Weird Experience BRA None

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Being a woman has it’s privileges. In fact it’s magical, as we all learned in junior high during the one hour film “You and Your Body.” That’s where we learned that one day our bodies would change forever but not to worry. IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL.

To begin with, you would wake up one day with little “buds” on your chest. This is nothing to worry about, unless of course, yours are nonexistent. Then you will be the talk of the girl’s locker room where everyone was made to undress and shower, an experience most of us are still working through with our therapist. Before you know it, word will get out and Lee Lanham and David Lewis will stick a sign that says FLATSY on your back that you will wear unknowingly all day until your best friend removes it but you can tell even SHE thinks it’s funny.

It’s okay. Totally normal. And do not worry if this happens to you because it will all change years later when the sperm travels to meet the egg and a new life forms inside you. After nine magical months you will give birth, the pain will be unspeakable, but don’t worry, this is totally normal. And you know, there are drugs for that. In any case your non-existent buds will become two hard baseballs throbbing with agonizing pain as they fill with milk to feed your new baby. Totally normal. Nothing constant hot compresses, Tylenol with codeine and a breast pump can’t fix. But look! You have boobs! Take that Lee and David.

You will begin the process of menstruation. One day you may notice a little drop of blood on your panties. This is totally normal. Nothing to be concerned about. Unless of course it’s the day your mom finally let you wear your new white culottes to school. Then you may find out you have started the process when you go up to the front of the cafeteria to get another milk. Don’t worry, someone will inform you. Then you can go to the school nurse and say, “Uhm, I think I may have started my period.” And the nurse will bring you a contraption that looks like the harnass I use to walk my labradoodle and a pad the size of your travel duffel bag and you can hobble back to class like nothing happened. Plus, you don’t have to dress out for gym! You can sit on the bench like a big lummox who is incapacitated by her own body and everyone can say, “Look, Amy’s on the rag.” It’s a privilege. It is the magic of being a woman.

Don’t worry, it’s all in the film. You will be totally prepared for this completely normal process. You’ll be ready.

I remember finding the film very informative, though I have to say they left out one very important stage, something I recently went through and though I’m sure it is a totally normal process, part of the privilege and magic of being a woman,  I found myself totally unprepared. It is the Shopping For A Bra In Your Late Fifties stage. Cannot understand why they left this out.

After years of buying my bras at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, often at a very good price because I pick the ones that have the weird ticket stapled to them meaning they may possibly have been worn before and returned, I noticed that my shirts were not fitting right. Like there was a lot of boobage blobbing out from my underarms and my upper back, and I thought, okay, this is totally normal. Nothing a new bra maybe with real cups and everything can’t fix.

So, I decided to really do it up and go to Nordstroms where the women are professional and knowledgeable and can actually fit you with the perfect bra. I figured it’s my next right of passage, sort of like your first visit to the gynecologist minus the stirrups, the gel, “the slide down a little further..little more, little more,”  well…. I mean you guys get it.

So, I walk into the Nordstrom lingerie department ready for this totally normal experience. And I go up to the woman who is texting on her phone but has a name badge so I know she is an experienced and knowledgeable professional. I say, “Hi, I need to get some new bras,” and she says, “Well, what kind of bra, we have hundreds of them obviously” as she waves her hand to the inventory like Vanna White does when Pat Sajak introduces a new puzzle.

And I said well something that would look good under t-shirts, and blouses, and possibly under a nightgown for when I do girl’s weekends and have to share a room. So she says, after sending one final text that probably said, Old lady with saggy boobs here brb, “We will have to get you fitted.”

Ready? This means standing topless in a dressing room, staring at your boobs and the weird mole that has appeared near you underarm, while she stands behind you and then stretches a measuring tape around your circumference. And you want to say, “OMG I’m hideous! Look away!” but she says “Okay, I’ll be right back.”

While she’s gone you stand there admiring yourself, the little bit of muffin top even though you’ve been doing Weight Watchers, except you are still using sugar in your coffee but not enough to even count, how many points could it possibly be. That little pinch of fat where your arms and chest attach. The way your boobs sort of sit so comfortably right on your tum- tum. This is a privilege. It is the magic of being a woman 

Finally, she returns with what looks to be several of those harnasses I see the guys wearing when they are installing new roofs. She says, “Let’s try these,” and as I face the mirror she slides one on, up over my arms, pulls it tight and fastens it. This takes some doing. It makes my 30 minute pulling up Spanx routine look like nothing.

But here’s the thing…they fit.

So I pick out three and head to the check out, she is anxious I can see to resume her texting conversation. She gives me the total and I call my bank to take out a small loan against my mortgage and then pay for my new gear. Yes I’ll take the little bag to wash them in, yes I will take the special hand washing soap for delicates. Yes I know I’m going to throw them in the wash with the towels in a few months, but let the dream live for a moment.

Once home, I put one of them on under my new Deep Eddy’s t-shirt that I got at Gasparilla a few years ago. I have to say, it looks pretty good. They are not facing downwards. They are ready to face the world. “Look at us!” they are saying! Not age, not years of breastfeeding, not bone smashing yearly mammograms can keep us down.

So what if I can hardly breathe and am having trouble raising my arms?

It’s all perfectly normal.

It’s a privilege. It’s fucking magical.

amy koko