April 28, 2007

Upholding the masses

We've all seen the Oprah Winfrey/Dateline investigations over the last little while I am sure. An epidemic affecting up to 70-85% of women. Thousands of women in North American (and no doubt the world!) are living with this everyday....and like many of them, I too was a victim. Floating through life, repeatedly hitching up that fallen strap, blissfully unaware - until I heard Oprah say the following:
"Every woman watching, this is going to change your life Everyone's talking about it. And I'm revealing a beauty secret that literally performs miracles. It can reverse aging. It can make you look 10, even 20 pounds lighter."
...and it suddenly hit me...I was wearing the wrong bra size. (Cue dramatic music).

It seems in our mid 20's we find a size that fits...and we stick with it. Regardless of changes over the years, weight gains, weight losses, nursing, gravity etc. we assume that "the girls" are going to remain the same forever. We all have memories of those first "training bras" our mothers bought for us umpteen years ago. (And most of us can remember the stinging "snap" of elastic against skin as various school boys ran around the playground testing these new catapults). Yes, the tight, white, ugly constrictive devices, complete with tiny embroidered rosebud or bow in the centre (Marks & Spencer Style #: UGLY01). We couldn't wait to move up to something a tad more delicious. We craved something that screamed "Victoria's Secret" or "La Senza" - barely there gossamer. "I must, I must, I must improve my bust...the bigger the better, the tighter the sweater...the boys rely on us!"

By the time most women hit their 30's however, the desire to be seen as a "Hooters" girl has diminished somewhat. OK for me it took 'til I reached my 40's, but that's another story. So hitching my shoulder strap for the umpteenth time that morning, I was drawn to the ladies fitting room of a large department store... after a perky young sales assistant had told me the dress I was trying on would look "awesome" in the right fitting bra (bitch!)...to ask for that most embarrassing of services. A bra fitting.

Bra fitting is not sexy, it is scientific. A cold eye, colder measuring tape — one almost expects calipers and a short stout German woman named Helga prodding at you mercilessly. It's a mathematical formula: this measurement...add 3...then another measurement, divided by the square root of standing on one leg...that finally produces not only the band width, but that ever important cup size.

Cup size, ah yes - so now we get to the crux of the matter. They range from training size AA (fried eggs) to H (big enough for a kiddies paddling pool on a hot day). The old leering adage of "more than a handful is a waste" proffered by local scallywags, accompanied by a knowing wink has been heard by many a woman who has contemplated her assets. According to statistics the average American bra size has grown from 34B to 36C. Move up to a D cup and the bra fashions out there shrink considerably - think of a suspension bridge, that can double as a fruit bowl on weekends. Sexy? Not on your nelly!

And let's not even get into the torture devices known as under-wire. Any woman worth her salt has experienced the "poke through" effect of a well worn and well loved under-wire bra...and probably has the scars to prove it.

Less than 10 minutes later I was mentally digesting the news of my new size and contemplating the various styles of "over the shoulder boulder holders" on offer. I actually ended up going to 3 different stores that day to be measured and fitted. Call me suspicious by nature, but I needed confirmation that Helga was in fact correct and that I had been wrong all these years. Turns out Helga knew her stuff, and her colleagues in the industry confirmed the results.

$100 later I am gleefully skipping home with my new purchases. No more slipping straps, permanent indentations on my shoulders or permanent marks around my ribcage. Do I look any better? Heaven only knows, but my posture has certainly improved. Shoulders back, chest out...onward girls - onward!


Lou Lou said...

you go girl!
i was gobsmacked when i was told at a fitting i was a d cup! i still dont quite beleive it, as they dont look that big but if the bra fits wear it!!

zippy said...

I may need to find Helga's sister, Gertrude.. ^_^