i’ve written about ‘periods’ this month (fencing off), i guess now i might as well write about breasts. especially given that i’ve visited my friend in hospital again this week who’s baby boy was born prematurely (watching growth) and ‘expressing milk’ and ‘breast feeding’ were naturally a big part of our conversation. and coincidentally, after seeing her i found myself at marks & sparks bra-shopping.
bra-shopping is something i don’t do very often. in fact, i can go for 2 years or more without doing it because it’s the second worst thing in my life to be having to buy (only swim suits are worse because there’s absolutely no body part to hide nowhere in front of those extra large all-round all-exposing mirrors underneath relentless surgery-waiting-room-like ceiling lights). it takes me a long time to build up enough resilience for it so once i do i make sure that i buy enough bras to last me for at least a 2-year spell.
the horrible-ness lies in my somewhat complicated body shape. slim back and not-quite-so-slim boobs. it usually embarrasses me to talk about it and if ever i do i surprisingly often get comments like ‘but isn’t it great to have a more feminine body‘ or ‘men love voluptuous women‘ or even more challenging ‘you just have to learn to love your body‘. well, i guess people that say such things have never been bullied for their voluptuous feminine body like i did for the largest part of secondary school – which was potent enough for me to still doubt that there are people out there beyond the Page-3-photographers that genuinely prefer more curvy women.
certainly not helpful is when after i’ve mustered all the courage i can find in me to ask for a bra-fitting service, i then find myself being measured by the slimmest woman possible who murmurs behind my back underneath those unforgiving ceiling lights something to herself about the right cup size. ‘cup‘ is one of the many off-putters on the journey to a new bra: i mean, honestly, who on earth would consider running around with cups in front of their chest to dress up parts of their body?
but it gets worse: we are talking ‘push up‘ as if it’ll force my boobs to do some sweaty aerobic exercise or ‘minimiser‘ as if it hosts a hidden magician performing tricks from inside the fabric; there’s ‘balcony style‘ as if there’s a place for prince william’s and princess kate’s wedding kiss; and my new favourite is the ‘vanishing back‘ bra that most certainly sounds like that magician is right there with his pointy wand.
there’s also some confusing terms like ‘T-shirt bras‘: am i also allowed to wear them with a blouse or dress? ‘total support bra‘ which will probably only be handed out by social services. and indeed a ‘memory foam bra‘ like my mattress at home. then there’s all those complicated choices from ‘crossover‘ to ‘strap-less‘ to ‘strap-less multiway‘ and then ‘padded non-wired‘, ‘padded under-wired‘ and ‘non-padded non-wired‘. and even though i am most certainly wired by this point i’m still not at the end of choices yet because there’s also still the more functional bras like ‘sports bra‘ with a straight-forwardness that I really like, ‘post-surgery bra‘ which I’d much rather be called ‘I-will-be-looking-after-yourself-and-help-you-feel-good-again-bra’, and the ‘nursing bra‘ which I hope will nurse mums as well a bit for all i can my friend suffers with the expressing!
a painful hour later and several layers of resilience thinner, i finally leave the shop with three new bras and even the enthusiastic ‘oh, these are lovely‘ from the woman at the till don’t re-establish any resemblance of resilience. for now. but hurrah: i’ve got some years of bra-shopping-freedom-ness ahead of me. the only thing i really absolutely need now is to replace my disintegrated old swimsuit…