1 April 2015

My Second Very First Bra

My very first bra was from a department store. I’ve filed that experience away in the same place as the other awkward firsts; first pap smear, first oyster, first time drinking too much gin.

Having two grown ladies (my mother, and the sales clerk) fussing over my brand new breasts so insulted my sense of modesty, that I said yes to the first crappy brassiere that I tried on. ‘It’s fine,’ I said impatiently, ‘I’m not trying on anything else.’

Many functional undergarments followed after that. I was an average build, and once I knew my size, bought them without even trying them on. None of them were very memorable but they did the trick. Or at least I thought they did, until I went for an actual grown-up bra fitting.

Once again, I wasn’t so keen on the  ‘fitter’ coming in the room with me, and I was less impressed that she was helping herself to my small breasts. She told me to lean over and fall into the bra, and to make sure all the fabric was smooth and even, while liberally touching me in places no woman had ever touched me before. The result, however, was brilliant.  A beautiful bra (French, of course) that was so lovely and comfortable that I didn’t blink at the three-digit price tag. In fact, I bought two.

For a few glorious years I had wonderfully dressed breasts, and then came the diagnosis. Because I was sliced and diced and altered, I switched back to soft (saggy) cotton bras that would accommodate bandages and incisions. My requirements were simple.  It merely needed to hold me together, and wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. I didn’t want to invest in a garment that I could potentially ruin. So I was stuck with icky garments until the final stages of my reconstruction.

Once my stomach fat was moved up to create a brand new set of breasts I made myself a promise. When I was fully healed, and anatomically correct (with nipples), I would once again go for a bra fitting and get my Second Very First Brassiere.

That day has finally arrived! Last week, courtesy of a gift card from a favorite friend, I went to a lovely shop selling nothing but beautiful lingerie. Bubbling with excitement I’d practically grabbed a salesgirl by the hair and dragged her into the fitting room with me. Modest no more! Halfway through her introduction, I’d already ripped off my sweater and started the debriefing. I explained about my scars, new nipples, and the 22” slash across my tummy that made me look like a Fat Twist ‘n Turn Barbie.

My French Bra. And the cat.
The salesgirl, who was young and dewey, tossed her hair and looked me in the eye. ‘Don’t worry,’ she said, ‘I’ve seen everything.’ Ha.  I may or may not have snorted. People who say they’ve seen ‘everything’ usually haven’t seen anything at all. Just as those who claim to be the ‘life of the party’ or usually as dull as a bag of hair.

So I whipped off my bra. The ‘fitters’ reaction wasn’t really my problem, and I was eager to get on with the proceedings. She blinked a few times and then moved in for a better look. I let her measure me, and then I told her in meticulous detail what I wanted and how I expected it to fit. To her credit, she seemed to listen, and returned moment later with lovely with three lovely undergarments dangling off her fingers. I disqualified two of them immediately on the grounds that the straps were too skinny and there wasn’t any padding. (These days I need light padding because fake nipples, cute as they are, are permanently erect in the manner Jennifer Anniston in a tank top)

But the third one was a charmer. Black, smooth, with just the right amount of engineering and the perfect width of strap. According to my sources (trashy magazines), three quarters of woman wear bras that don’t fit properly. If only they knew the joy of a well fitting bra. Even though my boobs are relatively numb, I can still tell when something feels like it’s made for me.  And when you get a second chance at boobs, you don’t settle for second best.

When it comes to buying a first bra, second time round is so much better than the first.