Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Take This Bra and Shove It

ParentUnplugged - Stacy Snyder - Bette Midler Beaches
“That’s as high as I can get them for you without surgery,” the expert fitter from the North Shore intimate apparel store offered me, in response to my concern that maybe the particular bra I had just huffed and puffed to get myself into, might not be offering my ta-ta’s the best lift that they deserve.


“Maybe I should buy this one,” I thought to myself, since it fit the best of the five garments I had tried on over the last hour, naked from the waist up alongside Gabby, the matronly salesperson sharing the very close-quartered dressing room with me, who had just revealed to me that she had just turned 25.

As if she was reading my mind and trying to convince me, Gabby nodded her head in agreement.

But no matter how I tried to resonate with the purchase, the truth is that the $80 old-school brassiere she was suggesting didn’t do my boobs any favors.  The year-old, black over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder I’d walked in wearing, held them at attention a good inch higher than the bland beige contraption she’d had to finally hook for me because my own alligator arms couldn’t reach the 4th row of hooks across my back.

With deflated expectations, I left the dressing room and decided to order the ‘best option’ according to ‘as good as it’s gonna get Gabby,’ in my signature black before leaving the store.  The store had come highly recommended by numerous girlfriends who’d purchased bras for their own or other people’s weddings.  It was ‘the place to go’ in Chicagoland to buy the perfect underclothing for “the girls.” 

Yet I knew I could do better.  Nordstrom had never done me wrong.  I would go there.  They would help me find the perfect bra to wear under my own wedding dress.

After giving birth to my first child ten years ago, I remember walking into the intimates section of my local Nordstrom, where after explaining my plight of babies and breastfeeding and needing a new bra to help restore my puppies to their original height, the fitting specialist asked me, “Honey, are you even wearing a bra right now?”

I wasn’t offended or hurt by her words, but grateful for the acknowledgement that I needed help and confident that I was in the right place to get what I needed.  Within 20 minutes, I was out the door, $60 lighter in the pocket, and happy as a pig in shit because the big headlights that have not allowed me to leave the house without a harness since grade school, were shining straight ahead, and it make me feel good about my body.  I’ve actually felt good about my body image ever since that life-changing day.

I’ve gained, lost, and redistributed weight over the years, but I always believe in keeping the knockers up.  That one thing allows my clothes to fit better, my posture to more easily stay in line, and my self-image to stay positive.  So off to Nordstrom I strode yet again, to put Gabby to the test.  Within 25 minutes, I had compared and contrasted 10 other pieces of lingerie, at the suggestion of the perky and efficient salesperson, against the one Gabby had been trying to bully me into, and I walked out of the store confident yet again in my ability to project to the back row, with a few new pieces of underwire.

Happily, I called Gabby back and cancelled the bra order.  She wasn’t surprised.  Her voice told me she expected I’d have found a better selection and a better fit at Nordstrom.  Maybe that’s why she used the surgery comment to shame me into buying ‘the best option’ from her.  In any event, it just goes to show you that sometimes you should just stick with what you know, and I’m here to tell you I can definitely rise to the occasion without the need for breast surgery, at least for the time being.