Last week I decided to go shopping for a bra. The one I wear every day is finally losing any possibility of holding anything up! You may be wondering why I only have one bra. Well I do have several, but each one has manifested tortuous methods that include pain, reduced oxygen supply from underwire hell, and strap marks that resemble gully’s left by dried up riverbeds. Oh, yes I know there are probably bras out there that fit well and believe me I’ve made many efforts to find them. They seem to feel okay initially but then over a period of time they turn against me like a caged animal. I decide this time I’m going to a store that has “bra specialists”. I’m assigned salesperson with a foreign accent that sounds like she might have been in an old World War Two movie. She has a full figure, and carries a tape measure as if it were a badge of honor. She takes lots of measurements and then asks me a myriad of questions about my life style. She then decides on several selections that just might do the trick. Then it’s time to go into the dressing room with “Helga” to get her input and suggestions. But first she explains how to put the bra on. This in itself is an art and one which I have never seemed to be able to imitate. She babbles on about getting proper alignment, and all I can think of is my mechanic who uses the same terminology for the tires on my car. Finally I am in the bra, all lined up and everything is at attention. She mentions that my old bra wasn’t doing anything for me. Well, I never asked it to do anything for me. I didn’t realize we had a partnership. She convinces me that I must buy the bra and a few others that have the same construction. Now I’m beginning to feel like I should have on a hard hat and be able to drive a truck. So I trust her judgment and start to feel euphoric like I finally found the holy grail of bras. But after several days I start to feel twinges of pain. I think I should endure even if it is simply to honor “Helga” and her quest to help women conquer becoming vertically challenged. But then I decide to literally release myself from bra prison and just let everything float freely and naturally. Hey it just may be time to “let go and let loose”.
Over the years I have bought into a myriad of products and clothing that made promises to lift, tuck, flatten, erase, lengthen, lighten, remove, reduce or enhance. I’m afraid to think about the money I spent on these items that essentially consist of creating illusions. I’m sure there are thousands of women like me all over the world. I have found that as I’ve gotten older that the comfort and enhancement that many of these products offer often comes from not buying them. Still, every once in a while I am seduced into looking into whether or not a certain item really does what the retailer says.
I often get commercials for the “ Genie Bra” on my computer. My imagination which is rife with humor started thinking of what a “Genie bra” might do. Could you rub the bra and get your wishes to come true. And where does the Genie live? Perhaps under one of the shoulder straps that the company says is wide and comfortable. I still look for jeans that have a shape but don’t strangle your thighs, and either come up too high or are so low you could get arrested for lewd exposure. Yes, I know there are companies that have jeans they say are for all body types, and I have friends who swear by them. Maybe, just maybe they haven’t seen a body like mine, since I can never get a pair that fit without feeling suicidal.
Makeup used to be one of my favorite things to shop for. I particularly love the eye shadows and blush, but I’ve gotten away from having to drive myself crazy trying to emulate what makeup artists do when their trying to show me how a certain product can open my eye more or diminish lines and lessen age spots. They often give you a chart to follow which is like having Map Quest for your face. I often end up looking like I’m auditioning for a circus act. I have finally had some epiphanies that have made my life much easier. Not wearing a bra unless I have to, is extremely comfortable. It gives the “girls” a vacation from bra prison. I have found some loose comfortable pants that allow easy movement and underwear that fits, but doesn’t constrict. I still love eye makeup, and hip fashion, but I have also come to realize that all of promises retailers make on how good you’ll feel once you wear their stuff means nothing if you haven’t worked on feeling good on the inside.