On shopping…

Melissa Stagnaro

I’m not much of a shopper, any of my friends will tell you that. The only thing I truly enjoy shopping for is books. On the other end of the spectrum, I absolutely hate shopping for one thing. Bras.

Walk through the lingerie section of any department or specialty store, and you’ll see rack after rack of pretty bra and panty sets in a wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes. But rather than filling me with any sort of thrill, the sight gives me hives.

My stress stems in large part because of what is missing from those racks – anything pretty or colorful that will actually fit me. No, support undergarments in my size are always in drab shades of white or beige and usually tucked off in a corner somewhere.

My college roommate thought it was a real hoot to go bra shopping with me. Her way of helping? Putting the bras on her head to see if they’d fit. Talk about being scarred for life.

I have nightmares about thin little sales associates sneering, “Oh, we don’t carry anything in THAT size.” And before you decide I have an overactive imagination know this: That actually happened to me 10 or 12 years ago. I have a witness.

I can’t describe the smug satisfaction I felt when I first saw that the specialty store in which the incident occurred is now associated with Lane Bryant. Now bras in “THAT size” are among the smallest they carry. Finally, after all these years, I have justice! I hope that flat-chested wench still works there and is forced to handle gigantic bras every day.

The final straw for me happened two or three years ago. I had finally found some bras that I liked at Victoria’s Secret. But when I went back a couple of weeks later to pick up some more, I was told that everything above a D had been pulled from the chain’s stores in that area as part of some market test.

I was given a number to call to express my discontent and, while I made my obligatory phone call, I will never go back. Whatever their final decision, I just don’t care. I’ll find somewhere else to spend my lingerie budget.

After years of feeling self conscious and stressed out by the prospect of bra shopping, I’m done. No, I won’t be going bra-less. I’m just done letting anyone make me feel like there is something wrong with me.

I’m not 90 years old and sagging to my knees and I’m not going to buy a bra designed for someone who is.

I am confused by one thing in all of this. Breast enlargements are one of the most popular elective surgeries out there. Women (and their husbands, lovers and sugar daddies) pay a heck of a lot of money for enhancements to bring their chests up to my size.

I really want to know where they get their bras.