Posts Tagged ‘underwear shopping’

I used to think that bikini shopping was the worst kind of shopping of all. But now I realise at least bikinis are optional. Brassieres, however, are not – especially when, like me, your breasts have become a potential tripping hazard.

I will put bra shopping off for as long as I possibly can. It’s no matter to me if the underwire is threatening to give me a lumbar puncture at any given moment or has gone MIA all together. It’s no matter if my “flesh-coloured” bras have taken on the hue of a four day old corpse or they’ve got so many holes in them that they look like a fishnet bra. I don’t care. I’ll do anything to avoid bra shopping.

But then recently, my dear friend KT bought a fantastic bra with a fancy French name and became some kind of bra born-again.

“My breasts feel fantastic in this bra!” she told me, with bras in her eyes. And indeed, when she gave me a quick flash, they looked fantastic, too.

“All you need is a good bra!” she said, suddenly looking at me with a corsetiere’s eye. “We’re going bra shopping this week. I won’t take no for an answer.”

So next thing I knew, I found myself staring at my semi-naked reflection in the change rooms of a department store lingerie department. The light was so harsh, I could practically see the cracks in my self-esteem widening with every breath I took.

KT brought in the first round of bras for me to try on. Turns out that these days my breasts are a lot like sleeping bags –  there’s a fine art to rolling them up the right way to fit them back neatly in their covers. But the problem was finding the right cover. Of course the whole notion of ‘sizing’ didn’t help – in one bra, a 16D made me look like the Michelin man with water retention, while a 14C in another bra made my breasts looked like a 3 year old’s feet her mother’s shoes. And all the while, I kept seeing those little pictures of the 10B models on the sales tags. Why put a 10B model on a 16D tag, or even on a 10A one for that matter? Most certainly, most women do not look like that and the suggestion that we should all want to look like that is just plain insulting.

As KT went off to try and find some better styles, I found myself really looking at my body. That flabby tummy had nurtured three new lives. And those saggy-baggy breasts had given sustenance for a total of fifty-seven months. My body rocked, goddammit! It was a magical marvellous mystical place and I should be wearing those stretch-marks proudly like sergeant’s stripes.

Still, when I tried on the next bra and it cut into my breasts, dividing them neatly into four like some kind of cow, I had one last stab at self-loathing.

“My breasts are stupid!” I moaned.

“These are shit bras,” KT said. “They’re all gapey and baggy and bulgy and badly made. They’re all wrong. That is all. Your breasts are just right.”

And we walked out of the department store, our heads held high – although admittedly, one set of breasts wasn’t held quite as high as the other.

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Every mother has to draw a line somewhere. For me, it’s drawn at sewing costumes for the ballet concert. Oh, don’t get me wrong: I’m happy to bake for the kindergarten stall and dress up for the School Bush Dance and even refrain from telling fart jokes to the Principal. But when it comes to becoming a one-woman sweat-shop chucking an all-nighter to hand-sew sequins on bow-ties? The. Line. Is. Drawn.

Of course, the fact that I can’t sew for shit is neither here nor there.

Anyway, for this year’s concert, I outsourced all sewing to my own mother with the thought that the worst of it had been dealt with. Now, I’d just have to show up on the night of the concert, sit back and enjoy the show, right?


Last week, I received a list of ‘costume extras’ in the dance school newsletter that has made me think of those ‘Scavenger Hunts’ I used to go on at university. Except I have to provide my own alcohol. The hardest item on the list to find, it turns out, is the “flesh-coloured underpants”. For a five year old. Because so many five year olds wear sheer clothing.

“Oh, NDM,” I can hear certain people say. “You can buy flesh-coloured underwear for pre-tweens at any specialty dance shop.”

Sure! As long as you don’t live in an area where the closest thing to a “specialty shop” is a Kebab House where you can choose between three different kinds of sauce on your lamb doner. Get a grip, people!

In any case, someone told me I could buy them at Target. But when I went there on a mercy dash the morning of the first dress rehersal with Tiddles McGee in tow, I couldn’t find anything remotely ‘flesh-coloured’, except, perhaps, if I were to paint my daughter hot pink.

After several agonising minutes, I settled on a shade of pink that might pass for ‘slightly sunburnt’ or ‘blushing with rage’ and Tiddles and I ran to the checkout (as fast as you can when you have to negotiate five aisles of toys in your path). And of course, because I was in such a hurry, the pair I’d selected was without that all important price-tag so a call had to be made to ‘Sonya’ in Children’s Wear for a price check.

Tiddles and I stood and waited. And waited. And then waited some more.

Then Tiddles McGee started tugging at the front of his shorts and in one of those cold flashes of memory, I realised I’d put him in underpants that morning, as part of me paying lipservice to the toilet training process now that he is three.

“Hang on, Tiddles,” I told him as we waited. And waited.

Finally it emerges that ‘Sonya’ is not rostered on today and another call for a price check is made, this time to ‘Rayleen’ in Children’s Wear. After a few more minutes of waiting (me) and tugging (Tiddles), “Rayleen” turned up… to take the underpants I wanted to buy all the way back to Children’s Wear to find the price. It was by this point I suspected it might have been quicker for me to have filled in a Target job application form, gotten interviewed and hired, done the price check myself and then handed in my resignation. Sheesh!

In the meantime, Tiddles was growing incredibly uncomfortable. “I think he’s about to blow!” I remarked to the checkout lady, wondering if I should ask her to call in a mop-up team as a pre-emptive measure.

“You know, we do have toilets in the store, ” the lady replied. “They’re in the far corner of the store, just next to Children’s Wear.”

At which point, I was almost tempted to piss on the floor myself in utter rage, except that ‘Rayleen’ finally turned up and I was able to pay for the underpants and, scooping up Tiddles McGee, run to the nearest toilets that weren’t the ones next to Children’s Wear, which would have just made me feel like a dog returning to its own vomit.

Luckily, Tiddles made it. Not so for the underpants I’d purchased, which were deemed by the Powers That Be to be “too pink”. And two days later, I ended up driving three suburbs away to a specialty shop where I paid a small fortune for a pair of knickers my daughter will probably only wear once while dancing to the beat of her own internal drum at the back of a crowded stage.

Now all I need is for someone to ask me to stay up the night before the concert hand-sewing sequins on said underpants and my happiness will be complete.

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