Not long ago, I was pawing through the mall with twenty minutes to kill before an appointment. I saw a sign for bra fittings. Well, hum-dee-doodle, I thought, that ought to eliminate twenty minutes and maybe I’ll learn something.
I was sequestered into a dressing room by a plump, bossy brazier-fitter who sized me up with a look. Feeling like I was about to go from farm to table, I was measured for the kill and then stripped. Now basically nude and listening to a static Taylor Swift coo about her love life, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into.
My saleslady returned, bras draped over her arm in a colorful cascade. She wrestled me into them, pulling and snapping straps, and pronounced me properly fit as she announced my size to the dressing room at large. The only problem was that in doing so, she had also cut off my air supply.
Feeling pinched and unable to take in my regular quota of air, I meekly begged to question her measurements. I could feel the woman’s hands go to her hips where she stood behind my nearly naked self. Smoke fairly issued from her nostrils. “Datz yo saaaz,” she insisted.
My reply was equally swift and bold: “Um,” I faltered. “I’m just having some trouble breathing. It’s pretty tight. See here where it’s pinching and turning the skin red?” The lace and elastic bit like a viper.
“Datz. Yo. Saaaz,” she pressed, gaining ground as she shifted her weight. I weakly brought up my need for air again, hoping it would sink in this time. Her rebuttal was frank: “Haah much air yoo need?” I had never thought about it that way before, but still decided that the answer was plenty. She muscled me into another fit, clucking and ticking her tongue with dissatisfaction that I dare reject her diagnosis.
Far be it for me to argue with a professional, much less one who had the advantage of being fully clothed as well as armed with that special je ne sais quoi that only African American grandmothers can employ. It’s the ultimate trump card, the elder wand, the ring of power. The only thing left to do was take the coward’s way out, fake an urgent phone call, and get the hell out of there.
But as I wandered through the mall and wallowed in my defeat, I began to contemplate bra size seriously for the first time. After all, there are a million different shapes of ladies and lady parts. Didn’t it stand to reason that a lot of us could be wandering around backwards, going through life incorrectly clad? I decided to pursue the issue further.
I ended up doing five more fittings. Each was humiliating in its way, some more than others. I was manhandled by bubble-headed teens, bossed by rival department store croons, and critically evaluated by women at malls and specialty shops in a thirty mile radius. It wasn’t fun. I almost gave up.
Then I stumbled into the last store on the map, frustrated and put out, promising myself that this would be the last time. I begged for the best bra fitter they had and was turfed to another bossy grandmother. But, unlike the first, this lady knew her stuff. She is the archangel of bra fittings, a woman so flawlessly calculating that I feel certain she could adjust a broken aircraft just by looking at it sideways. Because bras, while they may just be bundles of fabric and elastic, are more complicated than planes. But once you find the right one, it’s like meeting “the one.” You live happily ever after, relishing every moment and movement in your custom fit. Life becomes a dream.
My advice for finding a bra is the same as finding your mate. Take the time to shop, don’t let anybody push you around, and when one fits, write down your size in ink and buy ten.
P.S.—Nothing delights me more than thinking of how many pre-teen boys are going to stumble on this blog accidentally while googling “boobs.” Serves you right, boys. I hope you at least learned something.