Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Fellowship of the Bra

I've realized recently that I've probably spent more time shopping for the perfect bra than for anything else ever. It has become a quest for me and, I think, for other women too. Will I ever find that elusive, tantalizing, mythical perfect bra?

It all started for me when my Mother gave me the Judy Bloom book “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” Wow. That book fascinated me. One of the most interesting parts of the book was the bra storyline. The 4 main characters made a secret club rule that they all had to start wearing bras. One chapter was all about Margaret going bra shopping with her mother and it couldn’t have hit closer to home. At this time in my life my own buds were beginning to bloom and my Mother took me out bra shopping. I WAS 10 YEARS OLD. 10! Can there be anything more mortifying to a young girl than being the only one in her class to wear a bra?. I’ll never forget the day that Adriane Sawchuk leaned over my shoulder in french class and asked in an incredulous voice: “Are you wearing a bra??” Of course I slumped down in my chair so she could no longer see the obvious outline of my bra and scoffed at the possibility, shrugging it off as “an undershirt, of course.” I can’t tell you how quickly I hightailed it home from school that day. I tore off the bra and vowed never to wear it again.

Well, I could get away with that for a little while longer but by the next year I had no choice but to wear a bra. I was now 11 and had just joined a new school. I endured the humiliating bra strap snaps and the embarrassing jokes. The fact was that I could no longer run home and take it off. There were 2 good (and fastly growing) reasons for wearing the blasted thing.

By the time I was 13 my bust was bigger than all of my friends’. Bra shopping was excruciating. Ancient sales ladies would barge into dressing rooms pushing and prodding at my embarrassed body and I could never have those pretty “on the hanger” bras. I would look longingly at those small, lacy, flimsy bras. No, not for me. It was all boxed support for my breasts which kept growing and growing and growing. I was no longer the butt of bra jokes and snide remarks. I now had to endure wide-eyed looks and “accidental” arm brushes from stupid boys. I’ll never forget going to a water park one day. Innocently, I went on the bumper boat ride and I was the most popular girl there. Every guy wanted to ram my boat. I pretended that I had no idea why they were all bee lining for my boat but I knew and I couldn’t wait to get off that ride. Forget supportive bras. Have you ever tried to find a decent bathing suit?

My whole life has been about pretty bras. I finally found a place in the States that sold pretty bras in my size but of course they were never very supportive. I can remember after having too many drinks one night with a girlfriend that we ended up with brightly coloured satin bras on our heads like helmets. The thing is that they fit on our heads. Almost perfectly.

In my mid twenties I took the plunge and got breast reduction surgery. This was after a few years of wrestling with the idea. Once, when I mentioned the idea to a current boyfriend, he told me that he would dump me if I ever got the surgery. Can you believe that I didn’t dump him on the spot? After all was that all I was? A giant pair of walking boobs? That’s what I felt like much of the time before I finally got the nerve up to get the surgery. What a life change that was. I was used to people talking to and staring at my breasts all the time. While they were still a respectable size they were no longer “awe inspiring” so to speak.

Since then I’ve been able to wear the pretty, “on the hanger” bras but I’ll tell you it’s still no picnic to find the perfect fit. I can try on 20 bras before finding one that will “do”. Most women I know also seem to be in search of the perfect bra. It’s like The Holy Grail. It seems that as soon as we find one that we like, they stop manufacturing it. What is that? I once waited for a whole year for one to come in on a special order. I’ve heard a thousand times from friends and family. “Have you seen that new bra advertised? It’s really pretty and looks comfortable too.” When questioned later about the bra in question I’m answered by almost melancholy voices. “Once I found a place that carried it, I tried it on but it just didn’t fit right.” Sigh.

So the quest for the perfect bra continues. At an average of $35 a pop, I sure hope that the search is over soon. One friend of mine actually paid over $150 to get a bra specially made. She swears by that bra but who can afford that?

And besides. It’s not pretty!

The Buzz:

At 10:52 p.m., Blogger Cuppa declared...

What a hoot. You had me rolling on the floor laughing with this one. If it isn't pretty it isn't worth a penny, that is for sure. If you ever find the perfect bra let us all know.


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