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…
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…
Forget 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…
“Don’t see what all the fuss was about – self cleaning fur onesies are the way forward.”
All photographs Copyright © 2016 Alex Marlowe