Underwear? No, Over There!

Pretty wildflower… delicate and feminine…

I had a very traumatic day a few weeks back. So much so, it’s taken me this long to be able to write about it. I needed some new bras. A simple enough proposition you would think. I like to look at designer fashions in magazines and on blogs, but when it comes to dressing myself, plain and comfortable fits the bill. When I find something I like, that fits where it should and covers what God gave me, then I will buy several of said item, whether it be trousers, tops or jumpers. I am currently the proud owner of three pairs of black trousers, all exactly the same, from the same shop. Likewise, four tops, the same style, in varying shades of grey. Boring, yet practical and best of all, they don’t need ironing…

IMG_5755 (4)White flowers… a nice sensible colour for underwear… 

On this particular day, I set forth, somewhat dubiously accompanied by my son as I had foolishly told him what the purpose of this trip was. Understandably reluctant to spend time in the ladies’ underwear department, it was only with the bribe of a trip to his crystal lady, Lizian that I managed to achieve his company.

After a usual, run-of-the-mill bus journey:

Oi, oi, oi, love! I’m not looking at you funny.”

Pardon? I was talking to my son…”

Yeah, but I was hit in the eye by a firework and now the other eye has an infection”

We arrived in town and headed towards my destination, a large, discount price retail store. I had carefully written down my necessary measurements on a piece of paper, safely tucked away in my purse after a previous time when I couldn’t remember what size I was and had to hoick my shirt up discreetly so my son could check the label..

We entered the shop. They had altered the layout of the shop. Not a single item of ladies’ underclothing was visible.

Um, excuse me, could you tell me where the um, the um, BRAS are!!”

I have an unfortunate tendency to giggle at words that strike me as inappropriate in everyday conversation…like “bottom”. Sad but true. Having received my somewhat terse reply of “Over there” and a vaguely waved arm, we set off, weaving our way between racks of stonewashed, bell bottom (!!), boot cut, kick flare, skinny, drainpipe jeans to eventually happen upon row after row of bras, vanishing into the distance like lots of little mountain ranges.

The next part should have been so simple. How could I have been so foolishly hopeful?

Right,” I said with determination to my son: “ten minutes in here, then we’ll be off..”

Half an hour later, red in the face with temper, knees dusty from crawling on the floor to check the lower racks, I still had a distinct lack of new bras.

Now. My expectations were not unreasonable. Something supportive, comfortable, no garish colours, full cover of the area in question and no underwiring. (I get costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage between your ribs. It’s quite painful and underwires just catch me in the wrong place.) I am not an unusual size, at least not to me since I’ve had them most of my life, so it’s either a popular size or just one so bizarre, the manufacturers use odds and ends to cobble something together to fill the gap in the market. Therefore, to my way of thinking, I should have had no problem in fulfilling my brief – if you pardon the pun…

WP_20160506_15_32_11_ProForget Me Nots – hmph, I won’t…

How wrong I was. Pawing desperately through the rails I found balconette, multi-way, halterneck, strapless, underwired, push-up, enhancing, gel-filled (really?), full cup, half cup, quarter cup, sports wear, mid-support, full-support, heavy support bras but nowhere could I find one ordinary bra in a normal colour.

We stood, surrounded by bras, me holding possible and perhaps possible choices while my son held the ‘well-I-suppose-that-colour’s-not-too-bad-it’s-not-as-if-I’m-going-to-be-wearing-it-on-the-outside’ bras and I thought:

I don’t want any of these.”

I let my arms drop slowly to my sides and the load of unwanted underwear fall from my grip. I could feel a scream of absolute rage and frustration bubbling within me, forcing its way to the top like a molten lava eruption ready to explode.

My son recognised the look on my face from similar incidents in fast food shops, dentists, doctors, chemists – I’m not impatient, but I hate to be kept waiting – and lunged forward to seize two packs of bras in my size in neon colours with underwires.

I opened my mouth to shriek in protest, but my son raised a hand. As he spoke, a shaft of sunlight entered the dimly-lit shop and illuminated his face with an almost heavenly glow as he spoke these immortal words:

You can take the underwires out.”

Peace stole into my soul as I realised he was right. I could take the underwires out. We paid, and left, quite rapidly, leaving a trail of lace, satin and cotton in our wake.

So then, although my final purchase was still not exactly what I wanted, sometimes in life you have to compromise… Even as I write, my humble assets are covered by an array of neon pink… 

IMG_5802“Don’t see what all the fuss was about – self cleaning fur onesies are the way forward.”

All photographs Copyright © 2016 Alex Marlowe

27 thoughts on “Underwear? No, Over There!

  1. What a funny story!
    Shopping can be such a pain!
    I must confess..I do not wear a bra and haven’t in over 13 years. They give me claustrophobia. Seriously. I can’t breathe. They MUST have been made by a man. Like corsets. ..
    I figure I was born without one so..
    I prefer loose fitting clothes. Elastic waist pants and loose not tight fitting shirts. Tight clothes seem to make me feel smothered.
    Least your son seems to be a great helper. 🙂

    By the way, what is the first flower called? It is really pretty! The whites are…azaleas?
    Beautiful pictures as always!! Keep them coming. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think you are forgetting the upside and main reason a neon bra was manufactured. In the event of a power cut or something similar you can rip your top off (in a Superhero kind of way) and use your neon clad assets as a beacon to guide your loved ones to safety. I’m pretty sure they mention this on the packaging….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. *crying with laughter and choking on a biscuit…*
    I threw the packaging away! WHY-why-am I always the last person to know about these vital attributes? This reason for their creation would have totally passed me by if not for your kind and reasoned explanation…thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dear. Not sure a neon bra can help with choking on a biscuit…maybe some kind of solo Heimlich manoeuvre involving said neon bra hooked to a door handle and slammed? I think I saw this on the Discovery Channel once…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No…no…it passed with the help of a mouthful of scalding hot tea…it occurs to me that there are a lot more uses for bras than the obvious. I saw a programme once where a woman kept baby squirrels in her bra…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That could be really uncomfortable, not to mention painful…also work colleagues might consider it a little odd if her chest started moving-I’m thinking John Hurt in “Aliens” here- only to have her nice work blouse explode in a flurry of teeth and fur…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. People never think these thing through…she should keep them in her socks instead…if the fight ensues she can deal with it way more effectively…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your son is fantastic. He is smart too! Like you, when I see something that fits me or practical it is minimum 6 pcs. My shopping is done for a while to last. These days bras are getting more sophisticated but thankfully we have practical designs here that allow me to toss them in the washing machine in a laundry bag😉Glad you sorted that out!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Your boys are priceless! You must be proud as they exemplify you in your parenting skills. They will make great dads of the future and here is hoping their future wives do not bully them 😉as they are so helpful and kind….patient!!!👍👍

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This story made me laugh! I am much like you, it’s all about comfort and practicality. I’ve bought the same exact bras from the same store for like 7 years in a row now. When I try to look for something new it always ends in frustration!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a fabulous post! I can relate to your experience 100% (okay, really only 99% because I don’t have a son that could save the day for me.) I really admire your wit and wisdom. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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