Tuesday, June 06, 2006

. . . and the "Band" played on

It's been a long time since anything remotely funny has happened to me, although I must admit I've experienced serious humor loss over the past few months and it may just be my rotten point of view that's responsible for my having humor blinders on. So it was with some enjoyment that I experienced something stupid today that made me laugh out loud.

[confession] A week or so ago I finally decided that I HAD to replace some brassieres. Shamefully going along day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year, I'd ignored the obvious signs--tickly tendrils of rubber elastic crawling down my shirts, tattered or all but entirely severed mid-chestal panels, tags so curled and threadbare they could no longer even be interpreted. In fact, it had been so long since I'd purchased a boulder holder (pebble holder in my case) that I couldn't remember my size and the tags were no longer capable of helping. In truth, I had not purchased said item since a year or more before moving to current city/state.

Since I am too lazy to shop and hate nothing more than a #@$%^^$ mall (and I should certainly repeat the $$$$ there), I of course went on the net to Penney's indestructable cement clad foundations department to shop around. No Victoria's Egret for me; I consider that segment of commerce to be completely egregious. I found a few items that looked like what I wanted and might work. I really, really wanted a tee-shirt bra with good coverage. And please, a couple of things that would be comfortable in summer. And, oh, yeah, even though I absolutely HATE them and haven't owned one for at least seven years, a strapless for some odd newfangled tops I've bought that won't cooperate with any other unders in my extant wardrobe.

And before I go further let me just state for the record that I think it is just idiotic that women are expected to have eight-hundred-ninety-eleven different kinds of items in their undie arsenal. That they should need to in the first place is just incomprehensible. Perhaps I am just a stuck-in-the-mud, pragmatic under-a-rock convent dweller. But what the flip? Gimme a big ol' nightie and let me run around town like an incoherent bag lady.

I digress. Let the "back fat" begin.

So I order a couple or three bras. Days pass. The shipment is divided and one undie item is SO POPULAR (ha, keep reading) that it is on backorder. The first half of shipment arrives. Two of exactly the same size, along with a pair of khaki colored slacks I desperately need. Excitement! I rarely spend money on self so am bouncing up and down. I find a lone moment to try them on. The first, the strapless, also comes with two sets of straps, one set for making a halter and criss-cross back, and another that I have never seen before because I am entirely uneducated about my own fair sex's undergarments. These are stretchy TRANSPARENT PLASTIC thingies. Do I wear them criss-cross? Are they for halters? Can you really move the adjustment buckle without shredding the plastic? God forbid I should actually wear them over shoulders strapless? I am confounded to my very, uh, foundation.

But any way I configure this complicated device, IT FITS! I'm overjoyed. So I go ahead with great overweening confidence and try on the second one, the tee shirt bra. Behold! It is at least three hundred percent too small! And so are my boobs, but how is it possible that they can be pinched to very deflation with an outstanding overflow of so perverse a manner? And how can my back be hanging over the under-armpit-bits with such superfluous abandon? Tell me, who was the engineer of this travesty?

For a few moments I am shamed, humiliated. I reflect. Indeed, I have not gained eighty gagillion pounds since the last time I bought bras. I'm much older and floppier and don't swim anymore, it's true. No longer tight and trim. But jumpin' jeHosa-fat! Now I am curious and look at the [brand-spankin' new, non-faded] tag to see who the manufacturer is. Ah, oui, oui, eet ezz ze Leelee d'France. Zoze Fwansh filles, zey arr apparahntlee MUY frigging PEQUENO! Clearly my boobestate does not speak Fwansh. Ooh, or Spanish, either. Since I'm referring to the girls, I should be using the feminine form of the adjective to match the noun.

Disgusted, and irritated, and wanting to throw the bra back to the frogs (after all, I am of fourteen generations' UK extraction), I stuff it back, scrawl my nasty comments on the catalog order return form [will not repeat comments here in possibly litigatable public forum], and make the mistake of trying on the "pants."

I use the term "pants" loosely. For while the waist [though in a fashionably low style which I absolutely hate and ascribe to a bad economy which wants to make consumers pay a lot of money for less actual goods and makes even the contemptible size 0 butts look huge] did fit, and even the booty fit, which is no small feat (hah, did you get the pun), they have a "feature" which I have neither witnessed nor worn before. Above the left pocket puffs an unaccountable extra bit of yardage which without meaning to call to mind dogs I can only describe as a "pooch."

Ladies, I know you've all done this dance before. I look down at it, look in the mirror, walk away, then look down, then recheck the mirror and confirm that there is no symmetry in these pants. Yet it's hard to believe what I see. I momentarily distrust my own observation. But--take note, all you pants manufacturers--if one's body is fairly symmetrical, symmetry is a trait to be desired in pants. A "pooch" in which one could conceivably carry a whole neighborhood's mail is NOT to to be desired.

Okay. So strike two. I fold them carefully, remove no tags and place them back in their torn-up shrink wrap. Sigh.

I have not at all recovered from this defeat when another bag appears at the doorstep. It must be the third and final bra! Hopefulness! Optimism! Excitement!

I race upstairs and try it on. I've failed to describe this one. It is a "bandeau" bra. Kind of like a tight, strapless tank top, but shorter and tighter. I got it in skin tone so it just doesn't cause any worries. I dive into it. It seems great! Oh, it has some light pads that are removable, and will conquer the nippie problem! Holy smokes, it fits, sort of! But in front, around the flabby armpit area, it looks kinda creased and weird. Maybe that will be okay. I try a tee shirt on over it and the creases don't show. A lot. Okay, they show some, but it's not irritating enough to send the thing back. And the nippie-showing problem is solved. That is the best part.

So the bra is great. For about an hour. Then I start to notice a bit of random creep. I went through a few hours of discreet pulling and tugging. Not to worry. Not so bad. And SO comfortable, except for the yanking around.

This morning I wore it, feeling great. It was clearly perfect for several shirts with oddly shaped necklines. So I put on an odd-necklined shirt and went about my day.

There I was, driving the car toward the grocery store, when I noticed an odd sensation around the shoulder-belt crossing. I adjusted the belt, and noticed something wrong that had nothing to do with car safety features. Somehow the top half of the undergarment had curled, rolled, and crept down. Then the more rigid internal pads had folded in half, and only the bottom half of the bra remained. Unfortunately, it now resided under the items which were intended to be supported, and was no longer supporting them.

Of course, I was on the main thoroughfare of the town center when I made this discovery. There I was, grabbing my own boob in horror at the stoplight where everyone jaywalks or legitimately crosses the street. And the second I realized what had happened I started laughing my tail off. While waiting for the green light. And I will bet that half the street crossers and remaining drivers in the opposite direction saw me grab my own boob and laugh.

Ah, what can I say? I'm gettin' me summo' dese bras. To heck with Lily of you know what. Expensive pinchy bra? Very expensive. Much less expensive bandeau bra? PRICELESS, and definitely worth waiting for. I totally understand the backorder.


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