As I walked through the threshold of the big-chain lingerie store, I swear the model on the giant window poster looked sideways at me, like a portrait in some haunted mansion.
“I can shop here--I’m a WOMAN damn-it!” I thought.
But as I rounded the corner, images of “REAL” women made me feel like “Androgynous Pat.” Clearly, I am a “She-Wolf” compared to the specimens attacking me visually from every angle. I appear to have the same anatomical parts, but mine look like someone stepped on them and yanked them down like a window shade.
I don’t think I’ve ever even met a person who could qualify as a “Bra and Panty” model. They must live on “Fantasy Island” somewhere. I wonder what they do all day, in between modeling assignments. They all have that “not-exactly-happy-but-I-could-be-soon” looks on their faces. My daughter, Krista, once asked, “Why aren’t they smiling?” “They’re hungry, dear,” I told her, “and cold.”
“Do you have anything that will fit me?” I dared to ask a skinny clerk. All I wanted was something new to wear instead of my husband’s t-shirt and pajama pants. Now I think I may be in the wrong shop. “Is there such a store as “Bertha’s Secret”?” I clowned.
“Well, you could try the clearance rack,” she offered, stiffly. The clearance rack is where they send freaks like me, to scrounge around for factory misfits. I can hear it now...
“Hey, let’s get all the material together and make a HUGE one--big enough to fit Ying-Ling the Panda-Woman,” they’d joke in some far-eastern sewing room... after an especially long shift.
I picked up something and held it next to me. It was a MIGHTY bra that looked like something Wonder Woman would wear, minus the gold-encrusted eagle. It stood up all by itself on the dressing room chair, challenging me to strap it on like a Roman chest plate. It was red and ridiculous, but it fit and buying it would mean I could carry that smutty lingerie bag all through the mall.
“I’ll take it,” I beamed, “and wear it home.” As I left the store, the poster model’s eyes again shifted sideways, but I pulled my shoulders back, my new “rack” in front of me--where it belonged--for the first time in 25 years. I’ve never felt more alluring.
My self-worth improvement was not without consequence, however, as my new chest-enhancing, molded-foam apparatus made me unbalanced. My body radar askew, I kept bumping into things like a wind-up toy that runs into walls and changes directions. With things pushed tightly together, my air supply was being compromised, dizzy, I brushed up against things and I couldn’t see my lap at lunch.
“You look different,” my husband, Fred, said later that day, “are you getting taller?”
I flashed him a “not-exactly-happy-but-I-could-be” expression, and he guessed again.