We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For some, this month serves as a reminder to do those self-breast exams. For others, the entire pink-stained month is a painful reminder of a loved one lost to the disease or a current battle.
Because this month can be accompanied by pain and sadness, I thought maybe some levity was in order. With that in mind, I bought a bra.
One evening I found myself with time to kill and money to burn. I also found my breasts in an over-sized bra. Having expanded with the surge of life-giving milk for baby number five, then quickly deflating the minute we weaned, my poor boobs had been bouncing around in a bra way too big for far too long.
I began my search for a new brassiere in a department store one step up from Target on the hoity-toity scale. My little village has nothing close to a Victoria’s Secret, so this Intimate Apparel section was as close as I was going to get. Thankfully, it was tucked way in the back of the store, safely away from the gawking eyes of entering and exiting patrons. However, being far away from the exits did not turn this errand into the private shopping experience I needed it to be. As I grabbed armfuls of youthful bras in every possible size and carried them to the fitting room, I could feel the judgy stares of Grammy Blue Hair from across the aisle in Home Goods.
In the fitting room things went downhill. Well, things certainly went DOWN as I unleashed the girls. I spent the next twenty minutes trying to shove them into bras that just wouldn’t fit. Seven bras later and things were a bust. This was just as well, because I really wasn’t prepared to spend $87 on a bra, anyhow. The only positive thing I’d gained so far was a more accurate idea of my current bra size. Armed with that new information, I was determined to head back out there and try again.
Except they don’t make pretty bras in that size. There were plenty of practical harnesses to choose from in black and white and various shades of beige. But I didn’t want a humdrum bra. Sure, I’m a thirty-five year old mother of five, but did that really relegate me to the realms of boring and functional undergarments? Not that day, folks. I pressed on. To Target.
Which proved to be a bad idea because of all the people. There were people everywhere. All kinds of people. So, so many people. The tweenage employees yukking it up as they folded shirts, I was sure I was the butt of their jokes. I was certain the cute, newlywed couple just trying to buy a few decorative pillows had a good long laugh at me on their way home.
In case you are thinking of buying a bra from Target, you should know that they keep the pretty ones right on the main aisle so everyone knows what kind of perv you are. I felt like there was a spotlight right on me as I filed through rack after rack of bras. More than once I had to tell myself, “Hey! You are a grown woman. Grown women deserve pretty bras at reasonable prices. And grown women don’t need to feel like perverts as they spend 15 minutes weighing the merits of high cut briefs and hipsters!” That’s right, ladies. I got the matching panties. Because nothing makes you feel like a more confident grown-up woman than matching intimates.
Finally finding a pretty bra in my size ((that fit) with matching bottoms), I headed to the checkout line. But not without first grabbing a few other less personal items to offset the sleaze-factor. The conveyor belt looked something like pack of gum, lacy bra, paper clips, Windex, sexy undies. They may as well have announced on the intercom, “We have a middle aged lady with a muffin top who needs a price check on the sexiest bra we carry. She tried to sneak it in between gum and Windex so we wouldn’t notice, but we all know she’s just a sad mom trying to make herself feel better with new matching undergarments.”
And while that would have been absolutely mortifying, here’s the thing. I really do feel better about myself in those fancy underthings. Sometimes a push-up bra is just the boost we need to face another crazy day. We may be hiding a beautiful bra under our everyday clothes, but on our faces we wear the secret inner confidence such tiny things can inspire. Sometimes it’s the 38Ds in life.