The other day I set off to the department store to get a strapless bra for a strapless dress I had just gotten. Having worn bras for, oh, about 30 years, I was fairly confident about what I needed, in what size, what cup, and what style.
Apparently, I was wrong.
As I started collecting a bunch of bras to try on in the lingerie department, a saleswoman with a big measuring tape around her neck approached me.
“Can I help you?” she asked me pleasantly.
“I’m good,” I said. “I just need to get a strapless bra.” She looked at the tag on one of the bras I was holding, stepped back and looked at my chest.
“That’s not your size.” She said definitively.
“Those are not the right size for you. When was the last time you were measured?” she asked me accusingly.
Then she reached out and felt me up.
I. Was. Floored.
OK, she didn’t feel me up like a guy in jr. high school would. It was more like a cupping motion. I am mortified even discussing it, so you can imagine how I felt experiencing it. However, it was clear that the Bra Lady was used to doing this kind of thing because right after she’d copped the feel, she stepped back and proclaimed: “34C.”
“No,” I protested. “I’m a 36D.”
“Maybe you USED to be a 36D, but NOW you are a 34C,” she said. “Breasts get smaller as we get older. She assessed my 40-something year-old body and nodded. “Especially once you hit your 40’s.” She leaned over and whispered in my ear: “Less Elasticity!”
Not only had I been felt up, I was pretty sure I had also been insulted. But I was still so stunned over the whole thing, I didn’t respond in my usual snarky way. Instead, I just listened as she told me the bras I had selected were the wrong size, didn’t have enough support and the one I was wearing was totally wrong as well.
I had walked in bra-secure. And now I discovered I was a total bra train wreck. Who knew?
Bra Lady plunked me down in a dressing room and disappeared with a trail of pink measuring tape flying behind her. Moments later she returned with an armful of bras I would never in my right mind have picked out for myself unless I was under the influence of something that made me think I had the body of a Victoria’s Secret model.
“Those are molded cups. I don’t wear molded cups,” I explained.
“They will give you more shape up here,” she said, pointing to the area where, apparently, I needed more shape. “…Without giving you a muffin top.”
Whoa. Muffin top? Up top? I always thought muffin tops were down around the waist. Now I find out I had muffin tops in other parts of my body? I wasn’t sure whether to be horrified, or hungry.
Bra Lady stepped back and waited for me to disrobe and try on the bras. Having already gotten up close and personal with her, I decided it didn’t make much sense to get shy now, so I whipped off my shirt and started trying on the bras.
And then, I looked in the mirror. I looked good. Much better than before. The Bra Lady was a genius. Although I wasn’t thrilled with her methods, her results were wonderful. I thanked her, got dressed and turned to leave.
“Hang on,” she said. She reached out and grabbed my butt. “Now let’s see about getting you some Spanx.”