Jul 052006

First mistake. Second mistake: I thought it’d be easier not to got to big city but stay in the suburbs. So I went into the local dessous shop with an extraordinarly dumb name. I go there with the top that I’m going to wear to my sister’s wedding and say that I’m looking for a matching bra, no see-through straps, not beige and not white. The sales woman looks at me and says,

“You’re probably a 75 C.” (Note to reader, these are German sizes.)

“I’m not sure, I have lost a bit of weight recently.”

Then, what is she bringing for me? Right, a couple of white or beige bras with see-through straps. With padding. Some have straps you can take off, which leaves you with a cup that stands away from your breasts. Funny sight. And which size does she bring? 80 C. Me:

“I’d rather have a 75, please.”

“But then it’s so tight.”

“But I’d like one in 75 anyway.” (So that it’ll still fit, when I continue losing weight.)

“But it’s better if it isn’t so tight.”

After I insist, she brings one in 75 C. Me:

“The cups are too small.”

“I already told you it’ll be too tight, I’ll bring you the 80 C.”

“Please don’t, it’s the cups that are too small.”

“But that’s C, you had C in the other bra as well.”

Um yeah, but 80 C. At that point I should have left the shop immediately.

(For co-reading men: The number represents the measurement around the body under the breasts in centimeters, the letter represents the size of the cup with A being smaller than B. Now for the catch: Women with wider rib cages usually have bigger boobs as well, so the cup of 75 C is as big as the cup of 80 B. So 80 C equals 75 D. Men don’t have to know this. But women who work in dessous shops do.)

At last she wanted to tell me that a brown, padded monster with fake printed black lace would be perfect. She even would have sold it to me without the matching string. Sadly, that bra was: double the price I had wanted to pay, extremely ugly, and – too big. The fact that a bra holds somehow and keeps the boobs from spilling out when you’re not leaning over does not mean that it fits.

I uttered a lame “I have to think about it, because it is a little too expensive” and fled. (To be true I uttered an even lamer “I have to ask my husband about this.” I lied.)

1 1/2 hours wasted and no bra in sight. (During those 1 1/2 hours I dressed, undressed, put the top on, undressed … )

Home, eat ice cream.

After the ice cream I tried again. I went to a shop my MIL knew. They have Triumph bras. Nice. In the hour I spent there I didn’t see a single sales woman. They had a sale and it was quite crowded, ‘though. Most of the bras were not quite what I wanted, more in the line of what my granny would like. (At least nobody tried to sell me a string.) By the way, my bra size is (but you already guessed that) 75 D. The first thing I did was buy me a black sports bra like the others that I’ve been wearing exclusively for years. (I have a white one too.) Since I’ve been shrinking the ones that I bought while still breastfeeding (90 C) don’t really fit anymore. (And the Intermezzo in the dessous shop showed me why I like to buy my bras in the sportswear shop.)

I love these bras: they don’t pinch, they’re comfy, you don’t have to fear your boobs falling out when you lean over, they don’t have seams, they’re looking good, and I don’t have to change when I’m doing yoga, or something. Only their broad comfy bra straps don’t look good under a tank top. But I would have worn it anyway if my eyes hadn’t fallen on another table with bras on sale. Now I have a turquoise bra with wires too! Sadly the cups are a little too small (75 C), but the top I’ll be wearing has ruffles in all the important places. (Um, I know. I wouldn’t have thought there’d be a time when I’d be wearing something with ruffles, flowers and bows, but trust me, it looks fabulous.) I trust myself to go on shrinking (and then it’ll fit), and it cost me only 10% of the brown monster.

I don’t know, why I’m still letting myself be pushed around by sales women, but if you’re going to buy a bra, read Bitch PhD’s tips about the right choice in bras, part 1 und 2 and this thing by Oprah.

  7 Responses to “I thought I’d just buy a bra”

  1. So glad you can make it. (I’ll keep this short as I am typing with my vacuum cleaner in one hand.)

  2. or perhaps one of the biggest social causes of them all…

    such a terrific post. i so look forward to having us all in one place on Sunday.

    choice. yes.

  3. Thank you for this post. It is extremely meaningful to me. My father-in-law was one of the Volga-Deustch–ethnic Germans who lived in Russia for 150 years preceding Stalin. His family was starved out by Stalin, separated from each other (at least one was shot), exiled from their land back to Germany, and forced to live according to the whims of the Nazis. He came to Canada as a Displaced Person in 1946. There but for the grace of god, we all go. You post on choice and making a conscious decision to see what is going on lies at the heart of all social action. Thank you.

  4. Well you couldn’t have picked a nicer girl than Jen, love her blog.

  5. You know, I’ve heard about German guilt. That Germans have been made to feel so awful about the war and the Jews that they are afraid to do or think anything controversial. Is that true? Does that exist?

    You should not, NOT feel guilty for WWII. Some people think the Treaty of Versailles, which totally emasculated the German people, was the cause of WWII. But I can promise you, YOU didn’t cause it. And I believe ANYONE in the downtrodden shoes of your (and mine actually) grandparents would have followed Hitler just as readily.

    Anyway. Little rant there.

    I love germans.

  6. Dear Esereth, I’m not feeling guilty for WWII. Definitely not. And I don’t think that Germans are any different from other people. I do think though that thinking of what happened here serves as a reminder to all of us how easy people stop to think for themselves. And then, when it’s over they say, “But I didn’t know about that.”

    It reminds me that everyday people like me are capable of doing bad things. It reminds me to stay aware.

    The thing I haven’t written here is, as much as I love American culture or Brazilian, I’m German through and through. I can’t imagine living anywhere else and I’m not one of the people who think everything German is bland and boring. I remember coming home from two months in Brazil and loving every single aspect of German life. The times when one had to be ashamed for being German are over. Fortunately.

  7. Wow… what an awesome post! I suspect all of us could find some collective guilt in our national backgrounds. As an American, I am often ashamed of the way this country behaves throughout the world ~ and it is a challenge to break the stereotype, to get beyond that. German people were subject to the same relentless propaganda and nationalism as many other nations. Those responsible are those who knowingly participate. There is no more room for German, American or any other national guilt. We can and do change cultures.

    I love this post! Absolutely love it.



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