Friday, September 16, 2005

Friggin A(A)


Yesterday, in a dimly lit change room, to the non-beat of some synthesized wordless Billy Joel song, I bit my lip and stared in disbelief as I found myself in, possibly, my first ever properly sized bra.

For fifteen years I have deluded myself into believing that I am a size A. Not that being a size A is anything to get one’s neckline in a plunge or anything. But while the A is on the small side of the curve bell, it is still on the bell nonetheless. Something about wearing an A made me feel like at least I was in the game.

For years I have worn bras that don’t fit. I bought As, pulled the straps tight and the put back strap on the smallest hook level. But still, the bra seemed more like an accessory than any functional supportive device.

I was a late bloomer who only ever half-heartedly entered spring. When I complained to my mother about my non cleavage, she told me that what with me being so thin, if I had bigger boobs I would look like a freak.

Well, mom, look around you. This is a society that reveres freaks. There was a poster in the Student Health Clinic at my university that showed the legs of a super model and a starving African woman side by side. They were virtually indistinguishable. Try looking at a magazine photo of a model. Cover up her boobs and she is instantly transformed into an emaciated anorexic. Uncover her boobs and she is the pinnacle of beauty.

I’m not going to delve into the issue of how the media feeds us unhealthy images of women. That issue has been very well documented elsewhere. My only point here is that boobs seem to be the one aspect of the female anatomy that people don’t really expect to be ‘in proportion’ to one’s body.

I did once wear a B. I wore it with pride. I didn’t cut the sizing tag off that bra like I usually do. Itchy or not, I hoped that someone (preferably a boy) would sometime catch a glimpse of the tag and be impressed. This, of course, was before I realized that I was wearing a ‘vanity sized’ bra. At the GAP, they make people who are really a size 12 think that they are actually a size 6. This is a brilliant marketing ploy based on the fact that people buy more clothing when they feel good about their body. Similarly, my ‘petites’ bra was sized on the same principle, albeit in a different direction. People feel bad about being a double A.

But I am a double A. An AA. Anatomically Anomalous.

I am not exactly sure what it was that made yesterday’s trip to the Bay distinguishable from all my other previous trips. I have just moved into a new apartment and have just started a new job. I suppose I am learning to embrace change. For whatever reason, yesterday, after trying on five bras which did not fit me correctly, I made the choice not to deceive myself any longer. I was going to find a bra that fits.

This was no easy mission. Most bra brands do not make sizes smaller than A. Either because we below As are so few in number, or because I am not alone in my active suppression of my size self-awareness.

A well-endowed sales lady asked me if she could offer me any assistance. "Yes," I replied, "I’m looking for double As."

"Oh," she replied, while looking me up and down, "I think we may have a few of those lying around somewhere."

Yes, 'lying around'. I made a quick mental list of the types of things that lie around. Last week’s lunch. Playing cards. Pogo sticks. Lazy dogs. ‘That uncle’. Basically, things that don’t really have a whole lot of use to many people.


In an entire lingerie department there were three AA bras. None of which came in black. I figured that if I can’t be sexy in proportion, maybe I can be sexy in colour. Alas.

I tried them on, hoping desperately that they wouldn’t fit. But fit they did. Like a glove. And for the first time I felt support. Like a little hug on each breast saying, "I won’t let you down. Go ahead and bounce." And it felt good.

I can’t say that I have woken up today with some sort of total bodily self-acceptance. But I do feel that I have somehow edged into a new era of facing reality. I’m trying to see things as they are and to deal with them accordingly. If that means facing the world clad in ugly cream-coloured braziers, then so be it.

6 Comments:

Blogger Rye said...

This is a fantastic first foray into the blogosphere. You havd encapsulated so many of the intangible emotions and sensory perceptions that make up a day in the life.

Well done and welcome to my list of Blogs that don't suck.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Nadine said...

Thank you so much for your kind welcome and for inspiring me to enter the blogging world.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous M said...

As a former AA... I do understand your plight. My very first bra experience was horrifying. My mother took me to this boutique at age 13, purely because all my friends had bras and I felt I should have one too.
The lady measured me, and yells at the top of her lungs "we need a AA over here...". I was so upset...the store was filled with other people, that really didn't need to hear about my pathetic bra size. And then she says to me in he sickly sweet voice "Don't worry...this is just a training bra. you'll grow into it"

Well I eventually moved up to a humongous A34 (from a AA32!!). Mostly I think my ribs expanded. For years I was this size...until I discovered the pill. That seems to have helped the situation a tad. Now I think I am officially a B34, and proud of it. Yes...there was the obligatory weight gain that goes with that, but I do enjoy my new curves!!!

M

11:42 AM  
Blogger Nadine said...

Hi M,
Actually, being small has its advantages. Take today, for example. Through gross miscommunication I showed up at the Terry Fox Run in jeans and with my trendy new purse expecting to do the 5K walk. Then I meet my friends and realized that they are all geared up for the 10K run! Now, someone with a heavier upper load would have had to turn around and go home since running without a sports bra could be hazardous. I, however, was able to run with my minimal support.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story - every single woman in the world can relate to it in a broader sense, no matter what boob size! I admire that you've come to a place of acceptance about the whole thing - thanks for the reminder that I should do the same :)

- your 4" 3/4 tall friend

10:48 AM  
Blogger Richpoo said...

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5:04 AM  

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