The other day I set off to the department store to get a strapless bra for a dress I was planning to wear to a bar mitzvah. Having worn bras for, oh, about 30 years, I was fairly confident about what I needed, in what size, what cup, and what style.

Apparently, I was wrong.

As I started collecting a bunch of bras to try on in the lingeree department, a saleswoman with a big measuring tape around her neck approached me.

“Can I help you?” she asked me pleasantly.

“I’m good,” I said. “I just need to get a strapless bra.” She looked at the tag on one of the bras I was holding, stepped back and looked at my chest.

“That’s not your size.” She said definitively.

“Excuse me?”

“Those are not the right size for you. When was the last time you were measured?” she asked me accusingly.
Then she reached out and before I knew it, we had gone to second base.

I. Was. Floored.

OK, she didn’t grab me like a guy in jr. high school would. It was more like a cupping motion. I am mortified even discussing it, so you can imagine how I felt experiencing it. However, it was clear that the Bra Lady was used to doing this kind of thing because right after she’d copped the feel, she stepped back and proclaimed: “34C.”

“No,” I protested. “I’m a 36D.”

“Maybe you USED to be a 36D, but NOW you are a 34C,” she said. “Breasts get smaller as we get older. She assessed my 46 year-old body and nodded. “Especially once you hit your 40’s.” She leaned over and whispered in my ear: “Less Elasticity!”

Not only had I been felt up, I was pretty sure I had also been insulted. But I was still so stunned over the whole thing, I didn’t respond in my usual snarky way. Instead, I just listened as she told me the bras I had selected were the wrong size, didn’t have enough support, and were better suited to someone with more elasticity.

I had walked in bra-secure. And now I discovered I was a total bra train wreck. Who knew?

Bra Lady plunked me down in a dressing room and disappeared with a trail of pink measuring tape flying behind her. Moments later she returned with an armful of bras I would never in my right mind have picked out for myself unless I was under the influence of something that made me think I had the body of a Victoria’s Secret model.

“Those are molded cups. I don’t wear molded cups,” I explained.

“They will give you more shape up here,” she said, pointing to the area where, apparently, I needed more shape. “…Without giving you a muffin top.”

Muffin top? Up top? I always thought muffin tops were down around the waist. Now I find out I had muffin tops in other parts of my body? I wasn’t sure whether to be horrified, or hungry.

Bra Lady stepped back and waited for me to disrobe and try on the bras. Having already gotten up close and personal with her, I decided it didn’t make much sense to get shy now, so I whipped off my shirt and started trying on the bras.

And then, I looked in the mirror. I looked good. Much better than before. The Bra Lady was a genius. Although I wasn’t thrilled with her methods, her results were wonderful. I thanked her, got dressed and turned to leave.

“Hang on,” she said. She reached out and grabbed my butt. “Now let’s see about getting you some Spanx.”

©2011, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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16 responses to “Bra-Humbug

  1. Don

    Wow, I’d love to have a job like that. It sucks learning you’ve made the wrong career choices in retrospect.

  2. Ahhhh, being 46.
    I too have had my post-suckled x4 46 year old breasts man-handled by a little old “throw mamma from the train” saleswoman. Worth every single cent.
    How ’bout that price tag? I paid more for the spanx & bra than I did for dress and shoes. What up widdat?

  3. There is a formula for it. I think they charge you by the amount of years you’ve been wearing bras x 3.

  4. I Tracy Loved your blog. Glad it was ou not me. Just for the record I have never had a sizing where they gve me a bra that worked. Oh yeah except for the figurette Bra and they you truly do walk out looking like the classic Madona. They are wonderful after a few weeks though. You just have to get pastthe poke everyone in the eye stage first. LOL

  5. Never tried the Figurette Bra but it sounds like fun and a potential weapon to use on old ladies on the supermarket express checkout line who try to sneak by too many items!

  6. sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms

    Hilarious.Humiliation in the hands of the correct writer is good for us all. And for boobies. Ellen

    • Thanks for reading it. I’m a firm believer that humiliation definitely makes for the funniest fodder! Fortunately when I don’t have an evil saleslady to do that for me, I can always count on my kids to put me in my place!

  7. Oh those bra ladies…they are a breed apart, aren’t they? Especially the ones who specialize in fitting nursing bras.

    • The ones who fit nursing bras were rendered speechless when they saw my size “H” cups. I’m sure the expression on their faces would have been funny… if I could see them over my boobs.

  8. OMG, congrats on VOTY!!! You are funny. Will you be at the conference??? (I will be the one happy to be honored in the category and ever so slightly sulking because I am not a reader.) Is it wrong that I was ecstatic to see that our breasts gets smaller as we get older? That means that I can one day wear cute little J.Crew button up shirts, which don’t work now because of my “muffin tops.” Seriously awesome post. I have bought all my bras at Target (Champion sports bras) for the past 3 years…nursing, and getting big and pregnant and then nursing some more took the bra love right out of my body.) Anyway, great post.

  9. First of all, wouldn’t that be a muffin *bottom*?
    I totally hear you on the newfound intimacy with bra-measurers. Everyone insisted my boobs would shrink after children. LIES! Instead I’m cheating on my breast pump with the Nordstrom’s lacy lady who is insisting I’m a 34 D.

  10. Hee! I was a 36C once upon a time. Now I’m a 32B. I remember going into the bra department at the Bay after having my second child, and having the Eastern European older lady chase me down. “You are vearing ze vrong size! Zees is VRONG!” And that lady, she was absolutely right.

  11. I’ve been sized up by the “experts” who sent me home with a new “properly fitted” bra that was so tight and uncomfortable that I returned it after wearing it for several days to give it a fair chance. Maybe my chest did look great, but it sure didn’t feel good. I prefer to breathe. Now what?

    At any rate, I hope your experience over the long term is better than mine was. And thank you, I’ll look forward to those smaller boobs they say are coming. Yee ha!

  12. AMEN, sister. Those bra-istas are the worst/best aren’t they? Your story is perfect. I feel like I was right there with you, only we would have been laughing too hard what with cracking jokes about our hairy nipples and such that Ms. Measuring Hands probably wouldn’t have had a chance.