Greta’s bra straps to hoist her boobs back up to a more natural level. Because that would just have been petty.