One of the members of my writing group wrote a personal essay about taking her 85 year old mother bra shopping.  What an experience.  Can you imagine?  It was a great topic and got me thinking about a bra fitting my mother made me go to when I was 12.

“Mom!  Close the door!”

“Oh, please.  Nobody’s paying you any attention.”

Did anybody else’s mother do this?  Just pull open a dressing room door or jerk open a curtain without any pause to see if you’re dressed?  Oh, and then invite in a stranger to feel you up?  Not only was I 12 with boobs bigger than my classmates, but I also had hips and was at least two inches taller than my male counterparts.  It was awkward being 12.  My mother’s solution to my “boob problem” was taking me to Belk’s annual bra fitting.  Really?  Is it really necessary for a stranger to see me topless?  How hard is it to pick out a bra anyway? 

I remember standing in front of the dressing room mirror waiting for my mother and the bra consultant  to bring me the appropriate selection of underwires, seamless shapes, and double clasps.

I hope at least one has butterflies on it.

And then I realized I hadn’t shaved my armpits.  And it was quite possible that I’d forgotten to put on deodorant.  Yep, no deodorant.  Shaving and wearing deodorant were still new tasks that I sometimes forgot.  I was also not good at brushing my hair, but that’s another story.

Oh, no.  What if she gets stabbed by my pokey pit?  I wonder if anyone else can smell that?  I want to go home.

Before I had a chance to throw my floral polo over my head, my mother flung open the door and she and the consultant entered the room.  So much for my escape.  I covered myself with my polo.  I mean, could we sit down and have some cookies, get to know each other before I show you my rack?

“Alissa, this nice lady is going to measure your bust to make sure we’ve picked out the right size. “

The consultant pulled out her measuring tape and asked me to put my hands on my hips.


And just like that she was done measuring.  And I was thinking we were done.  Nope.  Next thing I knew she was wrapping me up in a bra and instructing me on the proper way to wear one.

“You’ve got to get in there and situate them.  Bend over and pull them up and over and into the cups.”

I got lost in the middle of word problems in my math class and this lady wanted me to remember how to navigate the proper steps to putting on a bra. 

The first couple of bras didn’t work.  They were uncomfortable, they were too pointy, they were too grown up.  Finally, we found one.  I didn’t look like a tramp.  I wasn’t lopsided.  I was held in place by an off-white, seamless, slightly padded underthing.  And even though it didn’t have butterflies on it, it did, somehow make me feel a little better.  Even though I had five o’clock shadow under my arms and no one wanted to stand down wind of me, I felt a twinge of confidence.  Of course, that could have just been the AC kicking on.