I have good friends. In Texas, in Colorado, all over the U.S. Even a few overseas. Here in Denver, in particular, I happen to work with some really awesome people … ladies that I can laugh so hard with that we snort out loud and tears roll down our faces. We’ve also cried sad tears together a few times. (They can’t seem to understand that when I say, “do not be nice to me when I’m on the verge of tears,” I mean it! If someone expresses sympathy at that stage, the waterworks begin. And nobody likes to see that in the workplace!)
This is the scene in the movie that I'm talking about. You know you remember it.
I actually like to think of these ladies I work with as my A Team — my entourage when I need propping up. If you need an image of what this might entail, think of the scene in the movie Bridesmaids, where the whole group of girls are getting on the plane for Vegas for the bachelorette party. Daring music plays, wind machines blow our hair, as we walk slowly as a group. You get the picture.
Lately, these friends have been expressing concern about, well, my “girls.” And I don’t mean children of any kind. I mean those girls. They think I need a different bra. These are the things that they are not afraid to tell me over morning coffee. And I think I’m glad.
I think. I am. Glad.
One of these ladies, who shall remain nameless, says that the right bra can change your life. She watches Oprah. Another agrees with the whole concept of bratopia; she says she’s a religious convert to the church of push-ups and half-cup sizes.
Me? Ummmm. Comfort is my religion. And I strongly believe that bras could very well be society’s long-used way of keeping women down and in their place. Okay, maybe not to that extreme, but I think bras are stupid and not necessary and anti-feminist and did I mention stupid? I’m a closet hippie and I want to be free of all society-made constraints. I should probably just go ahead and chuck my attempts at a normal life and move to a commune. But I bet communes would entail actually communing with others, and I’m not good at small talk.
So, I do try to listen to my entourage on important life details. Love, marriage, parenthood, where to go for lunch. So against my better judgment, I went to [gulp] Macy’s for a bra fitting. That’s right. Me. In Macy’s. For a bra fitting. Anyone who knows me knows this is not a picture easily conjured.
My “bra fit expert” was about 65 years old. Her name was Jen, which was weird to me for a woman that age, but who am I to say anything? I’m a 42-year-old Kathy.
Jen called me, “honey,” a lot, which I didn’t mind (yet). She did however shake her head and make a “tsk-tsk” sound when I explained to her what type of bra I wear now. She looked me up and down. Turned me around in front of her. Looked me up and down again.
Jen and I were not going to be good friends, I could tell.
She took me into a fitting room, had me strip to my bra, and then she proceeded to whip her tape measure around me with impressive efficiency. I do not like people touching me AT ALL, but at least she was quick about it. I thought she could use a little bit more deodorant, but again, being the nice person I am, I did not mention this.
Then she told me to wait while she brought back some options to try on. In the meantime, I was alone in the dressing room, with Taylor Swift music being pumped in at a loud volume, and all I could do was stare at myself. This is actually my idea of Hell. (It was also very warm in this fitting room. Coincidence? I think not.)
While I waited, I found five wiry silver hairs, 10 additional wrinkles I hadn’t known existed and one little white hair on my chin. I tried sucking my stomach in and standing at different angles, analyzed my teeth for coffee (and Dr Pepper) stains, and stuck my tongue out at myself just in case someone was watching me from behind the secret mirrors.
I found this vintage bra ad online. I love the Internet.
Jen eventually (and I mean she was gone a long time) came back with several different bras for me to try on. I obliged, telling myself that this could change my life. Oprah knows. But the first bra I tried on was tight in every imaginable place. How tight? Cutting off blood circulation tight. The second one left so much room in the cups I could have shoplifted two or three pairs of socks in there and still had room for a new blender. The next bra felt like I was being squished into some kind of medieval, barbarian corset. The girls did get a boost from that one. I verbally apologized to them, as I couldn’t get out of that contraption fast enough.
Jen came back and was disappointed in me. I was frustrated. She brought more to try. Only one felt the least bit comfortable, and Jen told me that [and I quote], “it does absolutely nothing for my figure.” Really, Jen? Did I mention you need some Secret Clinical Formula?
Jen and I parted amicably, I suppose. She told me that I need to keep in mind the goal is not absolute comfort, but to help my body look its best. I disagree, Jen! And I told her so. She sighed. I make people sigh a lot sometimes. (I think that’s actually a line from Blue Straggler.)
Now, I’ll just have to report back to my entourage that my mission was a failure. But they’ll understand. They probably expected it.