While I was on the phone with a friend discussing prophylactic mastectomies and the dreaded pigeon-holing of another friend’s book-of-the-moment as a “cancer book,” I ducked into an Upper West Side store to buy a bra. I didn’t quite realize the irony of this until I was waiting online to pay for my purchase. As I was on the phone, I casually flipped through the racks trying to find something to flatter my small “national geographic” chest.
After I hung up with my friend, the older woman hovering around me asked if I would like a bra fitting. I was a little hesitant, since I wasn’t quite sure what that entailed, but remembered hearing stories of woman who had “miraculous” bra-fitting experiences that lead to better cleavage and uplifted decolletage. I unfortunately, did not have such an experience, as I seem to know my breasts better than most women know theirs. The sales associate brought me a selection of bras, which I vetoed one-by-one: “this one has a elastic along the upper part of the cup, it’s going to cut into my chest and squash the little I have to begin with.” Another one wasn’t padded, that’s not going to fly with me. “Too much of a dark nude, I need a lighter nude because I’m pale.” No lace this time around, I needed something for shirts in softer fabrics — what is it with older women and lace? Some stuff was pretty, but an inch away from my wondering if it came with a matching garter belt. I finally dismissed the saleswoman, who left in a huff when I shooed her out as she tried to follow me into the dressing room, insisting on being in there to help me. Umm, no thank you, I’ve been wearing a bra for 14 years, I think I’ve got the hook and eye thing down for myself now.
I walked out of the store with two perfectly decent bras, they weren’t La Perla, but fit perfectly and would be appropriate to wear under tee shirts. After that experience, I felt the need to reward myself with something I liked rather than a necessity. So, like the good woman I am, I headed straight to the shoe store, where toe cleavage, high heels and peep-toes flatter every foot and no one needs to feel self-conscious.